“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” — C.S. Lewis.

Government solutions to obesity and other health issues continue to spring up everywhere. San Francisco followed through on its threat to outlaw Happy Meal toys, as I recounted in a previous post. Several states have ordered restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus. Mayor Bloomberg in New York wants to tell food manufacturers how much sodium their products can contain. And now the city council in Cincinnati is considering ordering restaurants to “go vegetarian!” on Mondays.

Cincinnati’s Food Task Force has proposed instituting “Meatless Mondays” in Cincinnati, and forcing restaurants to offer dishes that don’t contain meat.

“Everybody cares about their health, health of their children. It’s an invitation to try something new once a week,” said Meghan Burke, a member of the task force.

An invitation?! What a lovely euphemism.

Ms. Burke, when you pass a law, it’s not an invitation; it’s a government mandate. And like all government mandates, it will be enforced with the threat of violence — that’s what “enforced” means. If you don’t believe me, ignore a government mandate sometime. When the government levies a fine for noncompliance, call the department in charge and tell them to piss off. Eventually, uniformed people with guns will show up at your door. This is no more of an “invitation” than a tax bill from the IRS is an “invitation” to donate to the treasury. What kind of nut-case could possibly see it any other way?

Burke is also co-owner of the vegan restaurant Loving Hut.

Oh, thaaaaat kind of nut-case. Now I get it. So Ms. Burke is proposing a law that would just happen to benefit the business she owns. Man, it’s inspiring to watch government officials serve the public so selflessly.

She said healthier food is better for the environment. “If people cut out meat once a week, it’s the equivalent of taking thousands of cars off of the street,” Burke said.

The idea that eating meat contributes to excess greenhouse emissions is vegan poppycock, of course, as explained recently by a columnist for the Guardian. Lierre Keith also did a bang-up job in The Vegetarian Myth of showing how it’s mono-crop farming that’s destroying the planet, not raising livestock.

But I agree with Ms. Burke that forcing Cincinnati restaurants to go vegetarian on Mondays will probably remove thousands of cars from the street … because restaurant patrons will stay home and grill their own steaks and burgers. Or it could produce exactly the opposite outcome:

“Yes, I’d like the prime rib, and my wife will have the New York Strip.”

“I’m sorry, sir. We can only serve vegetarian meals on Mondays.”

“What?! Says who?”

“The city council.”

“I see. Well, how far is the nearest city that isn’t run by dimwits?”

“About 17 miles.”

“And they have restaurants there?”

“Yes.”

“Bye.”

Either way, the restaurants in Cincinnati are going to lose business if this law passes — except for Ms. Burke’s, of course. Some hard-working entrepreneurs will take a financial hit, which means some employees could lose their jobs — but hey, that’s okay, as long as the people in government believe they might, perhaps, just maybe persuade a few people to eat what they believe are more nutritious foods.

A few vegans who showed up on this blog to comment on previous posts accused me of being hostile towards vegetarians. Not true. If people choose not to eat meat, I don’t really care. But I definitely feel hostile towards people who try to impose their dietary preferences on others, and wouldn’t ya know it,  every time a law like this comes around, there are vegan nut-cases behind it. (Have you ever heard of meat-eaters trying to force restaurants to serving nothing but steaks, ribs and chops once per week?)

I’m thoroughly convinced wheat is one of the worst foods you can eat. I can cite evidence that wheat and other grains are a factor in obesity, heart disease, diabetes, schizophrenia and a host of auto-immune disorders. But just imagine the reaction in the vegan community if I convinced the Nashville city council to mandate Wheatless Wednesdays. I’m pretty sure the vegans would shake their little fists and stamp their little feet so hard, they’d split the heels on their Birkenstocks.

Of course, I’d also oppose Wheatless Wednesdays. Call me crazy, but I believe that in a (supposedly) free country, governments should not be allowed to prohibit adults from making voluntary exchanges unless there’s one heck of a compelling reason. And by compelling, I mean actual proof that we’re preventing actual harm that people can’t voluntarily avoid … not “it would be a good idea if people did this” or “we’re rather people didn’t do that” or “we think maybe this will work.”

