Posted by: Hil | July 12, 2008

On the value of square meals

Yesterday was not my favorite kind of day.  I was in a meeting all through lunch (with no food), so I subsisted on snacks all afternoon.  My food was healthy, but my body’s rhythm felt very off.  All my snacking ruined my appetite for dinner, which I HATE.  I considered skipping dinner, but I decided that I really needed to eat something resembling a real meal, even if it was small.  So I heated up a big bowl of leftover vegetable soup and toasted a slice of whole wheat rosemary bread with some crumbled farmers market feta.  This took all of five minutes, and it was the best thing that I could have possible done for myself.  Eating a real meal, eating something with vegetables, eating mindfully…these things were more therapeutic than I can tell you.  Note to self:  even on an off day, you can still end well.

The husband and I rented Supersize Me last night, which was very interesting.  If you haven’t heard of the movie, it is a documentary about McDonalds.  The main gimic is that the writer-director volunteered himself as a guinea pig and vowed to eat nothing but McDonalds food for an entire month to see what happened to him.  I alternated between nodding my head in agreement and shouting at the TV that the issues aren’t that simple.  True assertions:  fast food is very bad for you, portion sizes have exploded, fast food companies spend lots of time and money marketing to kids, and fast food companies have an alarmingly large sway with school districts.  I’m just not so sure that you can blame the entirety of the obesity epidemic (a term that I hate, btw) on fast food.  What about urban sprawl that makes walking and biking a very poor method of getting anywhere?  What about crime that keeps inner city kids from ever setting foot outside of their homes?  What about the high price of fresh produce?  What about the absence of grocery stores in high crime areas?  What about the long hours that Americans work that leave them little time for food preparation or exercise?  I could go on and on.  Regardless, I think that you can’t go after fast food without looking at the broader context.

On a positive note, I was sitting in a City Council meeting yesterday, and one of the items up for discussion was a safe routes to school program that would focus on building networks of walking and biking paths, decreasing traffic congestion, and increasing police presence in order to make it safe and feasible for more children to walk or bike to school.  There are all kinds of challenges with programs like this, but it seems like a great step in the right direction.

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