Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Food Donations Can Contribute to Illness

The Sanskrit word for a group of people trying to live by the Buddha's teachings is Sangha. The mail below is something which really happened and which I sent as a reaction to it.

Dear Sangha,
A friend of mine went to a food pantry. I was told that all of the women there,
needing food were overweight, had bad skin, and looked exhausted. When my friend
got food the reason why might have been at least partially explained. What had
been donated for the pantry to give out was all starchy, processed food. My friend
was thankful to get anything at all. But said, when I asked, that she got things
like white bread, cheap cake mixes, instant macaroni and cheese, and similar foods.
If we have the money ourselves to eat something better, it would be an inexpensive
kindness to donate more healthy foods. Brown rice, old fashioned oatmeal, dry beans,
lentils, and split peas are all relatively cheap. For fruit pinapple in its own
juice is available, as are peaches packed in pear juice. Raisins are a relatively
cheap dried fruit.
For those who eat meat a can of tuna, chicken, or even a package of all meat bologna,
(not the most healthy of foods) would contain more protein than my friend received
in any single food packet given. Peanut butter contains sugar, but it also has
protein. A can of peanuts has protein without the sugar.
Basic cooking ingredients like spices,olive or canola oil, artificial sweetener,
dark molasses, or honey, salt, cornmeal or whole wheat flour might also help.
Beverages such as flavored tea in teabags can be a real treat. In Only my opinion,
powdered milk doesn't taste as good as milk in a carton, but one Can cook with it.
Old fashioned cocoa is delicious on a Winter night,(as is cocoa mix) and popcorn
cooked on the stove is good too.
I'm not trying to crusade against all mixes or canned foods. I'm saying
I believe that a diet of only these things contributes to ill health.
If the pantry has freezer facilities, frozen veggies are available which don't
contain the same salt, sugar, and other aditives which are in canned foods.
It is my hope that we can still donate to food pantries and try to be aware, mindful of
what we are giving the people in our communities to eat. Before donating something
it might help to ask, "Would I want to eat that?"
I'm not telling anyone What to eat. But as someone who has had to rely on gifts
of food in the past I feel that for those who have no choice but to eat what we
give them, more mindful giving will do two things. It can help alleviate a feeling
of deprivation and anger, and offer better health if we donate foods with some
variety and quality
Thank you for considering these words.

Sorry this came out so chopped up, copied from my E-mail. I hope it makes sense to anyone kind enough to read it.


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