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05/13/2011

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Alejandra B.Martinez

I agree with some points Miller makes in her article, but I also disagree with other points she makes. I do agree that food has become a luxury and a way of defining social classes. Since the economic downturn, some of the people who were considered middle class are now considered more “lower class.” The middle class has literally disappeared and people are either rich or poor. Because of this, less and less people are now able to afford food for their families. I also agree with the article when it says that the poor are more likely only able to afford the unhealthy food. In some cases parents are working two jobs to be able to pay for bills, these parents do not always have the time to get home and cook dinner for their families; because the parents are working most of the time they leave their children money to buy whatever they can afford and most of the time the children’s options are not healthy. Food has become part of the dividing social class in many ways. Today, the groups of people who can afford healthy foods (organic, low cal, low sugar, low sodium etc.) are mostly the rich.

One of the thing that I do not agree with from the article is when it is states that Americans should be more like the French and instead of eating “whatever, whenever, wherever,” they should sit down as a family and eat together. This is not a possibility for some families. Like I stated before, some parents have to work most of the day, by the time they get home their children are asleep. Also, in France, everyone closes at a certain time so that families can sit down and eat together. America is one of the fastest moving countries. Sores and factories cannot afford to all close at a certain time so that families can sit down and have dinner together. Do not misunderstand me, it would be a nice idea but, with the number of citizens in America (over 300,000,000), not every family would be able to buy all their groceries before stores close, less assume at six p.m. Not only that, but if every store closed for families to have dinner together, a big percent of American citizens would be out of a job, hence they would not be able to afford food for their families.

Elysse Cantu

I do agree with Miller on the points she makes in her article and I would deal with other points differently then she did. I work at a supermarket and I myself get to see what a majority of the people purchase. She is correct when she says the lower income families purchase more junk food and the high income purchases the healthier food. Healthy food does cost more then the unhealthy food, she posted a statistic saying, “While food prices overall rose about 25 percent, the most nutritious foods (red peppers, raw oysters, spinach, mustard greens, romaine lettuce) rose 29 percent, while the least nutritious foods (white sugar, hard candy, jelly beans, and cola) rose just 16 percent”(Miller). With that being said it makes it hard for the families with low income to afford the nutritional food. In the article it also talked about the government stepping in and ban food-stamps recipients from purchasing soda. I do agree with this statement but I also think they should ban it all together I think they should put a limit on it. If the government is paying for your food I think they should be able to have a say in what you purchase. They should not ban soda all together they should limit you to one twelve pack a month. With children being so obese that should help the percentage decrease. Even though there are less income families out there they can manage to buy a healthy meal every once in a while. You cannot make money an excuse, there are local farmers markets around that have fruits and vegetables for an affordable price. If you make an effort to go out to a farmers market you can afford it instead of rushing to the supermarket and picking up a frozen pizza .I do not agree with Miller when she said we should be like the French instead of deciding to eat whenever. It is not possible for working families in America to sit down as a family and eat together every night. In my family we all have different work schedules and we are lucky if we get to sit down twice a week to have dinner together. Although, I do think if you have a schedule when everyone is home there should be a sit together to enjoy a meal and bond.

Melissa Billings

After reading Lisa Miller’s article, “Divided We Eat,” I both, agreed and disagreed with several of her statements. After the economic downfall, there is now a substantial divide amongst the wealthy and the poor. When it comes to what food these social classes can afford, the rich tend to buy pricey, organic, healthier foods, where as the poor buy based off conveniences and what their budget allows them to purchase. Miller makes the point of what it is to “eat well” and unfortunately low-income families do not have these options as the wealthy do. The social divide has contributed to this issue because low income families are forced to work two or more jobs and rarely have the time to make a healthy, home cooked meal. In order for low-income families to afford healthy foods, they need to have accessible stores that carry fresh produce in their neighborhoods and are reasonably priced. If these families had more options and could see that they could afford these foods, they would be able to make healthier choices.

