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Michelle Obama and the Food Police

Don’t get me wrong. As far as first lady causes go, I think promoting healthy eating is a grand platform. And just look at Michelle Obama’s arms. You know she knows more about fitness than I do. But there are good ideas and then there are good ideas gone wrong.

Michelle Obama and the Food PoliceLast Sunday the New York Times reported that Mrs. Obama and her advisory team is on a quest to badger the National Restaurant Association to get eateries to serve smaller portions and healthier children’s meals.

In other news, Mrs. Obama served up a veritable smörgåsbord of artery-clogging delicacies for the Super Bowl. The White House menu included: deep dish pizza, cheeseburgers, twice-baked potatoes, chips and dips, potato salad, bratwurst, kielbasa, beer, and ice cream.

But it’s OK! She’s completely congruent! She says it’s “not realistic” to eat healthy every day!

Here’s my (organic, grass-fed) beef. What makes Mrs. Obama think the rest of us go to all-you-can-eat buffets every single day? What makes her think our kids have chicken nuggets for dinner every single night? Is this what happens when you have the best wait staff on the planet at your beck and call 24/7? You forget that the “little people” can only afford to go out to eat once in a while? What makes her think she needs to dictate portions or choices to the rest of the country when we go out for a special treat?

While the Obamas gorged on their super-sized gut buster last Sunday — apparently because no one can be expected to forgo tubs of lard during the Super Bowl — my family ate a pork loin veggie crockpot stew. But next weekend, when Sam takes the boys for a “kid date,” Michelle wants them to eat grilled, free-range chicken breast, carrot sticks, and apple wedges with yogurt dip.

We eat what we like, because we know better. You eat what we like, because we know better. That’s what she calls “balance.”

Seriously, Mrs. Obama, educate people about healthy eating all you want. But Americans really don’t need their food choices monitored by someone completely disconnected with reality. Or otherwise.

Do you want fries with that?

{ 37 comments… add one }
  • Alison Moore Smith February 9, 2011, 10:13 am

    Is that burger image killing anyone else on their weight loss goals? Resolve! Resolve!

  • Bryan Thompson February 9, 2011, 12:55 pm

    Alison, I saw the Today Show interview today with Mrs. Obama, and Lauer called her on the Super Bowl fixings, then asked if she would take away the tater tots on his kids’ lunch. In all seriousness, it shouldn’t have to be government policy to have schools make better lunches. And the fact that it does sometimes take it is a symptom of a much bigger problem in this country. Even obesity is a symptom of something bigger that no one seems to be asking about.

    My wife made a funny comment about super bowl fixings (We didn’t do much – chips and queso; honestly, your lamb stew sounds awesome!). She said (and I tweeted), “I don’t understand the super bowl thing – I mean, let’s sit on our fat butts and stuff our faces while we watch some of our most famous athletes exercise!”

  • Alison Moore Smith February 9, 2011, 3:00 pm

    Bryan, please give your wife a hug for me. 🙂 It’s kind of what I call “the Oprah trap.” People sit around, hour after hour after hour, clinging to every word that falls from the lips of this tremendously successful woman — instead of spending those hours to reach their own goals and potential.

    As for school lunches, it doesn’t take government policy to improve them. If people don’t like what schools serve, they can pack their own healthy lunches. Simple. 🙂 Personally, I think schools should get out of the food prep business all together.

    Thanks for your input!

  • Bryan Thompson February 9, 2011, 3:08 pm

    Alison, I’m with you on the Oprah trap, but if people are watching her show for hour after hour all at once, there’s a bigger problem than I thought – it’s only on for 1 hour a day!!

