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Old 04-19-05, 09:58 PM   #1
cheebahmunkey
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Operation Healthy Living

We can all see it. The truth is there is no hiding it. But why does it seem to be getting worse? The Fattening of America some call it. I simply call it a failure on all parts of the argument. The argument waged by Concerned Citizens, The Government, and the Food Industry.

Some say the responsibility lays on the consumer (us!) while other says it should be the government's responsibility to keep America slim and healthy. Although recent lawsuits have drawn much criticism from the general public, could they be pointing to an underlying problem with the Food Industry? Now, I'm not saying that Billy Jo should get $100,000 because McDonald's made him fat. I'm not saying that at all. But I am putting a little more thought into how places like McDonald's critically influence our collective girth.

What I mean can be seen by simply taking a look at any menu at most restaurants and on any price tag at your local markets. What's that? The Healthy option costs how much?!?!? Well, I think I'll have the pizza then. We've all been there. Unless we're buying, say lettuce, the healthy option is usually going to not only make us slimmer, but our wallets with feel the burn as well. The Food Industry is taking us for all we're worth, or at least they're trying to.

With all these governmental reports on the critical state of the Obesity level in America, we as consumers have become terrified into going healthy. However don't take this the wrong way. I'm not saying this coercion is necessarily wrong. What I'm saying is that the Food Industry has every reason to hike up prices for the "healthy option".

I realized something today while getting lunch at my local college eatery. I'm not sure what triggered it but something must have clicked. "Ya know something," I told myself, "I'm paying the same price for a diet soda as I do for a regular soda." Then I thought, "But wait, water is free. Why not make anything diet less money and try and promote healthy living?" It seems like when I look at the menu, the Burgers are $2.95 and the salads are how much?!?!? $5.60? Oh screw that, I'll just get a burger.

Why don't we come together and discuss our nation's health in terms of something everyone considers crucial, money. Why not promote healthy eating by way of a sort of "tax refund"? Would you continue to settle for the cheaper, unhealthier option? I know I wouldn't. Maybe that makes me cheap, maybe it doesn't. But does it matter as long as I'm healthy? I don't think so.

Be kind. This is my first opinion piece
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Old 04-19-05, 11:24 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by cheebahmunkey
Why don't we come together and discuss our nation's health in terms of something everyone considers crucial, money. Why not promote healthy eating by way of a sort of "tax refund"? Would you continue to settle for the cheaper, unhealthier option? I know I wouldn't. Maybe that makes me cheap, maybe it doesn't. But does it matter as long as I'm healthy? I don't think so.

Be kind. This is my first opinion piece
As my boss says, I hereby empower you to fix it.
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Old 04-20-05, 04:10 AM   #3
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If you cook your own meals (although not always feasable, I know) then you can eat healthy for pretty darn cheap, unless you are currently eating $0.99 packs of hot dogs. Veggies are actualy pretty cheap when you think about it, something is always on sale for maybe $0.99- $2.00 a pound, a meal right there, much less then the hamburger and fries or even the TV dinner you could buy. Not to mention dried beans are extremely cheap.
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Old 04-20-05, 06:57 AM   #4
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Ah, but simply eating less is both healthier and cheaper -- and nobody's taking that option either!

Hopefully the new government guidelines for eating and physical activity will help bring awareness, but until then all we can do is hope that people make their own choices and stay away from the damned convenience food no matter how cheap.

Don't sit there having a brilliant moment about how lower-calorie soda gives you no incentive to choose it. Drink the free water! Don't grumble over the $3 greasy burger being your ONLY financially sound option -- you can make 4 lunches worth of hummus and pita for that cost!

Now, I'm one to talk. In our household, we've chosen to scrimp in every portion of our budget EXCEPT the food bill (oh, and the bike habit ). It's just that important to us to eat well and healthfully. But if the day comes that we have to tighten the belts farther and impose a food budget, I will feed my family on bulk grains and legumes and fresh produce from the health food store long before I will chip in for 3 for $4 frozen pot pies or the $.99 menu at Wendy's.
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Old 04-20-05, 09:56 AM   #5
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There was a fascinating episode on one of the news magazines (I think it was Dateline NBC) about a year ago. It brought up the fact that the government subsidizes high-fructose corn syrup, to keep it affordable for the farmers to grow and cheap for manufacturers to use. They do NOT subsidize things like apples or broccoli. That's why it's so cheap to buy a litre of soda than it is to buy the same caloric value in apples. Imagine if apples were 20 cents a pound - it would make sense to buy it. It does cost more - sometimes a candy bar is cheaper than a big apple. No wonder people buy them.

