will the food revolution make us thinner?
I am a huge Frank Bruni fan. He op-ed pieces in the NY Times are all worth reading. He speaks his mind and I like what he has to say. He wrote a piece on June 2 called…Trimming a Fat City. I continue to think about what he wrote.
This is not the first time Bruni has written about obesity and weight. Not surprising as Frank has had issues of his own with food and weight his whole life. As a nation, 2/3 of Americans have eaten ourselves into being overweight or obese. Two-thirds. That is insane.
There is no question that it began with the convenient amount of fast food, pre-made, loaded with chemicals and salt food available to us at any deli, grocery store or even gas station. We get hungry, we just eat whatever is there. Those heavy caloric foods have taken a toll on our bodies as well as our health system.
Bloomberg created a mild frenzy when he decided to help the situation he would just ban super sized sugary drinks. Not so sure that was the call but he is pointing to a major problem. Perhaps we should just tax some foods like we tax cigarettes. If you really want those bags of Cheetos with your super-sized Sprite that is going to cost you $8 in taxes. Certainly will make you think about grabbing that stuff from the shelf.
There is no doubt we are going through a food revolution. People want to know what they are putting in their bodies. The genetic engineering of food including the high fructose products as well as all the other manufactured products have probably been one of the reasons for obscure cancers and health issues that are effecting an entire generation that has no history of those diseases. Will the conversations and desire to eat local fresh food make us thinner? Will all those amazing food trucks we see around many urban cities where they are really choosing healthy products to make their food change our girth? I guess if they sell smaller portions vs the super sized sandwiches we come to expect.
The other day I saw a very cool project on Kickstarter. It was a group of young girls, sixth grade, who came up with the idea. I loved that they were using Kickstarter as their platform to raise money. As I scrolled down the pitch I saw a picture of the girls at the end. Super cute photo of them all jumping in the air with big smiles on their face. The first thing I noticed in this picture was that 80% of the girls in this photo were overweight. I thought that these girls, at 11/12 years old are on their way to health problems and possibly diabetes.
When I grew up there was perhaps one kid in the class that was overweight and a few that might be chubby. I was one of the chubby ones but I was not as overweight as the girls in that picture. I had an extra 10, these girls had a good 25. Is it that we have all decided that it is okay to be overweight? Are we trained to just ignore the signs of long term health issues for these kids?
I asked the people I was with what they saw in the photo. They mentioned that it looked like a photo shoot and then I mentioned the weight. They all looked at me and said, I saw that too but didn't want to say anything. Bloomberg might be pissing people off with his idea about taking out small kegs of sugary drinks that are sold in extra large cups but at least he is saying something and doing something.
I have been on a diet since I was 6. Trust me, if I ate everything I wanted to, whenever I wanted to, I would easily weigh 50 lbs more than I do now. I don't do it because not only does it make me feel uncomfortable, it is unhealthy and ungainly.
This is a huge topic right now and I for one am standing in the thin line.
Thanks for this. Didn’t know the op ed piece prior.The food revolution also extends to wine as you know. Somewhat more complex, somewhat less related directly to health but it’s a revolution in its own part.NY and Paris have been at the center of this with shops like Chamber Street Wines in my neighborhood.I’ve been blogging on this ‘natural’ approach for years and its been a rancorous process with the establishment. But it’s changing.At the Natural wine fairs in London last month the industry has had a cross over moment where from the ground up, wineries small and large, have started adopting this approach. And interestingly, even amongst the horrid Parker point scale system, if you look below the surface, the wines at the top are indeed natural.Sorry for the sideways rant.My ode to the excitement at the RAW fairs here:http://awe.sm/c5Ka
I first started losing weight when I stopped worrying about it and really planned on enjoying my food. Ok, first let it be clear I am still some pounds over what I should be, but I ski, help my neighbour bring in hay for the cows (and love the alpine cheese that is ageing not 100 yards from where I am typing) and I swim in the lake in summer.So how does enjoying food help me lose weight. My theory is that savouring a sizzling sausage, letting lettuce crunch and hearing it, elaborating on elderflower cordial made by my wife and generally appreciating the Grace that provides good food naturally is good for the soul as well as for the soil. In calming down, and avoiding the rush, and taking the time to discuss, deciding to favour the flavours we love best, our food nourishes us more. It has time to satisfy us (rather than racing to the bottom or thighs, belly or jowls).Feeding comforts us and has since we first nestled against our mothers breast – and so it should. So it must not be rushed – it takes time to do its’ good, like sleep.So try it – enjoy food, be a foody, relish and savour, and you will be happy (and maybe even lose a few pounds).
