Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Banned in New York

Generally speaking, I am against bans of any kind. My ACLU loving heart skips a beat when I think of the government regulating anything that I may choose to do with my time. Then New York banned trans fats in restaurants. At first glance, this seemed excellent. I am a healthy eater, pretty focused on the food groups and nutrition. I grew up with a vegetarian mother who made seaweed and brown rice and called it our dinner. I cook with tofu at least once a week, only use olive oil, and sprinkle a little flax seed on everything. I buy all organic, local produce and exercise like a fiend. Yes, health is very important to me. So one would think my eating/work out habits scream of someone interested in publich health (I am) and someone who would support the ban on smoking (I did). But I do not support this ban on trans fats.

I understand all of the whys. And I CERTAINLY understand the need for nutritional information at fast food restaurants. I am all for personal choice and MY personal choice is to (mostly) avoid trans fats. They are not good for you. They are chemically modified food ingredients and "raise levels of a particularly unhealthy form of cholesterol and have been squarely linked to heart disease," according to the New York Times. Certainly they are linked to the obesity epidemic in our country and let's face it, I have no interest in eating cheap, crappy food when I can get better food made without it. So, why do I feel so strongly that they should not be banned? Because I think personal choice is more important.

Even if I am sickened by the idea of someone eating themselves into a stupor in front of the TV and never taking a walk outside, I respect that as a personal choice. I am not planning to start a petition to federally mandate hamster wheels in everyone's houses that must have a certain number of revolutions per day. Hasn't weight watchers been screaming for years that it is all about moderation? Why don't we ban Doritos, Chips A Hoy and Lay's? Even if they do not use trans fats, they still make people fat, which clearly also contributes to heart disease. And what about those poor Keebler Elves? All they wanted was to make some good cookies for people to eat. Now they are the bad guys making everyone obese. I am not buying it. People make themselves obese. People make their own choices. And even if I do not agree with their choices, I support their right to make them.

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