| Feb 24, 2005

Mazinaw musings February 24, 2005

Mazinaw musings February 24, 2005

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Fat, sugar and salt

We have a halfway stop on the way home from a day out front. It is a coffee shop that is handy relief for our aging and weakening bladders but our Canadian consciences won't allow the unlimited use of a rest room without some recompense. Invariably as we sit in the parking lot consuming the muffins, one can handle a coffee while driving but not coffee and muffins, comments are made about the tastiness of the Fruit Explosions being devoured. I console my Significant Helpmate by suggesting that if she would use the same amounts of fat, sugar and salt in her whole-wheat/oat-meal/ wheat-germ/apple-sauce/flax-seed/raisin/bran muffins we could also have the same flavour at home and at a fraction of the cost of buying readymade. My suggestion, actually a plea, falls on deaf ears and we sup our coffee in silence for the remainder of the trip. There is no detouring in our family voyage along the healthy food highway as mapped by my SH.


Interestingly many of the fast food joints, which are being accused of contributing to the rising rates of obesity around the world, are beginning to change their ways and reduce the fat, sugar and salt in their menus. A reduction in business has hit their bottom line, their income. Profits are plummeting as enlightened customers look in the mirror and recoil in horror at the weight that has slipped on from over-indulgence and inactivity.

There is nothing like a sharp kick to the bottom line to make a business promote a healthier eating style! Stop the money, and the fat, sugar and salt quickly disappear to be replaced by healthier alternates. Who says money doesn't talk?

Some futurists are predicting that obesity will soon surpass smoking as a major cause for health problems and that the health care system can ill afford to face this onslaught. We are eating ourselves to death; we know we are doing it but are having a difficult time heeding the warning signs and as long as business can make a buck with liberal doses of cheap fat, sugar and salt in food, we wont get help from them.

Tobacco products are highly taxed in an attempt by the government to discourage smoking and to raise tax revenue. There is now discussion of additional taxes on certain unhealthy foods to discourage people from buying them. (The fat tax was swept out of sight once but I predict it will raise its head again.) We humans are a sorry lot when it takes a tax increase to encourage us to be healthy. Why pay at all for obesity-causing and artery-clogging foods when we can refuse to buy them and feel better?

Take a minute at the grocery checkout counter and reread a label, then say to the cashier, "Oh sorry, I don't want this. It has great taste but high in hydrogenated trans-fat" or "Sorry, but I didn't see that this juice cocktail has high sugar content; I wanted the pure juice. Please place the pure juice bottles where they can be found easily instead of the cheaper sugar-laced drinks." Then give the offending items to the clerk before they are scanned. By forcing the store manager to return the items to the shelves, you will be denting his bottom line and he will eventually get the message. This is not always a popular interchange when I am accompanied by SH at the checkout counter: I am not certain why she doesn't accept the explanation that I wish to make mankind healthier and am not just being ornery; but perhaps she knows me too well!

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