Friday, April 23, 2010
Food court cities

 

It's not easy to eat healthy on the go. It's even more difficult when your closest food options are high in calories, carbs, and fats. For our 'Food court city' assignment, we asked iReporters to take us on a tour of their local eateries and tell us how food choices in their neighborhoods affect their eating habits.

 

iReporters showed us that, although difficult, it is not impossible to eat healthy even when surrounded by the unhealthiest foods.

 

Ryn took us on a tour of Knoxville, Tennessee, a city that boasts the most restaurants per capita in the United States. In her video she shows us one part of town that has more than 20 places to grab a bite, many of them being fast food restaurants.

 

Fast food dominates the city most definitely, she said. “Knoxville has a church and restaurant on almost every corner.

 

See Ryn's iReport here.

 

Ryn says that it is imperative that she watches what she eats. She has type 2 diabetes and must take four insulin injections a day. She often prepares meals at home, but when she chooses to eat out, it is almost always somewhere that offers healthy options.

 

Up north in Everett, Washington, Awakened2 said that although poor choices surround she and her husband they have found delicious and healthy foods. Nestled between McDonalds, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut -- the usual suspects, as she called them -- is a food co-op that offers organic fruits and vegetables. She and her husband also found an organic delivery service that brings fresh, locally-grown organic foods to their doorstep.

 

“Food deserts, places with little or no access to foods needed to maintain a healthy diet, are not just in the United States.

 

Sherbien took us around the ground floor of his office building in the Philippines that has more than 30 restaurants to choose from. He said that although he tries to eat healthy every day, it's hard to resist the choices in the food court. Only one restaurant in the entire food court offers vegetarian and low-fat foods.

 

Check out Sherbien's abundance of food options.

 

A special thanks to iReporters for showing us around their towns, and giving us advice on how to find healthy foods when the pickings are slim.

15 Comments
April 24, 2010
Click to view josp22's profile

You talk like if you were reading.

April 24, 2010
Click to view josp22's profile

Oh wait, you are reading.

April 24, 2010
Click to view jimbo55's profile

Thank you for that report. A real person! Wow, what a concept. The report was well written, with great visuals to go with it. I really enjoyed it. My only comment was that you could have done this with less of a reading style and therefore more of your personality would have shown through.

April 24, 2010
Click to view harshbarj79's profile

I hate to break it to the poster of this video, but no study has ever shown 'organic' food to be more healthy than regular food. The facts actually point against 'organic' foods. They cost significantly more than non-organic. They produce far less food per acre than non-organic, so much so that if every farm switched to organic we would not be able to feed everyone (we can barely do it now).

April 24, 2010
Click to view Branleigh's profile

"I hate to break it to the poster of this video, but no study has ever shown 'organic' food to be more healthy than regular food. The facts actually point against 'organic' foods. They cost significantly more than non-organic. They produce far less food per acre than non-organic, so much so that if every farm switched to organic we would not be able to feed everyone (we can barely do it now). "

 

 

harshbarj79, I respectfully disagree with you.  This comment is total nonsense.  Organic produce is made without the use of chemical pesticides or enhancements- things that we don't need in our bodies and that we don't need to poison the soil with.  Factory farming makes cheaper food because they use cheaper methods that produce more food- ones that hurt the environment, the livestock and the produce.  And the typical consumer whines about cost when they don't do the research to realize, most organic farmers are pushed out of business by these very same factory farms, who now get all the goverment funding.  The myth of the small American farmer is over.  And guess who benefits from cheaper produce/livestock thru synthetics & chemicals?  That's right- fast food companies, who dominate in small towns and who price their food shamelessly cheaply.

 

If you're too dumb to pick up a book and learn about it, then you're part of the problem, which not only is about pollution and harming humans, but about why we're the fattest country in the world and our own government gleefully allows it.  If everyone demanded organics, the cost would go down significantly.  Don't let yourself be fooled.

 

That aside, I loved this report and p-shaw to those who gave the reporter notes on her reading.  Not everyone has to be a CNN anchor, for goodness's sake.   It gave me hope that one can find healthy choices everywhere, if they just look.  Good for all those who contributed to this piece!

April 24, 2010
Click to view jgmdgo's profile

Geez; I'm really glad that I live in little, rural, Durango, CO where we do not have food courts. We do, however, have many great restaurants serving very healthful foods. Yes; we have a 'Micky d's' and others; however, by and large, we have great local food.

April 24, 2010
Click to view mgc6288's profile

Branleigh- "The myth of the small American farmer is over..."  We own a farm.  We use the pesticides and no one has died yet or been born with missing fingers. 

