Moving is really easy: you just throw everything you own into boxes, then lug them around the world on airlines for $100 a box. Piece of cake. Actually, I could use a piece of cake, now that I think of it. A big fat piece of three layer chocolate cake with gobs of icing and some of those pink roses. But I'm going to skip it because I am still in KY, land of the Gigantically Obese.
On the health and well-being scale, Kentucky would be dead last. At least, I'm hoping they would be. Surely there are not more fat people in another state. The boys claim New Jersey was no slouch when it comes to fat people, but even they admit Kentucky takes the cake. By a fur piece.
And let's be precise: not just fat. Gigantically by-God obese. And seemingly completely unaware that there is anything abnormal about them being so fat, or being surrounded by so many equally fat people. I saw three sisters in Kroger's last night, all three riding grocery
carts and absolutely ginormous. I'm not trying to be funny. It's like a really bad movie with a really tasteless joke as the central theme. I've never seen so many huge bellies hanging out under so many t-shirts over so many belt buckles–male and female–in my life. I'm appalled.
It is still a sign that something is terribly amiss to have so many grossly obese people all gathered in one area, right?
So what happened? It wasn't like this the last time we were here, Thanksgiving '06. Interestingly, on CRL, there was a discussion about about how it seems that, suddenly, there are enough hugely obese ticos to make it worth mentioning. I swear, when we first got to Costa Rica in Jan '06, I never saw any. None. Four and a half years later, hay [aye, there are] tons. Literally.
You know I can't resist pointing out the obvious. Since the U.S.A. introduced the FDA, the USDA, the CDC and the NIH, as a country, we are fatter and sicker than ever, every disease, including obesity, gaining ground. Since the dawn of minimum wage, Medicare and Social Security, we've gotten more and more entitled, which translates to lazier and lazier. Since the EPA opened its doors, our earth and waters have been poisoned by big business beyond imagination. And, since the institution of government schooling, we have gotten dumber and dumber, till we are now falling further and further behind third world countries in all subjects. Is it any wonder none of us can put two and two together anymore?
And, you know, Costa Rica has an FDA office of its own now. Let's see: Costa Rica gets its own FDA office and, at roughly the same time, we notice the appearance of grossly obese ticos. Coincidence?*
So, how did this happen? And how did it happen so fast? We can't blame it all on McDonald's and supersizing. McDonalds was born the same year I was: 1955. Obesity as a national pastime is a relatively recent event.
My theory is that it's a perfect storm of a few significant factors:
- Sugar. It's not the calories in the sugar that makes one fat. It's the insulin response thing, that's the killer you want to avoid at all costs.
- The addition of high-fructose corn syrup and sweeteners in EVERY commercially prepared food, including foods you wouldn't think to sweeten!
- SIDE NOTE: Did you know that there is now aspartame in all gum, even sugared gum? What's up with that? Rumsfeld not rich enough?
- "Food" that is actually dangerous to eat: GMO foods appear in all processed food (basically anything with soy, corn, cottonseed and canola) which change your DNA. BTW, HFCS is a GMO food. Gettin' a double-whammy with that particular poison. For a list of brands that are GMO-free, click here.
- Eating out (including eating in with take out food). Nobody cooks anymore unless you call heating a frozen dinner cooking. Everybody I know in the states eats out, often three meals a day. And everybody knows–even though they act like they don't–that, no matter how good the restaurant and how loving the owner, restaurant food is based on a bottom line. And, if it's really affordable, it's probably not even food.
- On top of that, there are very few restaurants that are not chains. Chains rule. And the whole point of a chain is to keep the bottom line very lean by ordering in bulk. Not fresh and certainly not local.
- Compulsive TV watching and computer gaming instead of socializing and exercising on one's feet.
