I spend a lot of time thinking about food. Today, for example, I spent 3 hours cooking a dinner to freeze for later this week, preparing apple and pear sauce for Alice's lunches this week, another 30 minutes preparing our lunches and cleaning up afterward, and I have yet to make dinner. Between my work and feeding my family, it sometimes feels... exorbitant. Shouldn't this basic necessity be pretty... straightforward? But it is not, as anyone can tell you.
A few weeks ago, I started teaching a nutrition education class for people living with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes. It's been a good experience so far - the people in the class are older, and very kind, and it feels like spending time with a room full of grandmothers (and one quarky uncle). It also sheds light on just how complicated our problems with food have become. Each week we set small goals for ourselves that we think might be achievable over the next 7 days (mine continues to be going to bed earlier, despite my utter incapacity to do so). I'm often surprised by how basic many of these goals are --- walk 1 block every day, eat 2 meals without meat over the course of the week, cut back from 20 to 15 cigarettes each day. These are all really important changes to make, and have a substantial impact on health. But they also point out how hard it is to be healthy in an environment surrounded by easy access to meat, cigarettes, and crappy food; how little activity is required in our daily lives; and how much we have to fight against our auto-pilot, routine-driven tendencies.
"But when she stepped off the train in New York, her plain little face looked beautiful for a moment, as if the future were opening before her and its glow were already upon her forehead, as if she were eager and proud and ready to meet it..."