Monday, August 06, 2012

Choosing to Kick the Can

I did a lot of walking in New York City. The more I walked the more I missed home. This is a good thing because sometimes Los Angeles can get on your last nerve. You have to leave it to appreciate it. I missed the palm trees and the mountains.

Then again, you get to see things in a new light.

Once upon a time I used to drink soda like water. I know that I must have drank 10 to 15 cans a day. My mouth ran at light speed from all of the caffeine and sugar I was ingesting.

I was cranked up to maximum speed. Years later I went on a diet that totally cut out sugar. I had to go through a period of detox. Oh, my god was that tough. Headaches. Foggy thinking. Hostility.

When I got to the other side of the detox there was mental clarity. I dropped a lot of weight. My skin was perfect. I eventually slipped out of that diet but I never went back to that much soda ingestion.

Independent of the bottling company's intentions, I have a problem with any governmental body telling folks what they can and can't do with their bodies.There has to be a compelling, life threatening. and cost to society reason for the restriction of food products.

I get it. The cost of treating illness compounded with obesity issues does impact health care costs. We do eat way too much sugar, both visible and hidden. The costs are staggering.

I'm just not sure that banning the amount of consumption is the way to go about it. I have a feeling there will be 3 liter soda bottle smuggling from New Jersey.

I bring this up because here in California we have been seeing bus ads about the 22 teaspoons of sugar in a 20 ounce soda. One of the awareness web sites is the Kick The Can campaign.

There are other voices putting their two cents such as The Santa Clara County Public Health Department and Kaiser Permanente who are responsible for the video.

So what is my point? I think this has to be a personal decision and responsibility. Don't get me wrong. I do support what Mayor Bloomberg is trying to do; the health repercussion of internal obesity are serious.

Until each individual makes an informed decision about ingesting huge amounts of sugar and psuedo-sugars I don't think that you can have a long term lasting dietary change.

The money invested in ad campaigns making sure we remain un-healthy is staggering. Soda consumption advertising taps into our primal connections with community, social life and who we think we are.  Except that we are not runners, high jumpers or always walking on the beach with our loved ones.

Our desire to change must be real and committed. That has to go beyond legislation.

When folks said they didn't want high fructose corn syrup in their food products the industry changed and provided alternative non-HFCs products.  I think the same can happen when there are alternatives to super sugar drinks. I don't mean the diet stuff either.

So if you want to be healthier cut back on the sugar drinks. Or not. But don't leave it to the beverage companies or anyone else to make that decision for you. You are the one that has to live with it.

Looking down at my thighs I got some inner reflection to do as well.


  1. Excellent post. I read it as I was eating my Trader Joe's White Bean Hummus with baby carrots and a cup of decaf with Almond milk. I, too, have been coming to the realization about refined sugar, not just in soda - which I don't drink - but in many other foods as well. I'm becoming more aware of how it affects my body and the health conditions I have. No, it should not be up to the government, beverage/food companies or advertising to convince consumers not to eat or drink that which is overloaded with sugar, salt, and fat. Yet, it is a society in which we have a fashion paradox. Magazines put a "diet" of the month on one page then sugary, high fat desserts or foods on another.

    When I lived back eat, I loved going into NYC. But I also loved leaving it for the NJ suburbs.
    Hope you had a good time in the City and discovered some interesting places to visit.

    1. I certainly did enjoy my time there. I don't want you to think I'm a clean eater. I have a lot of work to do in that direction. I have to do a detox off of restaurant lunches and get back to making my own food choices.

      I think that sometimes we are resting in-between the pull of advertising and the pull of doing what is right. In that canyon we get lost. It is harder to know good healthy food choices. Yet we as citizens can promote healthy eating choices.

      I'm not opposed to a governmental agency suggesting better eating options. I'm not sure all of them can be legislated. There will be exceptions but this has to come from the bottom up.