Martin Nava, 40
111 South Michigan Avenue
Can I buy some sweets, Zorro?
No, you cannot. [Laughs] I’m the director of Latino initiatives with the American Diabetes Association, and I’m doing this to raise awareness about diabetes. I’m running around the city drinking pop and chewing on candy bars while knocking healthy food out of people’s hands. My coworkers are out here trying to stop me.
Did you lose an office bet to become the candy man?
This is actually my idea. I’m the big ham around the office. The name “Diabetes Situation” wasn’t my idea, though. It’s a reference to that Jersey Shore guy. But you can call me “Diabetes Man.”
I gotta say, Diabetes Man, you’re really just making me want some chocolate.
But consumption of junk food—foods high in sugar, fat and salt—is one of the leading contributing factors for developing diabetes.
I know, I know! So why can’t we resist those delicious snacks?
People love the taste of junk food, and it’s cheap and easy to get. People in disadvantaged communities, like Pilsen where I’m originally from, have much less access to quality foods, particularly fresh produce. And junk food is cheaper because our government subsidizes things like high-fructose corn syrup that make up junk food.
What no-no food is irresistible to you?
Mickey D’s french fries. You may have read Fast Food Nation? A lot of advanced chemistry goes into the making of that food to satisfy our taste buds.
Does your family have a history of diabetes?
A couple of my uncles and both of my grandmothers had diabetes. My maternal grandmother died from a heart attack brought on by diabetes. So I try to eat right and exercise.
One last time: Pretty please, break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar?
I wish I could, but I really can’t. It’s all going to be burned at the end in a symbolic ritual.