  • Mon February 10, 2011, 12:26 am

    Ah well, at least she’s getting the debate out on the public agenda I guess!! I think restuarants do have to be accountable for the rising obesity statistics world wide and any measure that is advocated for acheiving that has my vote!! (but I understand her opinions were not aligned!).
    I see your point Alison but as I am not an American, maybe I am not the best qualified to talk about your politicians! I also don’t know a lot about the whole super bowl thing and how it relates to eating loads of food, but sounds like it is a bit of a paradox !!
    Mon recently posted…Networking- Cyclones and Fiction Writing or Why I Committed A Caridinal Blogging SinMy Profile

  • Mon February 10, 2011, 12:27 am

    PS Me again. Not sure why Commentluv keeps putting that post as my last. It’s not!

    Ahh, well – it seems to do that sometimes. See you!
    Mon recently posted…Networking- Cyclones and Fiction Writing or Why I Committed A Caridinal Blogging SinMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith February 10, 2011, 2:41 pm

    Yes, it’s only an hour a day — 365 days a year. Just think what you could do with 365 free hours! 🙂

    That said, there is something to be said for “down time.” Stephen Covey includes that in his Habit 7, “sharpening the saw.” But most everyone I know who watches Oprah, does not count that one little hour as their daily R&R. It’s just another daily indulgence. They add up!

  • Alison Moore Smith February 10, 2011, 2:57 pm

    Mon, thanks for you input. Where are you from?

    Here’s where we differ. I don’t think restaurants have the remotest responsibility for obesity.

    Think about it this way, assume you own an ice cream shop. Are you obligated to offer 7-grain, spinach ice cream — and enforce a quota between that selection and the “unhealthy” ones? Or do we offer whatever our specialty is and assume customers have brains and will not eat ice cream 24//7?

    I think the same could apply to any other activity.

    Assume you sell television sets. Should you require customers to buy gym memberships and agree to a workout to TV time ratio that you deem “healthy” so they don’t turn into couch potatoes?

    Assume you blog. Should you require readers to document time online versus time spent with families, so they don’t neglect their kids/spouses while net surfing?

    Do you see what I mean? Offering a product/service that is a leisure, recreation, or treat doesn’t, in my opinion, make the business owner responsible for the abuse or overuse of such items. And to remove the options of those leisures and treats for everyone in order to prevent those with no self-discipline or desire from doing something stupid is very un-American! 🙂

  • Alison Moore Smith February 10, 2011, 3:00 pm

    Yea, sometimes CommenLuv is slow — or the feed is slow or something. I’ve had the same thing happen to me.

  • Alison Moore Smith February 10, 2011, 3:17 pm

    Whoever stumbled this post, thank you! That’s a record for Pix2Brix!

  • Alison Moore Smith February 11, 2011, 11:21 am

    More power to you, Anna. You choose what you think is correct for your body.

  • Anna February 11, 2011, 10:22 am

    What concerns food, I don’t care what any top people say – I listen only to doctors and specialists. They say that any fast food is bad – and I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of fast food I eat.

  • Susan February 12, 2011, 2:36 am

    It really sounds a bit tongue-in-cheek for me – if I can choose, maybe I would eat more healthily but in general we eat what we can afford. Sometimes fast food and frozen things are the only that we can buy for the money we get. That’s the reality. Healthy food means much money.

  • SueBee February 13, 2011, 10:07 pm

    This is a great point. When does freedom ever kick in. We can’t decide what we eat? I’m very tired of both of the Obamas. They are arrogant and think they know better than everyone.

  • Alison Moore Smith February 16, 2011, 11:53 pm

    Susan, I wish it were a joke! You should have the freedom to decide how to best feed your family.

  • Alison Moore Smith February 26, 2011, 10:49 pm

    Exactly! I don’t want regulation, but I like to support restaurants that offer good stuff. We love Jason’s deli. Almost always get their salad bar. Yum.

    I think it’s worth noting that lots of fast food places — over the past couple of decades — have tried out healthy menus. They drop them when there isn’t enough demand. I remember taco bell doing a low fat version of most of their things a few years back, but apparently I was the only one who bought them. 🙁

    On the other hand, I don’t eat out very often, so when I do, I don’t always want to get a lean grilled chicken strip in a lettuce wrap. Sometimes the occasional night out is a splurge. And I sure as heck don’t want Michelle Obama (or anyone) telling me that I can’t go anywhere to splurge — particularly when she’s splurging in epic proportions, herself.

