Last night, my wife and I watched Fed Up which was produced by Katie Couric. I didn’t really want to watch it as I’ve seen numerous health documentaries on Netflix, but I have to admit it was a simplified answer to the obesity epidemic–sugar. No matter it’s form or how it’s called, we have too much of it in our daily food intake. The question is, why does it have to be in my meat?
I’m not naive about sugar and I own up to it when I have it. I had to eliminate soda a year back with few exceptions because carbonated drinks can upset my stomach, but I do confess to drinking one noncarbonated energy drink a day. Originally my favorite energy drink was the carbonated Monster Khaos which was hard to find until I gave it up–seems like I can find everywhere now? I switched to Rockstar Recovery which is the equivalent of Tang with caffeine. It is a guilty pleasure much like a morning cigarette (and I don’t smoke so caffeine and sugar are my vices). I don’t pretend it’s healthy. I also don’t pretend that my favorite snack at night, a bowl of Cap’n Crunch, is healthy either. When I aim to eat something sugary, it’s on me.
However, going through my fridge, why does the turkey bacon have to have sugar in it? Why does the sandwich meat? This is what is frustrating because I shouldn’t have to look for sugar in meat products unless it’s Thanksgiving ham with honey and brown sugar glaze.
According to the documentary Fed Up, part of the reason are government subsidies for agriculture. We grow a LOT of corn and that corn gets turned into sugar. It is the equivalent of a drug we lace our food with. The other part of the problem is the strength of the sugar lobby who has both Democrats and Republicans in their pocket. When Republicans say they want to get rid of big government, I tend to roll my eyes because they are always catering to big business with government hand outs and perks. Democrats are guilty too, you just don’t hear that same mantra of get rid of big government. Also, any time any one suggests regulation on the obesity issue you hear republicans cry out that they’re taking away their food choices. I was especially appalled when I heard all the whining concerning the criticism of taking soda out of the public schools. I’m all for individuals and their vices, but if the focus is on public schools I do have a say on what your kids eat. My property taxes just went up increasing the escrow requirement in my monthly mortgage bill this month. So if my taxes are subsidizing public schools (and I don’t even have kids!), I don’t want to pay for any place of learning where kids go to get fat (and stupid, but that’s another discussion). Private schools can fatten up their students all they want.
On healthcare, whether you agree with Obamacare or not, it looks like it’s here to stay. Which means the government is both subsidizing health costs and catering to the food companies that cause health issues. I think it’s fair for the government to come out and at least condemn the high use of sugar in products that don’t need it and even run ads that say so. The only regulation that is needed is honestly to kick fast food, soda and junk food out of public schools. Kids aren’t free to do as they please? They make stupid decisions. Offer a kid the choice of a banana or a bag of M&Ms? Gee, what do you think they will choose? It’s like having a mandatory literature class and then offering the kids a choice of either studying Shakespeare or Twilight or Hunger Games or whatever tops the teen fiction list. Public schools shouldn’t be about lazy choices. The point of it is to fund and turn out good citizens who can take care of themselves, not burden society with their health issues and poor learning.
This year I started an exercise regiment with weights and have kept at it for 6 months now, about an hour a day. No, I do not look like Schwarzenegger. Muscle does not come easily and weight does not just fall off because you lift a dumbbell. I have definitely added muscle and trimmed down a bit though. And it’s good for my back. I still look like a cartoonist though (insert any geeky stereotype image you want)!
Considering that any time spent exercising cuts in to my creative efforts drawing cartoons and comic books it is a sacrifice. It’s not hard to understand why people say they don’t have time to exercise. And I can tell you that every time my hour comes I’m in a mental battle not to skip it. In the prior 4 years I mainly walked for exercise after giving up jogging due to some hip and back pain. I figured diet would come next to lose more weight, but I think all I’m going to do is simply look for sugar in foods where I don’t think they should be and eliminate them from our shopping list. Meat, bread, condiments, convenience meals, etc. As I have already had to cut out dairy to being lactose intolerant this shouldn’t be too difficult. I still love my daily energy drink and will keep that indulgence, but I doubt I will miss sugar in my meat.