March Madness Is Over

Actually it’s not over as I start writing this, but it will be by the time I finish. I was sorry that Ohio State lost. I think they would have given Kentucky more of a challenge than Kansas is. Of course, I could be eating my words 20 minutes from now, but I don’t think so. I think that if you knockout someone who is running that well at the last minute, you need to go on and really make a game of it with the final opponent.

That’s not intended to take anything away from Kentucky. They are a really talented team and they’ve got a super, super player in Anthony Davis. Only the second freshman to win the Naismith award. He grew 10 inches or something during high school. My son would have loved that. He is definitely a few inches shorter than he expected to be.

But he’s at karate tonight and soon will test for another rank advancement. The only thing outside of school that he’s done longer and continuously was soccer. He played 12 or 13 seasons as a defender and played indoor soccer in many off-seasons.

Where to from here? I’m a little tired tonight, but not as much as last night. I was in pain this weekend and took the step of praying with one of our pastors about it yesterday. Thank God the pain is down by about 60% or so.

Right now I’m using Isagenix products and I’m close to vegetarian for a few days before I go into an actual cleanse. Also, no refined sugar. Maybe my body just can’t take the meat as much as it used to. I’m not sure. I do know that almost all Americans would do better cutting way, way down on refined sugar. They finally did a segment on 60 minutes about it last night. How many decades ago was Sugar Blues written?

I believe I’ve mentioned that I think there’s a lot of denial in the USA. Maybe there is in other countries, too, but I don’t live in those places. I think that our dietary standards have gotten so far out of whack that we don’t realize how far we have to go to get back to a truly healthy place.

And I don’t think there’s a conspiracy or anything. I think it’s like Rachel Maddow’s book title, “Drift”. Of course, her book is about something else, but I think we do a lot of drift in a lot of ways without thinking about it. If we really stopped and thought about things, we might have less drift.

When I was in high school I remember that 7-Eleven came up with this new brand – The Big Gulp. The Big Gulp is 32 ounces. Hard to believe if you ever go to 7-Eleven today and take a look at those cups that we would have thought of as incredibly huge 35 years ago. Back then a large was probably 20 ounces or maybe 24 at most. (I’m sure someone could come up with an exception, but I mean in most places that lots of people would frequent.) Now you could get a 32 ounce fountain soda and they had a name for it. Back then it was 59 cents if you brought your refill cup! Some places would actually sell it for 49 cents!

Some time later they created the Super Big Gulp which I think is 44 ounces. They even have one that’s 64 ounces now. When they first introduced it they called it the Family Gulp. Now it’s called the Double Gulp.

Watching Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me” I saw some people who had at least two Double Gulps a day for years. I admit that that used to be me, too. I thought I was ok because it was Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi (or Pepsi One if I could find it).

But this isn’t really about the illusion of diet soda – that’s for another time. What I’m really talking about is the “drift”.

I would be willing to bet that 7-Eleven is not interested in destroying the health of America. I don’t believe that they are nefarious. They’re just sort of libertarian. If you will buy it and it fits within the general framework of what they think 7-Eleven should sell, they will. Sometimes franchisees will sell things that you might never expect to find there.
But, again, this is not about THAT.

Just like lots of businesses, 7-Eleven was probably looking for a way to sell more stuff. In this example we’re talking about soda.

So, people start buying this thing called a Big Gulp and they begin to know what it feels like in their hand and what it looks like to their eyes. This thing that didn’t exist as an idea before now does. Then there are the bigger versions and for many people the new size becomes normal. Actually, the proper word here is normative.

If 20 million people buy Big Gulps then maybe 10 million by Super Big Gulps and then maybe 4 million buy Double Gulps. Regularly. It becomes part of their routine. It becomes such a regular part of their life that other places begin to notice so that in many restaurants with fountain soda you can now get those bigger sizes that once a upon a time (35 years ago) would have been considered ginormous. In fact, they didn’t use the word “ginormous” that long ago, but you get the idea. By the way, then there were the 500,000 to 1 million people a day who bought two or more Double Gulps. I don’t claim that these numbers are exactly accurate. I’m simply trying to show some proportion to how so many people could decide that different levels of bigger portions could be considered “normal”.

