Overconsumption is crippling our country - Bonner County Daily Bee: Letters To Editor

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Overconsumption is crippling our country

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Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2012 10:00 am

For all our anxieties over economic recession, the major problem in the U.S. continues to be overconsumption. Our consumption patterns are hurting us, and they are now jeopardizing all life the world over.

Industry itself is the culprit. Industry, which produces the “goods” we buy, the synthetic products, the techno gadgets, the disposable “this’s and that’s”, the unhealthy fast and processed foods we ingest.

We’ve grown up thinking of our country as possessing unlimited resources, of which it is our “right” to consume. The reason for our overconsumption is us. We spend billions to fight diseases that solely exist because of our consumption habits. Health wise we are an obese nation, yet 40 percent of the food we buy never makes it to our lips. Drugs help us cope. Working electronics get tossed when new models come out every year. The philosophy “more is better” resonates on all levels. Isn’t it time to be satisfied with less? If the consumer refuses to be manipulated, and makes wise choices that are not based on advertising, we could mend.

Our grandiose notions of what is “enough,” conditioned by the “Madison Avenue” mentality, demands we earn more, eat more, spend more and own more, at whatever the cost to our health and environment. The countless clues are subtle ones, a heart attack at forty, severe asthma in a child, genetically engineered food.

The signals register one by one in our minds, like those red signs on the freeway. “Turn back, you’re going the wrong way.” Do we listen, or continue on down the road?


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  • sylkie7b posted at 3:23 pm on Tue, Oct 9, 2012.

    sylkie7b Posts: 295

    From Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilema, regarding a McDonalds meal:

    "In order of diminishing corniness, this is how the laboratory measured our meal: soda (100% corn), milk shake (78%), salad dressing (65%), chicken nuggets (56%), cheeseburger (52%) and French fries (23%). What in the eyes of the omnivore looks like a meal of impressive variety turns out, when viewed through the eyes of the mass spectrometer, to be the meal of a far more specialized kind of eater."

    We consume either directly or as animal feed, around 1500lbs of corn per American per year and around 111 lbs of wheat. 35lbs directly per person as high fructose corn syrup, which is in practically anything from the grocery that comes pre-baked and much that is canned. It's not the potato part of the fries that gets us, it's the corn oil.

    But, my fellow eaters, here's the kicker: part of the reason we get away with spending 6.9% of household income on food is that mass corn farming is directly subsidized and supported by the taxpayers through the USDA. Your taxes are going out as the main profit source for corn farmers in order to keep prices artificially low and to make manufactured food cheaper than fresh. When they stopped subsidizing cane and beet sugar crops, it became more economical to switch to high fructose syrup instead. We are literally paying out the nose and into our bellies (yuck). It's all part of the WalMart effect: we think we are getting great prices in the moment, but it is an illusion.

  • L Wallace posted at 1:52 pm on Tue, Oct 9, 2012.

    L Wallace Posts: 1390

    No Laurie, human nature is not a pattern of learned behavior, it is the CONDITION that we are born into. Proof of this can be made by putting TWO very young children - that can not yet walk or talk - into a play pen with ONE shiny toy. Human nature will be clearly demonstrated. It is true that in adults human nature can be resisted to some extent but as long as we are in this flesh it cannot be totally eradicated.

    Some folks cultivate and feed the insatiable appetites and others resist the runaway insatiables. The New Testament calls it "feeding the pigs". You will find this parable in the last half of Luke 15.

    Obesity is on the rise because more and more food is avaliable and food must also be more affordable or more is being donated.

  • Laurie Wadkins posted at 12:27 pm on Tue, Oct 9, 2012.

    Laurie Wadkins Posts: 638

    And Mike,
    ----- Just what is "human nature"? Isn't it a pattern of behavior established over the years due to repetition?
    Does that make it correct? Don't we "create" human nature to suit our own pursuits? Nuff said.
    ----- Sorry, your submission of "poo" does not win. No nice comments from me over the next two weeks. Give it a rest... the blob wins.
    -----Your observations are spot on!!
    ----- Prices overall will continue to climb as we absorb the drought consequences this year. Industrialization has moved us from the farms to the keyboard..
    Steve, I love creamed corn, but only if I make it myself!

