Society

Is Your Food Instagramable?

Remember when we used to make fun of that one person who always shared photos of their food on Facebook? Right. Today so many people fashion themselves food critics on Yelp or share their photos on Instagram that now a restaurant's popularity may hang in the balance of whether or not its food makes for a presentable Instagram photo. Foodies, is this what we've come to? Goodbye, Food Network: Hello, food networking.

Poor people aren't the ones eating at McDonald's

But that doesn't stop the middle class from pointing fingers.

Reporter Tracie McMillan has spent a lot of time analyzing what Americans really do with their food - how they get it, and where it goes. And she has come to some interesting, and occasionally counter-intuitive results.

The debate that swirls around poverty, obesity, and food dollars is hotly contested and often ugly. Many people assume that the poor are obese because all they do is eat at McDonald's. But as McMillan points out, the poor are on SNAP (a.k.a. "food stamps") and SNAP only buys you food at the grocery store. It doesn't work at McDonald's or any other fast food chain. (Although some municipalities are working to change that. That's a whole 'nother argument.)
 
Study after study shows that in fact, it is the middle class which is eating at McDonald's. The upper class either goes out to restaurants or hires a personal chef. The working class either cooks meals at home or skips them altogether. (1 in 25 Americans admit to skipping a meal because they couldn't afford it.)
 
If you have ever been poor, these results are unsurprising. A meal at McDonald's costs between $3-7 per person, and that's a lot of money if you are making minimum wage. Most people under the poverty level are aiming for a per-meal cost of $1 per person or less, and that includes SNAP funds.

The truth about food waste

You're not the one wasting it - groceries and restaurants are to blame

I'm sure you have seen the headlines. "Americans Waste 40 Percent Of Their Food." It catches your attention, doesn't it? And it feeds perfectly into the image of the fat, wasteful American. But who ARE these people who are throwing away almost half of the food they buy?

Well, it turns out that this statistic is misleading. And so are the articles and news stories built around it.
 
Here is the truth: commercial places like restaurants and grocery stores throw away 40 percent of their food. The problem isn't you and I, it's them. The invisible corporate machine that would rather try to convince you that this is your personal problem to solve. Just like so many other problems, the effort is to convince Americans that they are bad people who are at fault, while the corporations get off free. This is true of emissions (personal vehicles account for only 5 percent of total emissions), recycling, oil usage, plastic waste… for just about any environmental problem you would care to identify, our personal actions are only the tip of the iceberg.

Fat people bumper stickers

This really is the last form of widely accepted prejudice in America.

There are plenty of homophobia, racism, sexism and other 'isms' to go around (I always wonder why homophobia isn’t called homism or something instead, since these people are obviously full of hate rather than fear, although I suppose that’s where the hate stems from…), but if you’re expressing any of these things you’re likely going to get called out on it by somebody. They are slowly, slowly dissipating in this country, which I’m grateful for yet very impatient with, since this is two thousand bloody twelve and progress seems to take centuries.

But if you express hate for people who are fat, by George, you’re in good company. It seems like being fat is the one thing that everyone can agree is BAD in America—not using (or letting teens use) cancer-causing tanning beds, not smoking, not drinking, but simply being fat—and it’s the one thing people are banding together to hate in droves. I can be a feminist, an LGBT marriage supporter, a progressive activist for the environment and health care—but people from all of these groups and more will wrinkle their noses at me and ask me if I’ve thought about getting my stomach stapled.

Believe me, I have. Every fat person has, so why ask? Do you think we really don’t know we’re fat?

Challenge Yourself: Live Below the Line



Live Below the Line is a charity with an objective to raise awareness on poverty. Participants of this challenge are to live on $1.50 for food per day for a total of five days. That's only $7.50 per person total for the five days.

I agreed to be a part of this challenge when asked by BzzAgent. I have two daughters, which means that the three of us must live on $ 22.50 for the duration of the five days. My hypothesis is that we will be able to eat three meals a day, but they won't be foods that are considered healthy. I'm making this hypothesis based on my observations within the grocery store. Healthy foods tend to cost much more than quick foods, which have little to no health benefits.
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