DEAR CHRISTINE: Too much money for healthy foods
This trip to Barbados has really opened my eyes. I am so angry and furious, yet I do not know what to do or if I could do anything. How I wish my stature or voice carried some weight. But I am just a visitor – a winter resident here for a few months.
I have noticed the outrageous prices of the vegetables and fruits in the markets here. I now see how hard it is for someone to provide a balanced diet for their families. A head of broccoli costs $9.99 and carrots $5.00 for a small bag.
With all the trans fats around, and with fruit and vegetable prices so high, it’s no wonder there is a high incidence of diabetes and high blood pressure here as people cannot afford the nourishing foods their bodies need.
I know parents love their children as I am a single parent and I would not hold anything good from my children. But they have got to have help.
I saw a single mother with an empty fridge, except for a jar of hot sauce. Her cupboards were also bare. I tried to help out but $40 and some fruits and vegetables doesn’t go far when you also have a baby that needs formula, diapers, and so on.
It is tough for a mother who adores her children to have to decide whether to buy gas to get to work or to pay rent or to buy food. And quite a number of fathers do not take on their responsibilities. Remember it takes two to raise a child properly, not just a mother.
My heart melts and I have silent tears when I see a child hungry or hear a mother say that food is too expensive, or she cannot afford something that month when that item should be part of her natural diet.
I am a simple person who cares about people. Children, no matter who they are, are our future and we all are affected if they are not well nourished. We do not want to burden the young with health care costs, but we would like them to be healthy in the years to come.
I am just a simple voice and if this helps one person, please give God the glory.
You are spot on in your views about the need for people to eat a balanced diet and the negative impact high prices of fruits and vegetables can have in this regard. Because many people find fruits and vegetables expensive, they regularly consume high-fat, high-salt tinned meats, as well as starchy foods like macaroni and spaghetti as part of their daily diet. And this is not good.
Though many fruits and vegetables are indeed more costly than canned products, even in the present situation people can eat a healthy diet by using those items that are in season as these tend to be less costly, given their abundance.
That is, when cucumbers, okras and beans are in season you eat those mostly with a complex carbohydrate like yam, which is also not very expensive when in season. One can supplement these seasonal veggies with lettuce, cabbage and pumpkins.
What needs to be done is for people to be consistently reminded how they can have healthy meals. Admittedly, this will take some time for them to get used to, but it has been done successfully in other places and I have no doubt a sustained educational campaign here would have similar results.
Thank you for your concern.