Thursday, March 23, 2006
Thanks Simpsons(!), and thanks Amy T for suggesting that D-bloggers post about the Charlie Rose show from March 16th. To begin, I used to be a regular "Charlie Rose" viewer, until I decided that most of his interviews felt canned, uninformative, and self-referential. HOWEVER, I still feel that his list of guests is consistently relevant, and must give the old gas-bag some credit where credit is due. I downloaded the show with high expectations, in other words....
Like the New York Times series, "Bad Blood," this panel discussion had its work cut out; distinguish between two (3?) highly misunderstood diseases, describe the landscape diabetics and diabetic care exist in today, and then project, project, project until someone is scared into getting on a treadmill.
I think the fact that the speakers had to explain such basics is part of the hurdle to getting anything done. Arguing about diets has never worked. If Charlie Rose had to ask "What are carbohydrates?" (I'm sure he was already aware but he's asking for his audience, WHO SHOULD ALSO KNOW) then how can we get to actually adding gym time to schools?!?
Lets think big - What about those CORN SUBSIDIES mentioned by Marc Santora - what are those for? High Fructose Corn Syrup! For example did you know that: "The United States is the largest producer of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Corporations that also receive the majority of farm subsides produce most of it. Most of the corn they grow is genetically modified. Such corn cannot find a market in many places in the world, as in the European Union, Uganda, and until recently Brazil, all of which refuse the import of genetically modified products." (navdanya.org) WE ARE EATING IT - A LOT OF IT. Check your pantry.
We need more of these types of stark contrasts in the press: what multinational companies in the food industry are marketing food to the poor (poor in time, money and resources), how much of this food is unhealthy based on a diabetes-prevention diet. What kinds of subsidies are they getting and how does this compare to our health education programs? For example, have you seen the Seva Foundation's Native American Diabetes Prevention Program .
I choose to eat more labor-intensive food (i.e. unprocessed things I cook myself) when I can, in order to avoid this conglomerate of poor farming/poor economics/poor health. The trade-off is simple; it takes time I don't have and money I don't have to do so. No wonder so many people are having trouble with their diets.
One interesting "global" solution would be adopting the Slow Food style of dealing with digestion. Another would be to walk more. But as the authors of these studies demonstrate, this message "calories in - energy out" - is very hard to get across, even to the "converted." Even if you've been well educated, the pace society requires does not reward your efforts a lot of the time. This isn't all doom and gloom, however. If you've attempted to live with even a little more "cruchiness" in your life, you are probably doing a lot more good than you realize.