The flip side was when there was talk about taxing unhealthy foods. Put a tax on Snickers. I'm opposed to this because when I'm riding, I sometimes grab a Snickers as fast fuel that fits in my seatpost bag. Why should I have to pay more for something that helps me work out? I think the solution is that healthier foods need to be a cheaper option, and still let us take control of our own choices.
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Old 04-20-05, 10:33 AM   #6
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I often times think about this stuff. I believe it is up to the people to make their own healthy decisions. If more people did so, don't you think that the fast food companies would have to change their menus? I say screw it, I don't drink soda or eat fast food. I try to shop at the grocery store and eat mostly fresh foods. What are they gonna do if everyone decided to live this way? People have the power to control their own destiny and all it takes is a change in attitude.
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Old 04-20-05, 10:46 AM   #7
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There was a fascinating episode on one of the news magazines (I think it was Dateline NBC) about a year ago. It brought up the fact that the government subsidizes high-fructose corn syrup, to keep it affordable for the farmers to grow and cheap for manufacturers to use. They do NOT subsidize things like apples or broccoli. That's why it's so cheap to buy a litre of soda than it is to buy the same caloric value in apples. Imagine if apples were 20 cents a pound - it would make sense to buy it. It does cost more - sometimes a candy bar is cheaper than a big apple. No wonder people buy them.
Right, that is the dirty little secret regarding farming, and corn. Most of the corn goes toward producing the sugars that go into these very high simple-sugar foods that are all over the market today. Tack on the fact that "we the people" are subsidizing this excess production, and we get screwed twice. What a bonus!

The problem is that nobody has a vested interest in keeping the American public fit. Our government, whose #1 priority should be to protect its citizens, is beholden to MANY interests (can you say perscription drug industry, fast food industry, giant farming corporations, etc?) that thrive, and survive from the fattening of America.

The bottom line is that you are on your own. Educate yourself, and make good choices based on that education. 99% of American will not do this, but you can still be part of the 1% that does.
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Old 04-20-05, 10:56 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by bac
The bottom line is that you are on your own. Educate yourself, and make good choices based on that education. 99% of American will not do this, but you can still be part of the 1% that does.

THANK YOU!
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Old 04-20-05, 12:16 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bac
Right, that is the dirty little secret regarding farming, and corn. Most of the corn goes toward producing the sugars that go into these very high simple-sugar foods that are all over the market today. Tack on the fact that "we the people" are subsidizing this excess production, and we get screwed twice. What a bonus!
The subsidized corn is also grown in feed-grade form -- making our pets fat and our beef unhealthy; other subsidized corn is processed into ethanol which lobbyists then push to get put into use.

I think we're still subsidizing tobacco too, aren't we?
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Old 04-20-05, 12:30 PM   #10
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Hmm!

And at the same time, Burger King and Hardee's introduce Huge Burgers that come in at 1200 calories and many grams of saturated fat.

Would they do this if they didn't think they had a market. I doubt it. Their market research shows they will sell and BK and HD will make lots and lots of money.

The consumer drives the industry - it isn't the cost because both of the above are pretty expensive.

It is what the consumer wants to eat and the amount the consumer wants to eat.

Ate at Village Inn (local chain) last night - had the egg substitute "veggie" omelette with fresh fruit. Not too bad for a restaurant. Lots of veggies in the omelette. Low fat cheese and multi-grain pancakes.

Folks at next booth - Great Big Burgers with huge amount of french fries. They paid more than I did, so cost wasn't the factor.

Why didn't they choose the veggie omelette?

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Old 04-20-05, 01:00 PM   #11
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Cheebahmonkey -- I want to know if it's all right to copy your original post and post it on a Healthy Living blog where I live? Please let me know, the reporter for the local paper would like to post your message as soon as possible. She wants to start a good discussion on this topic. Let me know. Thanks! loved everythig you said.
Allie
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Old 04-21-05, 05:08 PM   #12
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Cheebahmonkey -- I want to know if it's all right to copy your original post and post it on a Healthy Living blog where I live? Please let me know, the reporter for the local paper would like to post your message as soon as possible. She wants to start a good discussion on this topic. Let me know. Thanks! loved everythig you said.
Allie
fine by me I wanted to get it out there because it struck me that even though everyone is correct in that people are responsible for their own deicisions, but it seems the govt and food industry try their best to influence those decisions ina poor fashion (i.e. making burgers cheaper than salads). Hope I don't sound too opinionated.
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Old 04-21-05, 06:10 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by bac
Right, that is the dirty little secret regarding farming, and corn. Most of the corn goes toward producing the sugars that go into these very high simple-sugar foods that are all over the market today. Tack on the fact that "we the people" are subsidizing this excess production, and we get screwed twice. What a bonus!

The problem is that nobody has a vested interest in keeping the American public fit. Our government, whose #1 priority should be to protect its citizens, is beholden to MANY interests (can you say perscription drug industry, fast food industry, giant farming corporations, etc?) that thrive, and survive from the fattening of America.

The bottom line is that you are on your own. Educate yourself, and make good choices based on that education. 99% of American will not do this, but you can still be part of the 1% that does.
Actually, the US government provides plenty of resources to help consumers make healthy lifestyle choices. Start with www.healthierus.gov. The government provides information on nutrition, exercise, and preventative medicine intended to help individuals live long healthy lives.

The problem is, of course, that the individual is ultimately responsible to educate themselves and act upon the information. I expect there will always be cheeseburgers and candy available for consumption. At least, I hope so. These things can all be worked into a healthy diet. The problem comes when you eat pizza every night on the sofa in front of the TeeVee.
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Old 04-22-05, 07:39 AM   #14
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A few thoughts:
1. I agree with most everything said in this thread.

