Ok, so we all know that the cafeteria is disgusting. We’ve heard it a thousand times and most of us have experienced it first hand. It’s flat-out awful. I’d rather eat garbage than go back to that place.
Well… that might be a bit of an exaggeration; I probably wouldn’t eat something out of a garbage can. There are, however, some people who only eat what others have thrown away. These people are called “freegans.” They dumpster dive for food, and then carefully clean, prepare and consume it. Besides being cheaper than buying brand-new food, freegans see that Americans are very picky, even wasteful with their food. They recycle perfectly good food, which others consider to be unworthy of their digestive tracts.
What can we learn from this strange lifestyle? First off, we need to stop coddling our immune systems. By that, I mean we Americans are getting rather germophobic. We need to realize that germs are an everyday part of our lives. Trying to eliminate them is not only an unrealistic goal, but also completely unnecessary. By exposing ourselves to germs on a regular basis, we are building up our natural defenses against them.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t wash your hands regularly or be careful to cook meat thoroughly. There are plenty of instances where being cleanly is not only appropriate, but necessary to a healthy lifestyle. I just think we’ve taken it a step too far.
Everyone reading this has to admit that we are downright spoiled by the amount of food available. Around the world, even in Emporia, people go hungry. This happens while we throw out vegetables that have lost their perfect crispness. Fruits that have bruises. Bread that is slightly stale. It makes me wonder, how can we sleep at night knowing that our waste could be a meal?
That being said, if I find a hair in my food, I will probably still eat it. If I drop something on the kitchen floor, I will probably still eat it. I don’t do it to make some grand statement about consumerism in our society, and I don’t do it just to build up my immune system. I do it because I’m not picky enough to deem it inedible. It won’t kill me.
And you know what? I don’t feel grossed out. I feel blessed. I am so grateful just to have this piece of food in my hand. Someone around the world, or even across town, would feel lucky to come across something as precious as this morsel of sustenance.
I beg of you, don’t buy more food than you need, don’t be unnecessarily picky with comestibles, and donate to charity whenever you have the means.
And finally, though my aforementioned views are based on articles I have read, I highly recommend that you do some independent research and find information from a more reliable, scientific source.
Ellen Weiss/ The Bulletin