Health is Wealth
Over the last three years there has been an increase in health awareness as it pertains to fitness and diet. During my time at university, I tried my best to eat a balanced diet that included a significant amount of fruits and vegetables. This was relatively easy to do, as fruits and vegetables were inexpensive in Barbados. However, when I moved back to St. Vincent I was faced with a conundrum; I didn’t have the same access to fresh food.
I know this sounds crazy, but it’s true. How many times have you gone to the supermarket only to see a paltry display of available fruits and vegetables? Even when they have good quality produce, it’s so over-priced, you can barely afford what you need. The obvious choice is the market, but many people don’t have access to the market, especially those who work long hours. Some of you have land with fruit trees and trust me I envy you. It is an extreme privilege to be able to grow your own food, a privilege many of us cannot afford.
Last year, I was really craving a mango and a young man tried to sell me one for $6, I politely snatched back my money and walked away. He must have seen the word “idiot” stamped on my forehead, because it was honestly offensive. I try very hard to make smart food choices, but it seems impossible given the prices from the street vendors and in the supermarkets. I don’t blame the vendors for their high prices; they have to eat and survive as well. Vendors have children and bills to pay just like everyone else.
Buying lunch is another issue I encounter weekly. Eating a healthy lunch everyday is damn near impossible unless you cook it yourself, not to mention the difference in price. Do you know how much a salad with protein costs compared to a one-piece meal at KFC? The fried chicken might clog my arteries, but it’s still half the price of the salad. There is absolutely no valid reason why fried chicken and chips should be cheaper than a salad, yet this is the reality.
I don’t have any real suggestions or advice to solve this problem other than to push a healthy food initiative. Did you know that heart disease and diabetes are two of the top five killers in the Caribbean, both of which are caused by a poor diet (excluding autoimmune diseases of course)? I’m not just complaining to sound like a hipster, these poor choices are actually killing us. The next time you feel like eating junk food, consider a fruit alternative, it just might save your life.