If Cincinnati is going to mandate Meatless Mondays in restaurants, the city council should be required to produce solid, indisputable evidence that the law will lead to a healthier, leaner, happier citizenry — and even then, the law would merely be an outrage, as opposed to an outrage perpetrated by misinformed imbeciles. (Or as Curly Howard might would put it, intelligent imbeciles … nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.)

If San Francisco is going to ban Happy Meal toys — thus preventing supposedly free adults in a supposedly free country from making decisions for their kids — they should be required to justify that ban with solid, indisputable evidence that:

  • Happy Meals toys cause kids to eat at McDonald’s more frequently than they would otherwise
  • Eating frequently at McDonald’s causes kids who would otherwise remain lean to become obese
  • Outlawing Happy Meals toys will discourage kids from eating at McDonald’s
  • Kids who would otherwise become obese remain lean if they are discouraged from eating at McDonald’s

For the Happy-Meal ban to actually do any good, all four of those conditions would have to be true. But of course, the do-gooder dimwits running San Francisco can’t prove that all four conditions are true. They can’t prove that any one of them is true.

But for big-government dimwits, proof of an actual benefit isn’t a necessary condition before taking away basic freedoms. All that’s necessary is for them to believe they know what’s best for us. As Milton Friedman replied when he was asked why so many intellectuals favor big-government authoritarianism, “It’s not the smart people who are dangerous. It’s the people who think they’re smarter than everyone else.”

I suppose I should be grateful to the San Francisco city council for reminding me that leaving California was the smartest move I ever made. The state is run by do-gooder dimwits, apparently because a majority of voters share the same do-gooder dimwit ideas. If The Guy From CSPI lived in California, he could probably be elected to the U.S. senate.

As you know, I’m a huge fan of Dr. Malcolm Kendrick’s book The Great Cholesterol Con, partly because he shreds the Lipid Hypothesis, and partly because he’s a brilliant writer … clear, direct, logical and laugh-out-loud funny, all at the same time. It’s a rare treat to be educated and amused at the same time.

Dr. Kendrick recently sent me an email (including the C.S. Lewis quote at the top of this post) in which he explained the progression from good intentions to outright authoritarianism in government health policies. He’s threatened to expand on the topic in a book someday, and I hope he does. But in the meantime, with his permission, here’s part of what he wrote:

——————————————————————————-

We carry on forever. We give drugs to the terminally ill, the extremely old and severely demented. Once started we never, ever, stop, no matter what, until the patient is dead. Perhaps we should scatter statins on their ashes, just to make absolutely and completely certain that we aren’t missing a trick. After all, I would hate be thought of as ‘deadist’.

And what, exactly, does this prove – you may well ask.

It proves that the activity we call preventative medicine is no longer a rational activity, if it ever was. It is something else completely. Quite what it is, I am not entirely sure anymore. On one level it is an honest attempt to help people live longer and healthier lives. Hopefully, happier lives too.

But on other levels it has become hijacked by rather more sinister forces and desires. The desire that always seems to end up in the driving seat, unfortunately, is the deep-seated authoritarian desire to control other people. So what starts as concern and advice evolves, with wearisome inevitability, into laws and punishment.

Essentially, preventative medicine travels through the following stages:

Stage 1: Something is identified as being harmful to health e.g. smoking, drinking, boxing, eating crisps
Stage 2: Doctors raise awareness of this harmful thing
Stage 3: Education begins
Stage 4: Nothing much happens
Stage 5: Three parallel activities then occur
(i): Doctors begin to lobby the Government to take action
(ii): Advertising starts against the harmful thing
(iii): The harmful thing is chastised as being immoral/damaging to as wide a population as possible – especially children
Stage 6: A law is passed restricting the harmful thing
Stage 7: More laws are passed further restricting the harmful thing
Stage 8: The harmful thing is completely outlawed/banned

The full progression is not absolutely certain, and can sometimes move backwards. Drinking alcohol, for example has been made illegal at various times in several countries, with prohibition in the USA being the most famous example. However, the US moved back, by repealing prohibition, as did Finland, Sweden, and a few other countries. Which means that the process of preventative medicine can undergo some degree of reversal. Usually from stage 8, back to stage 7.

