Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Only in LA

It’s not unusual to find spelt or flax seed oil in our cupboards. You won’t find anything with trans-fats, but you will find lots of fruits and vegetables.

Yes, I’m a health nut.

While catching up on what happened in our area while we were gone on our honeymoon, I came across this article: L.A. OKs moratorium on fast-food restaurants

I also found lots of backlash on this issue about crazy Californians and their zeal for healthy ideas. (“Can we just get it over with and kick California out of the union?” “Typical liberal nanny-state garbage.” Comments courtesy of allfinancialmatters blog on the same subject.)

While I’m not sure how well this idea will work, one thing that I’m sure about is that if this moratorium does go into effect, then reasonable options and upgrades will need to be offered and supported by individuals and the government.

Residents of these communities have very limited options for where to get food, as they normally only have fast-food outlets or liquor marts to choose from. The chances of them coming across a ripe piece of fruit are slim-to-none.

Large food corporations consider these low-income areas to be the cash cow to market non-perishable food-like substances to. Unfortunately, healthy foods tend to be marketed only to the upper-class neighborhoods. As if only the rich can afford food that actually came off a plant, rather than being created in a plant.

So if this idea has any chance we need to see some creative ideas on how to get large food corporations to change the type of food that they sell. My fear is that instead they will sell wholesome-appearing food. Take for example the fruit smoothie from Taco Bell- It’s not food worthy if it’s not made with any fruit. Some odd food labeling loophole allows them to market it as a fruit smoothie because it has a piece of sugared fruit on the top. Unfortunately, fast food chains when they do offer healthy choices, don’t even try to make them appealing (ever seen the lettuce at Wendy’s? It’s not green).

I’m hoping this creates the availability for more local business to step up and fullfill the need. Hopefully, framers markets and community gardens can get more support. Maybe the local store can stock some of the produce from these places. Perhaps community centers could offer healthy cooking classes for free. There are a lot of good things that could come from this that would help the local economy and reduce health care costs.

I get that we’re trying to instate change, and that it has to start somewhere. However, I’m hoping that there are some very creative people who will work with corporations AND local businesses to make this a good change for the area, and not just another half-hearted attempt.

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