Friday 30 Sep 2016

Up-sell to Fries?
Jennifer Flaten

Okay, close your eyes and imagine french fries, pizza, and bacon cheeseburgers. Now tell me, besides being delicious what do all these items have in common. They are fast food.

In fact, these three things epitomize fast food. They have it all; grease, salt and calories and they are oh, so bad for us. Even knowing how bad fast food is still doesn't prevent us from having it from time to time.

Ah, but the government is beginning to think that maybe, you are having it your way just a little too often. Look at how many news reports and magazine articles have recently come out focusing on the rising obesity rates. Not to mention all the associated health problems that obesity brings.

This rise in obesity has the government concerned, very concerned. To the point, that many state and local governments are considering Health Zoning.

Health Zoning, in essence, can ban new unhealthy fast food restaurants from opening in a given area. While in turn, this zoning would encourage new healthy food restaurants to open instead, thus, in effect, saving you from yourself.

Say good-bye to fast food. You are going to eat healthy whether you want to or not.

Of course, in a perfect world we wouldn't need to eat out. We would be completely happy to make all our meals at home every single night. In this perfect world, a home cooked meal would consist of only the freshest, healthiest ingredients available.

Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world. Even a macrobiotic wants to eat out on occasion.

So, is it wrong for people to eat fast food? Should the government come in and tell you that you cannot eat something that you like if it is unhealthy for you?

Many people think so. They believe that obesity is a huge problem and that the only way to control it is to force people to eat healthy.

To them the answer is simple, encourage "healthy" restaurants to move into a neighborhood and people will automatically eat there. The problem is no restaurant is completely healthy, especially a restaurant that wants to cater to people looking for a cheap, quick meal.

Your best bet for a healthy fast food restaurant is something along the lines of Subway. Subway decided the best way to get the healthy label is to forgo frying their sandwiches. Otherwise, they are not particularly healthy.

A major drawback to healthier eateries is that their food is more expensive. Greasy, fried fast food is notoriously inexpensive. That is what draws so many people to eat at fast food restaurants. Healthier food is a little more on the pricey side.

So, what do you do if you only have $5 in your wallet and you need to eat? You could try to find something you can afford at the upscale deli. Alternatively, you could simply go to the friendly neighborhood fast food restaurant with a dollar menu.

For some people access to the dollar menu can mean the difference between eating and going hungry for the day.

Research has shown that lower income areas often are awash in fast food restaurants. Many low-income families seldom see fresh fruits, meat or vegetables at home.

Those in government fail to grasp what it is like to be on a very limited budget. If you can go to a restaurant and buy enough greasy french fries and fat laden hamburgers to feed a family of five, for exactly what one loaf of bread and a gallon of milk would cost you at the store, which would you choose.

A loaf of bread isn't a meal unless you have something to put on it.

The focus needs to be on the fact that some families can't afford to buy fresh, healthy groceries, not fast food restaurants. To that end, it would then make sense to change the food assistance programs to allow families to purchase more fresh fruit, vegetables etc.

Nah, that is too complicated. Let us just put a ban on building new fast food restaurants.

Oh sure, every once in awhile some law maker steps out into the real world and goes into a grocery store clutching a weeks supply of food assistance vouchers. This politician then proceeds to roll down the store aisles gasping at the cost of food and marveling at how little they have to spend. Well duh!

The fact that those who are in charge of the food assistance programs can be so out of touch with what the food costs is mind-boggling.

Fast food restaurants are filling a need. People need to eat and they need to eat cheaply. The problem is out of touch state representatives who haven't made changes to assistance programs in years despite the prices going steadily up, up, up.

Stop blaming the damn restaurants. A person doesn't get fat from just the food, they get fat from a lifestyle that affords them no exercise what so ever. They get fat because they have no money to go out and participate in any type of sport or hobby and it is easier to lie at home watching TV.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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