 

Maybe you should come out to a farm and help raise a field for a season and see how this process works and then follow the very same food harvested all the way to the store shelves. 

 

Organimaniacs act as if we just splatter poison all over the stuff and then dump it on a shelf.  Educate yourself.  As with all purchases made - whether organic or not - wash it off before you eat it.  A little self-responsibility goes a long way.

April 24, 2010
Click to view harshbarj79's profile

@Branleigh, You appear to be the one who needs to do some research. They don't use 'cheaper methods', they use methods that optimize output per acre. This lowers cost, and to most people cost is almost all that matters. Also your claim of 'Organic produce is made without the use of chemical pesticides or enhancements' is simply wrong. They don't use synthetic pesticides but everything else is game. Even genetically modified food can pass as organic, though it is rare. As for your 'study' that proves organic is healthier, was it funded by or conducted by any group or business that benefits from organic farming? Unless it was done by a neutral party I have no interest in it. Even the USDA says 'Nutrition. No conclusive evidence shows that organic food is more nutritious than is conventionally grown food.' (this is from their site). To me that is enough to say it's not worth the 30% to 100+% price premium to 'feel good' about my choice. If you like organic that's fine, for you. but please don't lie to others by telling them it 'IS' healthier, as no study to date from an independent group or government shows any health benefit. And if pesticides really bother you, just wash your veggies.

April 25, 2010
Click to view msbungle's profile

@Branleigh, Pulse Ghost...

I think you need to read about the truth of organic.  I think you need to keep up with what the USDA allows to be labeled "organic".  There is a permissible limit of pesticides and chemicals and it's not exactly low anymore.  I think you need to compare it to what you consider "industrial" veggies and fruits  They upped the allowable amount of pesticides a few years back and my local station compared the two. I didn't see that big of a difference anymore.

 

And to the person highlighting organic over the "industrially grown".  Organic is now an industry.  If it were not, they wouldn't be able to afford to ship it everywhere!  They wouldn't be able to afford to lobby the USDA to increase the PEL on insecticides.  When it started it wasn't, but when corporations see something taking off like the organic craze did, they are more than happy to jump on that bandwagon.

 

To the rest of this video, I'm sorry, but "Whole wheat" is just the brown version of white bread.  It's just as empty nutrition-wise.  "Whole Grain" is what you want to look for.

 

I'm not saying the original poster is wrong in that you should look for healthier options when eating though.  One thing I have done is go to each fast food companies website and see what is "healthy" according to their nutritional info.  Some I have found nothing and have completely quit visiting.  Others, like McDonalds, I've found have multiple items which would fit my list (not the fries obviously). 

 

While people may not think of a salad when going through a drive-thru, that's the human's fault, not the chain's!

April 26, 2010
Click to view anthonypenta's profile

I dont really have the time to look around and see where I can post information so I just post it where ever. This is also do partly to the caos we already experience in our daily lives so rather than try to help make it better I will just add to the caos. Americans are viewed by the rest of the world as dumb. The rest of the world is playing on the notion that you are dumb people. America has not seen the worst. As americans walks blind The silent killer is all around them. Why do you not open your eyes? Cant you see you are not who you once were cant you see that your going no where. why does only a part of this country suffer during these hard times for many. if you all joined together and turn off your cell phones turn off your cable you would surely put others in your same position. why dont you stop going to the movies or shop you would put even more in your position. Do you really need to watch how others are living fine while you suffer and struggle why not bring the rest of them down with you. Think about it America you will keep losing. Not just in the eyes of America but in the eyes of the world. America you are a falling country. Anthony Penta

May 6, 2010
Click to view WolfBaginski's profile

Like the original reporter, I have to be careful of my diet for medical reasons. But, when I am travelling, there is one huge advantage to the well-known fast-food chains. They sell a consistent product. Just don't expect eating it every day to be a good thing.

May 11, 2010
Click to view wiwihh's profile

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May 14, 2010
Click to view aarzan's profile

It could be far worst. The administration of the University of Puerto Rico is using the state police to deny food and water to striking college students in an attempt to evict them from campus.

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June 20, 2010
Click to view Awakened2's profile

1) Reading a scripted story seemed prudent to ensure the audio supported the video without "ums" and stutters. My delivery may improve with more experience. 2) A quick check of profiles of those posting negative, ad hominem comments reveals they have never or rarely posted any iReports of their own. Petty jealousy? I wonder. 3) I like organic food, but it's just my own preference. Pesticides are crucial for worldwide food production. Thanks to all for taking the time to watch and post.

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