A friend posted up an article about the withdrawl of the Denmark fat tax-they're getting rid of it not because it didn't work to slim Danes down and make them eat healthier food, but because it wasn't economically feasible. Or so they try to claim. (<--- a really great take-down, please go read it!) My friend runs a small, organic farm and is a brilliant, motivated and compassionate man. He is deeply concerned (and rightly so) about the fate of our world's food supply and our environment, and knows more than most about how those two things are tied together. He fights every day of his life against the enroaching reach of companies like Monsanto and Walmart and genuinely and passionately believes that together we can make this world a better place. We've had many deep and winding conversations about the above, and once or twice about fat and fat acceptance. I'm not angry at my friend for his post, but I am disappointed. In rebuttal to his post I left the link to UnAmerican Activities at Fierce Fatties, some food for thought on fat taxes since Ontario doctors are calling for something similar in my birth province.
Immediately someone else commented along the lines of 'why is it so hard to steam some veggies, boil rice and cook protein' and 'get off the couch and grow some salad'. Seriously? WHY is that so hard? Oh let me count the ways:
Fat people are often poor people, working poverty wages and living in undesirable areas (urban or rural, or in Canada's case, remote. Did you know a gallon of milk on some reserves is nearly ten dollars? A loaf of bread will run you five. Juice is three or four times more expensive than pop.) You'll see similar, though not as extreme, pricing on items in a convenience store, often the only place for the poor to buy food, as they live in a food desert with no grocery store for miles. What store would want to open a location in downtown Detroit or Winnipeg? Where's the room? Where's the clientele? Remember, these are the poor. We can't afford organic, whole-grain bagels and locally sourced cream cheese. And grow some salad? Sure, where is that going to happen, and when? Most urban areas are heavy crime areas, and despite some cities having communal gardens and similar projects, this is not the norm. Going outside for a walk with your dog or taking your kids to the park might end up with someone getting shot. It happens nearly every day in some American cities.
Fat people are often minorities, which ties into the poor aspect. Despite all the feel good attempts in the history books we do NOT live in a post-racial society. The fact that people took to Twitter to bemoan "that n*****" getting relected, and that many Canadians complain about First Nations folk getting free school (they don't) or free gas (they don't, and thanks Beiber), are just two tiny examples in an OCEAN of racism people deal with on a daily basis.
Genetics plays a huge role in whether we will be fat or thin or inbetween. Do you have fat parents? Congrats! You are 70% likely to also be fat. Have you had an injury that prevents you from being active? This will very likely lead to weight gain. Were you born with some kind of disability that prevents exercise, or makes it painful? You're probably going to carry extra weight. Were you teased, bullied, harassed or threatened as a kid for being chubby and now can't stand the though of going to the gym? This is the reality for most fat folks. Do you constantly recieve disdain and endure being berated by your doctor for your weight, despite repeated attempts at dieting (which doesn't work and know we know that weight cycling leads to an INCREASE in weight over time), being active or even having had weight loss surgery, and therefore don't go see your doctor until whatever is bothering you is so bad you might have done permanent harm to yourself? Or maybe until it's too late, thereby costing the healthcare system more than if you had gone earlier? Ta da-there's the real reason why fat people are supposely costing taxpayers more.
As for the 'why don't you make home cooked meals every night' comment, let me tell you about a typical day for many poor folk. It involves getting up early to catch a bus for a long ride to a shit job with no benefits that pays minimum wage. You work 8 or 12 hours, then take that same bus all the way back home. By the time you get home your kids have already been home for a while, or at a friend's or family member's (daycare is too expensive for you) and have had some kind of snack, hopefully something nutritious but you never know for sure. You're too tired to cook so you stop in at A&W or Wendy's on the way home, then spend a bit of time with the family before bed. Once everyone's asleep it's time to get some of the housework done, or pay the bills, or have a quiet moment with your partner. Tomorrow you'll do it all again in the hope that you'll have enough money at the end of the month to pay the rent *and* buy groceries *and* pay the bills. Some months you have to choose which bills to pay, or what groceries you can do without.
Every once in a very great while there may be a post which contains a link to a product or service for which I've been paid to promote or have received for review purposes. I Blog With Integrity so you'll know which is which.