Filed under: Government, Health in America | Tags: big gulp, coca cola, environment, fast food venues, government, health, health education programs, healthcare, mayor bloomberg, mental-health, new york city, pepsi, politics, public schools, republican, science, society, soda, sugary drinks
Since the emergence of “The Battle of the Big Gulp” in New York City, I have been on the fence. In this case I have actually become quite annoyed with my indecisiveness because I can understand both sides of the story. Generally, I tend to hold a solid stance on a topic and rarely waver from my original ideals once I have acquired all the facts. Nonetheless, after much consideration I have mustered a relatively congruent opinion.
I agree with critics of the proposed bill in that the government should not attempt to alter individuals’ behaviors by criminalizing their choices. Just like prohibition didn’t stop people from drinking, forbidding sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces at various food venues isn’t going to keep people from guzzling excessive amounts of soda. Although Americans are indeed capable of making some shockingly stupid decisions, we are smart in the sense that we know how to maneuver around laws and policies in order to get what we want. If people want to drink more than 16 ounces of soda, they’re going to drink more than 16 ounces of soda-it’s that simple. But for those of you who refuse to believe that consuming insane amounts of sugar is detrimental to your health, all I have to say is good luck with that. Call me in five years (maybe less) when you have diabetes. Point being, our choices should not lie in the hands of the government. In the simplest of terms this should be the extent of the government’s involvement. “Soda is bad for you, you should limit your consumption. If you don’t limit your consumption then you may be left with serious health problems”. If people proceed to drink ridiculous volumes of soda then screw it, they know good and well what the possible risks are.
However, do I believe we should outlaw the distribution of uncontrolled amounts of sugary drinks to children without parental regulation-absofreakinglutely! Kids don’t know any better and they certainly aren’t thinking about the possible affects the soda they have today might have on their body later (indeed something to work on). If we are going to trust the public school systems to cradle the intellectual development of our children without our supervision then we better be able to trust them with their biological development too! Which brings me to my next and final point.
As a country we need to generate nationwide volunteer based health education classes for parents and children that are easily accessible for individuals of all social groups regardless of their financial status. This especially needs to take place in the cities where obesity and diabetes are most prevalent. Far too many parents are completely unaware of the dangers lurking in the food and drinks their children are ingesting. Whether they are provided at school, a friend’s house or in their home; parents need to have the appropriate knowledge in order to create a more effective plan insuring the optimal growth of their offspring.
All in all, I can see eye-to-eye with the skeptics who want the government to butt out. I have said it in previous posts regarding America’s healthcare system and I’ll say it again. People with health problems need to take their lives into their own hands. If not well then sorry-it’s their own damn fault! We shouldn’t have to use our hard earned tax dollars to clean up the mess they made for themselves. However, we most definitely need to regulate the consumption of high-sugar drinks in minors as well as bring into play nutrition education programs for families regardless of their financial status.
I’ll leave you with this simple but profound quote, “This cheap food is way too expensive”. (CNN Representative)
Filed under: Health in America | Tags: fishing, gym, gym membership, healthy-living, neighborhood, outdoor exercise, park, running, sprinklers, swinging
Okay so this morning I headed out for my morning run around 6:30 or so. When I approached my first turn to begin my normal weave through the neighborhood I couldn’t help but notice two or three people heading to Encanto Park so I thought I would see what the big deal was. Let me tell you, this place was legit! Green grass, jungle gyms, swing sets, hardcore sprinkler systems, a mini amusement park, ponds, tennis & basketball courts, a mini golf course, picnic areas and so much more! Of course this got my wheels turning-why on earth would you pay a ghastly amount for a gym membership when more likely than not you have a FREE gym right around the corner. I don’t know about you but when I used to go to the gym I could never get anything done. I was distracted by other people, had a serious case of ADD when it came to picking a machine and sticking with it, it smelt like nasty ass human toxins and more importantly it was taking money out of my pocket month after month. How many of us pay for a gym membership and never go (come on I know your out there)? What a waste right? So why not take advantage of something that adds to your life rather than takes away from it. Deciding whether to get your ass off the couch ultimately has zero affect on your wallet, only your body. It is a completely guilt free option for those of you who aren’t utilizing your gym memberships.
