Thursday, January 16, 2014

Why I don't want to see your lunch.

There is something I've noticed on the internet and based on comics like The Oatmeal, this is not only on my facebook page. It would be hysterical to imagine history teachers in the future making their students research the origins of this sensation the same way we currently ask students to research what events led up to the Civil War in the United States. "Please write a 2-4 page paper on the origins of people taking pictures of their daily meals and posting these pictures to social media websites. Please note: pictures of food for religious or celebratory purposes are not to be included. "

I have two very big issues with this whole posting food pictures trend. The first issue has to deal with the eating and diet culture we have. The outdated and unhealthy model of "Skinny is Beautiful" oversimplifies health and nutrition. We have a problem in our country with eating disorders and disorder eating. In fact, if you look at your friends on Facebook you make know some of these people. However, odds are you don't know everyone who struggles with an eating disorder or who is working to be healthier and recover from their eating disorder.

"Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S."- The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders, “Eating Disorders 101 Guide: A Summary of Issues, Statistics and Resources,” 2003

As someone who tries to be an advocate for many people and a supportive person, the last thing I want to do is post something out there which could cause someone a problem. There are pictures of food I've posted, but those come from travel adventures and most are not terribly appetizing to look at. I sometimes chronical exotic foods not for the sake of others, but for my own memories. My long term memories sometimes get jumbled and there are some fun things I wish to remember in years to come.

The second reason I have issues with posting food has to do with a basic life function: hunger. Just like you may not know how many people on your social media page have eating disorders, you may not know how many people on your page go hungry. Although it should not be, food is not always plentiful for everyone. Let's not even get into the conversation about healthy food being affordable in places referred to as "food deserts".

"In 2012, 49.0 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33.1 million adults and 15.9 million children. "-

I was one of those people who lived in a house where there truly was nothing to eat some days. This was also while I worked 40+ hour weeks, lest some of you think I was a slacker. (If you have ever thought I was a slacker, you are obviously not paying attention.) Having money to provide nutritious meals sometimes does not happen. I know I've had to make the choice to either pay for medication or food. I choose to get the medication I needed in order to keep my quality of life up enough to go to work so maybe next week there would be money for food.

Hunger is a real issue for many in our community. The point I'm trying to make is to encourage people to be more mindful of what they put out in cyberspace. Posting about your decadent lunch won't cause the world to end, but donating some canned goods to a local food pantry if you can afford it may help change the world a little. It's not just Thanksgiving or other major celebrations we should be thankful for what we have. If you can go to bed with a full stomach, or at least don't have hunger pains keeping you up at night, consider yourself blessed.

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