TY – Appreciated – I am just loving http://www.engag.io and http://disqus.com fighting as a “tag team” to find great blogs
Merci mon ami.
Merci à toi pour ton product.Malheureusement, j’ai l’accent ros-bif! mais on doit essayer.
T’en fais pas. Ca baigne 🙂
Stop teasing us with alpine cheese. Indeed, wholesome, natural, local foods are key and should be the norm rather than the exception. In Europe, it’s more the norm than the exception. In North America, it’s the opposite.
Sorry – but now I can’t resist … – I read your comment, and just for the sake of it (I really am pretty horrid) I picked a small handful of alpine strawberries that have spread around the flowerbed by my office. It is an untended permaculture bed and we harvest a couple of pounds of small but intensely aromatic strawberries each year, today they are particularly plump – it was stormy last night but the sun broke through, which gets them to their best. Yes they are a small taste of heaven, but made into a breakfast preserve and spread on wholemeal toast and buttered ( milk from neighbours cow) and served with a good coffee – I can honestly say – When my time comes – I will be ready and grateful!Sorry GothamGal – for my bit of gratuitous foodyism there, but if I recall William and your Hubby were taunting us with Lebanese on AVC the other day – so he had it coming !
Nice. For consolation, picking strawberries got started today here for the first day, but yours sound like they are wild strawberries.
Haha, that’s funny. I was equally inspired.Saturdays are usually my breakfast taco feast mornings. My reward for having made it through yet another week.No, I read this article and had high protein Greek yogurt with blueberries and granola and a delicious fruit smoothie (fruit, fruit, fruit, carrot juice, grape juice, flaxseed oil, protein powder, vitamins, honey).I was so energized, I went and bought a ton of cotton seed hulls and burs and spread them on my azaleas — all before noon.
@JLM – Maybe we could be outdone yet….Do you know the famous Monty Python “Four Yorkshiremen script – where our stalwart heroes escalate their sorrrows continually outdoing each other about how tough their upbringing was – if ever a charitable cause was less deserving (Full text http://www.phespirit.info/m… )Try to imagine a thick northern english accent – It concludes…FIRST YORKSHIREMAN:You were lucky. We lived for three months in a paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six in the morning, clean the paper bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down t’ mill, fourteen hours a day, week-in week-out, for sixpence a week, and when we got home our Dad would thrash us to sleep wi’ his belt.SECOND YORKSHIREMAN:Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at six o’clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of ‘ot gravel, work twenty hour day at mill for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would thrash us to sleep with a broken bottle, if we were lucky!THIRD YORKSHIREMAN:Well, of course, we had it tough. We used to ‘ave to get up out of shoebox at twelve o’clock at night and lick road clean wit’ tongue. We had two bits of cold gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at mill for sixpence every four years, and when we got home our Dad would slice us in two wit’ bread knife.FOURTH YORKSHIREMAN:Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o’clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah.FIRST YORKSHIREMAN:And you try and tell the young people of today that ….. they won’t believe you.ALL:They won’t!
Funny stuff. Now off to wash the cars and then church.
Been there – done that – The car’s still filthy though !
Agree with this. I finally stopped gaining weight when I stopped dieting. If I would move once in a while I could lose the extra pounds 🙂
.The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.There is no question that Bloomberg’s and others’ intentions are good.There is no question that the issue of health — obesity, nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress — is an important and serious one. Straight to quality of life, longevity and medical costs.The real question is whether these issues are the rightful province of any government which is fashioned to do for its citizenry that which they cannot do for themselves — like national defense or law enforcement.On this score, I unequivocally oppose the role of government in the regulation of what is clearly a set of personal prerogatives.There are practical and pragmatic limits to what one citizen should ask the government to do for all of its citizens. The government often being the course of first rather than last resort.And there are issues related to appropriate role of the level of government — Federal, State, municipal, school districts — in the affairs of its citizens.Government has a terrible track record of identifying, proposing, legislating and enforcing individual mandates particularly when they must be enacted at the level of individual liberties and behavior.Governments can enact laws against racial intolerance but it cannot change the views of racists.The real answer is education. Education can change attitudes — cigarette smoking is an example — but it takes time, consistency and persistence. It also takes a bit of intelligence in the marketing of the idea.It requires both a campaign of education as to the dangers but more importantly the development of wellness programs which focus on identifying and adopting good behaviors rather than being a nanny cop banning bad behaviors..
