The Daily Tar Heel
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The Daily Tar Heel

Prevailing in the pursuit of soul food

You begin to look at life in a different way when you’re waiting in line for food stamps.

For me, that point in life has come sooner than expected.

I was made aware of the fact that I would soon be dependent on social services after learning how little a salary I will earn next year while working with City Year (part of AmeriCorps).

Not to suggest that I was surprised or even disappointed — obviously nobody applies to these positions for their 401(k)s — I knew I would be making as much as the lowest income bracket in the U.S.

But after learning so much in college about the benefits of paying a higher price for fair, local and organic foods (thank you, FLO Food), I’m concerned about the types of cheap, saturated, partially hydrogenated and monosodium glutamated goods that will inevitably fill my belly on the reg.

But to touch on the moral implications of eating mass-produced meats is to open a can of worms that my $200-a-month food stipend would not be able to acknowledge with a proper protein supply.

Sorry Peter Singer, but I must plug my ears to your “Animal Liberation.” Your undeniably correct point about the immorality of industrially killing animals must be ignored.

So must novelist Jonathan Safran Foer’s more illustrated stance on the morals of industrial food in his recent work “Eating Animals.”

“Imagine being served a plate of sushi. But this plate also holds all of the animals that were killed for your serving of sushi,” Foer wrote. “The plate might have to be five feet across.”

As if I could ignore that.

Having learned about the impending peak oil crises and the mass profits awarded to the Middle East from our unending dependence on their black gold (thank you, environmental studies professor Greg Gangi), there will be a tinge of guilt when I pick up an Oscar Meyer hot dog package for my weekend barbecues.

Should I really be held accountable for the fuel that hot dog burned travelling so far to be reheated in my dirty microwave?


It’s not just that, but the lasting health implications could be regrettable.

This year, President Barack Obama’s Cancer Panel published a resounding report in favor of organic foods, decrying their processed counterparts as potential cancer causers.

The council also suggests using filtered water and foods grown without pesticides.

Ironically, the government is partially to blame for the lack of regulation pressed upon the chemicals that riddle these less- expensive foods.

However, hunger is a funny thing. When the time comes to choose between satisfying my hyperglycemia and saving the world, I’m sorry, but the world will be disappointed.

Nourishment aside, the City Year program offers a wealth of opportunities that I expect to develop and challenge not only my leadership skills, but also my frugality.

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