If you plan on being in a desert for any length of time, it's wise to know where to look to find nourishment.
Search any cactus you come across. If you are lucky enough to be in a desert that offers these plants, the fruit growing on cacti are your best bet at staying fed. All cacti fruits are edible, and many even have a great taste as an added perk. Take as many as you can carry when you find them. Watch for the homes of reptiles and insects. These often take the form of holes or mounds in the dirt. You can often lure out these animals with a small twig.
Be extremely careful when trying this, as most of the time it's a mystery as to what's inside. If you catch a lizard, the tail is the best-tasting part of the animal and is also high in protein and calories. Set traps.
Actively hunting animals in the desert is a waste of precious calories, so it's a smart idea to set traps and wait for them to come to you. You can build a simple trap out of twigs by weaving them into a basket with a hole for the animal to enter. Arrange sharpened sticks or cactus thorns pointing inward around the hole to prevent the animal from escaping.
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- Food desert.
You can use a small piece of cactus fruit as bait. Department of Agriculture, more than 23 million people in the United States live in areas without access to supermarkets or other stores selling a variety of affordable healthy food options. Instead of grocery stores or farmers markets, these areas often have convenience stores and gas stations with limited shelf space available for healthy options—making nutritious foods virtually inaccessible for many families there.
Income and resources like transportation can also keep people from being able to access healthy food options. Socioeconomic status might also play a role , as low-income individuals get priced out of high-quality health foods.
But the department also looked at other factors beyond location, such as low-income status and access to a vehicle. Lower income areas, in general, are typically the hardest hit by food deserts. Low-income individuals—especially those without access to a car or who live in remote rural areas—often have the hardest time getting healthy foods. For these individuals, obtaining healthy food means driving further to get them.
That is, of course, if driving is even an option.
More than two million households located in food deserts don't have a vehicle, according to the USDA. Residents of urban food deserts also pay more for groceries than families in the suburbs. By one estimate, they pay up to 37 percent more for the same exact products , typically because of higher operating and shipping costs inside the city.
Lower-income families already put a larger percentage of their paychecks toward buying groceries, but living in a food desert means that paycheck won't stretch nearly as far as it would have in areas where fresh fruits, vegetables, and proteins are more accessible.
It should be noted that living in a food desert isn't the same as being food insecure. Not everyone who lives in a food desert lacks access to healthy foods. Making the trip to a big store or having groceries delivered is typically still an option for those who have the means and opportunity to do so. Likewise, a person doesn't have to reside in a food desert to lack access to things like whole grains and fresh produce. Food insecurity is a very real issue that, while more common in food deserts, isn't limited to them. The biggest health concern linked to food deserts is, ironically, obesity.go
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Unhealthy eating habits lead to weight gain, and that, in turn, leads to obesity. Being obese during pregnancy can also up your chances of complication s like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, birth defects and miscarriage. Excessive weight may even increase your risk of cancer, with one study estimating a jaw-dropping , new cases of cancer worldwide in were due to being overweight or obese. The impact has the potential to last for generations, too, as kids of obese parents are more likely to become obese themselves.
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Beyond just obesity, unhealthy eating habits in the first few years life can also significantly affect a child's ability to grow. Brains and bodies develop quickly during early childhood, and to do that, they need key ingredients. Not getting enough foods rich in things like iron, vitamin A or iodine has been linked to cognitive difficulties, weaker immune systems, and stunted growth.
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It's not just child nutrition that matters either. Babies born to women who don't get enough folate in the early stages of pregnancy have a higher risk of being born with potentially serious birth defects. Decades of nutrition research have found that unhealthy eating habits can have severe—and sometimes lifelong—consequences, which is why health officials are concerned about so many people living in areas with poor access to healthy foods. Another oft-overlooked concern about food deserts is the risk posed to those with dietary restrictions and food allergies.
Not being able to buy food that they know is safe can force people to take unnecessary risks in order to feed themselves and their families. The CDC recommends several strategies to address and prevent food deserts, including:. But making affordable healthy food easier to access is only part of the solution. By one estimate, providing low-income neighborhoods with access to higher quality food would only drop nutritional inequality by nine percent.
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Neither does families moving to a place where healthy eating is the norm and health foods are abundant. Families get into a groove of what they like to eat and how much they like to spend on groceries. As many parents can attest, it takes a while to find a menu of things the whole family can enjoy, and disrupting that routine will take a whole lot more than building a store nearby.
Food is a deeply cultural and personal thing.
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