What is going on?

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joasia
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What is going on?

Post by joasia » Sat Sep 30, 2006 7:07 am

I went to Walmart tonight to buy some school supplies. I don't know if it was the hour of day or what, but the people in there made me wonder. I would say 50% overweight and 40% very obese and very unhealthy looking. I know that Walmart tends to cater to the lower socioeconomic end of society. But it makes you think: we are eating way too much and whatever we are eating cannot be healthy. Too much junk is doing us in. I know the media is always screaming this: we are headed for a health crisis. After tonight, I think I am starting to believe it. :( I have never been one for a lot of government regulation, but something should be done. But what?
The destiny of nations depends on the manner in which they feed themselves. Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

wosnes
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Post by wosnes » Sat Sep 30, 2006 1:35 pm

I'm a registered nurse and I can tell you with certainty that we are killing ourselves with what we put into our mouths. It's most definitely worse among those in lower socioeconomic classes, but is a problem for all classes of people. I don't think government intervention is the answer.

The government is, well, strange. It will on the one hand develop a food pyramid of healthy eating choices and give us recommendations of how to eat healthier, while on the other hand supporting and subsidizing businesses and industries who create, make, advertise and promote the less-than-healthy foods. The food industry and its lobbyists are a very powerful group.

Change isn't going to come quickly or easily. It will be part of an educational process that reaches all citizens. Currently those at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale either aren't getting the message or don't think they can afford to eat better or just don't want to eat better. It's probably a combination of all of those and maybe more. Junk tastes good; it's quick and easy.

But at the end, it will be up to the citizens. As long as we keep buying the less healthy foods, manufacturers will keep making them. Money talks. If we stop buying junk in favor of healthier foods, if we stop eating 24/7, the food industry and the government will listen.

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Jane1721
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Post by Jane1721 » Sat Sep 30, 2006 1:56 pm

Great post, wosnes. The government doesn't really want us to eat healthy. They get kickbacks from organizations like the sugar association for telling us that sugar is not harmful (or, not as harmful as it really is). I also remember hearing something about the dairy industry paying the USDA $2 million for some kind of cheese campaign? It sounds funny, but the USDA would then pay companies like Wendy's to focus on the cheese when advertising their hamburgers. I'm pretty sure I read about this in The Food Revolution by John Robbins.

wosnes
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Post by wosnes » Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:13 pm

It really shouldn't matter if the government wants us to eat healthy or not. We should want to not only eat healthy, but BE healthy. Eating for weight loss or maintenance or improved health isn't rocket science. It shouldn't take the government or a Ph.D.-prepared dietitian or some other expert to tell us how to do that. Like no-s, it's really just common sense. We seem to have lost that.

It's a complicated problem that includes many areas of our lifestyles. Fast, convenience and overly processed foods, for instance, wouldn't be so popular if we weren't so busy.

Telling those in the lower socioeconomic groups to exercise more, for instance, is easier said than done. It's easy to say "it's as simple as taking a walk", but if your neighborhood isn't safe to walk in...???

It's really amazing what has happened to us in 50-60 years.

joasia
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Post by joasia » Sat Sep 30, 2006 5:06 pm

I agree that it is not the governments responsibility to make us healthy. It is all about personal choice. But... why are they allowing such things as hydrogenated fat into SO many foods. This has been PROVEN to cause premature heart disease. There are countries that have BANNED it. It's the equivalent of putting plastic into your system because it gives food the shelf life of motor oil. And yes you can read labels constantly, but you cannot always know if you are or aren't eating this horrible substance. Why not fry fast food in regular oil and let people make the choice? Why use something that is deadly? And, by the way, this stuff if everywhere, it is not so easy to avoid. I'm sorry, this just makes me so mad.
The destiny of nations depends on the manner in which they feed themselves. Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

pangelsue
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Post by pangelsue » Sun Oct 01, 2006 5:23 am

Wow~ It is so good to read all your wonderful comments. I couldn't agree more. My husband and I have been been about 85% organic for about 9 years now. It has been a very eye opening experience. The more we read, the more we learn how bad most American food is. When I worked at a plastic factory for about 7 years, I found out what leaches into our food when it is cooked or stored in plastic. The company was constantly trying to find ways to make styrofoam safe because with drinks like coffee or orange juice, it becomes a very unstable substance and yet in retail business, it is the container of choice because, you guessed it, it is very reasonable. We also tested tastes and smells added to the plastic used to make the trays for frozen dinners because if those things aren't added, the smell of melting plastic is overwhelming and not very appetizing. When we worked with saran, we were told if the plastic sheeting started on fire, we had only a certain number of seconds to get to a gas mask because burning saran is leathal. America is the only country where it is still legal to be used as a shrink wrap. There is teflon residue in all our bodies.
Don't even get me started on pesticides and chemicals in our food or the condition of our water.

