Time to scare ourselves skinny, America

10/12/2012 09:25:00 AM
Tom Karst

Tom Karst, National EditorTom Karst, National EditorIn the battle of good versus evil, fruits and vegetables represent the golden halo of food groups.

Fresh produce consumption is the path to a higher moral standard, the self-evident natural law for humans looking for sustenance and a trimmer waistline.

We know in our hearts Little Debbie Swiss Rolls are good, but they aren’t good for us, are they?

We are tempted by french fries and artery-clogging burgers, but we know the path of repentance if we stray, and it begins at the salad bar.

The most spiritual among us may only eat veggies grown in their backyard, but mainstream believers are inclusive in their acceptance of all fresh produce, no matter the orientation of organic or conventional, local or far-flung.

Is there any country where fruits and vegetable are not revered? Is there any country where folks believe that eating pork rinds is more noble than eating broccoli?

I would not want to live in such a place, if there is.

The human aspiration for fresh produce is proof of the existence of a higher intelligence. There is an apple-shaped vacuum in all of our stomachs, one might suggest. So why do we fill it with glazed donuts?

Some eschew the vaunted calling for fruit and vegetable consumption, and they are outliers to the higher wisdom.

In fact, one lawmaker from Kansas, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, recently introduced legislation that will upend the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rule that created the new fruit and vegetable-friendly nutrition standards and will prohibit the USDA’s calorie limit.

But I suppose that even Huelskamp hears an inner voice that convicts him that such a heretical attack on increased fruit and vegetable consumption in schools is grounds for excommunication from a civilized society still struggling to break the shackles of obesity.

In defense of the congressmman, Huelskamp’s office points to the fact that the lawmaker’s “Nutrition Nannies” page on Facebook has attracted more than more than 3,500 likes since mid-September.

Speaking of the (nearly) universal esteem for fresh produce, I was looking at the website for the European Fresh Produce Association the other day, and the news was foreign and yet familiar.

It was as if those folks in Europe were living in a parallel universe to our own. I say this because produce marketers there are also appealing to the same hopes, dreams and aspirations that revolve around the supremacy of fruits and vegetables in the diet.

Much like the Produce for Better Health Foundation may plan a social media outreach to promote fruit and vegetable consumption, the folks in Europe are also hard at it as well.


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