But wait! Saving money isn’t the only up side to harnessing the benefits of your neighborhood park, it’s fun too! While running this morning more than one person said “Good Morning!” and it totally took me by surprise. In today’s society it seems rare for complete strangers to acknowledge your presence, everyone seems to be trapped inside their own little brains. So I said hello and went on my way and as I continued to meander through the park I admired the ducks and spotted two older gentlemen with fishing rods. I thought you can fish in here?! Surely they don’t catch anything worthwhile-so I asked! Well, not only could you catch fish but Catfish that you can actually eat. Of course in my mind I’m thinking hell yeah-free dinner! Naively not taking into account the process of gutting and scaling a fish, which I have no idea how to do or even attempt. So I let that idea come and go and proceeded on my adventure. Next I spotted an enticing jungle gym fully equipped with a swing set, monkey bars, two slides and a teeter-totter. I through some sand on my hands and attempted the monkey bars failing miserably. They may be an option for those of you capable of doing a pull up? I for one cannot, which was made quite clear this morning! How the heck did I manage these things in the first grade…oh yeah, I didn’t have the ass the size of a watermelon! Oh well, on to the next task- the swings. I pumped myself up so high I actually thought I might do some serious damage to the swing set so I decided to cut my losses and come to terms with the fact that my posterior was just too large at my ripe age of twenty-two to thoroughly enjoy the playground festivities like the good old days. Nonetheless it was the perfect way to slow my heart rate down just for a moment and start my day off on a positive swing (pun intended). The last thrill of my trek came when a few yards ahead I detected a huge grassy area with high-pressure SPRINKLERS. What better way to cool off and boost your heart rate then sprinting through a water system! I darted from one sprinkler head to the next and this is when it hit me, why do we fail to see the beauty in things that are right in our backyard? In a matter of thirty minutes I gained everything desired in a gym and more. The open space left little room for tedious distractions and provided new, clean, fresh air that has been shown to improve athletic performance (Airware Labs). In addition, it would be nearly impossible to become fed up and hop in the car to head home unless you wanted to track down a cab. Assuming you don’t bring spare cash on your treks this would resort to hitch hiking home, a little shady if you ask me. But the number one reason you should take advantage of your neighborhood? It’s a FREE way to burn the fat, shed some weight in your belly and gain some weight in your wallet. Hope this inspires some of you to rethink your workout routine. Give it a try and you never know… you may never pay another gym payment again! Thanks for reading =)
Filed under: Organic Nutrition | Tags: community supported agriculture, CSA, dinner, Farm Box, food, greek yogurt, healthy sandwich, kale chips, mashed sweet potatoes, produce, red bell peppers, roasted red pepper dressing, salad dressing, sandwich, simple recipes, soup, tomato soup, vegetarian, veggies
As I mentioned in my previous post “Organic Girl”, I participate in something called a Farm Box through a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA). Because I receive my box once a week sometimes I find that by the end of the week I still have a good amount of produce to get through. Don’t worry! Here are some tips for using up those veggies before they go bad…
Make a sandwich!
Today I fried an egg, stripped a kale leaf, sliced beef steak tomato & shallot, spread some of my special sauce (a tiny bit of melted butter, greek yogurt, hot sauce, salt & pepper, minced garlic) on two pieces of toast and boom! a delicious and healthy sandwich providing your body with carbs, fats, proteins, and vitamins!
Tomatoes? Make tomato soup!
-Heat oven to 450 degrees
-Roast 3-5 tomatoes (quartered), garlic (wrapped in foil), onions (quartered), along with whatever vegetables you choose (suggestions: red bell peppers, carrots, squash, etc) in olive oil/salt & pepper for 20-30 minutes on a foil wrapped baking sheet for easy clean up!
