Friday, November 18, 2011

A Rose By Any Other Name…

…would smell as sweet.  Shakespeare’s line came to mind when I read in the news that Congress passed a bill that would categorize pizza as a vegetable.  Yes you read that right.  Pizza is now officially a vegetable thanks to the tomato sauce on it.  The hell with the issue of obesity in children and healthier lunches.  We’ll just reclassify pizza as a vegetable and keep it on the school menu.  After all the special interest groups needs must come before the health of the country’s children.  

Starchy vegetables were also to be limited to one cup a week.  However, the potato people were not too happy about that, as schools use 300 million pounds of potatoes every year, and cutting them to once a week would cut into their profits.  So, now French fries will not be limited.  Besides, if the kids just put a couple of teaspoons of ketchup on them, they can also be called vegetables and not starches.  

Since pizza and fries are the most consumed foods on the school menu, not much is going to change in terms of creating healthier choices for kids to eat.  But why stop there?  The government, in all its wisdom, is sabotaging 32 million school children.  Maybe we can take it a few steps further?

How about beef jerky as a protein?  Cheese cake for dairy?  Blueberry pie as a fruit?  Oatmeal cookies for whole grains?  We can doctor up all the unhealthy foods and make them healthy.  If we can do it with pizza we can do it with anything.  Take a glass of Coke or Pepsi and squeeze some lemon juice in it.  The whole thing is ridiculous.

Everyone knows you can make a healthy version of pizza.  Make the crust from whole grain flour, add fresh tomato sauce, and healthy toppings like chicken, green peppers, pineapple, or whatever.  You can make it without all the oil, that’s what I dislike most about pizza.  However, that would not suit the producers of the pizzas who are currently supplying the schools.  Their version is the same old unhealthy variety that has been bought by schools and consumed by kids for years.  They aren’t about to make changes any time soon.  

Even when I visited college campuses for open houses, while my girls were trying to decide where to go, the majority of dietary choices were fast food options and very few healthy food cafeterias.  My daughter did a report about the “Freshmen 15” which dealt with a myth that freshmen gain 15 pounds their first year of college.  The truth is they don’t gain 15 pounds.  However, they do tend to gain a significant amount of weight that first year. Studies show that the average student gains 7 or 8 pounds.  And while there may be other factors included in why they gain the weight, one of the biggest factors is the type of food readily available.

I guess, if we wait long enough to deal with this issue, we will have a obese society.  It reminds me of a toy from years ago…the Playskool Weebles…weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.  You must remember those little egg-shaped people your babies played with?  Well if you forgot, here they are…soon to be us.

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