I am far from a health freak. I try to be conscious of what I eat, but I definitely splurge from time to time. I love pizza and my mom makes great baked ziti that I always request when I visit home. When I found out that I was going to Texas, I was pretty excited that I’d get to indulge in some authentic Mexican food over spring break.
Now, all I want is a salad.
While the food was great in Texas, the deep-fried, cheese-covered, sour-cream-and-guacamole-smothered diet was much heavier than any of us were used to. It quickly became apparent that the food and portion sizes available in the Rio Grande Valley were much different from that of Ann Arbor.
I mean, have you seen a THREE liter bottle of soda before?
We were told that obesity and obesity-related illnesses were rather prevalent in this region of Texas. It seems clear now why that is. It’s very difficult to keep a healthy diet when the local pharmacy does not have any semblance of fresh fruit, but does boast an expansive ice cream selection.
Indeed, a lot of this issue comes down to availability. We ate at Jason’s Deli every day for lunch because it was the only recommendation from locals as far as a “healthy” place to eat. Each day the deli was packed with a diverse population of customers. While it was great to see people seeking this healthier option, even this establishment offered free ice cream to its visitors.
With only one Jason’s Deli, but a Whataburger on seemingly every corner, it must be really hard to sustain a healthy lifestyle when you live in this region. I think that some of the more severe public health issues we addressed in our projects, like diabetes, can be eased simply by making healthier foods and more produce available. More people would definitely choose a salad over steak and potatoes if it was simply made an option from time to time.