Having said this, things rarely reverse very far. Alcohol consumption is still very tightly regulated in most countries with law after law passed to control it, ban it and tax it. It seems very unlikely that drinking alcohol will move much further back than Stage 7 any time soon.

Other activities, despite repeated attempts, have not been completely banned yet. Smoking and boxing spring to mind. However, I can’t see this situation lasting much longer. They have both reached stage 7, and the pressure to move towards a complete ban is pretty unrelenting.

Of course, preventative medicine is not just about stopping people from doing things. The other side of the preventative coin is about things deemed to be good for you. For example, exercising, or eating five portions of fruit and vegetables, or drinking water that has had fluoride added to it.

As with banning, once something has been decreed to be a ‘good thing’ the process of ensuring that it becomes mandatory (or as close to mandatory as possible) begins. Essentially, this is the same process as banning, in reverse:

Stage 1: Something is identified as being good for health, e.g. water fluoridation, vaccination, eating fruit and vegetables
Stage 2: Doctors raise awareness of this good thing
Stage 3: Education begins
Stage 4: Nothing much happens
Stage 5: Three parallel activities then occur
(i): Doctors begin to lobby the Government to take action
(ii): Advertising starts in support of the beneficial thing
(iii): The beneficial thing is promoted as being beneficial to as wide a population as possible
Stage 6: A law is passed making the ‘good thing’ mandatory for some people
Stage 7: More laws are passed making the ‘good thing’ mandatory in a wider population
Stage 8: The activity is imposed/enforced on everyone

And so it goes.

———————————————————————————–

Looking forward to that book, Dr. Kendrick.

The end of freedom to make your own diet and health decisions won’t begin with snarling, jack-booted thugs showing up at your door. It will begin with smiling, sincere people in government telling you, “We’re only trying to help you.” And they’ve already started.

p.s. – speaking of thugs, you may want to read about the TSA airport screeners on my other blog.

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47 Responses to “Be Healthier — Or Else!”
  1. Dan says:

    Dr.Kendrick is right on. It’s too bad that any of these trajectory have become orthodoxy in our present time.

    Indeed.

  2. Lori says:

    I dunno, a Saturday night fish fry could be just what Cincinnati needs on a Monday night.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHF83BaQncU

  3. Turducken says:

    Came to think of the three big lies:
    1) The check is in the mail.
    2) Of course I respect you in the morning and
    3) We’re from the government and we’re here to help you.

    As always: excellent post Tom.

    I’ve recently added a fourth big lie: “Your call is important to us.”

  4. That C.S. Lewis quote brought MeMe Roth to mind. Why’d you have to do that?

    -Steve

    I apologize. No one should have to begin a weekend thinking of MeMe Roth.

  5. eddie watts says:

    not sure i’d agree with the boxing thing.
    sure there are some fatalities, but compared with all the people that do “boxing” to get fit and defend themselfbut never actually go into the full contact sport as seen on tv, i think overall the sport is less dangerous compared to american football, racing (car/motorbike) and possibly even bodybuilding(see ronnie coleman being given oxygen from a cannister before going on stage as an example of what i mean in these sport)

    otherwise great post!
    smoking is sure to be banned at some point

    Dr. Kendrick wasn’t suggesting banning boxing or smoking. He was naming them as two activities that are probably on the way towards being banned. I’d oppose banning either, although I don’t smoke cigarettes and sure as heck don’t box.

  6. Karen says:

    I so dread to think the hold over the American public once insurance laws are in force. Once a person is, by law, required to have health insurance, and those insurance companies have more and more say over what they will require to know and how they will adjudicate claims based on that knowledge is sickeningly frightening. Already there are stories (a lot I’ve read in your comments sections) of folks who are held hostage by their insurance companies to do this or that, or else.

    Thanks for this story Tom. I’m gonna be sure to bring this stuff up for discussion whenever I can.

