There’s this familiar cliché in which a child doesn’t finish all their food at dinner so one of their parents tells them, “What a shame… there are starving children in China right now.”
The implied concept is that by taking more than we need, it means someone else on the other side of the world (or down the street) will suffer a deficiency of that same commodity.
So if you don’t finish your fruit here in America, in theory, a starving child in China will go without a piece of fruit that he desperately needed for nutrition. Yet somehow, if you don’t waste that piece of fruit, the kid in China doesn’t go without.
I think it is important is to live a lifestyle in which we are constantly asking ourselves, “Am I consuming more here than I actually need? Or do I have enough?”
From food, to water, to clothing, to toys.
As I recently pointed out in an infographic, which I have included again at the bottom of this letter, isn’t it peculiar that Americans consume 1/6th (or 16.6%) of the total meat consumed worldwide even though Americans make up less than 1/20th (or 5%) of the total population?
“In the U.S. we are faced with an unprecedented amount of diet related disease including obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. There are many different contributing factors to these illnesses and over consumption of meat produced in unsustainable manners is certainly one of them.
Diets high in red and processed meat have been found to be associated with greater mortality from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Additionally, such a diet is connected to higher rates of Type 2 Diabetes. Red meats are often high in saturated fats which increase cholesterol levels leading to greater risk of heart disease and stroke…
Most Americans eat far more than the serving size recommended by the USDA Dietary Guidelines adding to overweight and obesity rates and the other health problems associated with these conditions. By reducing meat consumption and opting for a more balanced diet high in whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, these diet-related diseases can be mitigated.”
I believe that with the right mindset, America could begin to learn how to consume enough.
That is a hard word to process, “enough,” because it’s not often easy to know the difference between actual needs and wants versus perceived needs and wants.
Once we begin recognizing when we are taking more than we need, we can begin to figure out how to give that excess to others who actually need our surplus.
Mommy and I recently watched a relevant documentary on Netflix, called I Am, which is about what happens when we as humans take more than we need:
“There is one fundamental law that all of nature obeys that mankind breaks everyday: Nothing in nature takes more than it needs, and when it does, it becomes subject to this law and it dies off… We have a term for something in the human body when it takes more than its share. We call it cancer.”
In fact, as a health nut and vegetarian, if I had to choose between smoking a half a pack of cigarettes a day versus drinking a 16 ounce soda, I would have a very difficult time in deciding which way to wreck my health.
Drinking “sugary drinks” like soda, chocolate milk, sweet tea, and even fruit juice, as compared to actually eating the fruit itself, is not good.
However, regularly drinking sugary drinks and soda is definitely more socially accepted than smoking cigarettes. (That makes it okay, right?)
We’re so culturally aware of the long-term health risks of tobacco use, but when it comes to junk food and processed foods, sometimes we need a reminder that it’s more than just that those things “make us get fat.”
Either way, I want to live in country where people have the freedom to make those bad decisions for themselves. Not just in New York City, but in every city.
It shouldn’t be the government’s job to “ban” junk food.
That’s my job:
I choose to ban “sugary drinks” in my own life, and just as important, in my young son’s life as well. I take responsibility for myself and my family.
Sure, I agree that America is experiencing an obesity epidemic and we need to do something about it.
But the “we” I’m referring to is not the government. The “we” is us.
For more intriguing pictures showing how much sugar is in drinks and food, go the awesome website they came from:
This week there has been a lot of negative buzz going on about a writer for Vogue magazine who reacted to her 7 year-old daughter’s obesity by placing her on an unforgiving, calorie-counting diet. (At 4 feet, 4 inches tall, her daughter weighed 93 pounds, placing her in the 99th percentile for her age; about 30 pounds overweight.)
I’m not even going to try to be neutral on this subject and end this article with, “What you do think, readers? Did this mom do the right thing?”
Because it’s this simple: The way this mom handled her daughter on a diet was illegitimate and a horrible example for her daughter. I’m not questioning her moral character, but her technique; because I believe it needs to be questioned:
“I once reproachfully deprived Bea of her dinner after learning that her observation of French Heritage Day at school involved nearly 800 calories of Brie, filet mignon, baguette, and chocolate. I stopped letting her enjoy Pizza Fridays when she admitted to adding a corn salad as a side dish one week.”
And I know, in American’s modern day parenting culture, it’s taboo to criticize another person’s parenting style; especially a woman’s, especially coming from a man’s perspective, especially in regards to dieting.
But I don’t care. Here’s my beef:
Weiss would restrict her daughter from enjoying birthday cakes at parties. She would not allow her to eat dinner if she had already consumed her daily amount of calories for the day. And then when he daughter finally lost the weight, she was rewarded her with new dresses.
Yikes. Not cool, Zeus.
I am extremely against counting calories in the name of losing weight. It sends the message that it’s okay to eat lunch from a fast food drive-thru as long as you make up for it by only eating celery sticks for dinner. That’s not a healthy approach.
It places the emphasis on “not being fat” as opposed to actually caring about being healthy. It focuses on superficial image instead of quality of life.
So what’s the magical alternative?
Nix soda and drinks with sugar added. Instead, drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Replace all white bread and pasta with wheat.
Reduce meat intake to 4 ounces per day.
For snacks, cut up actual pieces of fruit.
Make a point to include fresh vegetables in every dinner.
Whenever you’re hungry, eat; granted that it’s included the items listed above.