Have you ever met someone and felt an instantaneous connection, like you were kindred spirits? That’s exactly how I felt on Saturday when I met the gorgeous blogger behind “Eat, Move, Write,” Jasmine. Check out her re-cap of our meeting! Her talent with writing makes me disinclined to write my own re-cap lol — it can’t be put more poetically than she already did! [here]
Check out her story, too — you’ll be blown away!
Ok! There were two excellent articles published recently that I wanted to share — I think it’s awesome how they correlate as if one asks the big question and the other responds with a big shrug (ok, I exaggerate…).
In the article, “Fixing a World that Fosters Fat” [published online in The New York Times here], Natasha Singer asks “Why are Americans getting fatter and fatter…?” While her attempt at a “simple explanation” — that it’s a matter of calories in and calories out — is obviously flawed — the article has a lot of merit in discussing the limits of behavior modification in a society that caters to, and favors many of, the bad behaviors we’d try to remedy to benefit our health. In other words, if our society rewards those who work endless hours (and makes it nearly impossible not to), the government subsidizes crops like corn and soy that makes it most affordable to eat like crap (esp. when you don’t have the time to cook your own meals), etc., are we giving people a fair chance to change their ways? Better yet, are we giving them the chance to maintain their reformed ways if they even ever get to that point?
Since I’m privileged to know a lot of bloggers who have completely reformed their lifestyles to be more healthy, and have done so myself, I can speak from experience that behavior modification can survive in the American supersize-it environment. But just because something exceptional is possible in an environment doesn’t mean the environment needn’t change.
A lot of us, myself included, will point our fingers at the monolithic “Corporate America” and its drive for profit. We’ll ask where corporate “responsibility” lies and we’ll ask why restaurants keep making utter crap (like the 2500-calorie pizza burger, Burger King!) and marketing it disproportionately to the poor and to children.
In the article “The Case Against Corporate Social Responsibility” in the Wallstreet Journal recently, author Aneel Karnani tells us readers, “Pleas for corporate social responsibility will be truly embraced only by those executives who are smart enough to see that doing the right thing is a byproduct of their pursuit of profit. And that renders such pleas pointless” [here]. Karnani also writes, “The danger is that a focus on social responsibility will delay or discourage more-effective measures to enhance social welfare in those cases where profits and the public good are at odds. As society looks to companies to address these problems, the real solutions may be ignored.” Basically, Karnani fears that corporations become crafty in their “social responsibility” – they adopt green measures, for instance, that are profitable (either b/c the government gives them incentives and/or because they can market products as “green” and reap the profits from its green-inclined patrons); and that focusing on corporations doing the right thing means we deflect from our own personal responsibility and from the search for more holistic solutions. This does seem like a valid concern.
The entire piece rests of the principle that you can’t force corporations to do what’s right until doing what’s right becomes more profitable than their current mode of operation. Why not? Because corporations involve shared interests in profit. Corporations, like McDonald’s, for example, that do offer some healthy items, aren’t necessarily offering the goods out of their health-conscious alter-ego (please); but out of the interest of profit. The feel that I get from this piece is that consumers have to be the change. We have to stop eating crap and making it profitable for restaurants and fast-food places to serve it. As soon as we make it profitable for super-sized salads and quinoa-filled burritos, the supply will be there.
Sounds true, but optimistic. I feel like the demand for healthy items is growing, but I also feel a lot of the demand is misguided (100-calorie packs; high-fructose-corn-syrup-filled “health” bars, etc.); and disproportionate across the nation (wealthy populations, obvs, will have more demand for healthy foods). How can we create a demand for something that for many people is currently (or seemingly) out of reach? How can reach people who feel hopelessly dependent on processed foods? We’d also have to convince the government, who is bed with Monsanto to lift their subsidies on crap and put them instead on produce? Do you agree with Singer that there are severe limits on behavior modification in an environment that “fosters fat”? Do you agree with Karnani that we shouldn’t focus so much on corporate responsibility?
- Michael Pollan will speak about the egg recall on Anderson Cooper’s live-video blog tonight at 10 p.m. ET here
- Ck out Orange County, CA’s “OC Foodie Fest” this Saturday, the 28th, at the Honda Center in Anaheim [here]: “Orange County’s first gourmet food truck event taking place Saturday, August 28th at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The one-day event will be the ultimate foodie destination, featuring the best in popular mobile eats combined with a unique forum to showcase local entertainment & shopping to help support local charities.” Tix are $12 for adults.
- If you’re a healthy-living blogger, or on the look-out for healthy-living bloggers in your area or on a specific topic (such as weight-loss or veganism), check out this great new resource! Created by Lindsey of Sound Eats, “HLB [link] is a site designed to enhance the positive community of the healthy living blog world. Bloggers and readers can explore the site and find more blogs to love, bloggers in their area, and forums to deepen healthy discussion and support.” If you’re interested in having your site listed on HLB, send the following info. to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email subject line: MEMBERS; your name (please share if you prefer to go by first name, first and last, or however you prefer to be known on the Internet); Blog Name; Blog URL (please start with http://, not www.); Your twitter handle, if applicable; Your location (if you prefer not to disclose this information for privacy’s sake, that is completely understandable. They’ll simply include your blog listing in the A-Z listing, not by location, too); Any specific labels (i.e. vegan, gluten-free, weight loss, running, etc.). Cool.
The Cranky One