Undernourishment: An American Food Crisis

I’ve just returned home from an incredible trip to Tanzania and wanted to share some thoughts about nourishment in Tanzania compared to the United States.

Above: Me playing with some children at a Tanzanian primary school

Unlike in the United States, food in Tanzania is not taken for granted. Most of the food, except for probably the junk that is imported from the US, is not heavily processed, the produce has fewer pesticides (although the pesticide use is increasing), the chickens are free range and the beef is not fed grain. Food does not come through a drive through window and is much more natural. However, many people cannot afford to eat enough. Even middle class families often struggle to put food on the table. Many Tanzanians are underfed and undernourished.

In the US, we have the opposite problem. Most Americans are overfed, yet undernourished. The quantity of empty, disease-producing calories is far too high compared to the quantity of healthy, life sustaining calories that most Americans consume. In our country we have an inverse relationship between weight and income, which is quite a new phenomenon in the history of mankind. The unhealthy junk food is the least expensive and the healthy whole foods costs the most. This is a serious crisis. While our lower income citizens are not generally dying from starvation, they are being slowly killed by their diet. And to be fair, it is not just a problem of money. Many wealthy people also chose to eat in a way that is extremely unhealthy. Our standards of healthy food have been shot out the window and many people think they are eating healthy, when in reality they are not. We need to raise the bar.

If you are not in the position of eating only the least expensive items, I would highly encourage you to spend little extra money on healthy choices. A little extra money now towards healthier (and organic!) foods could literally add years to your life, as well as reduce costly doctors bills. Remember, just because your doctor does not focus on nutrition, this does not mean that nutrition does not play a vital roll in your health. After all, you really are what you eat. Also, the more people who buy healthy organic food, the more the food industry will have to accommodate with better quality and lower prices. Every time you purchase something, you are essentially voting for that item.

If you need extra motivation to eat well, think of those in other countries or even our country that only wish they had what you have. Use that as a reason to honor your body and treat yourself with respect, not as an excuse to finish your plate because "children are starving in Africa." If you need help figuring out how to slowly change your diet and your perspective on food, I am here for you. I can help guide you into a life altering mindset about your health and well-being. Stop procrastinating; take control of your health! Schedule your free initial consultation with me today.