As my interests continue to go back to food, I particularly notice food cultures of places where I have lived (or even visited). Here in Nepal the kids eat a large ‘brunch’ around 9:00 before school (which begins at 10:30). This food will hold them over until a small snack, which they eat around 1:30ish. They will not have another full meal until the evening meal around 8:00pm. Upon first glance, this seems like they are not getting enough to eat, but by looking further at WHAT they eat, these children are sooo healthy on the inside.
These children do not eat processed foods, chips, cookies, twinkies, microwaveable foods, etc. (Besides the random Cheezy Poof!) There is no sugary cereal or pop tarts in the morning to give them a quick high before school. There is thankfully no fast food either. Here the children eat pure brain food! They drink milk, pure milk from grazing animals that get their own nutrition from organic grass that grows from god’s good earth. They don’t drink a ‘westernized’ milky liquid resembling pure milk, which, once upon a time, wasn’t bad for you, but today if the Dairy Industry was required to list all the possible ingredients that are in their milk (from the antibiotics and other drugs given to the cows to the pesticide/insecticide sprayed corn that the cows are forced to eat, etc.) the list of ingredients would take up the whole label.
The rural children of Nepal that I am around have rice, lentils, vegetable, potatoes and often beans, chick peas and very occasionally chicken or fish. There is no arguing about what’s for dinner. This is your meal and you eat it because the next meal won’t come for awhile. There certainly are unhealthy children and adults in Nepal as well; but they are unhealthy because they are poor and their family cannot purchase the foods that their body needs, they are not unhealthy because they are eating tons of foods with little or no nutritional value.
On a side note, I find it particularly irritating that my Microsoft word program recognized the word twinkie and actually red-lined it because I didn’t spell it with a capital letter! I thought capital letters were to be used for ‘important words’. I remember writing my MA thesis, “Structural Violence and the Ethics of Eating” and every time I wrote down any fast food chain (need I mention names?) the word program recognized if I spelled it wrong or the infamous ‘capital letter conundrum’. In my world, the word twinkie and names of fast food chains will never ever deserve a capital letter.