The Food Police

Very soon we’ll see the pleasure police out in force.  It’s an opinion that Jerry Doyle, former Hollywood star and current host of his own conservative talk radio program, has mentioned and I agree with more and more.  That can be reflected in what Michelle Obama recently said to a group of restauranteurs, when she asked them to make some healthy changes to their menus because we need to stamp out child obesity.

Now, I’m not against getting healthy.  Many people that know me know that I’ve taken up running and I’m attempting to eat a little more healthy.  That said, I’m not asking anybody else to do it.  It’s not my place to require you to replace your love for french fries with a new love for steamed broccoli.  That’s your business.

Michelle Obama is calling for some of the common sides for children to be replaced with healthy alternatives like apple slices or carrot sticks.  She has even said that when we manufacture things that are salty or sweet that we are actually conditioning a person to want even more of it.  That’s why those that make some ot these popular choices for food should stop selling it, even though they are in the business of trying to make money.

The interesting thing here is that there already is a healthy awakening going on in this country.  Watch “The Biggest Loser” or “Celebrity Fit Club” on TV and you’ll see the most visible part of a movement to lose weight and get fit.  You can even go to your local bookstore and see hundreds of choices on how to get fit and leave that old body behind.  I spoke with someone a few years ago in the restaurant business when the Adkins Diet was all the rage and they told me that they had to change their menu or risk losing customers.  Indeed we have seen restaurants like the once formidable Bennigan’s close up shop simply because they offered nothing healthy on their menus.

The thing that will drive restaurants to offer more healthy alternatives are customer demand, not demand from the First Lady.  That customer demand is already evident in what is showing up on menus nationwide.  Take a trip to any chain restaurant and you’ll see choices for those that are watching what they eat to enjoy while they are there.

I’m glad that the First Lady is standing against child obesity.  I too believe that it’s a problem.  The solution though is not regulating what’s on the menu at restaurants but educating the public on what is healthy and what isn’t.  In the end, it still comes down to personal choice.  If you choose to enjoy that Twinkie rather than enjoy that Granola Bar, I can’t stop you from doing it…nor should I.