I’ve just about given up. The McDonald’s, Papa John’s pizzas, Dunkin Donuts, and Taco Bell are too much for my eyes to handle. Processed foods have become a normal guest in my father’s house. And it feels like there’s nothing I can do about it.
As a recent college graduate living a vegetarian lifestyle, it’s awkward eating fresh spinach and tomatoes while your parent downs a quarter pounder. My stares and eating choices are interpreted as “high seddity,” even as I explain that my diet is a long-term investment in my health.
But caring about my health doesn’t feel like enough. As my father eats himself into an early grave, my pleas for a diet change are met slowly with processed fruit cups and applesauce instead of fresh vegetables. When I ask why, he claims that fresh food isn’t as cheap as the preserved food that he can buy at the dollar store. Mind you, this man’s financial situation isn’t destitute. He can afford a regular grocery store; this is an example of cheapness at its best.
At fifty-something years old, you’d think that a slight dollar increase on fresh vegetables would trump a minute saving on unhealthy food. But apparently, obesity, high blood pressure, gout, and prostate issues, collectively, aren’t a strong enough deterrent his bad eating habits. I’ve even offered to share my vegetarian cooking, which he rarely decides to eat.
Traditionally, the parent advises the child on health issues until the parent’s elder years. This is starting to feel like life or death, as his current diet will cause him to perish with the rest of America suffering from preventable diseases. I feel like my voice goes in one ear and out the other, so I’m reaching out for help.