Here's an interesting tidbit. Waffle House, which is my mom's favorite restaurant… hang on, I should explain: it's not because of the food. It's because they shout, "Good morning!" to everyone who enters. She loves that kinda stuff. Anyway: did you know that Waffle House does not serve butter? Get this: they don't even have any butter in the entire place! You can't even pay extra for real butter like you can for real maple syrup. They only serve Country Crock. It should be called Country Crap. But a waffle without butter? I think that's criminal. They should be arrested.
So what to do about all these fat people? I don't know. Where do you start with such a huge problem? With people who don't even know they have a problem? I know for sure I don't want to be gigantically obese. So I'm walking 2 miles five days a week, doing yoga four to five days, taking vitamins and, my new passion, eating and preparing traditional foods. Weston A Price rocks! But, of course: he calls butter a super food. Clearly, the man is a genius, along with the keeper of the flame, Sally Fallon. So I'm giving that a go. And hoping I look back in a year and can still see around myself…
Well, I know I started out talking about moving and how stressful it is, but I'm just too stressed to talk about it. Maybe tomorrow.
*Please do not point out the obvious: that this is hardly a scientific conclusion. But it's my blog and I get to jump to conclusions. Besides, everyone knows the FDA is an evil organization run by Monsanto.
I recently took a trip to Florida for my 35th high school reunion and some of the folks I saw in my travels made me think I’d landed in the movie “Wall-E” (great movie; if you haven’t seen it, here’s a pertinent clip, with future humans appearing about 1:15 into the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9s7afoYI-M)
Rather than the guvmint, I’m more inclined to blame TV, computers, cars (things that cause us to stop moving), suburbia (cars vs. walking everywhere), air conditioning (stay inside, and probably watch TV), along with changes in food habits (fast food in general, in whatever form it takes, i.e., microwave meals as well as the obvious Mickey D’s, etc.). One might be able to make the case that if big business had NO regulation (like the EPA) then our environment would be even more polluted than it is now. I believe we’ve supposedly made significant progress in reducing air pollution in major U.S. cities over the last 30 years, and wasn’t Lake Erie, etc., fairly dead back then too, but not now? Of course it’s always difficult to argue about what might have happened if….
I’m not saying the government bureaucracies are innocent, but I tend to think our wonderfully efficient consumer-driven marketplace has done a great job in giving us exactly what we “want” (even when what we want isn’t what we *should* want, or what we need). And they’re pretty smart about making us want things we didn’t even think we wanted before. As Pogo declared, we have met the enemy and he is us.
And I totally disagree about our not being able to “put two and two together:” I’ll have two of those, and two of those, and, OK I really shouldn’t, but thank you, two of those, too! Pile it on!
(Typed while walking on my new treadmill + Trekdesk combination: http://www.trekdesk.com ; 13 pounds down since June 1, and only about, oh, 50 or so to go!)
Sally, it’s not the government. It may contribute in some small way. But this time it’s not the main contributor. We’ll have to look elsewhere.
The Owners of the country do not need long lived, well educated and enlightened worker-slaves. Obese, sick people die young. Early death is more economical to the Owners than early retirement. We are, like the products we buy, designed for early obsolescence.
I would not look to the FDA for the cause of our dysfunctional society. That organization is just one of many symptoms. We work so many hours at such an insane pace that nobody feels they have the time to stop and shop for and prepare real food. We are beaten down by this evil monetized system of consumerism and pulverized into obedient, self sustaining slaves. We are fed a diet of poison which is sure to make us ill or kill us off early. Either way, the owners’ bottom line is protected or increased. Absurdly expensive health care enriches them and early death avoids the cost of maintaining an old, non-productive citizen.
We have had a world government for some time so escaping enslavement and exposure to the toxic environment it has created is difficult…..and you are moving back into the eye of the storm. Keep an eye on your waist line and your diet…and good luck.
Loved Wall-E, particularly when the human fell out of his chair and saw the world… priceless! We’ll have to continue this conversation (loudly over the noise of our treadmills) one day, Chuck! Congrats on your weight loss, no easy feat… I had to lie in a hospital bed to lose mine, lol!!!
