Are Chips a Vegetable?

Going down 55th and Lawndale on my neon pink bike, I remember taking constant trips to the corner store that was three minutes from my house. Before I even entered, I could hear the Spanish radio, “La Que Buena” playing throughout the store. As I opened the front door, the wind chimes made the small store feel so familiar. The room smelled like Fabuloso (a floor cleaning liquid) and Mexican candy. For these quick trips, I was occasionally granted 4 dollars to spend on an afterschool snack. Therefore I would skim throughout the room seeing the shelves full of chips, the coolers that only had soda or ice cream. It was typical of me to pick out the blue soda from the cooler and a container of Flamin’ Hot Asteroids. Growing up, it didn’t seem like a problem to pick out these types of snacks, it was more of a routine that many people of the neighborhood were accustomed to. Corner stores became normalized as it fulfilled the convenience of it; to be accessible and inexpensive. It was the most beneficial alternative than walking half an hour to our closest produce market. 

It wasn’t until I was further into my education that I realized that these normalities weren’t best for the growth of my own community. I came to notice there were more fast-food chains and corner stores than there were fresh produce markets. As being a part of a lower socioeconomic community there aren’t the typical organic and healthy alternatives that one would find in a wealthier neighborhood. The ability to obtain proper nutrition and maintain a balanced diet are factors when it comes to the well-being of a community.  How is it that the life expectancy of a higher income community is older than my own? It has to do with the type of nourishment that is a part of one’s neighborhood. For instance, in order for children to prosper academically, there is a need for healthier food options. However, in reality, there are more McDonald’s and Burger Kings on every corner than Whole Foods to fuel the youth’s brain. Not only does it affect the academics of the community but food deserts also correlate with higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and other preventable health issues. Why does there have to be a change in the census within a community in order for healthier resources to be a part of a neighborhood?

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