A recent college graduate, she was working for a nonprofit whose mission was to help impoverished communities adopt healthier lifestyles. She embraced the challenge of assembling creative combos with whatever ingredients were available: white rice, lard, plantains, lemongrass, and dehydrated meat for special occasions.
But soon enough, the novelty wore off. Deprived of fresh produce and protein, she put on weight and felt increasingly sluggish. She also began to notice the white spots growing on the villagers’ eyes. Bitot’s spots, she learned, are a sign of vitamin A deficiency, a leading cause of blindness in developing nations. A deeper study revealed that this essential nutrient was found in all kinds of common foods, from carrots to kale to eggs.