Hello again from the city of sin!
I said last week, of the Seven Deadly Sins you can find eight here in
Las Vegas. This week, let’s talk about a biggie…pun definitely intended…GLUTTONY.
Gluttony: An inordinate desire to consume more than that which one needs.
For my purposes, let’s deal with gluttony where it concerns food.
know there has been some controversy lately over the American National
Anthem being re-written into Spanish and I hate to fuel the fire but
I’ve come up with a little re-write of my own that I think is overdue.
Here’s the first verse…
Oh please don’t weigh me
It could cause quite a fright.
When I step on the scale
You might run away screaming.
stop, I’m not bashing the U.S., believe me Canada is doing it’s best to
catch up to the obesity statistics south of the border. (Canada-
Leading the world in being just north of the United States!). But folks
the harsh truth is that America has the highest prevalence of obesity
among all developed nations. And nowhere is that more obvious than any
afternoon on the Las Vegas strip!
On our former Vegas weekend junkets, the Prez and I used to play a game called “Find the Fattest Person”. This game is tough, not because it is hard to find really overweight people here, but because there are so many it is hard to decide on the biggest of all. And why not? This is the land of the buffet! ALL YOU CAN EAT!!
Think about that for a moment – all you can eat. Not “enough food to satisfy” or “lots of food” or even “enough food to make you really full”, no, the buffet is all you can eat; as much food as you can stuff into your gullet without inducing a coma or death (we hope).
How many good, Christian Americans are committing the sin of Gluttony every day? Well, let’s look at the stats from the Center for Disease Control. As of 2005:
– 65% of Americans are overweight
– 32% of Americans are obese
– 17% of children in America are overweight
– 3.8 million Americans weigh 300lbs or more
– 400, 000 Americans weigh 400lbs or more
I mean forget the ethical and social implications of millions of people
eating so much that they are obese while millions, make that billions,
of people are starving and just consider the health ramifications.
Obesity is responsible for over 300,000 deaths per year and those
statistics continue to grow in epidemic proportions. Childhood obesity
has tripled in the last two decades! Obesity is linked to
diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, some kinds of cancer, and
arthritis among other things. Gun control? We need hamburger control.
War on terrorism? How about a war on Gluttonism?
Some of you, those who know me, may be thinking, Sure, easy for you to point the finger skinny girl, you don’t have to worry about getting fat. You’re
right…and wrong. I do have genetics on my side, no doubt about that. My
dad used to say I had a hollow leg and called me Skinny Minnie when I
was a kid. My appetite was huge and I could eat and eat and eat without
gaining a pound (feel free to curse me as you read this). Even after I
was diagnosed as hypo-thyroid at the age of thirteen, I never gained
much weight. Then (cue the ominous music) I turned twenty-five and my
metabolism came to a screeching halt. Oh I was still eating as much as
always but the bod was not burning it off. In 1997 I weighed in at
almost 145lbs…you may think that’s no big deal except for the fact that
I had never been over 120lbs. I had put on 25lbs, one fifth of my body
weight, while still exercising every day.
lucky. I’ve always been active and somewhat self conscious of my body;
putting on 25lbs was enough for me to realize that the days of the
buffet were over, I needed to make some changes or I would end up as
one of those CDC stats. This is what it comes down to, what so many
things in life come down to – personal responsibility. And while I know
that there are folks out there, some that I know and love, who can do
everything right, eat well, exercise, and still not lose weight, I
think the majority of those who are overweight (especially those under
the age of thirty) simply refuse to take responsibility for their own
health. Yes the salad is not as tasty as the hamburger and fries (well,
personally, I loooooooove a good salad!) but good health is a lot more
fun than heart disease, isn’t it?
irony of Las Vegas is that it is a great place to eat out if you are
health conscious and disciplined. Prez and I were at Caesars a few days
ago and they’ve got this awesome salad joint where you pay a set price,
get a massive quantity of lettuce and then you can add on all the
toppings you like for about $8.00. It is so big that we can both eat
one salad, be stuffed, and still have enough leftovers to take home! In
fact, at pretty much any restaurant here we only have to order one meal
and split it because the portions are so gargantuan.
Which reminds me of a funny story…
previous trip here we stopped to eat in one of the casino restaurants
and ordered a salad to split between the two of us. We made sure to ask
for the dressing on the side. The meal arrived. The salad came in a
bowl about the same size as one I would use to serve salad at a dinner
party for six and the dressing was in a full sized gravy boat. Prez
said, “Oh no, we’re going to need more dressing!” We thought it was an obvious joke but the server started to leave to grab us some more. “No! No, we’re just kidding!”
We called after her, laughing and explained that there was no way we,
or anyone, could ever use that much dressing without turning the salad
into a soup. “Oh no” she said, deadly serious, “Most folks use all of that”. Wow. Using an entire bottle of dressing pretty much defeats the whole purpose of the salad doesn’t it?
what’s the solution? Is there a solution? Sure, eat less, eat
healthier, and get more exercise. Simple right? Uh huh. Without getting
too “X-Files/conspiracy theory” on you, may I just say that chances are
things aren’t going to change. Why?
leaving the Clark County Library a few days ago, my mouth still agape
from all the rows and rows and rows of books (can you smell the
knowledge? Yummy!), I turned to the Prez and said, “You know what’s wrong with America? The buffets are full and the library is empty.”
You see the thing is, the people who really
run this country (and mine), who make the decisions and control your
life – big corporations – want the status to remain quo, thank you very
much. For the Gluttonous corporate machine to keep
chugging along, the people at the top need the majority of people
(those in the middle) to be fat and happy. Just smart enough and
healthy enough to work the cash register, press a few buttons, and wish
the customers a nice day, but not so smart and healthy that they get
motivated and begin to question the mounds of crap we are being fed in
our mouths, ears, and eyes on a daily basis.
“But if we’re obese and get too sick to work then doesn’t that hurt the big corporations?”
you may ask. Ah, true but then there are all those kind and
compassionate drug companies out there with all sorts of miracle
treatments like Celebrex* and Lipitor* and stuff like that…for a small
fee of course.
effects may include, but are not limited to: dry mouth, coughing,
tennis elbow, bleeding from the eyes, frequent bowel movements,
constipation, ebola virus, avian flu, turrets syndrome, loss of
perspective, shame, sudden urges to audition for American Idol,
depression, genital warts, loss of appetite, loss of your sense of self
worth, death, facial tics.
don’t mean to sound so grim or to leave you with a sense of
hopelessness; perhaps nothing can be done on a large scale but on a
small scale? Sure, of course it can. So, how to defeat our inner glutton?
– Turn off the television – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again
and again. Go for a walk, ride a bike, swim, jog, play some hopscotch,
whatever, just pull yourself off the glass teat for at least an hour a
day and go get some exercise!
#2 – Avoid the buffets, the All-You-Can-Eats, the 6 for 1 pizzas. Focus on quality not quantity.
Stop eating before you are full. Don’t wait until you feel mildly ill
to put down the fork, it takes about twenty minutes for your body to
register how much you’ve eaten so if you feel full then you are really,
really, really full.
Sugar is the enemy! Of course you want to limit your intake of “white
death” (processed sugar) but remember that breads, pastas, and many
sauces and spices are sugar too. Fruit juice, even 100% fruit juice, is
high in sugar (just ask any dentist). Repeat after me: vegetables are
my friends, vegetables are my friends, vegetables are my friends…
And if you come to Vegas, plan to share a meal with a friend and save your money for something really important…like gambling!
"Donuts, is there anything they can’t do?" – Homer Simpson
Until next week, I hope this finds you all healthy, happy & lovin’ life!