There is no abundance of money in South Los Angeles, California, but there is an abundance of fast food; in fact, it’s the easiest cuisine to find. The residents have little access to healthier food because of the lack of grocery stores and fresh produce.
The City Council is to vote on this issue in an attempt to attract grocery stores, fresh produce markets, and “full-service restaurants with wait staff and food prepared to order.” They hope to hit the area with a moratorium on new fast food restaurants, saying that where there is fast food, there is obesity – and no room for healthier options.
The California Restaurant Association (CRA) takes issue with council’s intent, and for good reason – but not for the most relevant reason. CRA spokesman Andrew Casana says fast food “is the only industry that wants to be in South L.A. Sit-down restaurants don't want to go in. If they did, they'd be there. This moratorium isn't going to help them relocate."
That’s very true, Andrew. Here’s another truism: Most sit-down restaurants are no healthier than fast food restaurants. Some of the unhealthiest offenders on the list of the “20 Worst Foods in America” (a list dominated by sit-down restaurants) include Ruby Tuesday, Macaroni Grill, Lonestar, Chili’s, On the Border, and Outback Steakhouse.
Doctor of Integrative Medicine, Dr. Andrew Weil, and internationally acclaimed holistic nutritionist, Dr. Gillian McKeith, have long fought the misperception that fruit and vegetables, because they cost more per pound than fast food, will tax a family budget.
The reality is that when the majority of your diet consists of fruits and vegetables, you will fill up faster on less food and you won't be hungry again for quite a while. Too, the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables boosts your energy and helps you fight off disease and infection.
The opposite is true of fast food, which takes more to fill you up and leaves you feeling hungry again much sooner than a healthier meal. Too, fast food’s nutritional value is negligible and depletes energy levels. It not only impedes the body’s ability to fight off disease and infection, it can, over time, cause and accelerate disease.
The same is true of food from many sit-down restaurants, some of which offer heaping (but hidden) servings of bad fats and off-the-chart levels of sodium under the guise of, behind the labels of, and even under or on a bedding of foods that really are healthy.
The City Council is more than a wee bit out of touch with the community if it thinks there is a solution other than joining forces with the county’s agriculture and extension offices, opening up their own community sponsored fresh produce markets, and making public land available to those who would like to grow (and even sell) some of their own food.
Word to the South L.A. wise: Find those few and far between fresh produce markets that do exist in your area and use the seeds from your purchases to plant your own garden. Buying (or growing) and eating fruits and vegetables isn’t just better for you; it also costs less over a period of just a few days than does shelling out one’s limited number of shekels for shit food.