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Is Healthy Eating A Worthwhile Choice

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“You’re such a snob.” 

My face reddened. All I said was that I didn’t like fast food. Was I a snob for that? 

I was raised in a household where quality food was of the utmost importance. Multiple times a week, my parents would spend hours in the kitchen cooking for our family, using the freshest produce and meat. We rarely ate processed junk food or candy, and the candy we did eat was usually a Trader Joe’s knock-off. 

I didn’t see a problem with my food intake when I was a kid, and I still don’t. I’m not crazy about soda, fast food or candy, mainly because I don’t like the taste, but also because they cause short and long-term health implications that I’d rather not subject myself to. 

Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, fast food transformed American culture, becoming an essential component of the diets of millions of Americans. It comes as no surprise that the nation’s growing obesity epidemic is correlated with its fast food culture. Nowadays, many people do not care as much as they should about what they’re putting into their body. Instead, people value efficiency—fast food, frozen meals, etc.—because of their hectic lives. For these people, keeping up with their busy schedule simply outweighs taking the time to maintain their nutrition. However, this is also affected by affordability and preconceived notions about “bland” healthy food. 

Despite my own cluttered schedule, I manage to find time to cook for myself because I love food and because I not only want it to taste good, but I want to feel good, too. According to The Washington Post, a diet high in junk food can lead to a higher risk of obesity, depression, heart disease and much more. Even short term, I’ve noticed that I feel sick after eating low-quality food. 

 I feel lucky to be able to make thoughtful decisions about food. It is a privilege that not everyone has. First of all, many people believe that cooking takes up a lot of time, but that is a misconception. There are thousands of recipes available online that take only half an hour or less; all it takes to find one is the click of a button. On platforms like Instagram and TikTok, influencers share a plethora of satisfying, healthy recipes and meal-prep ideas. 

A major problem with accessibility is that nutrient-rich foods are expensive. There are so many cheaper options available that make quality food less appealing. However, stronger efforts have been made to combat this issue in recent decades. Community gardens and co-ops continue to pop up across the country. Located in metro Atlanta, for example, the Sevananda Natural Foods Market co-op sells fresh local produce and other healthy food options, all at affordable prices. That being said, I have no doubt that communal efforts along with online nutrition influencers will continue to spread this wave of change.

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Sonia Alizadeh, Opinion Editor

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