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Jekyll and Hyde: The Food Version

November 14, 2012

The holiday season is right around the corner and it’s at this time of year that thoughts turn to helping out those in need, especially by providing Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, and extra food to keep them nourished during the cold winter months. Despite people going hungry all year, the majority of us don’t seem to realize it until we start preparations for our own dinners.

What’s interesting and disturbing at the same time, though, is this dichotomy in society regarding food and the holidays. It’s almost as if our society is suffering from split-personality disorder, like Jekyll and Hyde.

One personality is telling us that people shouldn’t starve. But the other personality constantly reminds us that we still need to watch our food intake and our weight or else we’ll get too fat from all those delicious treats. Food is the enemy, which is why we start seeing articles and news reports on how to stay “good,” how to “eat this and not that,” and how to make “healthy substitutions,” despite getting to hear endless diet talk in January all over again.

It pains me to read how many people, especially children, are suffering from food insecurity and hunger, yet more attention is paid to the obesity epidemic and how to slim us down. Millions of dollars are being poured into these anti-obesity programs, even though their weight-loss efforts aren’t really working. It makes you wonder when these pearl clutchers are going to stop and think about what might be the actual health threat here and here’s a hint: it’s not fat. Yes, we’ve all heard the correlations between weight and disease, but we also know correlation doesn’t lead to causation. There are bigger complications from not getting enough food to keep bodies and brains functioning.

So this year, when you’re with your friends and family around the table, or wherever you go to eat your holiday meal, take this challenge: If someone makes a remark about eating too much, getting fat, harping about calories, sugar content, etc., come back with a remark about how there are those who wouldn’t care about eating something with a lot of sugar and calories because it may be the only food they get in weeks or months. Watch their reactions. Listen to their replies. Maybe, just maybe, the attention could turn towards how food is positive and a force we need to survive, not a Mr. or Ms. Hyde  just waiting to cause us all kinds of aesthetic misery.

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