But soda is not the only place that this sort of thing has happened. Ever been to a place called Claim Jumper? They might not be all the rage now, but in the early 1990’s lots of people I knew were going to Claim Jumper frequently to get the bigger than average portions of food. There are lots of places to get large portion sizes today. My wife and I have actually started to share these portions that 15-20 years ago we usually ate on our own. (To be fair, she would have food to take home much more often than I did.)

I’m sure that you can think of lots of examples – if you really think about it – where you are eating larger portions because that’s what they are serving in the restaurant. And it’s not just in restaurants. Remember when they started selling “Hungry Man Dinners” in the section we used to call TV dinners? That was probably late 1970’s or early 1980’s when they started selling Hungry Man Dinners. I know it was either Banquet or Swanson frozen dinners.

FYI – Anythony Davis is being awarded the Most Valuable Player award in the March Madness finals at this moment as Kentucky won as I predicted.

Drift.

What about sugar? I won’t even get into high fructose corn syrup. Let’s just talk about processed sugar content in general. We keep adding it to more and more stuff. Canned food. Food in boxes. I’m not sure about the exact amount, but you can Google it, I’m sure. But it’s definitely 10 or 20 or 30 times more processed sugar in our diets than in say, 1972, which is 40 years ago.

Just like I mentioned about oceans losing vegetation over time in my previous post, how do you notice if you grow up in the middle of that? Our son was born in 1991 (Still stuns me that he was born in the NINETIES!) and thankfully, he doesn’t eat much processed sugar. He wants to gain weight!

You don’t notice in two ways.

1) If you’re simply not paying attention and you wake up one day and that’s when you realize how much more food you eat or how much more sugar you consume than you did 20 or 30 years ago or more. Or even 5 years ago, depending on how much of a change you’ve let come into your eating habits.

2) You’re born into a situation where you’re being fed too much food or too much processed sugar to begin with and that means the changes that take place over 5 or 10 years or so aren’t as large – relatively speaking. But you started off at a truly unhealthy place, so just because it’s gotten somewhat worse in your eyes doesn’t mean it’s not really, really bad because of where your baseline (start) was.

Drift.

What about chemicals on our food? I’ve heard that we started widespread use of insecticides in 1953. I’ve also heard that celery is one of the worst things to eat NON-organically.

Why? Remember the experiment in third grade (or thereabouts) where the teacher put celery stalks in water with food coloring in it? Usually red or blue or you might have had both if your teacher had more imagination or more budget. Over the course of a week you got to see the celery suck up the dyed water and now you had celery that was colored red or blue (or both kinds!) and that was pretty cool science that not everyone necessarily “got”, but they certainly could see it. How many of us never thought about the ramifications until we became adults?

Guilty! What ramifications you say?

If the celery can suck up that dye so well, don’t you think it can do the same thing to chemicals that are sprayed on it or at least chemicals in the soil?

Eat organic celery.

There was no conspiracy that I’m aware of. Just libertarian-type principals and drift.

Same with food portions.

Same with sugar consumption.

I’m pretty tired and you know if you’ve been following these that this is a writing exercise. Hopefully this makes sense to you and you might stop and think and maybe even modify your habits.

You do know that there’s an obesity epidemic in the United States, right?

If you’re skeptical about adults, then what about the children?

There are more truly obese children now than there ever have been here in the USA. Look it up.

I mean more than just overweight, like a 5 year old who weighs in at 190 pounds or more. Think about it. I was 190 pounds when I was 6’2″ in 11th grade. (God help me I think I was slightly less than that when I was 24!)

Please don’t be skeptical. Look this stuff up.

When we don’t pay attention, we DRIFT.

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