I agree that Education is a big part of it, and it should start early in life like in high-school. Governments can enact certain food labelling requirements, but the food industry will always game that. They start to break it down by 35 g portions of 1/4 of that, or 3 pieces or whatever to make the % look alright. What a scam. There are 3 things I wished I learned in high-school which I later learned in life:a) nutrition basics – it makes you understand the good foods/bad foods, how they interact with your body,etc. b) accounting basics – it helps you to save, invest, spend responsiblyc) social skills – it helps you to understand human nature and the psychology of relationships
.The most important single talent to learn as a young person is how to dance..
Lol. Figuratively or in real? I learned how to dance by watching others dance. Just like Yogi Bera said- you can observe a lot, just by watching.
i agree. education education. there have been many great campaigns that over time has made a huge impact and the war against cigarettes is one of them. it wouldn’t hurt the government to highly tax certain foods as they have with cigarettes. it just stresses what they are trying to accomplish.
.My wife is from Winston-Salem, so the issue of cigarettes and taxation has been an interesting phenomenon to watch over time.I am not a fan of taxing vices, as they are always regressive taxes particularly vices which which only raise their ugly sides with excess.As an example, I am not wild about taxing artisanal wines which are only dangerous when drunk to excess.I do however believe in practical education — education for living and living healthy — which includes nutrition at an early age.Interestingly enough, in many instances, it is the schools themselves which resent the intrusion of “amateurs” into their sacred inner sanctum of curriculum development.At the best private school in Texas (he said humbly), I offered to fund a course in personal financial management and, in particular, the notion of “stewardship”.My interest was in fundraising for the school itself.This experience had come from a similar wildly successful initiative which I had spearheaded with a simple talk on stewardship given in the senior year of a public college.The rate of participation amongst grads less than 5 years out increased by a factor of 20.The private school dismissed me out of hand while letting me pay for the renovation of a gym..
What completely freaks me out is watching a doco featuring photos and video from the 70s, in which pretty much everyone is quite lean by today’s standards, and then standing in front of the mirror the next morning; turns out I have my father’s body 25 years too early.My problem is portion control because although I eat like a king, that king is Henry VIII. No doubt I’ll get started fixing it tomorrow :/
it is all about portion control. i put on some poundage the last year and just took it off these past couple of months. feel soo much better. honestly it was all about portion control. can’t stop eating and drinking what i enjoy but i don’t need to enjoy that much.
I eat in restaurants a lot, especially since my wife is currently based in HK and I’m still stranded down here; cooking for two is a delight, but cooking for one is a bore.It wasn’t that long ago I could quite happily eat a 3 course meal, but today I struggle to finish a main — the portions have become monstrous. Even the local French chefs have become afflicted.I’m glad you feel better. It’s inspiring. Maybe I *will* really get started tomorrow 😉
Exactly. We often order 5 appetizers for my wife and I and split them. Typically they are more creative and interesting than mains. Some places hate that.
Good idea. I might try that.
Ordering a variety of appetizers is a wonderful way to eat. My wife and I often take this approach. It provides such a nicely varied palette and pleasant dining experience. I like finding restaurants which embrace such things, and have found that wait-staff can have fun with it too. It’s not aways cheaper (frequently not), so they should embrace it and be happy that you’re enjoying your meal at their establishment. If it ends up as a bit more work and a lower total check balance, I tip stronger to compensate.
Yes. Ideally, some of them have what they call a Tasting Menu, and that’s a good formula.