    Obama’s head of Medicare/Medicaid is also on record advocating for “harmonizing” medical treatment by requiring specific protocols and reducing physician “autonomy.” In other words, you’ll get the treatment the government says you need, not the treatment your doctor believes you need. Does anyone believe big pharma won’t have a hand in deciding what those “harmonized” protocols should be?

  7. Tammy says:

    What about the fast food restaurants in Cincinnati? It doesn’t seem like they’d have an easy time of going “meatless” on any given day of the week. Seems like there’d be a pretty big lobby against it (I’d hope) so it wouldn’t get passed.

    As for other “rights” I totally agree, with the exception of smoking. I don’t agree that it should be banned, after all you have the right to give yourself lung cancer if you want. But, I’m glad for all of the regulation because I feel that I also have the right to NOT be exposed to your smoke when I’m out in public like at a restaurant trying to enjoy a meal.

    I don’t have any problem with governments banning smoking on government property, but I’m very much opposed to banning smoking on private property, including bars and restaurants. That decision should be up to the owners, and the public can decide to patronize the place or not.

    Here’s an analogy: I hate loud music, and loud music can damage your ears. But I would never, ever try to pass a law telling all the bars and nightclubs they can’t play loud music just because I’d like to patronize their establishments without being exposed to it.

  8. anon says:

    I thought for a second that you were going to advocate vegetarian diets. What a pleasant surprise the next 10 minutes were!
    Knowing what I do after actually researching my food, I can understand why people like Gordon Ramsay are so furious with these people!

  9. Jan says:

    What’s really stupid about the vegan restaurant lady trying to pass the law that all restaurants serve only vegetarian dishes on Mondays is that it COULD hurt her business. She probably has a pretty large market share in the vegetarian/vegan community that eats out – vegetarian/vegan restaurants aren’t nearly as numerous as mainstream restaurants, and it’s often hard to find good vegetarian dishes in mainstream restaurants (a vegetarian blogger friend of mine just wrote a post on this). If she manages to force every eating establishment in the city to conform to her way of eating on Monday, her vegetarian/vegan patrons are going to have a lot more places to go – what will keep them going to her establishment?

    I don’t know … if I owned a seafood place and then passed a law that all restaurants must offer seafood dishes, I’d count on the fact that everyone knows I specialize in seafood, while the others were merely tagging on a few fish dishes.

  10. Bruce says:

    I understand your concern for the forced meatless Mondays, but it does say “to offer dishes that don’t contain meat”, so I’m assuming (I know, I know) that the restaurant could offer the house salad as a meatless alternative.

    Of course this “Invitation” would need to be extended to Ms. Burkes and other vegetarian restaurants to include MEAT on one day of the week.

    Or you could go to one of my favorite locals restaurants and enjoy the following healthy foods:

    Saganaki
    Supreme Nachos with just cheese
    Mozzarella cheese sticks
    Potato skins (hold the bacon)
    Onion rings.

    These and many salads are available 7 days a week!! And they are all vegetarian.

    Or go to Chili’s, and get the delicious black bean patty substitute for the burger…at the same cost as beef.

    The key sentence is “forcing restaurants to offer dishes that don’t contain meat.” Governments have no business forcing restaurants to offer dishes of any kind.

  11. labrat says:

    Malcolm!!! I miss your Red Flags columns. Hope all is well. Proud to have inspired 2 of them.
    Where have you been?

    Meatless Mondays! Ugh. Friday’s during lent isn’t enough? At least we can eat fish! Is fish allowed on Meatless Mondays?

    Reminds me of an MD blogger that bragged about his “healthy dinner”. Trader’s Joe’s soy corn dogs and soy wings – he described it as “all natural and wholesome food for the heart”. I kid you not.

    Ugh. Keep me away from that doctor.

  12. Mark says:

    Sadly they’re trying to push this Meatless Monday thing in Toronto too. Luckily the newly elected mayor wasn’t a supporter. http://meatlessmondays.ca/

    Be sure to re-elect that mayor.

  13. Jo says:

    I do hope Kendrick writes another book. I laughed out loud at his last one. He is a talented writer and smart too.

    Sorry about the weight dig the other day. I’m hefty too, so I ought to know better! LOL.

    No offense taken.

