“I did what I call a ‘scavenger hunt,’” she says. “I pulled out things from the refrigerator and cupboards to look for products with added sugar and solid fats.” These processed foods, which abound on our grocery-store shelves, carry hidden calories, amounting to 35 percent of our daily intake, about 750 calories. “Until the food industry changes its practices, we have to be the gatekeepers of the food in our own homes,” says Nelson. “You will eat what is easily accessible
in your house. So make the choices healthy. That means buying fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, and staying away from foods high in added sugars and refined grains. This, in turn, will send a message to the food industry that we want healthier options.”
The changes you make in your own life—in your home, work and community—will make you healthier, says Nelson; they’ll also have a profound effect on those around you, just as Hobba’s life changes did. “The next thing you know, you’ll be at the center of your own positive, healthy social network, with others wanting to join your efforts. This new, constructive social and physical environment will, in turn, make your own healthy change stick by reinforcing and maintaining it.
“That’s what it will take to create an environment in this country that promotes health for all,” says Nelson. “If we work together, we can do it!”
Photography: Courtesy of Deanne Hobba.