Right, William. But people must consider the choices. As mentioned throughout this post and comment thread, portion control matters, but I observe some really bad choices, too. Ordering multiple appetizers which are breaded and fried is too frequently what people do. It’s just amazing to me.One thing that I did not see mentioned here is the value of eating several lighter meals (of quality food) throughout the day, rather than skipping breakfast, having a big lunch and a huge dinner. We in the western hemisphere could learn a few things from Asian diets (although there are bad habits there too ;).
Wow, this is my favorite topic as well. I was lucky to have been raised with good eating habits where junk food wasn’t even part of the available choices. I don’t get junk food, I don’t eat it and I don’t understand why we take something that starts as a healthy choice and we process the heck out of it, add a ton of preservatives, freeze it, package it, label it, fry it, salt it, sugar it and sell it for $3.95. Damn people, wake-up whoever eats that shit. The Food Processing industry is doing more dammage to us than the Tobacco industry did. Part of the issue is the wide availability of junk food outlets, but the other part is the average north american lifestyle which is conducive to “eating fast”. Eating fast and eating fast food are both dangerous and lead to obesity. One of the secrets for not gaining as much weight is to spend a longer time having that meal. Let the food travel from the small intestine to the large one more slowly. The small intestine is where the food is broken down before it gets digested. If you shove food down in one sitting, your body can’t process it that well and it leads among other things to obesity. As for Bloomberg, he’s doing the right thing, and he’s hands-down (in my humble opinion) the best mayor that NY has recently had, but why does he go and support NYC Donut Day. I realize it was launched 75 years ago to honor women who served the treats to soldiers, but still- maybe it’s time to move on with that tradition because it’s too controversial today when Donuts are equated with obesity. I’ve said it before on this blog. The place to start with this is in the high-schools and in the malls. High-schools cafeteria should be ultra healthy and every new mall or strip-mall should have a limit on the # of fast food outlets that are allowed there.
Yes 🙂 Dr. Lustig says it starts even earlier: in the womb. Babies are being born already fat.
Wow. I’d like to read up on that. Is there a link you have? Thanks_______________William MougayarEngage with me! http://engag.io/wmougayarCEO, Engagiop: Canada 416.648.7010p: US 917.310.3507e: [email protected] http://engag.ioRead about it http://www.engag.io/about/m…twitter: @engagio & @wmougayarblog: http://blog.engag.io
I have seen his UCTV video program:http://www.uctv.tv/skinny-o…Not sure if he’s written a book yet, but the videos are fascinating, IMO.
As a New Yorker, I’m totally with Bloomberg, if only because I strongly support anyone and anything that is being done reasonably to combat obesity. But the truth is that I don’t see many fat people in my neck of the woods,I didn’t have any fat children in my class growing up, and I have only one friend that is overweight. I mention this because obesity is not only a class issue, but in some instances it very much is. And in that sense, we need to do even more to target those populations that are most at risk. Education, as noted is key. I also truly think health care needs to start covering gym memberships to some degree, paying for nutritionists (not just one or two consults) for those who are obese,etc. And while I think there is no reason anyone should need to buy a big gulp (with 8 ounces of sugar in it) or be allowed to do so in a system where tax payers end up being punished for other people’s poor choices, I do worry about the choice of soda when there is so much more that is problematic. WHy is fast food in general not taxed? why are we still compensating farmers for corn instead and not subsidizing healthier produce? I know there are many logistics involved, but something must bedone, especially with public school lunches. If all Bloomberg is done is to change the conversation and bring attention to an issue that needs to be addressed, he should be commended. Such is the benefit of having an independently wealthy mayor who isn’t afraid to try to do what is right.
To those of us who are trying to control our weight then yes, the food revolution will make us thinner. But, the reality is that controlling ones weight, keeping from getting fat, and obesity are three totally different things.The war on obesity as an educational campaign should have been fought 30 years ago. Its now an epidemic and obesity and diabetes have become genetic/DNA issues and much like poverty they are being passed on from one generation to anotherThe reality is our government has been very effective at things like developing and mobilizing a military, instituting a national infrastructure program, and at a variety of public health programs. Obviously, obesity, smoking, illegal drugs, and diabetes are all threats to our national security and the general future of this country.What we should be asking is why can we no longer mobilize our society and our representative government to tackle the most pressing problem facing this country today?Look at what we were willing to give up, after 9/11, to succeed at the “war on terrorism?I think the real question that we should be asking is, “Why is it that we do not want to, as a society and through our representative government, want to be successful at attacking the most critical problems of our generation now?”