  • Vennesa February 26, 2011, 9:53 pm

    I completely agree that Michelle Obama is putting her nose where it doesn’t belong on this issue. Government should stay out of things like this. However, I wish restaurants would give us some healthy options for our kids. A restaurant that I appreciate is Jason’s Deli. Not everything there is health food. But my kids have their choice of organic milk or pop, and chips or a fruit cup. Sometimes they choose the chips, sometimes they don’t. But at least there is a healthy option.

  • pardonme February 27, 2011, 10:11 am

    I saw this on FB. Finally some common sense! I’m getting so tired of the socialist trying to turn the US into Europe. Thus is -still-the greatest country in the world and it’s -because- of our freedom. If you think the socialist world is so great you can f****** -move- there. Don’t ruin our country with your half-a**** ideas!

  • Alison Moore Smith February 27, 2011, 11:48 am

    Pardone me? 😉 Let’s keep the language clean. 🙂

    That aside, I agree. The argument seems to be “Look at Europe! Let’s be like that!” And we seem to forget that America is the super power. We didn’t get here by being socialist. We didn’t provide the protections, etc., helping the rest of the world to thrive while being socialist. And we certainly didn’t get here micro-managing American citizens. American government — as set up by the founders — actually works. The proof is in the pudding.

    My #1 biggest issue with Obama and her ilk is that they don’t want to live by the rules they feel are best for the rest of us. So, obviously, they don’t really feel their rules are best — or they’d already live by them. But they promote them for a variety of reasons (vote pandering, increasing power, believing the elite don’t need to be regulated like the “stupid masses,” etc.).

    Obama (the Mr.) says that he believe in redistribution of wealth. Yet he doesn’t redistribute his own money. In fact, he gives an absolutely paltry amount (and Biden is even worse on this parameter). Why? Why is it good for Obama to give Joe the Plumber’s money to someone else, when he doesn’t give his own?

    If he (and anyone else) believes in making things “fair” (by some alternate reality definition) by evening up the money allocation, then he should have given away all his assets until he is at least at the national average. And to be consistent, until he’s at the world average in holdings. Otherwise, you have to wonder what all the redistributive chatter is really about. It ain’t about charity and it ain’t about fairness.

  • NoNamePlease February 27, 2011, 7:42 pm

    Came here from the FB discussion on DH’s page. What gets me is that these libs will defend anyone with the name Obama, without thinking or considering anything. Just the MENTION that you disagree with an O-holy-bama makes you the target of a personal attack. No thought and CERTAINLY no discussion, ever.

    “John” is a fool who won’t read clearly or address a single issue. It’s like he sees the word Obama and any other negative work close by and his brain collapses into his mouth and he start’s sputtering nonsense. And I swear that “Ardis” guy is stalking you. I’ve seen him jump at the chance to say something nasty about a half dozen times in different places. Creeper. Did you spurn him in college or something? Has he been unable to find true love since you dumped him? You must have broken his heart because it’s gushing all over the place.

    I don’t ever post on those because it becomes a pile on. They aren’t fair and the aren’t reasonable. It’s just calling names bringing up things that have nothing to do with the topic. There are some conservatives like that, too, but it seems to be what almost all liberals do all the time. I’m not using my name here, either, because I don’t want to be the target in other online places we visit. Maybe I’m a coward, but I’ll reserve my time for those who actually play fair and want honest discussion. These people do not.

    Anyway, I read that whole thread and nearly passed out from the lack of logic. All I can figure is that other liberals go along with such stupid positions, so they must think everyone will.

