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It Shouldn't Be This Hard to 'Eat Healthy'

Says columnist Casey Johnston at the 'Outline'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2019 11:30 AM CDT
This Jan. 24, 2012, file photo shows a Caesar salad.   (AP Photo/Matthew Mead, File)

(Newser) – "Eating healthy" is good—Casey Johnston does not dispute this. She has experienced the benefits of eating that way, which is why she tries to do so. "I know how much eating right can do for you—it is worth the effort, which is what makes it so annoying that we are supposed to do it correctly for our entire lives," she writes at the Outline. What exactly does she mean by annoying? "Eating healthy is way too difficult," she explains. You have to constantly think about what you have available, what you can afford to buy, how much time you have, and how to balance your meals nutritionally—while also finding something palatable to you in the moment. And for some, all of this is made even more difficult because they're financially strapped or don't live near sources of fresh produce.

Often, it's simply easier to eat something "unhealthy," like a Pop-Tart. But "if the companies that make food tried a little harder, they could probably make something that tastes 90% as good as a Pop-Tart but is 50% more nutritionally sound that I really could eat for every meal," Johnston writes. But it's cheaper to just keep making "junk food." And then there's the fact that this way of thinking about food—"good" versus "bad"—can be problematic. "This line of thinking is harmfully reductive: it doesn’t take into account if any other food is available to you besides Pop-Tarts, or if Pop-Tarts are all you can afford. I love Pop-Tarts and the type of food that encompasses Pop-Tarts as a dietary category. I eat them all of the time. But the economy that has produced Pop-Tarts is criminal, and makes eating healthy too damn hard." (Read her full piece here.)

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