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The Giving Table: This Food Blogger is Hungry For Change

Picture of a hungry migrant mother during the Great Depression

Do you think a hunger crises still exists in America?

BrightonYourHealth is honored to join over 200 food bloggers, in collaboration with “The Giving Table”, to promote awareness on hunger issues in America. I hope you can take a moment to read our call to action and join me to help decrease the alarming rates of hunger in America. Included below are links on how you can take part and a budget and balanced recipe. I have created a simple dish using a few low-cost ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. Take a read through this article and thank you for your support.

When I haven’t had enough to eat – or anything at all, which happened a few times – lethargy, listlessness and an inability to focus follow me like a beggar on a Mumbai street. When children are hungry, they don’t do well in school. So even if they eat next week, the residual impact will last the rest of their lives. Quote from Charley James, from article Hunger in America

Have ever experienced hunger? Real hunger, the kind when you want to eat but don’t have anything at all to eat, or what is available to eat just fills up the void in your stomach? If you are reading this, you may understand. Too many of us have been touched by being hungry and not having enough money to eat. Plus, on a regular basis, too many Americans are eating cheap (and unhealthy) food and drink because of limited access to fresh foods.

An example I quote from a mom,

I give my kids Kool-Aid because it is only 0.05 cents a packet and they won’t drink regular water. Plus, it has Vitamin C in it, that is healthy right?  (From my interview with a mom of three children enrolled in the Ocean County, NJ WIC Program during my employment as a staff dietitian)

That was the answer this mom gave me when I asked her why her kids only drank Kool-Aid. I was naive. Why she didn’t give her kids any fruit juice, milk or water? This mom did not have enough money to buy her kids healthy foods. She was a single mom on a limited income. She worked and took care of her kids full-time. She couldn’t buy her kids enough fruits and vegetables because money was tight.

This was my first “wow” shock with seeing kids hungry while enrolled in the WIC  program.

It wasn’t my last.

In America, because of the economic crises, there is an alarmingly increasing trend: too many are hungry on a regular basis. We need to invoke change to make America the country of growing and productive citizens. How can we expect Americans to give back to our country when they are malnourished and food insecure? We cannot.

The Irony of A Rich Country and Hungry Citizens

In one of the richest countries of the world, ‘wealthy’ America, each night 1 out of 6 Americans goes to bed hungry. These figures include 17 million American children. (read hunger and poverty statistics here on website called Feeding America).

If we don’t do something to change polices, trends and nutrition education in America, everyone loses. That is the reason I am participating today, with over 200 other food bloggers. I am saddened with seeing too many hungry Americans (and children!) not reach their full potential because they do not have access, knowledge or money to buy healthy fresh foods.

As a health professional, I am also discouraged because I know the long-term consequences of malnutrition and obesity related to hunger, food insecurity and overeating of cheap unhealthy and over-processed foods and drinks. The effects can be devastating to all involved.

You can take action with me by spreading awareness and supporting policies in government that help more people have regular access to healthy foods.

We can change our mindset to help even if our perceptions of malnutrition and hunger are different than they used to be years ago. If you stare at the picture at the top of this article you can see how poor the mom and her kids are. These days, in 2013, the same mom may be sitting there with her kids but physically they look different and maybe bigger: now there is an epidemic of obese adults and children. But many are still hungry. There is a name for this: it is called the Hunger-Obesity Paradox.

Hunger-Obesity Paradox

You can be hungry and obese, obese and malnourished, obese and have limited access to healthy fresh foods. How do we know? Because this hunger-obesity link exists in every city and rural town in America. It is called the Hunger-Obesity Paradox and you can read more about it in an article here: Hunger-Obesity Paradox.

Why Does This Hunger-Obesity Paradox Occur?

  • Food insecurity: not enough access to fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods
  • Too high consumption of cheaper foods that are unhealthy because of low-income or low education
  • High intake of sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup drinks that are cheaper and more available
  • Not knowing when your next meal will come and bingeing on foods to compensate

 Our Call to Action: Take action to Raise Awareness on Hunger

How to help?

I have included this economical and easy recipe called Pasta alla Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce.

A Budget, Balanced and ‘Be Quick’ Recipe

Pasta alla Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Allergy Egg
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly
This is a balanced and budget recipe good for both kids and adults. Add optional green salad and sliced fruit for dessert for a complete meal.

Ingredients

  • 1lb dried pasta (macaroni, penne, spaghetti, etc.)
  • 28oz can of pureed tomatoes (not tomato sauce, just tomatoes)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (preferably extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic (crushed with a back of a knife or a garlic crusher)
  • salt or pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
  • salt or pepper (to taste)
  • pinch fresh or dried basil or parsley (optional)
  • parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions

Step 1
In a large cooking pasta pot, start water to boil for pasta.
Step 2
Heat oil in another large saute pan.
Step 3
When oil is hot, add garlic and cook for a few minutes. Do not let garlic burn.
Step 4
To the oil, add tomatoes, sugar (or honey), herbs (if using) and salt and pepper to taste. The sauce may be already salty enough as canned tomaotes have salt in them. Taste the sauce first before adding extra salt.
Step 5
Stir tomato sauce regularly over medium heat.
Step 6
Add small amount of salt to boiling water and add pasta.
Step 7
Just after adding in pasta, return to your tomato sauce to poach the eggs.
Step 8
Add the four eggs, one at a time. Crack the egg and gently add it to the cooking tomato sauce. Cover the sauce and lower heat slightly.
Step 9
When pasta is ready (al dente-see instructions for cooking time on packet), drain the pasta and return to empty pasta pot.
Step 10
The eggs should be poached now. They take about 8 minutes.
Step 11
In each serving bowl, put a portion of pasta and on top serve one egg and tomato sauce.
Step 12
Add optional topping of fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Thanks for your support and taking the time to read this article. I hope it inspires you to share it and raise awareness on hunger in America. You can pass this article on using your favorite social media method or by email below.

Enjoy the recipe.

Warmly, Mary

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3 Responses to The Giving Table: This Food Blogger is Hungry For Change

  1. Rebecca E. Parsons April 8, 2013 at 22:42 #

    this looks delicious…thank you for joining in the fight against hunger today

    • mbrighton April 8, 2013 at 22:44 #

      It is a honor to participate. I will continue to spread awareness about hunger in America.

  2. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets April 8, 2013 at 22:30 #

    Thanks for such a thought invoking post.

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