  • mike from sagle posted at 11:41 am on Tue, Oct 9, 2012.

    mike from sagle Posts: 2474

    this topic is pointless because HUMAN NATURE dictates that most people will eat whatever tastes good
    and the author is conviced that human beings are the problem, and the solution is.....?
    'nuff said

  • Steve Hatcher posted at 8:06 am on Tue, Oct 9, 2012.

    Steve Hatcher Posts: 2864

    Sylkie makes some good points. However, there is a shortage of corn due to the lack of rain this year and products consisting of corn will have higher prices, but higher prices won't cure our eating practices. Anything that will take cream corn off the table is fine with me. [wink]
    One of our problems is the urbanization of America, folks leaving the farms for the city where food is packaged on the grocery shelves with all sorts of ingredients to preserve them.

  • sylkie7b posted at 7:19 am on Tue, Oct 9, 2012.

    sylkie7b Posts: 295

    For the lazy and easily confused: SNAP=Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program , referred to in ancient history as "food stamps".

    Obesity is on the rise worldwide, including unlikely places like Haiti and has been for a couple of decades. Even pets are getting fatter. Its not conclusive yet, but plenty of science over the past 25 points to genetic factors in how different populations deal with high-carbohydrate diets. People with Pacific Islander and Native American genetics seem to have higher insulin resistance: when they consume large amounts of corn and sugars that make up grocery-store food, combined with urbanization, it is a recipe for obesity.

  • Old Cop posted at 4:31 am on Tue, Oct 9, 2012.

    Old Cop Posts: 3259

    Please speak in English. Very few of us comprehend Greek or Latin. The only Snap that I am familiar with is the sound you hear when I crack my whip.
    I have found processing food adds greatly (sometimes enormously) to the cost while it significantly reduces the food value. We buy as little of it as we can. My only consistent exposure to processed food is an occasional visit to Second Avenue Pizza.

    It's a fact, Veggies are what Food eats before it becomes Food.
    And your blob still looks like a pile of fish food after being processed by a whale

  • sylkie7b posted at 10:15 pm on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    sylkie7b Posts: 295

    Low income people feeding families end up buying processed food that is chock full of corn products and processed sugar because it tastes good and is cheap, despite having low nutritional value. The evidence however, is that food security programs actually fight obesity:

    "In a study controlling for food security status, current adult SNAP participants in Massachusetts
    living in households participating in the program for at least 6 months have a lower body mass
    index (BMI, an indicator of excess body fat) compared to those participating less than 6 months,
    suggesting that long-term participation is associated with lower BMI.54" : From FRAC.org. They cited:

    Webb, A. L., Schiff, A., Currivan, D., & Villamor, E. (2008). Food Stamp Program participation but not food insecurity is associated with
    higher adult BMI in Massachusetts residents living in low income neighbourhoods. Public Health Nutrition, 11(12), 1248-1255

    The reason is simple: the restrictions on SNAP make it difficult to buy junkfood and ready-to-eat stuff. Interestingly , the anti-obesity effect might be stronger, but it was a certain Ms. Bachmann of Minnesota who took money from the soda companies and the corn farmers to make sure that high sugar drinks would not be restricted.

  • mike from sagle posted at 8:43 pm on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    mike from sagle Posts: 2474

    If it is overconsumption is crippling our country, then that might explain the "obesity epidemic" our flotus keeps yammerring on about, but it doesn't explain the overspending of a bloated federal govt. on entitlement programs and freebies freebies freebies. And so let's look at where Obama's freebies have gotten us:

    In 2010, African American women were 40% more likely to be obese than Non-Hispanic White women.

    Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders are 2.7 times more likely to be obese than the overall Asian American population.

    In 2009- 2010 Mexican American children, between the ages 6 and 17, were 60% more likely to be
    overweight as Non- Hispanic White Children.

    American Indian/Alaskan Natives are 70 percent more likely to be obese than Non-Hispanic whites.


  • L Wallace posted at 6:21 pm on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    L Wallace Posts: 1390

    Laurie, I would say that the fundamental problem is human nature, it is more about self centeredness. Humans feed their insatiable appetites, whatever those appetites are. For some it is food, for others it is money or power or security, or sex or a host of other possibilities. Cure human self centeredness and you cure human excesses. When folks recognize their condition often they move away from it and seek a more sensible way of life.

