I’m kind of a food jerk. There, I said it. I am one of those mean people that wouldn’t mind if we banned super-harmful foods (especially in schools), just as I look at people who still smoke and wonder why they still do it (especially when it’s FREEZING outside). Don’t yell at me for this, because I know this is NOT the opinion of most people, and I claim no POLITICAL affiliation based on my views (I couldn’t argue the Left/Right debate even if I tried), and this does not reflect the opinion of my cohorts.
I went for a walk around Liberty Park this morning with Pancho in the Ergo and pushing ZJ in the BOB while my 5YO was at day camp, and loved it despite the heat. But what surprised me is how many people were walking with sodas or frosty Starbucks drinks in hand. I know health is more than calories in-calories out, but if we’re exercising to help our bodies feel strong and lean, then wouldn’t we want to watch what goes into them as well, at least WHILE exercising?
I’m also a fan of insurance companies charging more for people living unhealthy lifestyles. My husband’s employer gives us a minor discount for being “healthy”, meaning we have few enough risk factors that we aren’t a likely threat to insurance premiums (though I’ll be the first to admit – having kids is not a cheap activity). I like that discount. But then again, I also like my kids to learn to bear the burden of natural consequences, like if they don’t put their things away, they may not be able to find them later or if they don’t eat their meal, they might be hungry later.
I do confess, though, that I love treats and a sugar-fast right now might send me into a fit (I am nursing a HUGE baby after all). BUT I cannot honestly remember the last time I bought a soda.
So, I just read this article by Mark Bittman, who is always fun to read. The whole article can be found here, and I’d recommend it. But here are a few of the highlights… (though as I look at them parsed out like this, they’re much less elegant and cohesive than his whole article).
“To (loosely) paraphrase Oliver Wendell Holmes, your right to harm yourself stops when I have to pay for it. And just as we all pay for the ravages of smoking, we all pay for the harmful effects of Coke, Snapple and Gatorade.”
“So perhaps we ask: What, exactly, is food? My dictionary calls it “any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth.” That doesn’t help so much unless you define nutritious. Nutritious food, it says here, “provides those substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition.””
“Added sugar, as will be obvious when we look back in 20 or 50 years, is the tobacco of the 21st century”
“We should be encouraging people to eat real food and discouraging the consumption of non-food. Pretending there’s no difference is siding with the merchants of death who would have us eat junk at the expense of food and spend half our lives earning enough money to deal with the health consequences.”