-Meanwhile heat 3-4 cups of water to a slow simmer with a herb of your choice.
-Once the veggies are soft, add them to the flavored water, add spices and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, blend and enjoy!
Kale? Make kale chips!
-Heat oven to 400 degrees
-Strip kale leaves from the ribs by starting at the bottom and sliding your closed hand up the stock.
-Rip or chop leaves into 1-2 inch pieces
-In a large bowl drizzle leaves with olive oil/salt & pepper and toss thoroughly
-Spread and separate the kale evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet
-Roast for 15-20 minutes until greens are crisp & enjoy!
-To store: line a tupperware with paper towel to absorb excess oil and store in a dry place (keep in mind they
DO NOT last as long as normal potato chips, duh!)
Sweet potatoes? Make mashed sweet potatoes!
-Heat oven to 375 degrees
-Place sweet potatoes directly onto oven rack and roast for about an hour or until fork tender.
-Using a kitchen towel, cut potatoes in half and scoop out the pulp
-add a little melted butter (not margarine or a butter substitute but real, natural BUTTER) , salt & pepper (cayenne and nutmeg for some extra POW).
-blend ingredients with a potato ricer, potato masher or hand mixer and enjoy!
Red bell peppers? Roast in the oven for a healthy and simple salad dressing!
-Turn the broiler on in your oven
-Broil peppers for 7 minutes to start turning them every minute or so until skins are blackened
-Meanwhile saute finely chopped shallots (or any onions on hand) in olive oil with salt & pepper
-Once peppers are cool enough to handle, rub the skins off using a clean kitchen towel, gut & chop.
-Combine peppers, herbs of your choice, spices, and sauteed onions in a blender.
-While blender is running add about a 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil or until you have reached a desired consistency.
-Enjoy this dressing on salads, sandwiches, fish, chicken, beef, lamb, pasta, you name it!
Onions? Chop up and add to salads and omelets throughout the next week =)
I hope these recipes bring health and vibrancy to your week!
Filed under: Government, Health in America | Tags: climate, environment, health, medicine, science, society
I’m currently in the midst of reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. While reading, I accidentally highlighted the word “food” and proceeded to read the definition, not thinking anything of it. Then it hit me. Do the majority of Americans fully understand the inherent meaning of FOOD?
According to The New Oxford American Dictionary the definition for food is “any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth.” Food, being a fundamental element in the development of human beings and other life forms is vital to our continued existence on this planet. So what happens when the so-called foods being mass-manufactured and distributed are intentionally depleted of almost all nutrients, and in addition are diminishing the fertile soil imperative for our survival? Is it then ethical to persist in considering these altered materials as food or is it merely solid “stuff” posing as a nutritious product? And if so, is it possible for humans to truly gauge the consequences these foreign substances may have on our bodies and the environment before it’s too late?
This also raises questions about the insufficiency of labeling policies within our American borders (including imported goods). Is it lawful to put a universal label on all otherwise edible substances that lack nutritional density? Or should federal laws be implemented to label these materials as GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) that are potentially toxic- similar to cigarettes, alcohol and other well-known biologically harmful drugs. Regulated policies could provide the education necessary for consumers to make intelligent decisions regarding their personal health and the health of their families.
Furthermore, how would this affect our economy and our healthcare system? Would individuals veer away from genetically modified foods and opt for local/organic options if they knew the truth behind what they were putting in their mouths? If so, it seems that as a result Americans would have the opportunity to transform into healthier beings less dependent on a government driven healthcare system to keep them well. After all, the United States spends more on healthcare (approximately one trillion dollars!) but seems to be helping a lower number of people compared to other industrialized nations. Therefore, if American’s took health back into their own hands it appears the demand of healthcare would in fact diminish allowing funds to open for areas such as education, social security, military, job production, etc.
What do you think? I would love your feedback!
Angry Granola Girl