Monday, May 10, 2010

Fat Nation

I'm back from a week vacationing with family up in the Sonoma area of Northern California, and man what a beautiful place. I could spend years exploring the roads and mountains via bike and foot. And though I saw quite a few people biking around those stunningly gorgeous valleys I honestly thought there would be more out enjoying the sights. But judging by the amount of overweight people driving up to the wineries and in the mineral pools, alot of those people aren't doing much exercise ever. I honestly think it would be hard to be overweight in such an environment, but that's not reality.

That brings me to an article in the latest issue of the Atlantic Journal called "Fat Nation" by Mark Ambinder. It's a fairly long article, but very well written, so please click the link and go read it.

Ambinder's approach is interesting in that he takes a macro view of the obesity issue, tying it not only to fast food, increased caloric intake, and the dubious corporate food industry, but also to how it is now more accepted than ever to be fat., and how this affects us.

At once encouraging (the author lost some 90 pounds) and dark: "At the current rate of increase it will take less than 30 years for all black women to become overweight or obese."

Wrap your mind around that for a minute.

Ambinder does a great job at digging into problems involved high up in the corporate and political stratosphere. Basically the food industry discovered that it could make mountains of cash by making Americans want to eat more and more crap. It's a hard nut to crack, as we are constantly bombarded by commercials and displays in grocery stores encouraging unhealthy choices. But it can be overcome.

Personally, my wife and I don't shop at Ralphs or any other store full of processed junk. We buy most of our food at Trader Joe's and farmer's markets. And even though Trader Joe's does sell some unhealthy items, by and large it's easier to buy food of better quality.

Neither do we eat at any fast food places, nor Applebees, Pizza Hut etc... I'd much rather eat someplace that I know takes pride in the quality of their food, not just the profit in serving up frozen processed junk. And we certainly don't miss any of those foods at all.

Lest you think I'm a paleo or vegan nazi, I'll readily throw down some carbs, grains, and milk. My parents, their parents, and their parents did just fine eating bread and drinking milk.

And besides, most people are not going to be able to stick to a restrictive diet. Why not just use common sense in choosing the freshest possible food?


Don said...

You write: "My parents, their parents, and their parents did just fine eating bread and drinking milk." Did they really? You mean all of them died in their sleep of old age and none had one of the many diseases of civilization that now plague us? There are two reasons to go paleo. The second is avoiding the foods of civilization is the best chance we have to avoid the diseases of civilization. This is discussed here: Paleo diet explained.

Roland said...


Lots of people live long, long lives on non-paleo foods, many probably do die in their sleep. Do you think they just make up those old yogurt commercials? ;)

Personally, I think most people would be a little healthier with fewer (or no) grains and other things like that, but it's something of a sliding scale.

How much non-paleo food do you get before you're taken off that site? Do you go over to Mark Sisson's blog and warm him of the dangers of only 80% compliance? What if it was 81?

Just something to consider...

Chris B said...

Yes, they all are/were healthy until ripe old ages.

I'm not as diplomatic as Roland, so I'll just say there are so many holes in that paleo bullshit I won't be bothered to get into it.

Well spoken Roland.