Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Malnourished: the East and the West

Over the past week or so I have been thinking about how many of the people in the world are malnourished (not in the strict sense of the word, but poorly nourished in one way or another)—but I’m not just thinking about the Third World countries or the Developing countries, I’m thinking about the Western Developed nations as well. One billion under-nourished and over one billion overweight, according to the article shown in the picture below.
This summer, my husband and I are planning to go to South Sudan on a mission trip (if all goes well). Part of the work I’ll be doing there is teaching on nutrition. As I’ve been thinking about what it will be like in South Sudan, I’ve been struggling over the question, “What am I going to be eating?” On one side of things, I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’m going to have to sacrifice having many of the nourishing foods I’d prepare for myself at home. However, on the other hand, I was thinking about how nearly 3 months away from the heavily processed food of North America might do my body good. In a sense, I’ve been thinking over what would be better for me, the one I have here (along with the processing, modifying, pasteurizing, additives, preservatives, hormones antibiotics, etc) or a simpler diet that is perhaps filling but lacking in nutrients.

How absurd it is, that we in the West have all the money or resources at our fingertips to eat healthfully but yet we make poor choices that leave us malnourished. As individuals we make poor choices, choosing refined foods devoid of nutrients rather than whole, natural foods—choices which drive the supply and demand of our food market. Or perhaps we make poor choices, spending money in unnecessary areas and buying the cheapest food possible. On a larger scale though, we have made poor choices as a nation, not standing up against the use of pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and much more in our deteriorating food supply. So many people in the world would love to have choice when it comes to food. It is devastating to think that so many people in the world are dying from malnourishment, in a sense, half from under-eating and half from over-eating/poor eating.

Where is justice when it comes to distribution of food? What can you do help? What choices can you make today?


Leah said...

Good point Karen - it is amazing that we do have so many options in our developed nation, yet still fill ourselves with so many "convenience foods". Frozen foods is a big one.
I think the choice I need to make, is deciding to make more time in food preperation. It is so much easier to pop in a frozen pizza for example... however the nutritional value in one that I could make myself I know is so much better! And plus, it's more fun to do with someone else!
So... more time in food preperation: that's my challenge.

Karen Kelly said...

So true, pre-packaged foods aren't nearly as healthy as homemade. Sometimes we think it takes so long to cook, so we go for the convience foods but we should remember that many people spend hours on making their food, like grinding out their own flour. Commiting more time to food prep is a great way to challenge ourselves :)