Ah, yes, the outburst heard ’round the world. What is it about health care that leads our politicians, who are supposed to be erudite, well-behaved, and level-headed (stop laughing), to act like 3-year olds in the sandbox? Make that 2-year olds.
Unless you haven’t turned on the news or been traveling, you probably cannot ignore the recent debates/fights/nasty fights over our health care system. I don’t think anyone – Republican, Democrat, Alien – can argue with a straight face that our health care system doesn’t need some overhauling. But what and how are other questions.
I don’t purport to know all the details, but I have been reading some of the op-eds and comments. One of the most popular articles that have been circulating is by one of my favorite heroes, Michael Pollan. In his piece, he writes that we are arguing on the the wrong premise: while we fight about health care reform, we continue to promote a food system that encourages fast food and poor diets, “probably because reforming the food system is politically even more difficult than reforming the health care system.”
My interpretation of his essential argument is that without bringing into the national debate FOOD SYSTEM reform, health care reform is like putting on a bandaid over a scab you just keep picking at. Bigger scab, bigger bandaid. Scab is still there.
But not everyone agrees with this interpretation. The Center for Consumer Freedom posted a short response accusing Pollan of “fuzzy math” that misleads readers, raising alarm where alarm is not warranted. Others, such as Don Hoyt Gorman, argue that pesticide issues aside, there is no nutritional difference between organic and conventional foods.
So who is telling the truth? Is Pollan just a fanatic who is freaking us out to sell books? Is there really no linkage between the American diet and food system and our health care system?
Well, while the debate on organic versus conventional and what our health care reform should look like rages on, my little brain reminds me of the adage, “You are what you eat.” Intuitively, I strongly believe that eating healthier, having more accessibility to organic foods, and living more actively can prevent many conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension. Granted, much of this is hereditary, but I’m not so sure I want to think that the guy-who-eats-a-Big-Mac-a-day-and-has-a-cholesterol-level-of-a-20-year-old is the rule and not the exception.
Not to mention, I would rather have my funny-looking, juicy tomatoes that taste like tomatoes from my local farmer than to eat a perfectly round, red, tomato-like tomato from who-knows-where.
While the country is mired in angry lies and arguements born out of fear of the unknown, I hope that my own little mission to eat productively, locally, and healthily (most of the time) will help me to be less of a burden to our health care system – however it will end up looking like. Inshallah.