Thursday, May 11, 2006

Food, Glorious Food!

I haven’t been eating well or exercising, and I feel it. After my triumphant Easter Sunday on the scale where I met my goal of losing 15 pounds over Lent, I slipped back into old patterns of eating crappy food and having the more than occasional hop and barley libation.

Last week in St. Louis I realized just how much my body craves healthy food. After two days of nary a vegetable in sight, I found a salad at my table, and my innards involuntarily leapt with joyful anticipation.

And I wonder why I don’t sleep well, or struggle to put two words together on a page. My brain is apple sauce and my body is rubber.

But eating healthy is HARD WORK. Hamburgers and fries abound. Donuts are everywhere. Pizza by the slice is on every corner. Junk food is too abundant. Eating healthily requires planning and discipline. One more damn thing to put on my to-do list.

A member of the church wrote a letter to the editor in our local paper this week. He suggested that junk food is like cigarettes. Parents who would lock their children in high towers if they caught their children puffing on emphysema sticks think nothing of taking their kids through the local drive-thru. There is no redeeming, nutritional value to fast food: fries, burgers, and coke.

But why do I love it so?

I think there should be a special tax on junk food to help pay for the inevitable health care costs of people subsisting on junk food. Cancer, Type-2 Diabetes, heart disease, are growing at alarming rates. I know taxing junk food is not a new idea. Folks on the left insist that such a tax would disproportionately affect lower income people. Those on the right suggest that it’s a tax grab that punishes people for making free consumer choices.

I don’t care. Preventative medicine should be more than the Canadian Cancer Society’s tiny little ad on page C6 encouraging people to eat their veggies. This stuff should be taught in school (as should personal money management, but that’s another kettle ‘o fried fish). There should tax incentives to help people eat healthily.

When childhood obesity in Canada is rising rapidly, we can look forward to a new generation of unhealthy people. This can only drain money from health care. Coupled with an aging population, this spells crisis.

Healthy eating is simply good stewardship of our bodies and our money.

UPDATED for clarity.

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