Guest Column: Natural desires, medicines and food police

October 26, 2011

By Norman Bleed

Few desiderata (“things wanted or needed”) outpace good health, and the subsidiary “desires” to find it, and to keep it. And few of life’s major concerns are met by each of us with any more hopefully helpful tips, or presumably informed suggestions from others.

But just as the ancient advice is far from all bad, the very latest pearls of insight and wisdom aren’t all good. That’s where you come in: “Major-domo beware!” Each of us must be responsible for his own “temple.” Decisions, decisions.

So, I’ve been disgusted lately, observing an unholy alliance between liberal government and liberal media. Namely, their deliberate intermingling of their questionable propositions for our better health, with the questionable programs for our governmental policy. Result (naturally): confusion.

Last spring, I tuned in to local radio one Saturday morning long enough to hear a man peremptorily blast, six times, between pauses: “MANDATORY BIRTH CONTROL!” The topic was teen pregnancy. I knew he certainly meant “ready, universal availability,” but that’s not exactly what he said. Hmmm.

In our local daily Sept. 16, a staff columnist actually whole-heartedly defended the misbegotten attempt Texas Gov. Rick Perry to require HPV vaccinations for preteen girls. But worse, and as with the gentleman above, she wasn’t sure what exactly she was arguing for.

Her essay’s piece de resistance was her noting, by name, the three prestigious medical organizations she said had “recommended” the vaccine. She no doubt hoped that readers wouldn’t notice her sleight of hand: Recommending the vaccine is, again, a far cry from recommending that it be REQUIRED. But probably the best example, of late, of scary over-reach is the first lady’s nutrition overhaul. Unlike other first ladies, who perhaps helped people to learn to read — but didn’t tell them what they might, and might not, read — private citizen Michelle Obama met with Wal-Mart’s CEO, who then announced the forthcoming altering of ingredients in thousands of their grocery items. Scary.

She badmouthed the Mighty Spud, and instantly, public school cafeterias everywhere dropped it, like a hot potato, down to, at most, twice a week. She inspired some of them to toy with the idea of banning brown-bagging altogether — which isn’t something that nutritional “amateurs” should try at home, anyway.

And, she helped 86 the Food Pyramid, and launched the new icon, MyPlate, which renders Dairy off to the side, as optional! Grains — “the staff of life — have been reduced to a quarter, while fruits and vegetables are now a full half of all we eat. (Ha!) We are to pretend that sweets don’t exist. And “Demon Lemonade” is mentioned, but only dishonorably — as in “DON’T.” How totalitarian.

Norman Bleed is a resident of Rockford.

From the Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2011, issue

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