  14. Cindy L Rondeau D.O.M. says:

    If the supposed Food Safety Bill S-510 passes today – it will soon be illegal to eat anything the FDA deems “unsafe”.

    It’s going to be a strange society when we have to sneak off to buy illicit foods from farmers.

  15. RobR says:

    Don’t all restaurants offer meatless dishes?
    Even at a steakhouse you can get a salad and some potatoes.

    I can’t imagine anything more horrific than a vegetarian version of skyline chilli.

    Loving Hut is a vegan cult.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ching_Hai

    There ends up not being much to say on these topics.
    Control freaks push bad science as justification to moralize while holding a gun.

    The cult members may want to pay attention to their own precepts as listed on the wiki page, such as:

    Refrain from speaking what is not true. (Such as “Meat makes you unhealthy and causes global warming.”)
    Refrain from taking what is not offered. (Such as my right to sell whatever dishes I choose in my own restaurant.)

  16. Jan says:

    It was my understanding that the Vegan Restaurant Lady wasn’t pushing to have restaurants add vegetarian options to their menus on Monday – most restaurants already do – but to serve nothing BUT vegetarian dishes on Monday. Either way, it’s none of her damn business what other restaurants choose to serve on any day of the week, and is the kind of thing that could very well come back to bite her in the behind.

    Be very, very careful, Vegan Restaurant Lady; if the government can force another business into doing something they don’t want to do, they can do it to you, too.

    Oh, and there are already underground food co-ops – Sandor Ellix Katz talks about them in The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved. My favorite line out of the book: “Eating well has become an act of civil disobedience.”

    Drop the pork chop! Drop, or we’ll shoot!

  17. Dave Fish says:

    The madness abounds. Baltimore public schools have meatless Monday. Our good friends in San Francisco have passed a resolution to “encourage” schools, restaurants, and stores to have a meat free Monday. They haven’t made it mandatory yet, but given what they did to McDonalds isn’t it only a matter of time?

    The state of Michigan held a one day “meatout” where they encouraged their residents to not eat meat. Fortunately the residents responded by holding a one day “Democratout” on November 2nd.

    We need a nationwide “meathead-out” day.

  18. Bullinachinashop says:

    The happy meal toy law would be quickly repealed if the lawmakers were forced to come to Mcdonalds and them the screaming 3 year olds themselves that they can’t have one. Even better, we can use it as an opportunity to raise kids to be anti-liberal. “I’m sorry Billy, but the Democrats say you’re too dumb to play with the Shrek toys. Are they ‘bad’ guys or ‘good’ guys, Billy?”.

    I like it. The kids who’ve had their bake sales and lemonade stands shut down by local governments should certainly grow up to be fiscal libertarians … I hope.

  19. Norway, being a Scandinavian country with high taxes and an aggressively regulatory government, is, surprisingly perhaps, a great country to live in if you like real food. Until the advent of cheap noodles, potatoes were the primary starch, along with rye bread (wheat is imported). The terrain and climate do not permit large scale cultivation of grains and legumes, but there is lots of acreage for grazing, and nothing compares to grass and juniper fed lamb for succulence and omega-3 to -6 balance (making fall my favorite season). While we have our share of healthy-eating busybodies, there is no established economic interest that pushes commodity grains (except for barley and oats, they just don’t grow here).
    Low-carb and primal eating are making inroads in Norway. A famously chubby politician lost 15 pounds in half a year eating low-carb in the parliament canteen. My fellow low-carbers (I see them in the canteen at work) can only lead by example. At my last job, nearly all the women started to copy the way I ate after I lost 20 pounds in 6 months. At my current job I have already inspired colleagues to skip the bread and have salad with meat and cheese. The word will get out eventually.

    That’s what I hope happens: people see who’s healthy and who isn’t and decide from there.

  20. Dave says:

    From the mouths of babes . . . when I told my kids (son 10, daughter 6) about the Happy Meal toy ban, here’s what they had to say:

    Son: Why?
    Me: Because they think it will make kids eat less McDonald’s.
    Son: (looks at me like I’m an idiot) The government is stupid. I’m never going to San Francisco again.
    Daughter: I don’t eat McDonald’s because it makes me throw up.

