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Friday, February 25, 2011

'Proud to be a Pig" And Other Unhealthy Views

If you've kept a passive eye on the news this week, you might have seen Rush Limbaugh's incendiary words about Michelle Obama and her Let's Move program. To put it in a nutshell, he said that Mrs. Obama was asking everyone to eat tofu and cardboard, and that she wasn't practicing what she was preaching because a) she doesn't look like a swimsuit model, b) Alex Rodriguez wouldn't date her and c) because she ate a spare rib dinner on holiday this past weekend. 

I mean, obviously, there's more wrong with that entire tirade than I care to cover in a single blog. But I was outraged, partly because I think the Let's Move program is one of the better things going on in politics, but also because of Limbaugh's assertion that, in order to be healthy, one must be a model and eat nothing of any substantial value. 

In this article on Grist.org, Ms. Zimmerman put it perfectly: "Nothing jacks up health promotion like the idea that health is for other, better people."
And it's shocking how many time I have seen this attitude lately. Many of those who oppose the general political ideas of the Obama administration have taken it upon themselves to oppose every single thing that they are doing, regardless of whether or not it makes sense to do so. Many of the outspoken members of the Tea Party movement are looking at the anti-obesity initiatives and saying, "This is insane! They are trying to tell me what to eat! I can be fat if I want to! It's my right as an American!!!!"

And it is. So is smoking. But it's bad for you, it's bad for the people that you love, and there's absolutely no reason why people shouldn't strive to eat decently and live decently. It's absurd to cram enormous portions down your throat simply because you have the ability to do so. 

You don't eat right because the government says so, but if the government takes initiative in making fresh produce available and affordable to underprivileged families, how can that be a bad thing? You don't lose weight because the first lady negotiates with big box grocers and restaurants to make healthier options more available, but maybe because of that, someone who is overfed and undernourished can start getting the proper food groups, and in three meals a day.

And then, you can take politics out of it entirely. I still see, all the time, this attitude of pride over unhealthy habits. But there's no lasting pride in hurting yourself. Health is not for other, better people...other people who live certain other lifestyles that you think are better than yours. Health is for everyone...and we should be focusing on making sure that everyone can afford and have access to healthy food items...not insulting someone for not looking like a swimsuit model.

Health doesn't mean seeing your ribs or spending five hours a day in the gym. Health is about moderate portions of whole food, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins...and it's about working activity into your day, and learning to be in tune with the world around you. It's about doing the thins that you love with the people that you love, and living a life that satisfies you. 

I'm sorry, Mr. Limbaugh, but drowning your sorrows in prescription pills and cheeseburgers doesn't make you any more American than those of us who eat healthfully, and spreading your message of vitriol and hate over something so absurd simply proves to anyone who was still wondering that you are patently moronic. 

Eat healthy, live well, be happy, and don't listen to those who don't get it.

The Calm Cook

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