America Has a BIG Problem
This last week on vacation in Middle America was tough on my body. We were on a giant road trip spending lots of time in the car eating snacks from convenience stores and small town eateries. Using the word “eateries” might give the wrong idea as there was no glam or real cooking in any of them. Middle America is dependent on Sysco Foods for nourishment – the idea of the local diner or cafe serving homemade food is a thing of days bygone. There seems to be little consciousness about food or what may or may not be healthy. The idea that high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils are potentially dangerous and undoubtedly bad for the old BOD haven’t been introduced in small town Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky or Illinois. In a few conversations about what I like to do in my spare time, the concepts of this blog were completely foreign to my conversation companion. I felt like I was from another country – complete breakdown of communication!
A Father, Pre-teen Son and Mom at King’s Island, Ohio
I was pretty amazed by the size of people in Middle America. I feel like I am constantly working on the five or ten pounds that creep on when I become too sedentary, but to be facing a fifty to one-hundred pound loss would be a huge challenge. I’ve always had a hunch that processed foods are addictive and have tried to stay away from them as much as I can, but they are pervasive in our society. They are also fairly inexpensive, and in our middle, manufacturing-oriented states, where the economy is clearly suffering, dinner at McDonald’s may actually be cheaper than a home-cooked version.
On our way up the Mississippi River Road from Davenport to Dubuque we listened to the former FDA Commissioner, Dr. David Kessler on Talk of the Nation discuss his research and new book called, How Tasty Foods Change The Brain. He argues that once people begin to eat processed foods containing salt, sugar and fats, they are no longer able to control their eating habits. He argues that these foods are indeed addictive and that people cannot control their cravings. He has an enormous empathy for people who are struggling with obesity and blames the manufacturers of the foods that are sold to consumers and not the consumers themselves. Willpower may not actually be all that is needed, and if this is true, I see a very large class action lawsuit in the near future.
Now I am home and have already begun to work on the “badaunka-daunk butt!” Jeff and Max and I are exercising by walking the lakes, gardening and doing a little light landscaping. We’re also following the guidelines of Michael Pollan: eat food, not too much, mostly plants. Fortunately for me, this is how we eat at home and home is where I am happy to be right now!