John, where do you look? I’d love to blame it on something not so nefarious.
I’m with you, James. Yes, moving back to the eye of the storm. Hopefully just for a relatively short time… but Costa Rica, while not the eye of the storm, is completely involved in the OWG (or whatever that acronym is). Safer and more anonymous at the moment, but I’ll bet by the time I want to move back in 1-3 years depending on my schooling, it will exactly like a little U.S. At the rate it’s going, it just won’t take long.
Sally, I’m visiting family in Chapel Hill North Carolina. (None of whom are obese). Both daughters do power boot camp workouts 3 days a week or more. One daughter is a chef and knows food, and good food! Other daughter is a vegetarian and her skin and eyes just glow. Both trim and fit. Granddaughters have muscles, hamstrings, quads I envy! Obesity-not so much Chapel Hill, lots of granola eaters here, but onward to Durham/Raleigh LOTS of obese. Mostly I am seeing them in grocery stores…i love that irony. There are moms in their tankinis at the neighborhood pool, and they have some weight issues, but not gigantic but like myself could stand losing 10 lbs. some of the moms-20 lbs. I look damn good for 58 in comparison to some of those 30ish’ moms buying corn dogs for their 4 and 7 year olds. I think one huge reason for the fattening of America is the family dinner time has been obliterated by too many extracurricular activities, carpooling kids from one practice or game or activity to another. Dad working, mom working, dashing around like chickens etc…No sitting down to home cooked meals with the family. Only time for drive throughs, eating from bags or boxes in the car, on the way… Out of sync family schedules crammed too full. I agree with all of what you have written btw. Added to that is that the choice is still the individual’s. Organic produce, grains,beans,milk and animal products free of gmo etc. these can be a personal choice to reach for the healthier, lower fat items,.THOSE COST ALOT MORE is the usual argument, BUT, not more than cholesterol lowering drugs, or insulin shots or open heart surgery down the line! There are some fine vegetarian companies with pride in their production of veggie foods. Also, living consciously vs. unconscious. You can guess which category most obese are in. Despite all the govt. b.s., one can choose a different lifestyle.
Sally actually on the Biggest Loser they said Texas was the most obese state. Sorry.
When we traveled to the States a few weeks ago we were sitting in the Ft. Lauderdale airport people watching and I felt like I was at Jerry Springer try outs.
The people were fat and very trashy looking. I agree with the above statement though that it depends on what town you are in. In Flagstaff AZ. and Leadville CO. we saw hardly any fat. Just really cool hippies. On to Scottsdale AZ. El Paso TX. fat and very unhealthy looking.
I think certain people are drawn to live in areas that most reflect who they are. Or they move there and turn into those people, don’t know the order.
I guess that being the case you better be really careful about where you decide to live and know you will become one of them 🙂
If you need any help moving or cleaning or anything let us know, we are done with class in three weeks and have a whole army here.
Good luck with the move and keep moving!
Deb, I’m with ya, babe: living consciously is where it’s at.
Uh, oh, thanks for the head’s up, Robbie… gulp. The saving grace is that I’m moving here for one reason: my mom. Then it’s splitsville! Will pick my next city where the grass is greener and people are healthy!!!!!
My naturopathic doctor gave me this recipe to make your butter even healthier:
Soften one pound of butter (I use European butter ’cause it tastes better) and mix with approx. the same amount of olive oil (the more virgin, the better, if the strong taste doesn’t bother you). Mix together ’til smooth. I put it in an empty Land O’ Lakes tub and nobody’s the wiser! After your second piece of (whole grain) toast, you’ll never go back to eating anything like Country Crock!
PS: Please don’t stop blogging – you’ll be worth reading wherever you end up (tho I hope it’ll eventually be CR)
Thank you, Jill! I will try that – sounds yummy! And, just to set the record straight, I would only eat Country Crap if there were a gun to my head. All that margarine, low fat, fake food stuff is nasty. And, apparently, grossly fattening!