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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Friday, December 08, 2006

Yup, you were eating that

This past Tuesday marked a momentous day in America’s health history. Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York, banned trans fats at NYC restaurants. This is a huge step to our government giving us some sort of universal health care. In fact, as I and many others would argue, it is government health care and it’s a very good thing.

Trans fats are one of the more ugly food products people ingest as the fats are used in frying and baking and result in extended shelf life for products. For people the result is raised LDL (bad) cholesterol, clogged arteries and heart disease. That’s right, not only is the resulting “food” bad for you, but it’s been kept on the shelf extra long so it can be bad for you months down the road and still keep its “freshness.” I feel both food and freshness have to be in quotes here because there isn’t anything very fresh or natural about the hydrogenation of vegetable oil, which is exactly how we get trans fats.

Banning trans fats isn’t the first important move Mayor Bloomberg has done in the name of healthy living. A few years ago Bloomberg adopted the law that banned smoking in bars. At first I was skeptical about this one, but not only does it lead to better smelling clothes at the end of the night, a lot of smokers will tell you they now smoke significantly less when they go out because they don’t feel like constantly going outside to light up. This improves everybody’s health and, after some initial quibbling, I think most people see it as a positive.

Even with the trans fat ban there will still be plenty of fatty foods for those who don’t care about their lives to feast on, but hopefully those foods will start disappearing over the course of the next few decades. Of course this is also up to the people to start demanding better, healthier, food. I recently spoke with a holistic medicine expert and he pointed out McDonald’s will never go out of business, they’re too smart to, but they will change what they serve if enough people change their way of life.

When most people talk about wanting universal health care from the government they’re thinking in a very lazy, self-centered, way. Basically, they want to be taken care of when they get sick. A whole lot of people want a giant safety net so they can go on leading their lives as unhealthy as they want and every time they get sick the government will pick up the tab. Well guess what, that won’t work in America right now because too few people are actually healthy. This is why the smoking ban and trans fat ban are great ideas. If we keep finding ways to potentially make people healthier then the need for universal health care will be lessened. Once the need is low enough, and the people of America are healthy enough, the government won’t have any problem providing universal health care which, at that point, will be used, for the most part, by those who truly need it. Right now, however, it would be a doctor’s office free for all with the number of very preventable diseases and ailments people are giving themselves via their poor diets and equally poor ways of life.

Yup, a lot of what ails people today is curable, the problem is most people who are ailing expect someone else to do the curing for them. The new laws have helped with that, but what these laws are also doing is showing people this is easier than they think. It’s easier to get healthy than most unhealthy people realize. Rather than expecting someone else to cure you it’s time to step up and realize you can cure yourself by making a few adjustments to your diet and way of life. People hate to change, though. Why do anything when you can sit around, get sick, and then have someone else pay for it? That’s what a lot of people want out of government health care. I know there are still plenty of folks who want government health care because they can’t afford it any other way, but I think the message that’s being sent with these laws is clear, if you take care of yourself, and pay attention to your health before giving yourself the opportunity to get sick all those wants and needs for universal health care will be lessened significantly.

Some people are giving these health laws the Big Brother tag. The real irony in that is that the people labeling them as such are the same folks who expect their government to simply be a Rich Uncle. I’m not normally a fan of anything government related, but props to Bloomberg on this one.

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