Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Eat right, exercise, and die anyway

I know, with the exception of the one little rambling post the other night, it's been nearly a month since I've posted anything. Sorry. Like I said before, my offline life has to take priority over my online life, and my offline life has tossed me more than it's fair share of brushback pitches. I guess I've been bad, so you will just have to spank me (no, not you...or you...you, the blonde in the back, YOU can come over and spank me).

Anyway, now to the issue at hand. There has been some debate over whether the Wisconsin Food Share program should limit the kinds of foods that are purchased with taxpayer funds. Soda, chips, and other junk foods are most often cited as things to be restricted.

At first blush, I tend to agree with this. There are healthier options out there for food. The more my mind mulled this over, the more confused it became. I mean, what exactly is healthy? The obvious answer is to be healthy. When I asked my Facebook minions why we should eat healthy, most of the responses I got were health related. With the exception of Faith, who seemed to think the only reason to eat healthy food is to make the bad stuff taste better, Everyone agreed that healthy eating habits can keep you from having problems in the future.

The big sticking point is that word healthy. It seems so vague, yet so limiting at the same time. Take a person who eats right, exercises frequently, has a well toned body, but has a genetically inherited disease that will limit their lifespan significantly. Is that person healthy? What about a person who, by all current medical standards, is in perfect health but eats what would be considered by most to be equivalent to rocket fuel. Is he healthy? Are we ready to tell tens of thousands of people that have genetically passed diseases that they are never going to be healthy?

What about the foods themselves? In my own lifetime, the following foods have both been considered healthy and unhealthy: Eggs, soybeans (and other soy products), dried fruit, most dairy products including milk and sour cream, and even water for crying out loud! If doctors can't agree what is healthy, how can the rest of us?

I remember hearing somewhere (I can't remember if it was a medical journal or Lewis Black) that a craving is your body's way of telling you that you are deficient in something that the food you crave has. Can't drink enough milk? You could need the calcium or vitamin D. You won't rest until you get that perfectly grilled T-bone? Probably you need a bit more protein. If that is the case, the only one that truly knows what is best for you is you. All the advice from doctors and nutritionists won't mean squat.

So, if the doctors can't tell you and the only one that can is your own body, why does a bureaucracy like a state government seem to think it knows what's best for you? It doesn't. It's another overreaching thought by politicians in the greatest nanny state of them all. Just another way of circumventing your freedom of choice by scare tactics. They all tell you that if you don't do this, you'll die earlier. What if I don't want to live a long life? As with everything else, quantity is rarely trumped by quality. If you don't accomplish anything in 75 years, will it make a difference if you don't accomplish anything in 100?

Our culture has an obsession with what's next (save for retirement, eat well for a long life, pre-planning everything). The problem is, we spend so much time looking ahead that, when we get there, most of us look back and realize that there's nothing there. I'm no different. Granted, I have only one regret in my life (no, you can't ask because I won't tell you), but I also haven't accomplished much either. Everything was always about the future. Perhaps if we spend a bit more time enjoying the present, maybe when the future does arrive we can look back and at least have a little smile. So go out, splurge, and enjoy the jumbo rack of barbecue ribs with the side of chili fries. Make that trip to the Red Dot and grab a plate of poutine. We only have one go-around in the mortal coil (unless you are Hindu) so you might as well enjoy the ride.

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