“Becoming obese is a normal response to the American environment.” -James Hill
Living in DC, you hear the term “food desert” tossed around a lot, usually referring to poor areas of the city where there are no real grocery stores, only corner bodegas that sell Doritos and Pepsi. It’s true, they are food deserts. There is no actually food to eat there, just highly processed forms of high fructose corn syrup.
I departed DC last week to await visa stuff at my parents’ house in Delaware. They live in the middle of nowhere Delaware, surrounded by farmland. The closest grocery store is WalMart (I die a little inside every time we go there), and the first night I was there, my mom and I headed over to pick up food for the week.
I was shocked. Granted, WalMart does have a large fresh fruit and vegetables section, as well as a bakery and deli counter. However, once you get past that in the store, it’s as much of a food desert as the poorest neighborhood in DC.
Aisles and aisles of over-processed crap with no real nutritional value. There was an entire aisle of soda, but I couldn’t find 100% cranberry juice in the four-foot wide juice section. The best they had was 30% juice from concentrate. I couldn’t find hummus. I couldn’t find local honey. They did, however, stock honey WITH HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP IN IT. Apparently, honey needs to be artificially sweetened. An entire aisle of potato chips and Doritos but no dried fruit.
I realize that I’m a fucking spoiled yuppie, with my soy milk, local honey, and Polyface eggs. However, this stuff isn’t even food.
It’s no wonder that 80% of the people featured on “People of WalMart” are grossly overweight.
(Editor’s note: WalMarts do vary by location – for example, mine has many of the things missing in Neamhspleachas’ WalMart. But by and large, shopping for healthy food in WalMart is akin to shopping for Klan hoods in Harlem.)