-Martin Valentino

I am afraid. I realized while writing this how horrible I have managed to treat my body over the years. I am afraid because now that I am aware of this I can start to feel the effects of years of bad eating habits.I’ll tell you, I grew up on fast food. I grew up being fed foods like pizza, hamburgers, steaks and hotdogs everyday of the week. Going to McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s almost everyday. I would drink cases of soda every week and eat chips and cheeseballs all day.

No one told me this was bad for you. School didn’t teach me and my parents never did either. I don’t blame my parents. They did what they had to to keep 3 children fed, they both worked multiple jobs to pay the bills and we were left at school or home alone. My dad is from a family of Italian immigrants who grew up in the time where food was hard to come by and was taught not to waste any. My mom and her family are from China and didn’t really understand American culture. They both came to America to find a better life. They didn’t have time to cook and we never got to see them. Unfortunately, our father passed away when I was 10. That made things rough as income cut even more than it was already. My mom had to travel from state to state to find work. She would send money to a friend and have them buy food for us, or order pizza by phone from out of state.

Fast, instant, cheap food made sense.

Eventually, we were evicted from house after house and there were summers where my brother and I only had a loaves of whitebread and ketchup to eat. It was bad. I was sent to live at friend’s houses, a new person’s house every few months. Family’s of varying cultures, religions, and lifestyles. That’s where nutrition first started being taught. There would be dinners with mashed potatoes, greenbeans, rice, chicken, stuff that people actually cooked. Not a frozen tv dinner or pizza and soda. Stuff you actually had to do dishes for. It was alien.

Eventually, by the time I was 13 I decided to quit drinking soda completely. My lifestyle was bad, staying up all night playing video games, drinking soda, eating chips. I was nearly 180 pounds and tired of getting made fun of for being fat. I slowly began to become more wary of what I ate from that point. Not because it was environmentally friendly, but because of health concerns.

To cut a long story short, fast forward to now. I am trying to eat healthier, trying to go to the farmer’s market. I was successful in going a few weeks ago and got some food. It was rather cheap for most items (except the honey, which was about $8 to $12 for a small bottle). I try to stay away from most processed foods, but I still have no idea what to do with vegetables. I’m learning though. As far as health, I only weigh around 150 pounds now, and much more limber than I ever was before, but doctors tell me I have poor blood circulation, maybe a bit high blood pressure from years of a poor diet. Not surprising. Hopefully if I keep being wary of what I eat, things will get better for me health wise.

I’m pretty happy I took this class in the end. It was a real eye opener. Yeah. I really wish I found this out sooner.

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7 responses »

  1. April Manuel says:

    I grew up on fast food also. I always ate Mcdonalds Happy meals as a kid and drank alot of soda. I have still been eating fast food a lot because of no time. I usually get out of class and rush getting food so that I can go back to the labs or start on homework. I hope I can change my ways of eating and find ways to make time in my schedule to eat healthy.

  2. Ben Anderson says:

    I am kind of the opposite, I grew up playing football and doing track and always ate healthy. But now because of no time I find myself running to get something quick and cheap which almost always means fast food. My sister is on team USA’s skating team and majoring in dietetics and exercise science and is always on me about my diet I can’t wait to graduate in hopes I can get my health back. Keep up the good work!!!!! if you can eat healthy in this stressful environment you’ll have no problem the rest of your life

  3. Eric De Barros says:

    Fast food is scary, but it is awesome you are moving on the path towards healthy happiness. It sounds like you have had quite the food transformation experience from your childhood to now, so you can really be a good voice in helping other see how they too can enjoy REAL food 🙂

  4. Daniel Hanks says:

    That sounds like a really hard upbringing. I’ve been lucky that healthy eating has always been stressed by my parents.
    I have found that while taking care of yourself, under the stress of school, it’s really easy to be tempted by the easiness of fast food.

  5. Dude, having an awesome diet anywhere is hard, But this class does help open up the values of thinking better first and then working from there. It is really hard to think about the benefits some times when you are a poor art student. I feel that when i grew up, I had a way better diet then I do now, I ate food my family or neighbors would grow and it was way healthier than even the food I try to think about buying better now. Also, the water I drank was from a well, Its hard to get that kind of health benefits living in the city poor. Your story was really interesting, thank you for sharing.

    -Destiny Burch

  6. Amanda Koh says:

    Thanks for sharing such a great story about your life with us. Its not too late to reverse the effects on your body! We’ve all learnt a lot in this class and I think it’ll be pretty cool to experiment with the new vegetables you find from the farmer’s market. I’ll be making the big switch to buying my vegetables from the farmer’s market this winter. Hopefully it’ll work out in the long run! 🙂

  7. I started changing my diet when I was really young mostly because of food allergies and what not. You do fell a huge difference if you change your eating habits and the way you treat your body. Just by eating less processed foods and more of the raw nutrients that your body needs you would be amazed at how it affects not only your body but your mental state. You’ll feel more awake and less drowsy when you wake up for example. Plus you just feel better about your self y taking the initiative to take better care of yourself because no matter what age you are at what you put in your body does matter and it will have some sort of an effect on you later.

    ~Mackenzie Vartanian

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