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A reflection.

May 7, 2012

For the past few months I have been exploring the relationship between food and health as it presents itself at the FeelGood kiosk.  As the semester comes to a close, and FeelGood’s George Forman grills are set aside for the summer, I would like to reflect on the experience.

In the word cloud below, a depiction of the frequency with which words crop up on Cheddar and Change, several themes are apparent.

1) Grilled cheese: sandwiches, grilled, cheese, ingredients, bread, and cheddar.

2) People: members, customers, SGA (student government association), chef, friends, donors, and partnership.

3) Multidimensionality of health: mental, creativity, physical, education, beautiful, nutrition.

All three themes have been prevalent since the start of this adventure.  Grilled cheese I, of course, knew would come up quite a bit in an exploration of food and health at a vendor that exclusively sells cheesy sandwiches.  I anticipated  taking a look at this relationship among the different groups of people involved with FeelGood.

However, I did not expect to observe such a complex and multidimensional food-health connection at FeelGood as I did.  When I first started out, I looked for the obvious connection: nutrition.  However, I found that connection to not be very strong; and discovered that the connection extends far beyond issues of nutrition.

From my first post I explored other more complex connections including body image, stress management, cleanliness, and creativity.  Until recently, I was not consciously aware that I was establishing this multidimensional perspective of food and health at the FeelGood kiosk.

Then, at the end of March, I attended and blogged about the FeelGood Community Banquet.  At the event I had a realization.  FeelGood adopts a holistic definition of hunger.  That definition requires a holistic view of health; and one that encompasses many of the topics mentioned above that I had previously blogged about. All of the many aspects of health are wound up with food.

After that realization, I consciously considered the implications of behaviors involving food on many different aspects of health.  For instance, in my analysis of sandwich size and eating behavior, I considered not just how much we eat–physical health–but also how much we discard–environmental health.

I am grateful that I realized how many aspects of health are impacted by food.  It has shaped and will continue to shape how I look at food, both in the context of FeelGood and in my everyday life.

WP 5/8

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