USDA just released the food desert map.And here is the obesity map (interesting correlations here). If you live in one of these areas, how are you succeeding, or not, on Paleo? I imagine as food prices go up, a lot of us will have to make some tough choices. I'm also concerned with how to encourage friends and family in the middle states to eat Paleo when they have inadequate access to organic foods.
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on May 06, 2011
at 12:51 PM
I have been living in food deserts and high obesity areas for several years in Virginia, West Virginia and now Pennsylvania.
In Virginia I co-founded a farmers market that brought produce into our community. There were several reasons for the desert distiniction in the area where I lived in Virginia. Rural (county population less than 4,500), low income, lack of education. The farmers market was better received by the tourists and summer residents than locals because the prices were to high.
Obesity is a huge topic that obviously can not be addressed in this small space or time however will say from observation that the people living in the areas I mentioned are typically people who are not going to start a trend or be quick to jump on a trend. They are for a lack of better description simple, down to earth people who are the salt of the earth. Generations of people who have struggled with poverty and continue to struggle. They eat what they can which includes nearly all the foods not eatten on a Paleo diet.
For myself I eat Paleo, am a runner, educated, and am not afraid to be a trend setter. Needless to say I am usually considered "odd" in the communities where I live!
It is always a challenge to find food in my community. I stock up when I go to larger cities. I compromise as far as choosing the best of the worst when I can make choices. I am able to eat 90% Paleo so it can be done.
on May 05, 2011
at 10:00 PM
There is an inverse relationship in the USA between income and weight. This map could just as easily be pointing out how we as a nation are becoming poorer. How can we help? Raise income levels.
on May 05, 2011
at 07:44 PM
You can read in book such as "Guns, Germs and Steel" what part agrarian societies play in the development of civilizations. To risk oversimplifying a very interesting book, one key reason why certain civilizations have historically developed and prospered way faster/better than others is the civilization got to a certain level of density and sophistication that not every member of the society had to spend all of their time worrying about food. Once that is achieved, other people in the society are freed up to think about things like technology, governance, religion/spirituality, and those people are the ones that advance the civilization. If you have two adjacent civilizations, one with these advances and the other without, the one with the advances will eventually conquer the other in one way or another.
Imagine a tribe of nomadic hunters, the members of which spend 95% of their time tracking and killing game, and are constantly moving from place to place to find it. That society will probably never develop (according to this theory) beyond a certain point because they're too concerned with basic sustenance.
But in an agrarian society, a minority of the people can generate the food for the majority, freeing up those people to enhance and develop the society. This also requires that the communities stay put, since they have to live off of the land, which is what originally created towns and cities.
There are civilization even today that suffer from the problem of the citizens spending all of their time and energy barely surviving, and these civilizations never develop beyond the most basic social groups (sub-Saharan Africa comes to mind). Meanwhile it is the cultures in the "bread basket" parts of the world that have generally developed and prospered.
10,000 years ago this was a major breakthrough in the evolution of mankind. Today, it is making people fat and lazy because it is way too easy to get food, so easy in fact that you have to go out of your way to not eat too much, to eat healthy foods, and stay active in a way that was required in the distant past. Very few people would willingly give up an endless supply of cheap food, and would rather concern themselves with entertainment or how to make their houses larger. So you end up with cultures that get fatter and lazier with each subsequent generation...
on May 05, 2011
at 08:42 PM
Subsidize more small-time operation farmers, instead of big agra. Popularize sites like eatwild .com and expand the listings of farmers who practice this way. There are many good farmers not listed. Make it easier for people to buy directly from these people and legalize raw milk. Fund national school programs teaching kids about gardening and growing vegetables and herbs.