I agree with the previous postings, that the government should regulate what people on food stamps buy. If the government is supplying low-income families with food, since they cannot afford it, they should support these families in making healthy choices and limiting food and drinks with no nutritional value such as soda. Allowing them to purchase unhealthy items only contributes to an unhealthy lifestyle and will cause more health problems to them in the future. I would also agree with the previous postings, in that we cannot adapt to a French lifestyle in America’s fast moving society. When there is a social divide so large and families are working long hours at multiple jobs, it is hard to obtain a lifestyle where a family can sit down at an exact time and all be on the same schedule. I think it is a great idea to have a family put aside the time for togetherness, but in today’s economy it is almost impossible to make this work. When Miller asked Jabir Suluki about the New York City proposal to ban soda, he made an excellent point by saying, “You can’t force junk food on people and then criticize it at the same time.” He then goes on to suggest, “A healthy community produces healthy people.” I believe that if the government wants to ban soda, they need to first regulate the advertisement of these drinks that make them so appealing and then work on promoting health. People do not want to be told what to do. By informing them and subsidizing on advertisements they will learn to make healthy choices on their own and lead in living healthier lifestyles altogether.

Ryan Lo

After reading Miller’s article, I have come to a realization that I agree with the idea that foods have become a new way to define the class of others. As Alejandra points out, “food has become a luxury and a way of defining social classes.” In a way, Miller is saying that because food classes have changed, they are able to represent the type of class in society people are. Since organic foods are considered a higher quality of food, the rich people are usually the ones that obtain it whereas the normal quality of foods are bought by those of the lower class such as the middle and poor classes. Due to the way food is bought now, it can be analyzed that the middle class is beginning to disappear into the lower class and food is becoming harder to obtain. Using the data that Miller has obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture saying that more than “50 million people” are considered food insecure, the data shows a characteristic that people in America are beginning to have less income to buy more quantities of food and live a standard and healthy life. This leads to people getting “food insecurities” which is the effect that in today’s work society, people are being resorted to buying unhealthy products. Something I found most interesting within Miller’s article was the event in which the Fergusons were told by Dave’s mother “When we come to your place, we don’t complain about your food. Why do you complain about ours? It’s not like our food is poison.” I find this intriguing do to the idea that not only can the quality of food show the differences in class of people, but also the way people who are rich or always get high quality foods judge others because the people who are not within those boundaries are different. I feel that people are able to break that ice by avoiding to be like the Park Slope community judging you by food values and should just all sit down together, share a meal, and see that the quality of food does not always mean the quality of a person.

Esther Huang

      In “Divided We Eat,” Lisa Miller discusses the way food has become an indication of class. For the most part, I agreed with what she said; food has become a luxury item. In regards to the proposed soda ban with food stamps, I agreed with a previous post by Melissa as well as what a few people in the interview said. It is very understandable that the government would like to have control over what food stamps buy, as recipients are buying food using government money. One posting by Elysse suggested that the government put a limit on how much soda a family can buy on food stamps instead of completely banning it.  Another by Melissa said if the government wants to ban soda, they should “first regulate the advertisements of these drinks that make them so appealing” and educate people about making healthier choices as well as supporting low-income families in making healthier choices. I agreed with both of these ideas, as I do not think the government should have complete control over what families on food stamps can or cannot eat. If these families had extra help from the government to make these healthy choices as well as education about ways to eat healthy and within their budget, they would adapt to the changes in their diet more willingly, because as Melissa said, people do not like being told what to do. I liked the idea proposed in the article, that Americans become more like the French, eating together at more structured times. This is the ideal that I personally would like to strive for, but I know how difficult it can be. School and work can often take up huge chunks of my day and many times I am not home for two or more meals. Many of the previous posters stated that in America’s fast paced society, it is practically impossible for families to take time and eat together. But I think the change is not so difficult, but it is also a matter of changing our focus. There is not a very simple solution, but I think that if everyone made a conscious effort to come together and eat just a few times a week it would help made a big difference. However, I also understand the difficulty of achieving this. In the posting by Alejandra, her situation is highly unlikely, but I do think that if both employers and employees made a more conscious effort to allow families to eat together, there is a way around the problem. But it dependent on how much time and effort both sides are willing to put in to allow family dinners to make a comeback.