excellent points. there is no doubt we should have been thinking about this 30 years ago.
ah portion control and exercise BUT it is so difficult as you age.It was so easy when I was 22. 98 pounds until I was 30 and then like magic glue, it all stuck to the hips.It is all about discipline!I see so many more young children who are overweight but on the flip side my 6th grade friend was one of the first anorexics that was treated at MGH. No one had ever heard of that disease before.We have to emphasize good eating habits for good health but we can’t make our children obsessive.
you were a little skinny thing.i agree, it is all about discipline and self control.
There is a double edged sword lying on this ground. Yes we need to be and eat healthy, and yes this takes education, especially in highly urbanized areas. Equally, we have to reduce expectations and unnecessary stresses. As children (I am getting older now) my sisters did not spend many minutes in front of mirrors, or try to look old beyond their years – they were to busy exercising, living and laughing. When some people see wrinkles – others recognize a happy face. When we see the person inside we see a lot more, and we see the valuable side to our relationships.
I was fortunate to grow in a home where my mother cooked all the food using fresh ingredients. I remember going to the individual places for items such as meat from the butcher, fruit/vegetale market, bakery, etc… This combined with a fairly active life style has kept the weight off as I got into my 30s. By active – it could be as simple as walking. Personally, I try to walk everywhere in downtown Toronto. Doing 2-3 hours of walking a day has been a key part of my life over the past few years. Also, my wife and I try and buy most of our food from the farmers market and stick to seasonal produce. I think for families – it is fantastic to take your kids to the market which serves a tremendous educational purposes
Huge fan of the farmer’s market I’m every city
If you are ever in Toronto on a weekend – I highly suggest the St.Lawrence market http://www.stlawrencemarket… and/or Everygreen brick works market http://ebw.evergreen.ca/far… – both are unique in their own way
Great attitude. We do buy pasta, flour and oils, because these are not practical to produce ourselves. Otherwise we use unprocessed ingredients, or local produce many grown at home, or taken from nature (e.g. wild garlic pesto is a favourite at this time of year). So much is available and knowledge of what is edible and how to identify it or prepare it needs support. I think it is clear that this is not a new fad, rather a yearning for the way things should be. We are firtunate to be living ina rural areas (which has its pros and cons, but I think the vibrant initiatives of farmers markets and city gardens is an idea long overdue – All in favour !
I am reminded of Indian policy to tax private vehicles without fixing public transport. I think there is not viable choice for the masses (keeping issue of portions aside for the moment). Further, there is just too much sugar (in all forms) and too much salt in our diet. And our diet does not account for differences in our natural surroundings.1) I think most western cuisines (I refer mainly to European ones) barring Italian do not have viable vegetarian alternatives. I mean one where food is equally satisfying and filling and nutritionally balanced. Spinach-corn sandwich or coleslaw just doesn’t cut it.2) Almost all health-foods (or its brethen) taste awful. Don’t understand why.3) I think there is a huge case for innovation in daily food (what we have everyday).#)We know globally what choices are available amongst edible items. WE know what is nutritional effect is. We know what the body requires in terms of composition and natural surroundings (people living in snow-areas need different diet vs those in deserts)#) This knowledge needs to be used to create a local cuisine that is slightly different – healthy but uniquely local.#) You cannot borrow other nations cuisine and have it as a daily meal unless you are born with it.#) I can see that some recipes can use a bit of spices and it will taste divine to locals.#) We need to create quick-compile recipes that can work as daily food and share them in communities.4) This innovation is different from what TV shows us. Those are for restaurants or special occasions. What we need is daily food.5) I think if our diet is complete the craving for food will reduce – this is more from personal experience.6) BTW this is awesome idea for a venture if you want to launch it.7) I don’t think government should meddle with things like these because if found wrong, they are still slow to react.
This is clearly the biggest public health issue we face and it will be difficult. The food industry unfortunately got really good at producing cheap, tasty, calories in large portions and quantities. We need to condition ourselves to quality > quantity and to impose some self control. Perhaps there are some lessons in the public health effort against smoking which was also very difficult but fairly effective that we can use for this battle.
the good industry got too good at producing tasty unhealthy products. the concept of no-fat snackwells are bad news. still the same amount of empty calories.
