Monday, December 11, 2006


Why is America obese? (I'll avoid using "fat" so no one is offended--unless it's referring to actual fat.) And the corollary, why are we so sick?

1. America's egalitarian principles have gone too far and have made obesity socially acceptable.
2. Clothiers have accomodated it with sizes nearing triple digits and elastic waists. There would be no obesity if the alternative were going naked.
3. We have simply no clue what healthy eating is. I have had patients inform me that they are vegetarians because they eat vegetables with their meat and potatoes. I have overheard patients waiting for CT scans talking about their diets, and the one asks the other incredulously, "So what made your husband decide to eat vegetables?" The more I read up on it, the more I am convinced that this is why they are patients and I am not--although this is not entirely true, because tomorrow I go in for my own pre-op work-up! (This will require an entirely new blog entry. Don't worry, I'm not terminal!)
4. We are not active. These days, everyone has a car and drives everywhere, even if it's just down the block. Cars equal wealth, that you have made it, and if you walk anywhere, you must be short on cash. I'm not advocating that we all hit the gym--heck, I can't stand that and don't go there myself. But what's wrong with WALKING to the coffee shop around the corner? I myself walk nearly a mile to, and then from, work every day. Why do we go back the parking lot to move our car closer to the next store in the strip mall, or circle the parking lot at the gym to find the closest spot to the door? Why? Why?
5. People think that "healthy" living equals self-deprivation. Far from it. There are so many foods that the typical American diet excludes because they are "yucky" for some reason. Remember that saying, "Black is Beautiful"? Well, I say Green is Beautiful. And yellow and red and purple and orange--basically anything NOT (animal) flesh-colored. There are hundreds of cancer-fighting chemicals in just cabbage and onions alone, really and truly. Celery has been shown to lower blood pressure. And what about brown rice? You lose a few coatings of the grain (where all the anti-cancer and constipation-fighting goodies are, I swear, if I have one more patient tell me about their constipation, I'll scream) in white rice. And eating too much animal protein has been proven to cause you to lose calcium in your urine. Osteoporosis anyone? Have an EXTRA steak! I don't think the problem lies completely in our high-fat, high-animal protein diet, and I'm certainly not advocating vegetarianism, although it is the ideal. The problem is what is lacking--all the high-fiber, anti-cancer, antioxidant goodies in vegetables and whole grains that vegetarians embrace and that may just balance out the high-fat, high-animal protein diet if we would simply eat them. So you tell me, who is really being deprived?

Keep in mind that this comes from the chick who, as a toddler, ate brussels sprouts as if they were candy. (I also licked the soles of my shoes.)

Also, I want to make it clear that I really do care about my patients. I try to enlighten them without passing judgement. I'm very passionate about their health, and it really irks me that for some reason they cannot or will not see that incorporating some minor changes may really improve their lot or keep bad things from happening in the future (yes, they really are minor, when you consider the alternatives--the surgeries I can perform to remove a variety of vital organs or limbs, in any combination thereof).

That's all for now. Carry on.


At 9:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the people that think that to be a vegetarian they have to ONLY eat vegetables?

At 7:33 AM, Blogger Jaws said...

Whoa. You really threw me for a loop there. I thought, "Isn't that what vegetarianism is?" before I figured out that you meant no grains, no nuts, etc. I guess I equated "plant-derived" with "vegetable." Time to sleep, I guess.


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