    Reading your post I mostly agree. I don’t need or want Michelle Obama to tell me what to eat. They all think they need to babysit us and that’s not what made America great.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 1, 2011, 12:08 pm

    Lorna, a couple of points:

    It helps to read posts before commenting on them. (Hint: I’m totally fine with Mrs. Obama — or anyone else — serving burgers. She is the one who isn’t.)

    If legislators trying to dictate what we eat isn’t important enough to discuss, why are you wasting time discussing it? If posting about legislation is a bad use of resources, then commenting on wasteful postings is at least an order or magnitude worse.

    But, hey, you better get back in line for that hip replacement. I think they’ll be getting to you sometime in late 2013!

  • Lorna March 1, 2011, 11:41 am

    As a Canadian…When I read and listen to what you say about your first lady….and I am shocked. I find that often you are so off base on what you report, it’s shameful. We are watching what you are doing…and have protested and signed enough petations not to have FOX news, in Canada, BECAUSE WE BELIEVE IN FAIR AND BALANCED REPORTING. I get very disappointed when I read what so many of your bloggers write about. Is this the worst news in your country that she served a burger? What about your homeless? or about your education? or about how many can’t afford a dentist or a doctor. Please move on to something that is really going to help American’s make better decisions. Many Canadians are afraid that our goverment will copy what yours is doing…..and it scarys the hell out of us. Even though ours is far from perfect…..at least we don’t read or hear so much HATE.

  • connor March 1, 2011, 2:30 pm

    Lorna, I think you’re confusing a personal development blog with the entire US media, which kind of hurts your credibility. But I hope you enjoy your hours trying to censor news for your fellow Canadians.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 12, 2011, 7:46 pm

    NoNamePlease, I just saw your comment for some reason. Can’t agree more.

    America is great because of individuals who were willing to risk it all to have a CHANCE at a better life. The rest of the world is better because the most powerful nation in the world is FREE. In fact, the rest of the world is able to dabble around in socialism and all manner of -ism with less risk BECAUSE America is what real freedom and individualism created.

    Hey, I don’t mind socialism. I just don’t want it here. You want to play around with redistribution of wealth? Great! Go to Europe — and stay there. Forever. Bon voyage!
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…What is WordPress JetpackMy Profile

  • Kelly Lester April 12, 2011, 9:01 pm

    Personal choice is what our country was founded upon. Businesses have a right to serve whatever they want to make money. It’s called free enterprise. And if people choose to not buy it/eat it because they know better, the restaurants will adjust their menus accordingly. I agree – education is the key. And then we should all do as we please. Sometimes I eat crap. Then I eat healthy. It’s called moderation, and it’s up to me when and where to do it.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 12, 2011, 9:39 pm

    I agree 100%. As I’ve been planning Jessica’s wedding, I keep thinking, “What? Should I serve broccoli and egg white quiche?”

    We eat lots of broccoli and lots of egg whites, too. But not at weddings! (And we don’t get them in Christmas stockings or Easter baskets or put them on birthday cakes, either.)

    Right this minute while getting our spring break movie night DVD (Narnia) set up, we turned on the TV to find “The 600 Pound Mom.” Oddly, the woman has the information to eat healthy food. But she likes fried food and would rather eat 4,000 calories of it every day than walk, shower, leave her room, see her daughters graduate and get married, or anything else. Is she misusing food? Sure. Will a law stop her? Phhhhht.

    As you said, our country was founded on personal choice. That means the choice to be smart or stupid. To be ambitious or lazy. To succeed or fail. To be healthy or not, as we choose what is important to us.

    Thanks for the comment, Kelly. [And people, check out Kelly’s link. I’ve been a fan of Sam Harris since the mid-1980s when he blew me out the door singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow on Star Search!]
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…What is WordPress JetpackMy Profile

  • Kelly Lester April 12, 2011, 10:14 pm

    Wow, Thanks Alison 🙂 You’re taking a lot of flack for saying “It’s a free country, let’s keep it that way.” So odd that, of all people, the president’s wife is aiming to mess with some basic freedoms. I’m usually pretty liberal, so I can’t say that you and I will always agree on everything, but hey, don’t tell me what to eat. I can figure that out for myself because I CHOOSE to.

