On nutrition

I’ve written a number of times about fatness and obesity. I don’t think it’s wrong to be either one of those, but I do think there is a moral argument that underpins the necessity to attempt to avoid being those things. You get one life. I think people should give it quality.

Of course, this doesn’t mean a person can’t enjoy something other than a diet half-salad once in awhile. That’s why the political (and often dishonest) arguments against drives like Michelle Obama’s pro-fitness efforts bother me so much. It’s also why I really like this post from Mike:

See what I’m getting at? Guess how much guilt I felt eating that [“prime”] burger the other week… that’s right, none. That’s because I don’t eat that way very often. My diet consists of whole grains, seeds and nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean meats. I watch my portions carefully. That means that now and again, I can splurge. And it just so happens that last week I was in Oklahoma City for a concert with some friends, and we grabbed some McDonald’s beforehand. I had a Big Mac, and it tasted awesome (not remotely as good as the prime burger, but still tasty). On the way back to Tulsa, I got hungry and had McDonald’s again… a grilled chicken sandwich. It also tasted good and I’ve lived through the experience.

This is what a lot of people don’t realize about nutrition. Eating right doesn’t mean avoiding every bad thing out there every second of every day. A person’s health doesn’t hinge on a single meal. A proper diet takes place over time; it’s an ongoing effort. Grabbing that doughnut once in awhile isn’t a sign of hypocrisy for someone who advocates eating well. (More importantly, we shouldn’t dismiss an argument simply due to hypocrisy. Think about it: If a serial killed said murder is wrong, would anyone reject the truth of his argument?) It’s perfectly possible to be healthy and enjoy life at the same time.

The ease of tearing apart Rush

Rush Limbaugh recently had this to say:

The problem is, and dare I say this, it doesn’t look like Michelle Obama follows her own nutritionary, dietary advice,” Limbaugh said on his radio program. “And then we hear that she’s out eating ribs at 1,500 calories a serving with 141 grams of fat per serving.” “She is a hypocrite,” Limbaugh continued. “Leaders are supposed to be leaders. If we are supposed to go out and eat nothing, if we are supposed to eat roots, berries, and tree bark, show us how.”

Isn’t Limbaugh and co. the ones always complaining that they don’t need government telling them how to eat, that they can make the decisions for themselves? Strange then that he would whine that Mrs. Obama isn’t giving him adequate instruction.

But, hey, despite the massive irony, I agree with Limbaugh. Being a fat ass is a problem in America and if our leaders want to remedy the situation, they’ll be significantly more effective if they adopt healthy behaviors. But as anyone who isn’t a freakin’ moron knows, that doesn’t mean eating healthy 100% of the time. In fact – and brace yourselves for this one – different people have different bodies. I can get away with eating McDonald’s several times a week if I want. I don’t, but I could. And actually, I did throughout much of high school. That’s because I have a high metabolism. The reasonable effort it takes for me to be healthy is going to be different than the reasonable effort it takes for a lot of other people. That doesn’t mean I can always eat a bunch of crap food. But it does mean that if I decide to have a big meal at a restaurant once in awhile, I won’t be adversely impacting my health in any significant way.

Furthermore, I’ve lifted weights at various times throughout my life. I started toward the end of junior high and went into high school with it (pre-McDonald’s days, what with being 14 and having no money). When I started out, my gains were slower than they should have been. The reason? I wasn’t taking in enough fat and protein, among other things. When I returned to valuing my health, I became aware of the sort of foods I ought to be eating if I want to make certain types of gains. That involved eating a lot of stuff that would have made a lot of people fat. But my result? Faster and more significant lifting gains.

In short, different people have different requirements in order to become healthy, and effective leaders (on healthy living) need to do what is right for their own bodies in order to become healthy. Michelle Obama can get away with a bad meal here or there. A Mike Huckabee, who is a great example of someone who did a lot for his own health, has less leeway. George W. Bush, another healthy guy, has different requirements. So I agree with Limbaugh’s point, but I, of course, must dismiss his piss-poor ideological reasoning for making it.

Oh, and as regular FTSOS readers will know, I always enjoy granting as many points as possible to conservatives before still taking down their arguments. That’s what I did here, because as it turns out, Mrs. Obama’s meal actually looked more like this:

The Vail Daily earlier reported the first lady and friends went to Restaurant Kelly Liken in Vail Village for dinner. The FLOTUS reportedly ate “a pickled pumpkin salad with arugula and a braised ancho-chile short rib with hominy wild mushrooms and sauteed kale.”

She’s sure to be waddling around the White House any day now.