NewFNP was at the gym yesterday, reading the NYT whilst stationery biking. It's not her favorite workout, but yesterday was a day during which newFNP had to kill two birds with one stone. Thus, NYT and exercise together -- it's like church for newFNP.
Monday, February 15, 2010
The Week in Review section had a below-the-fold article about taxing soda written by Mark Bittman, whose bread recipes tend to be quite good, but whose sugar cookie recipe leaves something to be desired. Clearly, no manufacturer of any product is supportive of a tax on their wares, especially to the tune of 1 cent per ounce and when your product is being blamed as a component (and not an insignificant one) of the obesity epidemic. The industry quotes against such a tax were so transparently douchey, especially the one from one Mr. Derek Yach of PepsiCo who wondered if a tax on sugary food might make things worse by leading to an increased consumption of fat.
It should come as no surprise that newFNP supports such a tax. (She supports taxes on cigarettes as well. If marijuana were to become legalized, she would support a weed tax.) Soda has no nutritional benefits. Okay, okay, it has sugar. But overall, while tasting good, it is a piece of dump nutritionally speaking. When newFNP counsels newly diagnosed diabetics - something she does with alarming frequency - one of the first points she makes is that soda is a no-go, a killer, absolutely a never on the diabetic food pyramid. She believes that using the public health model that targeted cigarette consumption is a reasonable approach. After all, cigarette consumption has decreased significantly over the past few decades.
The article got newFNP thinking that there are other ways to decrease soda consumption. In newFNP's clinic, many, many of her patients receive food stamps. A quick trip to the national food stamp program website states quite clearly that the goal of the program is to help low-income families buy food that supports good health. Clearly, soda should not be on that list. Food stamps are a government program and the government already dictates some exclusions from the food eligibility list. For instance, alcohol is excluded, yet non-alcoholic mixers are not. Cigarettes are excluded. Flaxseed oil is excluded, yet cooking wine is okay. Hell, you can get bows and arrows with food stamps if you are lucky enough to live in Alaska!
If newFNP were asked to update the eligibility list, she would exclude all non-dairy sugary beverages. Good-bye Sunny D! You're not fooling anyone! See you later Orange Crush, you asshole. No one needs you! And no one would be about to do the Dew with food stamps.
But newFNP wouldn't stop there. No Hot Cheetos or any kind of chips. Knowing that food stamps and health are political issues, she might compromise and let Sun Chips or Baked Lays sneak by. No candy. No sugary cereals. No Lunchables. No Hostess, not even the delicious chocolate doughnuts that are so yummy on roadtrips home from snowboarding.
Yes, nutritious foods are expensive. Fresh fruits and veggies go bad if not eaten in a timely fashion. But frozen veggies don't. And if one's cart isn't piled high with a bunch of shit, the food stamps might go a little farther and actually work toward the program's goal of supporting healthy nutrition options in poor families.
And then move on to the schools. No soda dispensers and quit cutting recess and P.E. time. Seriously people - don't just have kids run the mile. Throw a kid a bone and help them to find a physical activity that they like, that they'll do for their entire lives. How about mat pilates P.E.? Hip hop dance P.E. class? Weight training. Not square dancing. Repeat - not square dancing.
Michelle Obama, if you're reading this, newFNP is here to help.