  • Laurie Wadkins posted at 6:02 pm on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    Laurie Wadkins Posts: 638

    ----- Hate to break it to ya, but folks actually DO eat TV dinners for their sustinence. At 99 cents per meal, it's cheap and available on food stamps...
    ----- Industry hires people to put this stuff together. I guess we should keep them employed, and starve the folks who consume it!

  • Steve Hatcher posted at 5:58 pm on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    Steve Hatcher Posts: 2864

    Laurie makes some good points although industry is not the culprit. if there were no desire the dreaded corporations wouldn't provide the goods.

    Now before someone else does, I think Bruce meant Chris Mathews. Rick Mathews
    is the former bullpen coach for the Colorado Rockies, where screwy infield fly rules have never been called from left field.

  • NewDawn posted at 1:49 pm on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    NewDawn Posts: 936

    O C, I sure enjoyed the news about the cabbage and the cabbage moth. May that little moth
    "enhance" Putin's cabbage patch and lay hundreds of millions of eggs! May those eggs all
    reach maturity and may those worms feel right at home in that cabbage environment and may
    they serve as protein w/ cabbage to Russia's fearless head-commie. (What a meal !)

    I am so glad that I do not eat cabbage - because my doctor said so!

    One happy camper

  • Bruce Johnson posted at 1:35 pm on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    Bruce Johnson Posts: 733

    I agree Laurie too many people. One solution would be to expradite all the liberals to Venezuela and Russia with a sprinkle of far left in China. Cut the population in roughly half and presto....jobs available, plenty of gas and food, empty freeways and no Rachael Maddow or Rick Matthews...

  • Old Cop posted at 12:27 pm on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    Old Cop Posts: 3259

    Forget that TV dinner crap. That would make a strong stomach upset. If you must go for a prepared dinner try Hormels. Find them at Yokes near the meat counter for less than $10.00. One makes two meals for two so it isn't terribly expensive. They be good.
    Your Blob still looks like whale stool to me. If it's not pornographic it's gotta be poo. LOL
    I may have BSed a few ladies in my time but those still alive still love me and I never gave any of 'em any poo

  • Old Cop posted at 12:09 pm on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    Old Cop Posts: 3259

    Do what you always do, Love. You don't need enhancement.

  • Laurie Wadkins posted at 11:27 am on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    Laurie Wadkins Posts: 638

    Oops! don't know what happened there in my last post! Apologies for the repeat!!

  • Laurie Wadkins posted at 9:34 am on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    Laurie Wadkins Posts: 638


    ----- The other day me and my hubby went shopping for groceries. In the event we got lazy and didn't want to cook, we purchased a stash of TV dinners for just such an occasion.
    ----- Honestly, I took one bite and threw the rest out.... it was THE worst! My body was going "Are you kidding me! You expect me to lug your sorry a--- around on this crapola?" Eating the box would of at least given me some needed fiber!
    ----- Anything in a box, prepared, has been cooked over extreme heat and flash frozen, mostly all the nutrients gone from it. Sooo, we add stuff back in, Yummmm! And how about those tasty chemical preservatives!

    My blob considers himself quite the "looker" and a ladies man, and he is highly offended that you wish to call him "whale poo". You're not makin any friends here! I would hate to see him "blort" stomach bile in your direction! Try again...

    My blob considers himself quite the "looker", and he was highly offended with yoour name choice[smile][smile][smile]

  • NewDawn posted at 8:22 am on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    NewDawn Posts: 936

    O C, I am crushed. To think that I have been eating stuff that has been "tampered" with!
    Oh, woe is me. Just kidding. Perhaps you are right. But I will subject my son i.l. to quite
    an "interrogation"!
    We call it an "enhancement" when we improve on nature - any nature - may it be plant
    or animal life. Well. there is nothing I can do except use my make-up and "enhance" myself!!!

    I'm crushed


  • Old Cop posted at 2:54 am on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    Old Cop Posts: 3259

    The vast majority of home grown garden vegetables have been improved by engineering. Specifically they have been engineered to taste better or perhaps to ripen faster where growing seasons are short. Unknown to you and most people, the vegetables from your son-in-law's garden have undoubtedly benefited from these techniques.
    I hold great hope for another aspect of engineering and that is to reduce dependence on chemical controls.
    For example consider the lowly cabbage. It's of vital importance to much of the third world. Even the Russians consume vast quantities of it. Something in a cabbage attracts cabbage moths. That something compels them to lay their eggs only on cabbages. These eggs hatch into worms which can quickly destroy the crop. If the attraction can be identified there is the possibility that it can be eliminated by engineering without otherwise affecting the cabbage. As a result there would be no need to use chemicals to control a moth

  • NewDawn posted at 9:43 pm on Sun, Oct 7, 2012.

