Sunday, November 21, 2004

I'm sitting here, enjoying breakfast and "Weekend Edition" before vaulting into the day. Breakfast is particularly nice: I've figured out something that tastes good, doesn't make too bad a mess, and is nutritious: a quarter of a block of silken tofu, a cup of frozen berries, and a cup of milk, all blendered together into a smoothie. I have to wash the blender, but that's no big deal, and then all that's left is a dirty glass.

Who grew the soybeans, raised the berries, milked the cows? Who made the tofu and froze the berries? The only people I saw were the people at the grocery store -- and what I know about them is that they went on a months-long strike last year and basically lost most of what they were hoping to accomplish. It makes me wonder about the people I can't see. How many of them, how many of their kids, had a good breakfast?

I'm part of one food-related epidemic here in the U.S.: I'm part of the obesity epidemic. The spiritual approach I'm taking to the problem (having realized that for me, it is indeed a spiritual problem) is making it harder for me to ignore the other epidemics. There's an epidemic in the media (print, TV, billboards, you name it) of advertising to persuade consumers that they'll be happy if they eat huge pizzas, sugared cereal, sugar water, or other weird concoctions that are anything but nutritious. I can't help but wonder what it would be like to see those ads everywhere if I were part of a different epidemic: the epidemic of working people -- or people who want work, and can't find it -- who have to choose between rent and food.

I don't have any answers. I'm trying to shape my life into a better question: I know I'm hungry, but do I hunger for anything that will truly satisfy? I don't think that you have to be a tzaddik [an ideal righteous person] to see that Justice would be more satisfying than a Big Mac, that a good breakfast for everyone would be more satisfying than French Fries and Donuts for All.

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