How Easy is it To Eat Healthy? at Roosevelt

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The highlight of today’s lesson was peaches from Roosevelt’s peach trees.

We the kids were munching, we discussed our favorite foods are and why. This led into a discussion where students reviewed many factors that contribute to food preference including biological factors, economic, cultural or physical access. Then we dove into the biological aspect a bit further by reviewing some history. Over 20,000 years ago humans were hunter-gatherers, which meant that they hadn’t developed enough of a society to grow their own food. It was often very difficult to find food and most people ate meat, vegetables and some grains. Very occasionally, there was honey and berries, which were quickly determined as special foods because they stored as fat in the body faster than many vegetables. Foods that are high in sugar and fat are more efficiently used in the body and providing fat to humans to survive longer periods without food. This led to some humans having a greater liking to sugary/ fatty foods, which then resulted to natural selection. Humans that liked sugar and fat kept evolving as the species developed to require many more calories to fuel our brains. Everyone today is an ancestor of these humans, therefore we are all genetically programmed to like sugar and fat. Our love for sugar has gone so far, that sugar now releases dopamine in the brain, which stimulates the brain with positivity.

So we learned that our brains are addicted to sugar and fats, therefore we have to outsmart our brain to resist eating junk food and eat more vegetables. Next we discussed how difficult this is to do, because the government has subsidized certain foods which are now overly abundant in our food supply. We’ve discussed this many times before but never made the correlation to how our brains keep wanting that food because it’s so tasty and we can’t genetically reprogram our brains. How is this related to gardening? Well, we discussed the energy and resources that went into a carrot, vs. a twinkie (or any processed food for that matter). The energy and resource input doesn’t relate to the cost of the food, which reiterates the significance of being able to cultivate your own food to save a lot of money.  Lastly, in this very information-dense class, we talked about the money put into marketing where $1.8 BILLION are spent on marketing to children. 91% is sugary drinks, snacks, and junk food, while less than 1% is whole, unprocessed foods.

Today was a class to open eyes, and new perspectives on the reality of eating healthy in America in 2017. It was meant to appreciate what’s growing in the garden and reiterate how home gardening is cheaper and healthier than buying food.

The garden is looking great and growing inches in between each week!

 

Lindsay De May

My love for food and enriching food systems has brought me to LA after graduating in May from Syracuse University with a degree in Food Studies, concentrating on food politics and governance. I grew up gardening with my family in New Mexico, spent a summer working on an organic produce farm in New York, and spent three years as a teaching assistant for food science, locavorism and culinary arts classes. I look forward to incorporating my experiences in developing an exciting curriculum for my elementary and high school courses, with the hope that I'll inspire them to appreciate food the way I do!

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