BUT. the most important thing said in your posts above is that it is not the responsibility of our government to regulate even more of our lives. We are the power in this country. We have just forgotten that we are. As Wosnes and Milczar said above, as well as others on this discussion board, it is all about choices and in this case, it is about education and choices. We know more about our favorite TV show or football team or singer than we know about the politicians who are running for office and changing our lives every day. We know nothing about the food we eat except that it is fast, tasty and that there is a lot of it. Food is the fuel our bodies run on. How smoothly the body runs and the number of problems it experiences is directly related to the fuel we supply it with.
You are correct, we are the power behind the industries and business' in this country. It is our pennies, dimes and dollars that decide how much power they have. 10 years ago, when I first became interested in this, we were looked on as oddballs and extremeists and now a mere 10 years later, slowly the news is getting out and things are starting to change.
Speaking of Walmart, they are broadening their natural and organic line to meet customer demands. Make it happen and be a part of a movement that was begun in the 60's and never really died out.

To eat organically is to support the best parts of this diet. Because the food is so expensive, we eat less meat and more vegetables. We cook more things from scratch, including beans. (oh come on, with a crock pot, there is nothing to cooking enough for a month and freezing them). We bargain shop, and read labels. There are products devoid of chemicals that are store brands, in many instances. Reading labels is also easy. For the most part, if the ingredient listed is not a food stuff, it isn't good for you. Consumers are making an impact. Kelloggs has started making organic cereals, Paul Newman items are additive free and some of them are organic. More and more items (and some of them truthfully) are listing that they don't contain transfats. Ask at restaurants what kind of oil they use. You have the power to control this, use it. Feeling empowered????
A lot of growing up happens between "it fell" and "I dropped it."

wosnes
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Post by wosnes » Sun Oct 01, 2006 12:03 pm

I wonder what gave us the idea that politicians know anything about diet and health or science and research? Anyone want to talk BHG or food irradiation or genetically modified foods?

We have to remember is that politicians are heavily influenced by lobbyists for the food industry (I sometime wonder how THEY sleep at night). All the decisions they make are geared to help the food industry, not their constituents.

While I agree it's important to know where politicians stand, we vote only every couple of years. We vote with our wallets several times weekly.

Yesterday I received a newsletter from a physician who teaches and promotes an eating plan that most people would consider quite extreme. The subject for this issue was childhood obesity and I found it to be interesting, but also sad and scary. He said, "We are all familiar with the maxim you are what you eat. Well, you eat what you buy, so you are what you buy. Parents need to make better buying choices." We all do.

pangelsue
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Post by pangelsue » Sun Oct 01, 2006 1:55 pm

Exactly. When I start talking organic or healthy eating with people I know, the reply I hear most often is "I know this would be healthier for my family but it is so expensive, I could never afford it." Yet these are the same people who buy their kids every toy on the planet, all the best and newest clothes, take them to every lesson possible (even if they don't want to go) and go out to eat 5 out of 7 days a week and eat Hambuger Helper the other 2. The parents are both working and if the child gets sick, they call the doctor to get any kind of meds (including steroids) that will make it possible for them to go back to work and get them healthy enough to be accepted back to day care. Obviously this is a generalization because there are great parents too but it happens way too often. A quote from the movie V for Vendetta, when you look for the person to blame for the state of affairs in this country, you need most times to look no farther than you own mirror. We expect government to take care of our health, our finances and our societal problems. Then when they don't (surprise, surprise) we are outraged at them. That is totally unrealistic thinking. WE need to be responsible for our country. We are the government. They are OUR representatives. When they realize that fact, they will have to debate the question of whether to vote with the powers that be or with the people who elected them. We need to be a power stronger than the lobbyists. We still have that power. There is no reason in this country (yet) to feel powerless. If the poor and the helpless exercised their right to vote this would be a different country. They have power because they are a large group. But they don't exercise it. They think they are victims of the system but they are only volunteers. They need to be made aware of the power they have and use it to peacefully change things. If every citizen in this country voted, things would change. We hope the government will help and when they don't we feel helpless. There is a proven scientific concept called the butterfly effect. If a butterfly flaps it's wings in China, the wind created eventually contributes directly to a storm somewhere in the world. If we all just took responsibility for what we said, did, ate, breathed, learned, the government would have no choice but to follow because their jobs would depend on it. We are the government. We have just forgotten.
A lot of growing up happens between "it fell" and "I dropped it."

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navin
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Post by navin » Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:29 pm

Boy is this an interesting thread! I'll just throw in one more thing - buying local produce can also be better. If something is only trucked from an hour or so away, it needs a lot less preservatives than something pickeda on the other side of the country. (Not to mention it uses less fuel, and so cuts pollution) One possible shortcoming with "organic" is that it can be difficult or expensive for smaller farms to be truly certified organic.
Before criticizing someone, you should try walking a mile in their shoes. Then you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

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Jane1721
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Post by Jane1721 » Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:09 am

Yesterday I received a newsletter from a physician who teaches and promotes an eating plan that most people would consider quite extreme
Who was the physician?

wosnes
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Post by wosnes » Mon Oct 02, 2006 3:10 am

Dr. Joel Fuhrman

http://drfuhrman.com/

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