Urban myths for an urban plight

Cheap and convenient: a common excuse that many of use to justify our addiction to unhealthy foods. For the majority of my youth, I was a part of the 17 percent population of American children who were overweight (closer to a third for inner-city youth). It wasn’t until I made a trip to Italy when I was 15 that I became conscious of the dramatic difference between the large and soulful southern portions and bodega snacks that I grew up on in East New York, versus the smaller, yet filling, portions of seemingly higher-end cuisine (and I stress ‘seemingly’ for a reason).

Now, at age 21, I’ve channeled my anxious reflex of grabbing a Snicker Bar Cruncher into an anxious reflex of running 5-miles at least 5 times a week. Despite the fact that I am more than pleased with my health transformation, I still find myself trying to make sense out of the first half of my life. My first inclination is to point a finger at my parents, but that’s only half the answer. Why would they reward my good grades with a Happy Meal or give me a break of that Kit Kat Bar when I wanted a little munch before dinner? “Easy,” says the all-American genius. “Because it was cheap and convenient.”

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