Basic nutrition course description: An investigation of the bases of nutrition from a scientific and social-psychological viewpoint. Problems of malnutrition, food as a social phenomenon and current controversies in nutrition will be discussed.
I will be pursuing my Masters Degree this fall and needed to get back into the collegiate swing of things. So, I chose a 6 week spring course entitled “Basic Nutrition”. Two days into the course we have already covered everything from the definition of nutrition down to microvilli absorption. We are burning kilocalories and classifying carbohydrates and within this all I’ve come to a conclusion…nutrition is far from basic.
No matter which way you look at it if everyone is not educated on how vitamins, minerals and nutrients interact with the human body then they will never truly understand the importance of a healthy diet. It’s like telling people they have to build a car from scratch to live, but not giving them a blueprint and only some of the resources to buy the parts. If more schools opened up the doors of holistic health classes and nutrition…EVEN if they believed the students wouldn’t fully understand the content then maybe, just maybe more people would understand how essential eating to live is.
It almost makes me feel bad. When I think about the information that has been passed to me I wish that it could be passed to everyone in my communities and they could understand and apply it. That would be my perfect world! But, we have so much privilege in some places and disparities in others. It is getting to the point where racism is SO institutional and polite. Some people don’t even realize that their lack of access to healthy food is discrimination.
In the times of slavery African-Americans were given the scraps. Hard sweet potatoes, tasteless cheaply grown collard greens and pig intestines. Out of this treatment came soul food. I love soul food and it amazes me how we were able to make some of those awful bottom of the barrel foods taste so good. But, those days are over now. We can move on from some of those ingredients and adjust our cultural diet to healthier alternatives. We hold on tight to our culture. As African-Americans it’s ALL we have that we can call our own. So, it’s hard to tell people to change the way they cook! But, if they were educated on how some of those toxins work against their bodies, and how they could be replaced and still maintain a similar taste, MY GOD. See, the misconception is that African-American (especially in poverty) just won’t understand these complex concepts. It’s over there head. But, just like we have adapted to this land, overcome slavery and have 30% of our women attaining college degrees, we can develop it into our culture. It really saddens me when I’m eating healthy and people tell me it’s “white people food”. When really it’s The Earth’s food. What we should eat to live. How do we get people to wrap their head around that with these simple USDA concepts?
I never imagined talking or writing about mucilage or enrichment but I am. I grew up with a lot of the same circumstances as people in these “vulnerable” populations. I put my mind to seeking out knowledge and it has been coming my way ever since. African-American and Hispanic communities need to be empowered by the US government if they truly want these statistics to move. Instead of “get off welfare” it should be “you can learn to budget and survive without the assistance! Let me show you how you would start to do that with your current earnings”.
I have faith that in the future people will become more and more empowered. All of these thoughts being provoked by a simple 100 level course. Ha! Basic nutrition is not so basic…