I was intrigued by the affect Laura Madsen's post, "Bloomberg's Bubbly Beverage Ban," had on its readers. A Reuters' survey reported that we are the most obese nation on the planet, with 34% of our adult population being obese as well as 17% of our children. A serious issue, but I feel legislating New Yorkers' soda intake as a pro-health initiative in my opinion is akin to treating an amputation with a Band-Aid.
Let me be perfectly clear that I am not, nor do I profess to be, a medical professional. However, I do proudly state that I'm a concerned mom, wife and health advocate. I have taken control of my health and that of my family by going back to nature, steering away from processed foods and adopting a plant-based diet. My decision to adopt a plant-based lifestyle was MY OWN decision, which I made freely, happily and after a good amount of research. No one twisted my arm or mandated my food options through legislation; I probably wouldn't have made the change if it had been since I'm a pretty stubborn person.
I am not so sure that obese, or even overweight, people are happy with their health, appearance or the discrimination they face. I am sure, in most cases, people do not set out one day to become obese as if it were a job or goal. I do believe there are a myriad of reasons for the decay of our nation's health and people’s antipathy toward their own health is not one of them.
Look at healthy vs. processed food. The sad fact is that highly processed, additive-laden foods are the most affordable; therefore, when you have to feed a hungry family of 4, 5 or 6 on today's salaries, the affordable foods are what you often find in the shopping carts. Additionally, in today's difficult economic times, people need to feel like they're getting a bargain and unfortunately that bargain sometimes comes in the guise of a family "treat," such as a Costco super-sized case of muffins or the feed bag-sized bag of popcorn at the movie theater.
Most homes have two working parents and a few kids with grueling extra-curricular schedules. How many people use the family minivan as a substitute for the dining table? Once you're at the drive-thru window, the enticement of tripling the meal size for mere pennies is often too great, especially when you have a car full of hungry kids on their way to baseball or gymnastics.
Lastly and most importantly, I believe it is our RELATIONSHIP with food that is at the heart of the matter. For many, the battle with food is an emotional one rather than an irresponsible view of health. As a child I remember feeling stuffed to the gills at the dinner table while my mother chided me about the starving children in Africa; as a result, portion size has always been an issue for me. I was taught to clean my plate rather than let my body tell me I was full. However (in my poor maligned parent’s defense), the foods of prior decades were not over-processed, nor were they available in bulk.
It is my goal to help people take a non-judgmental look at themselves and others and change their relationships with food. Healthy foods "fuel" while processed foods "fool." When you open your mind and embrace this simple fact, food will no longer control you... you will control it!
Now, getting back to the original subject of this post...soda. Maybe people drink so much soda because they feel they have no tasty options. Well fear not my friends, here is my recipe for MINTY GREEN ICED TEA.
MINTY GREEN ICED TEA
8 cups of filtered water, boiling
4 tbs. loose green tea
1 cup fresh mint
agave nectar, to taste
Place tea and mint in large bowl and add with 4 cups of boiling water; cover bowl and let steep 4 minutes. Add agave nectar to taste and strain into heat resistant pitcher. Return tea and mint leaves to bowl and add remaining 4 cups of boiling water. Repeat steeping process and strain into pitcher. Chill well and serve over ice with mint garnish. Happy sipping!