2. I do believe that we have been mislead and mis-educated by the medical community, the government and the food industry.

3. Most doctors don't know much about nutrition. A recent study showed that at annual physicals fewer than 20% of doctors discussed nutrition, eating, exercise and weight control. When it was discussed the average discussion took less than 4 minutes. That is insane! Nutrition and exercise are the primary factors that will affect a person's health over the long term. And our doctors aren't even discussing it with us. In fact, our doctors are likely to be overworked, overstressed, fat and out of shape. Yet, they are the ones helping us monitor our health. Also, many of our doctors are not trained in nutrition and don't know much about it. Most medical schools don't require a course in nutrition. At a wedding two weeks ago I was talking with a family friend who is a doctor (I think he's internal medicine). He told me I was looking good and I told him I've been a vegan for a few years. He first needed me to tell him what "vegan" meant and then said that he thought that was an unsafe way to eat because you couldn't get all the necessary amino acids. Of course he is totally wrong. Later that evening I saw him loading up on meatballs and fried taquitos at the buffet. This is typical of who we look to for health advice.

4. Regardless of the above, people make their own choices. You cannot blame it on the government or anyone else when you go into McDonalds and buy a big mac. Take some personal responsibility. I don't eat any fast food. Period. My body is the only one I have. Others could do the same. As much as I dislike McDonald's, its not their fault that Americans demand high calorie, high fat, processed foods. They produce what we ask for.
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Old 04-22-05, 08:39 AM   #15
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A few thoughts:
1. I agree with most everything said in this thread.

2. I do believe that we have been mislead and mis-educated by the medical community, the government and the food industry.

3. Most doctors don't know much about nutrition. A recent study showed that at annual physicals fewer than 20% of doctors discussed nutrition, eating, exercise and weight control. When it was discussed the average discussion took less than 4 minutes. That is insane! Nutrition and exercise are the primary factors that will affect a person's health over the long term. And our doctors aren't even discussing it with us. In fact, our doctors are likely to be overworked, overstressed, fat and out of shape. Yet, they are the ones helping us monitor our health. Also, many of our doctors are not trained in nutrition and don't know much about it. Most medical schools don't require a course in nutrition. At a wedding two weeks ago I was talking with a family friend who is a doctor (I think he's internal medicine). He told me I was looking good and I told him I've been a vegan for a few years. He first needed me to tell him what "vegan" meant and then said that he thought that was an unsafe way to eat because you couldn't get all the necessary amino acids. Of course he is totally wrong. Later that evening I saw him loading up on meatballs and fried taquitos at the buffet. This is typical of who we look to for health advice.

4. Regardless of the above, people make their own choices. You cannot blame it on the government or anyone else when you go into McDonalds and buy a big mac. Take some personal responsibility. I don't eat any fast food. Period. My body is the only one I have. Others could do the same. As much as I dislike McDonald's, its not their fault that Americans demand high calorie, high fat, processed foods. They produce what we ask for.
well I agree and disagree with you on a few points but I won't get into it. I notice you're from St. Louis. That's cool. I go to WashU. Where are you from?
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Old 04-22-05, 08:59 AM   #16
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I live in U City. Work in Clayton.
We should ride sometime.
Wash U is a great school.
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Old 04-22-05, 09:11 AM   #17
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I live in U City. Work in Clayton.
We should ride sometime.
Wash U is a great school.
cool! I used to live in U City before moving to my dorm. But sadly I can't ride anytime soon. Just found out that I need to have surgery after finals Then I'm going back to my *original* home in San Antonio for the summer. I'd love to ride when I come back in August though
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Old 04-22-05, 09:58 AM   #18
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But who will define whets healthy to eat? So far it has been corporations that have done that. Fat got a bad wrap and saturated fats are shunned though they have been shown to be healthy. Lots of carbs were pushed as fine but we are starting to see that this may not be so. Whole grains and fats are fine along with veggies and low sugar fruits. But when you look on store shelves you donítí see that. You see processed foods and overpriced good foods.
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Old 04-22-05, 10:28 AM   #19
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I assume everyone here has seen the new http://mypyramid.gov but I just thought I'd throw it out there since government involvement keeps getting brought up.

For the most part I like it, all except for the dairy lobby's obvious hand.
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Old 04-22-05, 11:21 AM   #20
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But who will define whets healthy to eat? So far it has been corporations that have done that. Fat got a bad wrap and saturated fats are shunned though they have been shown to be healthy. Lots of carbs were pushed as fine but we are starting to see that this may not be so. Whole grains and fats are fine along with veggies and low sugar fruits. But when you look on store shelves you donítí see that. You see processed foods and overpriced good foods.
Great question. I think we each get to define what is healthy for ourselves. I am a vegan and only eat fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts and whole grains. For me, I view everything else as unhealthy. Others will define what is healthy or not differently. Its ok to eat stuff that is not healthy from time to time so long as you don't fool yourself.
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