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Boua Cam

Eating well to me means food shared among family and friends. Having food I enjoy making and take pleasure in the taste. I grew up in a family of nine. My siblings and I all have our own families, but food still bring us together twice a month. Home cook meals was all we had while growing up. I wouldn’t change my answer before reading the article. Additional it has triggered me to think of the healthy consumption part; the part with the healthy diet, less fat, less sugar and less salt.
Miller using her own experience as example in this article is very effective. It just appears more realistic versus using all data collection. Her audience is more likely to relate to hers and others experiences to themselves. It gives the audience the opportunity to digest there might be an obstacle or influences that contribute to how people make food choices.
Currently in my life, I don’t budget my food choices. My family size is smaller. I make food choices base on taste preferences. My food choices are strongly influenced by what I was raised on. What is required in recipes for home cook meals? Culturally, In an Asian family one steak is shared among family members, unlike consumer who go out for individual steaks. Now where is the sacrifice in that? In the article Suluki states “To get good food, you really got to sacrifice a lot. It’s expensive, but I take that sacrifice, because it’s worth it.” I don’t believe the food you eat can determine what social status you are at. It’s the other resources that the higher income population has access, while lower income make sacrifices to keep up with.
In the article “Divided we eat”, a controversial issue about the proposal to prohibit the purchase of soda with food stamps in New York City. On the other hand, opponents of the proposal argue the government trying to tell poor people what to do. My own views are that the proposal will more likely lead to failure. In a previous posting by Elysse, she stated since the government is supplying low income families with food, they should support these families in making healthy choices and limit food and drinks with no nutritional value. I’m having a hard time believing soda is solely the cause of obesity. Will the proposal prohibit all unhealthy snacks and drinks? What happened to choice? Prohibiting an unhealthy product doesn’t change a person’s eating habit. It doesn’t change the choices they make to put a meal on the table. I agree government should supply support to families with little or no resources. But support should be in form of education, dietitians and health facilities. I was able to relate well to Suluki’s response to Miller. His values towards food are similar to how I perceive food; healthy, regular meals are necessary in the family. Again, it’s the sacrifice you make to achieve it as Suluki states “It’s worth it”. What I believe as an adult, we should take more responsibility as parents and grandparents to be teachers to the younger generations. Older generations know better than anyone home cook meal is best. True, we see less and less meal taken together; but that should not stop healthy meal preparation.

K.Gonzales

After reading the article “Divided We Eat” by Lisa Miller, my position has not changed or evolved to fit Lisa Miller’s ideals. To me “eating well” means eating a well-balanced diet, which can be achieved without following Lisa Miller’s and her neighbor’s extreme methods. Speaking of Lisa’s methods, she probably made the rhetorical choice to relate herself to the subject extensively because she might have felt that by incorporating her personal life into the article that it would make the subject accessible to more of her audience, that maybe it would be easier for readers to relate to it. I found it ineffective as I, myself, found it hard to relate to her because she seems to be the embodiment of “higher” class people that can afford to be choosy about their food choices. She talks of the inequality of food quality between classes. How am I supposed to relate to her lifestyle when we’re clearly on different ends of that spectrum?

