If life were a movie and I were the director…

Scene: Produce department of a small grocery store

Characters: Over weight mother, her overweight  8 year old son, eavesdropping produce clerk

Mother: Let’s get some vegetables for dinner.

Son: (clutching box of ice cream bars) Oh look Mom watercress and bok choy.

Mother:  We’ll get some broccoli and maybe this cucumber.

Son:  If we get some fruit we could make fruit-kebobs.

Mother:  No fruit is too expensive.

Son:  But if I were making them we could use these strawberries and raspberries and some apple slices.

Mother:  No we’re all set.

They go to the check out line and pick up three more pieces of chocolate while checking out.

If this were a movie and I were the director the scene would have gone like this:

Mother:  Let’s get some vegetables for dinner.

Son: (still clutching box of sugar and fat) Oh look Mom water cress and bok choy.

Mother:  Okay let’s try the bok choy and if we put the ice cream back we can get some fruit for a treat.

Son:  Oh boy!  Lets get strawberries and apples and make fruit kabob.

Mother:  Great idea!  That will be fun.

They check out with the local bok choy and some organic strawberries and apples.  And our final shot is of them playing happily on a well constructed kid friendly playground.

Now,  It is obvious from the first scene (the one that really happened)  that the kid had been getting some nutritional education from someone other than his mother.  I can only assume it was at school.  Which is great, it means that this kid has a chance to change his lifelong eating habits and become healthier then he is now.

When my son was  a kid (I don’t mean to sound holier than thou but) we never had soda in the house.  We would go to a party or other gathering and if there was soda available my son would always ask “Is it a special enough occasion for me to have a soda, Mom?”  He was getting his nutrition lessons at home.  Fortunately our schools are taking up some of the slack for parents whose own eating habits are so bad that they have no hope of helping their children develop better habits.  Maybe the kids will help the parents.

And if you think that a little soda won’t make you fat then you need to see the movie King Corn.  A total indictment of high fructose corn syrup.  A crop that gets lots of government subsidies and is making our children morbidly obese, not by itself but it is a very big factor in the childhood obesity epidemic.  We are creating a generation who is going to die before we do.  The only generation in history to live shorter lives than their parents.

And my other point.  I wanted to take the box of ice cream from the kid and look at the weight and then point out to the mother that an equivalent weight of the fruit was actually not only much more nutritious but also no more expensive and perhaps less.

I believe in Memes.   I think an idea gets out there into the culture and takes on a life of it own.   Unfortunately the Meme in this case was: healthy food is expensive.  In most cases this is not true.  Because organic food is more nutrient dense it can actually be cheaper to eat.   It certainly is cheaper in the long run when you factor in the cost of heart disease, adult onset diabetes and cancer.  It is more filling,  more satisfying and, don’t forget, better for the planet.  I think that one of the reasons we have so much obesity in our society (apart from the rampant lack of physical activity) is that the food we are eating is so bereft of nutrition that our bodies cry out for more and more food to try to fill that nutritional void.  Thus we over eat.

Over reaching statement alert!  Healthy, nutritionally dense food is the answer to the obesity epidemic.  Now there’s a Meme I can get behind!


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