    NewDawn Posts: 936

    My son-in-law has a beautiful garden where he raises the most delicious tomatoes and all
    the rest of the summer vegetables. He lives in Utah and gets his "non-engineered" seeds
    from reliable sources (farmers, gardeners) who are completely tuned in to "everything natural"
    and not tainted by that so called "improvement" aka genetic engineering. The veggies and
    fruit his garden produces are a delight to the pallet! I always look forward to their summer
    visits because I get to share in that wonderful harvest..

    O C, bigger is not necessarily better. You said yourself that those "engineered" tomatoes
    don't taste as good as the home grown do. Unfortunately, genetic engineering has been done
    for many years all over the world. I have a cousin who is a Bio Chemist for Bayer in Dormagen,
    Germany. She told me about 20 years ago to try to avoid anything "grown in the laboratory",
    may it be meds or food. Easier said than done, right?

    I have to tell you that I am so pleased to read all those responses from our bloggers expressing
    various concerns and opinions. A delight!


  • backlash posted at 7:27 pm on Sun, Oct 7, 2012.

    backlash Posts: 1509

    Capitalism is based on a ponzi scheme you need an ever increasing population and GNP which can not go on forever. The planet has finite resources and we are wasting them to the peril of those who go after us. America is without a doubt the biggest pig on the planet and if we are not careful this jewel of a planet
    could be ruined and cause the death and destruction of those who go after us.

    Genetic Engineering is very dangerous as well as having the ability to help man-kind but it is as dangerous as atomic energy is and has the capacity to do great harm.
    Just a simple weed that can out perform all other plants or a disease that effects bees that pollinate our crops could spell disaster.

  • backlash posted at 7:14 pm on Sun, Oct 7, 2012.

    backlash Posts: 1509

    Laurie's blob could be the most evil product of genetic engineering ever conceived of: "crossing a jelly fish with a human" a whole new meaning to "Portuguese Man of War" Believe me if it was valuable a a weapon they would do it in a heart beat or if it could pick stocks they would do it.

    Some good movie names if you are old enough to remember them: "The Thing" -"The Blob"

    Then there is always " Poo-Poo-Kahka" He or she is I must say, disturbing to look at pink slimy
    reminiscent of the Ghost Busters when they got slimed.

  • Old Cop posted at 4:14 pm on Sun, Oct 7, 2012.

    Old Cop Posts: 3259

    Some foodcrops are engineered to taste better like home grown tomatoes. Some to keep better like store bought tomatoes. Some to bear larger crops. Of course they don't taste the same Some corn has been engineered for human consumption, some for animal consumption and some to make alcohols. That is split again between alcohol made for an addition to gasoline and corn used to make alcohol for human consumption. Quantities of corn is raised for silage where the whole plant (above ground) is used for feeding cattle

  • wilson posted at 12:25 pm on Sun, Oct 7, 2012.

    wilson Posts: 1089

    I am not so sure that I should be eating "food" that has been altered so bugs and worms know enough not to eat. Pesticides and other chemicals that poison our bodies may be linked to illnesses that will surely show up in the future as diminished health, if not already - How do you know the tomatoes are the same as those grown in the backyard? Sure don't taste the same--

    Good letter, Laurie - makes a lot of sense -

  • Old Cop posted at 10:39 am on Sun, Oct 7, 2012.

    Old Cop Posts: 3259

    I like some of that genetically engineered food Laurie. Corn on the Cob for instance can be truly mouth watering compared to corn a years back. I hate to tell you but the tough skinned tasteless genetically engineered tomato that you buy in the store has the same food value as the tender delicious genetically engineered tomato you raise in your home garden. Those tender home grown ones wouldn't ship. Those tougher ones ship with far less spoilage. The vast majority of our food crops have been altered somewhat to make them more desirable. Several varieties of home grown cantaloupe are simply scrumptious compared to any you have ever bought. Not really quibbling with you Laurie.
    How come you never acknowledged my suggestion for your blob's name? I didn't see anybody else making suggestions. Poo is a good name for him