Nutrition/Health is NOT Big Brother in Our Choices

7 Dec

By: Tisha Casida (Originally Posted at That’s Natural!)

Sitting here this morning, contemplating the New York legislation that could stop bake sales within schools, I am just appalled at how much people “in charge” of our students’ health actually know about nutrition.  Or claim to know.

Yes, there is an obesity epidemic.  Is that from unhealthy food alone?  What constitutes “unhealthy”?  Whose fault is it really that our society is eating awful processed food laden with preservatives, artificial sugars, flavorings, and colors?  Whose fault is it that we are dependent upon a centralized food system that encourages food to be processed in quantity but not in quality?

It is everyone’s fault because We The People, somewhere in the past fifty years, demanded this type of food.  We also allowed our government to subsidize agricultural products that, in effect, affects our food choices.  Whose job is it to get us out of this?  I can tell you whose job it isn’t – THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.  Our mess has been created because of social and market variables and those same variables should be addressed in finding solutions to the obesity epidemic.  Legislating out bake sales during school hours is not going to cut it.

In addition to the idiocy of thinking this will actually change kids’ consumption patterns, why aren’t we looking at the actual nutritional value of food.  A cupcake made with real butter, whole wheat pastry flour, raw sugar, and cage-free eggs is empirically different than a cupcake made with hydrogenated oils, white flour, high-fructose corn syrup, and eggs from hens that are deformed and piled on top of each other in inhumane living conditions.   That is what we should be analyzing in our food supply – the nutritional value of the foods our kids consume.

Most food that is available in large quantities for consumption is processed, filled with preservatives and “fill-products”, and devoid of the proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for health.  Health is not only about one’s body mass index, it is also about how much we are nourishing our brain – the powerhouse that allows us to not only think, but also perform any physical activity.  Our brain is made of the same type of stuff that our body is and requires nutrition to work correctly.

Instead of the “stick” approach, to punish or ban people from activities that could harm their health (e.g. going to a bake sale or purchasing a Happy Meal with a toy), there should be the “carrot” – and it should be a locally-raised, natural carrot that has been grown in healthy soil and has the nutritional content it is supposed to have.  We should be finding ways to break down barriers and get healthy, local (when possible) foods into kids hands, and by healthy, I DO NOT mean low-fat, I mean foods that are full of nutrition (this includes healthy fats, produce, protein sources devoid of hormones and antibiotics, and vitamins and minerals that are essential building blocks of brains and bodies).  In addition to this, the government can encourage it, but to really work, we must have market mechanisms (the private sector, supply and demand, consumer education) behind the initiative.  We The People must demand this food – in our kitchens, in our grocery stores, in our schools.  If the market (you and I) demands it, it will happen.  And that is the most free, sustainable, and effective means of creating an environment for healthy kids.

I would rather choose what I eat, and therefore never want Big Brother in my kitchen.  I choose to eat healthy, and other people should too.  The only way we will have a healthy society is when we have one with healthy bodies and brains making those decisions for themselves and their family members, not being dependent upon government to stop us from harming ourselves.

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