Sunday, October 17, 2010

Guess I'm Not an American

       I was disgusted the other day when I tuned into a local Mississippi talk show and the two “conservative” talk show hosts were talking about the food eating contest they were holding at a fair. Shows like “Man vs. Food” and restaurants that offer challenges for largely portioned meals are simply glorifying the gluttony of today’s Americans . There is a certain pride that people take in their overindulgence and grossly obese bodies that astounds me. 
        The more I curb my own eating habits the more I am disgusted by the acceptance of overindulgence.  For instance, I stopped eating pork a year and a half ago and since then I have taken noticed just how much bacon is on or in food items like hamburgers, pizza, pasta, dips, salads, salad dressings, sandwiches, seafood, and the list goes on and on. Processed meats can increase the risk of heart disease by 42 percent and diabetes by 19 percent. Bacon has four times the amount of salt than unprocessed meat. You can add bacon to something at almost any restaurant. 
       As children, most are encouraged by parents to “clean their plate,” and even punished if they do not. Gone are the days when food was scarce and you ate when you could. America now over produces and as a result over consume because it is there. I am happy that my parents never forced us to clean our plates because as an adult I don’t have guilt when I don’t. Actually, I like enjoy the thought of having leftovers. 
       My personal belief is “everything in moderation.” Of course bacon is good for you but having bacon every Saturday morning with breakfast becomes a treat instead of a condiment. It would seem crazy to eat ice cream three meals a day but for some reason I can’t understand it’s okay to eat three fried meals a day or high calories fast food for every meal. Even more disgusting to me is watching parents pour sweet tea into their children's bottles or sip cups. All this is doing is perpetuating the obesity problem. 
      Shocking to me is that parents will feed their children crap. Parents only choice are not high fructose corn syrup sodas and poisonous saccharine loaded diet sodas. What happened to water? Why not a healthy vegetable wrap instead of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or macaroni and cheese? The excuse that their children won’t eat healthy food is simply the parents laziness. They don’t want to work with their children and teach them healthy eating habits. 
       People are concerned about what type of clothes they are seen in, the make of car they drive, shoes they wear, and skincare products. Why is it acceptable to be more concerned with the television sitting in a living room than the contents of the food we put into our bodies. Most people haven’t a clue about the ingredients of items they consume and that’s okay to them. I’m tired of the excuse that it’s expensive to eat healthy. Life is full of sacrifices and I think living a healthy life means making sacrifices. 
       American’s already spend such a low percentage of take home pay on food especially in comparison to other countries. Yes, it is sad that a frozen pizza is cheeper than organic vine ripened tomatoes but the i-phone in hand might have helped pay for a healthier lifestyle. For me, it’s time to take a stand and make a sacrifice for life. I think American’s are like sheep when it pertains to their food; go along blindly and silently.
        I wish I could grab people and shake them awake and open their eyes, but for some reason people are very defensive about their unhealthy eating habits. It’s easier to keep my mouth shut then try to sell them what they aren’t in the market for. Not only are they not open to changing their life but they are unsupportive of me changing mine. One time a customer asked me how a new item on our menu was and I replied, “I haven’t had it because I don’t eat meat.” His response was, “Well that’s just not American.”
       Someday, I believe, history books will reflect on a time when America sickened themselves with food. Just as we look back and think, “They used to allow smoking on airplanes?” Future generations will look back on these generation’s gluttony in disgust. Until then, it’s time to vote with my dollar for healthy, organic, and local foods. 

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