It’s that time of year again when school cafeterias gear up to provide the standard unwholesome lunches to children and even so-called health-food stores have set up back-to-school displays featuring the usual disastrous breakfast line-up of toaster pastries and sugary cereals.
In the heated debate over health care — which is really about disease care — it’s amazing that the most basic discussion isn’t taking place. This discussion is not about all the misinformation out there — the proposed plan seeks to “cover illegal aliens” or “requires death counseling” are two fallacies now making their way around the conservative talk show misinformation networks.
The real discussion should be about why so many people get sick.
For the most part people get sick because of what they eat. Largely (and I don’t use the word lightly) what most Americans eat, starting in childhood, is too much refined wheat flour and sugar.
We would not allow big tobacco to provide cigarettes to our school children, but our collective mindset has not yet shifted to view what the captains of industry serve up — processed foods — as just as real a health threat. Clearly these foods contribute to the growing threat of childhood diabetes, not to mention cancer, heart disease and others.
As a result, more than half of U.S. children are overweight, and a large proportion of kids are actually obese and headed for a lifetime of disease. Unhealthy people are what really burdens our health-care system.
The amazing thing is that you — not the government or the insurance companies — have a great deal of control over your diet and health. But few exercise this personal responsibility. Instead, most people expect this illusion of a “health care” system to save them. And regardless of what kind of reform takes place, it won’t.
Meanwhile, even here we’re trying to figure out something that we can send along to school with Harrison that he will actually eat. I’m thinking in terms of making a bunch of wheat-free waffles on Sunday and using them for sandwiches. Probably almond butter with fruit-only jelly or honey.
Incidentally, I used the waffles as a take-along “energy bar” for mid-morning snacks before all of my pack-burro races this summer. I ate some just plain, and had one with almond butter before the 29-mile Fairplay race.