Warning! Don’t read this blog if you’ve just eaten a big meal or are about to eat a big meal. It will induce guilt. Otherwise, watch the clip then read the post. [YouTube removed the video. It was from “Over the Hedge.”]
There’s a lot of truth in that cartoon. Our tables have become altars and the raccoon is right, when it comes to food, “enough is never enough.” Americans throw away an embarrassing amount of food every day. And this is not one of those “clean your plate because there are starving children” talks. It’s an encouragement to stop cleaning your plate and to stop piling it so high to begin with! In the last couple of decades portion sizes in America have grown out of control, along with the sizes of our grocery stores. Just think of how much access we have to food. It’s literally unlimited. I would guess that right now you’re within 5 miles of a super-sized value meal or a warehouse-sized grocery store, but you don’t even have to get out of your house. I bet your pantry has enough food in it right now to survive two weeks without dining out or hitting the grocery store (and yet we still panic when it snows).
The point is we can basically eat whatever we want, whenever we want. That’s not a good thing. Just take a look around. Almost all of us are carrying some extra weight on our frames (including myself). In fact, obesity is quickly becoming the number one health problem in America and it’s a self-inflicted problem. It’s not caused by contagions or disease, but by overabundance and overindulgence. I often catch myself overeating to the point of sickness and then medicating or exercising so I can do it all again. It’s got to stop. Sometimes while running on the treadmill at the YMCA I think about how ridiculous it is. All of us running on our little machines to burn off the extra calories that we didn’t need in the first place.
So what started this little rant you ask? Well, actually it was a humbling quote that I read from Wess Stafford (the director of Compassion International). He was writing about child poverty and how the lack of adequate nutrition was a major contributing factor, even though research has revealed that we have more than enough capacity to produce enough food for everybody! According the UN Food and Agriculture Organization the planet could produce food for every one of us to have a daily diet of 2,720 calories. The average 6 year old only needs 1,800 calories a day and the average 14 year old only needs about 2,350. Which prompts Stafford to ask this very sobering question…
“So why is a third of our world battling obesity and spending huge sums to burn off excess calories, while the other two-thirds yearn to get more of them?”