Today, Michelle Obama announced that retailers such as Walmart and Walgreens are pledging to expand their stores to stock affordable nutritious food in communities that would otherwise rely on the fast food industry and other unhealthy options to feed their families. While I know there are those out there who shun these mega chains because they take away from mom and pop small businesses, I think this is a really important step for the future of the US. The obesity rate in this country is utterly and unacceptably out of control, and it’s about time that things started to change.
Last week I read an article which listed Colorado as the ONLY state in the ENTIRE country with an obesity rate less than 20% (and it was only just under at about 19.4%). This is incredibly alarming. According to this article, scientists are already predicting that this generation of children may be the first to have a shorter lifespan than their parents.
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali discusses five Yamas, or restraints, which are part of a moral code for right living. The first is called Ahimsa, or non-violence. To follow ahimsa is to do no harm to any living being–including ourselves and our loved ones. Consistently eating and providing foods that do not provide nourishment goes against Ahimsa**.
Yes, we need a better healthcare system. Yes, we need a military. And of course, we need to provide more support for our education system! But none of these things are going to matter if people are dying of obesity because they couldn’t afford better food options and don’t understand proper nutrition. I applaud Michelle Obama for leading the fight against this epidemic.
With that said, each of us can time to make sure that we are treating ourselves with ahimsa, because this is the beginning of a greater change. My sister and I joined our local CSA (community supported agriculture) this year, and it has been awesome–bags of fresh veggies every week! (Anyone who reads this is invited over for dinner anytime :)) What can you do?
**This is not to say that sometimes, Ahimsa can’t be a large brownie sundae a la mode…sometimes. 🙂