Yes, I have an almost 5 year old and she has no overweight friends in her class, but I see SO MANY overweight kids at the playground. I think a huge part of the problem is that many schools no longer have recess and gym is once a week. Not to mention, school lunches are disgusting. I think when there used to be recess and gym every day, that really helped a lot of kids who may have issues otherwise.
i agree. it is a combination of many things. in the netherlands schools have recess twice a day no matter what. to me, art, gym and music are more of a key to success vs the rote memorization tests that they force kids to take in order to measure how much knowledge is being taught.
Agreed, teaching classes that really help brain development such as music, art, and math along with exercise is key.
Great post on a vitally important issue!I’d like to recommend Dr. Lustig’s work on obesity. You can see it here http://www.uctv.tv/skinny-o…While discipline is important, he makes the very important point that obese 6 month olds cannot possibly be gluttons. He is convinced that the problem is sugar. 80% of processed foods are laced with sugar (fructose, to be specific), and fructose sets off a cascade in the body that no amount of discipline can overcome. This is really important stuff – he’s saying fighting a biological drive is next to impossible.Those of us with the means to eat fresh food lose our taste for packaged fructose laden garbage. But people in areas with lower access to fresh food are presented with a real challenge, especially lower income people.To my mind, our society needs to get together on insisting that all populations and neighborhoods have easy access to fresh *real* food.
The obesity epidemic in this country needs to be addressed on the psychological level. Parents and children alike are overeating and eating poorly as a mechanism to soothe themselves. They are scratching an itch. It is not until we resolve the issues that plague overweight children as well as adults that we will be able to make headway in the battle of the bulge.
“… if I ate everything I wanted to, whenever I wanted to, I would easily weigh 50 lbs more than I do now. I don’t do it because not only does it make me feel uncomfortable, it is unhealthy and ungainly.”This is similar to my viewpoint as regards to being vegan. I don’t eat what I eat to try and control my weight, but it’s certainly a nice side effect…as are the health benefits. It’s your comment about not eating everything you want to whenever you want to that resonates.I have trouble understanding folks that say they eat _______ (meat, chicken, etc) because it tastes great. End of justification. I think we should all know where our food comes from, how it’s raised, and how it’s processed. To eat meat is to support practices that are detrimental to our planet and health, not to mention the cruelty it inflicts.So for some to imply that it’s simply OK to do whatever they want because of taste (desire) falls short. There’s no other area where – without restraint – it’s acceptable to say “I did it because I just felt like it”.
i would agree that i would like to know where everything i eat comes from, is processed, etc.
I’m not a fan of government trying to legislate or tax vices either. Education and providing more access to healthy and delicious foods made the “old fashioned” way with real ingredients that are not over processed is the key, in my opinion, coupled with vigorous exercise. Kids need to be playing outside at least 2-3 hours per day and should be getting at least 1 hour during at recess during school hours. The ability to concentrate and learn is also directly coupled with exercise and a healthy diet. My wife and I have started a new company called Delicious Karma, deliciouskarma.com, that is launching in 2 weeks, that will provide access to healthy artisanal foods along with education, but all in a fun experience. If you would like to get early access to check it out here is an invite link: https://deliciouskarma.com/…
Completely agree with you. Will check out your site. Good luck with the launch
Awesome and thanks.
Obesity is not due to overeating – it’s due to eating the wrong stuff even in small quantities and due to eating even the right stuff at the wrong time. The current obesity pandemic is primarily thanks to Uncle Sam and the flawed Food Pyramid, so, don’t expect the government to make you slimmer and healthier. One of the few governments doing the right thing is Sweden’s – one of the first country to officially recognize the old truth that saturated fats are healthy and carbs are the dietary evil. Read “Wheat Belly”, read “Good Calories, Bad Calories”, read “The 4-Hour Body” – those are eye-opening books on the subject.
will take a look. my mom new carbs were evil back in the 60s. she was before her time.
Here is more ammunition for Mayor Bloomberg:http://news.yahoo.com/want-…