My food choices are distinctly effected by my limited budget; I can’t afford to buy food not included into my university meal plan and my food choices are restricted to the foods provided by the dining centers which doesn’t always reflect my opinion of what a well-balanced meal should be. The seemingly healthy foods offered on the university meal plan don’t aren’t as appealing as the less healthy food items which aren’t that great either. The fruits and veggies taste off, like they have too much chemicals. No matter what I have no doubt that all the food is processed. In the end I don’t know how healthy the “healthy” options truly are. If I could change my eating habits I would eat only organic local foods to support my health and the local economy but unfortunately I don’t have the budget Lisa Miller and her neighbors do. As for “What kinds of social policy or community resources might help you effect the desired changes?” I’d say that subsidies to organic farmers would help. If farmers were rewarded for organic farming more of them would invest in it, which would increase the supply of organic foods, making organic foods cheaper. The cheaper they are the more accessible it would be to a wider range of people.

Although I see the merit in prohibiting the purchase of soda with food stamps, I feel as if this violates peoples’ rights and demeans lower class people living off of food stamps. This is even clearly stated in the article by interviewee, Fischler, when he says, “Americans see food choice as a matter of personal freedom, an inalienable right.” (pg.3) Not only this but banning the purchase of soda using food stamps won’t be too effective considering all the other cheap junk foods available. Nothing short of a food shortage or unfeasible prices will prevent people from eating what they want to eat. Prohibiting people to buy soda with food stamps will only serve to aggravate people, not prevent obesity.

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The middle class has literally disappeared and people are either rich or poor. Because of this, less and less people are now able to afford food for their families. I also agree with the article when it says that the poor are more likely only able to afford the unhealthy food.

Karena Rojas

Lisa Miller is telling the country that there is a widening food gap in America. Depending on an individual’s or family’s income, is what types of foods and nutrition they will be getting. However, I do not believe all of this is entirely true. Just yesterday, I was at a friend’s house when groceries came through the door. They are a family of six, and had spent about $600 total. In my household of four people, we spend about a third of that per week, when times are good. As I looked around, I saw about 10 bags of potato chips, another 10 varieties of sugary foods, a dozen or so bottles of soda and juice, and countless items that simply did not possess much valuable nutritional content. For dinner, handmade tortillas are rolled, cheese tops pretty much every dish, and saying no to dessert is not an option. I can gather a few things from this mere example. There is a cultural influence in what is being eaten, income does not make their choices healthier, and lifestyles play important roles in determining exactly what this family is eating.
I believe that getting nutrition and eating healthy foods is all a matter of choice. Growing up, my parents always had a hard time putting food on the table, but none of us are by any means unhealthy, obese, or even overweight. We are not perfect, but somehow, my parents managed to instill in our family good eating habits. Sometimes, we only had $100 for groceries per week. This forced us to get just basics, which are simply and purely things like grains, chicken, fish, vegetables, and fruit. I find that sometimes, when we buy more, we eat more, and we choose unhealthier foods. This is all a matter of choices, again. Water is cheap compared to juice, vegetables are even more attainable when you really look closely at prices. Every person can choose what he or she wants to eat on any given day. The options may not be unlimited, but the decisions are up to us.

Andres Escalera

This article gave me food for thought on the ideas of eating well and making choices that effects one health. I agree with Miller that any amount of people living hungry in this nation, especially children, is of concern to the whole population and must be put down to zero. No one should be hungry in a country as rich as ours.
Being a food science major I learned my fair share of how nutrition plays an important part in maintaining a healthy body. Food is our source of energy; anything that goes into our mouth will be processed by the digestive system and broken down to be used as energy. If we feed our body rich in nutrient food, then our energy will be easily processed by our body and create positive chain of effects to the way we look, to how we feel, and to a stronger immunity to viruses and diseases. Miller and I both agree that knowledge of this would help most Americans make better choices in what the family eats. Sure there are exceptions to this; single mother households, families too poor to know where their next meal will come from, the homeless all might suffer from being what Miller states as “food insecure”. This battle for those people may make them choose the easiest way to eat, by eating fast food and purchasing processed foods. This gets no tip of the hat but a wag of the finger; America needs to step up and put a better system in place to make sure food insecurities are down to nil. We need to bring this to the attention of our legislatures so that no soul is left hungry. We have enough nutritious food to feed our population; it is just a matter of delivering to those in need first.

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