    And by the way, I kinda love Oprah, but I usually watch her on my dvr while I’m exercising in front of the TV. And before you think I’m getting all holier than thou with my fabulous muti-tasking capabilities, – it’s truthfully just my paltry, minimum 20 – 30 minutes that I try to squeeze into most days (before I park myself back at the computer) and the TV just makes it easier. It sort of rotates between Oprah, Dr. Phil and Hoarders. Go figure.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 13, 2011, 12:49 am

    First paragraph: agreed. The problem with the government nanny is where to draw the line. I’ve become libertarianesque in my old age. I mostly want the government to provide low-level essential services and then get the heck out of our lives.

    Second paragraph: I don’t really have a problem with Oprah herself, it’s the mistaken idea that watching success is the same as living it. 🙂 BTW, my treadmill’s home in our new house is in the theater/rec room by the soon-to-be wall-to-wall screen. Ahem. I might not be watching Oprah, but I’ll usually be watching something. (I’ve tried reading on the treadmill. How do people do that???)

    I’ve never seen Dr. Phil (I swear!), but Hoarders, hah hah! Being a neatish freak and teaching organization classes, it’s like a train wreck I cannot seem to look away from. So sad and so pathetic. Similar to my “Oprah trap,” all these people think they are living because they are surrounded by stuff, but it’s the very stuff that is keeping them from really living.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…What is WordPress JetpackMy Profile

  • Peggy February 23, 2012, 11:02 pm

    Hi Alison. I agree with you. Eating healthy is a choice. People are created with free will, and we are the ones who are in-charge of our health.

    More power to pix2brix!

  • NA June 15, 2012, 1:07 am

    Yeah she is right that you can not eat healthy food daily you have to be diplomatic make your meal plan balanced . . .

  • PPRen September 7, 2012, 8:46 am

    Just found this linked on fb. I haven’t seen such a great rebuttal of this government creep into our lives. Way to go.

  • JenR April 9, 2013, 10:09 am

    Haha, so this is the post. How dare you question their royal highnesses?

  • Kathleen February 27, 2014, 5:52 pm

    I think Mrs. Obama’s platform to promote healthy eating is a great platform. Having said that, I think we as Americans have the government regulating too many aspects of our lives already. She isn’t a dietitian or a nutritionist, she has just educated herself. Maybe instead of shoving one more regulation down our throats, she could just educate.
    That is a lot of the problem. People don’t understand healthy eating. She could start with the people on food stamps. A lot of the people on food stamps are overweight because they are trying to stretch their food stamps by purchasing inexpensive food, so they end up with food that is full of preservatives and fillers, which causes them to become overweight.
    Of course, that is just one portion of the population. I don’t think eating a huge meal one a week or month causes obesity. It’s an every day thing, what we eat every day. Education is the key, not regulation.
    I totally agree with you about if you don’t like what the school or restaurant is serving, supply your own food. I don’t think we can take the food out of the schools though. Those breakfasts and lunches are some kid’s only food every day.
    Kathleen recently posted…A healthy breakfastMy Profile

  • Paula February 27, 2014, 6:18 pm

    You should see the waste in my school’s cafeteria thanks to Mrs. Obama’s efforts to make school lunch healthier. Students are forced to take fruit and veggies that they don’t want and of course, they throw them away. I go home everyday with bagged carrots that one child takes because he has to but knows he won’t eat. We finally started putting a bucket by the trashcan so that the kids could put their uneaten fruit into it instead of throwing it away.
    Paula recently posted…Saint Patrick’s Day Pillow MakeoverMy Profile

  • jone mark June 27, 2014, 5:18 am

    Healthy food is best for health. I like all time healthy food.

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