I am astounded by how often, and intensely, political views enter the obesity debate. Conservatives rail against the "food police," and hammer on "personal responsibility" as the solution. (As a former 365-pounder with 20 years of diligence toward achieving and maintaining a normal-sized body, I know about personal responsibility, and agree that each of us needs to claim our own part.)
Can I just say it's exciting to disagree with someone of a different stripe for a change? The someone in question is George Miranda, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council 16, which represents 120,000 workers in greater New York. I assume, totally without facts, that he and I might be on the same side of many issues. But not today.
I will eventually get tired of skewering the skippies over at the "Center for Consumer Freedom," but not just yet. They are the "independent" nonprofit whose funding comes from restaurants and food-products companies.
Their website says they are also funded by thousands of individual consumers, but I don't believe it. I shouldn't say that, not only because it's impolitic, and not only because I have no proof, but because they'll seize on a comment like that, rather than straightforwardly address the very substantive ways in which I contend that they twist facts and truth. My disbelief lies in common sense: Thousands of Americans are donating their money to the people-should-be-able-to-eat-whatever-they-want movement? It that principle in jeopardy? Meanwhile, let's consider the restaurants and food-products people. Does anyone doubt that they would spend their money to advocate for food freedom? They don't need principle to motivate them; their entire future is based on ensuring that nothing ever impedes their sales.
I could go on with all the background bullshit, but let's take a look at their piece of yesterday, March 31, headlined "Waving the white flag on personal responsibility?" which is full of their usual half-baked inanities.
But I want to start with a shout out to my poor addled brothers: I, too, believe in personal responsibility. Even when I was 365 pounds, mired in food addiction, I was completely responsible for what I put in my mouth. Completely.
My issue, as much as any, is legitimacy for food addiction, based on my personal experience recovering from it. For so many people, that is the place to start, and perhaps even to end: address the physical, emotional, and spiritual deficits that are getting in the way of peace, happiness, and health.
If you've read this blog even once before, you likely know I used to lean to the left, but now am permanentaly bent that way. I favor actions like sugared soda taxes as a way to encourage people not to drink them — I think of them as a market solution to a community problem. I don't purposely single out sugared sodas, but consider them an excellent beachhead because they add empty calories without delivering any nutritional benefit.
A proposal to raise taxes by two cents per ounce on sweetened bottled and canned soda won't make it out of committee.
I would rather report that it was done for reasons of public health, but it appears the Centennial State is merely trying to find tax revenue in a down economy. [link to story]
I wonder how those tax breaks got in there in the first place. To help the disadvantaged candy and soda businesses compete against the entrenched forces of broccoli?
I have also been late in addressing the recent announcement of pending changes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association that regard eating behaviors. The DSM is in its fourth edition; the fifth is due in 2013.
You may know that the only substance abuse disorders regarding food in the DSM IV are anorexia and bulimia. There is another category, ED-NOS, which stands for eating disorders not otherwise specified, but they are mostly A/B-related, with exceptions.
With 5,600 events spread over 180 countries, there has been no end to the reports on what transpired at the climate-change rallies instigated by 350.org on Saturday . I've seen a half dozen just in my in-box, and many more filled my Facebook windows before my account crapped out (710 friends gone, just like that!).