    I’ll run the Meatless Monday thing by them and see what they come up with.

    Brilliant commentary by youngsters.

  21. Debbie says:

    Yeah, as Jan says, there are already underground food co-ops. I get my “bootleg” raw milk and cream through one, as well as my pastured eggs and raw-milk cheese and butter. Part of belonging to the co-op is a financial contribution to a defense fund, so that if the government ever comes after our farmer there will be money available to pay the legal fees.

    Imagine having to hunt around for an underground meat co-op also? But if it came to that I guess I would have to hunt around!

    If that happens, perhaps we should hunt the enforcers.

    • Walter Bushell says:

      They’d taste terrible, but with added butter or ghee and a hot curry sauce might be palatable.

  22. Hilary Kyro says:

    My hypoglycemic pal and I got busted for selling DHA and CLA concealed in wheatless, carb-controlled food.
    Yup, seven years old and already firmly established in the vice world; pushing all-meat franks on a stick, fruit & veggie crudites, salmon shooters in a Dixie cup and full-fat milk with a whipped cream hat to our comrades in grade 2. Our assets, tools and profits were seized and transfered to the UN and the Salvation Army. The food was intercepted by concerned teachers who didn’t want us to get clogged arteries…or morally corrupted by the money we earned…or to achieve status among our hungry peers. I couldn’t find any lawyers to represent my rights who weren’t also interested in eating us out of house and home.
    I remember the outrage of the intentionally spilled milk, the starving crying children waving useless unspendable dimes and the pig teachers stuffing their faces with smug smiles of victory. “There is such thing as a free lunch.” we were taught, “School must never EVER be used for commercial purposes!”
    We made a scabby buck on their union turf. We were shaken upside down. We had our underwear, genitals and buttocks searched for concealed coins. Whoops! Sorry teacher/rapist who knew you could get your hands dirtied down there?
    It was rape, molestation, mugging and terrorization, yet no adults considered it a crime. It’s normal discipline. It’s crucial by-law enforcement. What if everyone sold food on the playground? Hell’s Bell’s, it would be a circus!
    The Notorious Bad Couple developed a brain-energizing, eye-opening menu that made it impossible to keep divorced 7 year-olds shut-up, not giggling and quadraplegic while they absorb a “sensitivity” tv show about the OOpsy-Daisy puppets in wheelchairs who canna speaka da English.
    Damn and ban the insensitive psychotic laughter at palsied, dismembered and brain-damaged Francophone puppets with coke-bottle glasses, humongous partially-implanted reel-to-reel hearing aids and a lot of positive feelings about hospital life and Baron Von Munchausen. Damn that DHA! Tom, when will the DEA and ADA stop the DHA-laced Dixie Salmon Shooters from seeping into the next innocent compulsory school and causing a sudden acute diminution of ADHD?

  23. js290 says:

    Why are people so ready to default to the coercive hand of government? A “Meatless Monday” idea can be done without government resolutions. The vegan/vegetarian restaurants should band together and put up an ad campaign.

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-market-for-liberty-a-free/id317036453

    Every time I hear someone respond to one of these impositions with “Oh, it’s not such a big deal,” I want to scream. That’s how freedom is taken away: one little bit at a time.

    Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out my Mac.

  24. mezzo says:

    You want the spirit of the old Boston Tea Party back. Whatever happened to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave? Is it turning into the Land of the V’s and the Home of the Knaves?

    I’m afraid so. The Land of the Free has been slowly devolving into the Land of the “Take My Money and My Freedom but Just Promise to Take Care of Me.”

  25. Richard Tamesis, M.D. says:

    Even with the benefits of a ketogenic diet in the management of epilepsy, the anti-low carb bias reeks through this NY Times article. http://tinyurl.com/2frokw5

    Fascinating … this quote pretty much says it all about modern medicine:

    “The diet was quickly adopted and widely used through the 1930s. And then, almost as fast as it had appeared, the keto diet disappeared. When Dilantin was first used as an antiepileptic drug in 1938, its success steered medical minds toward pharmaceutical solutions.”

    We’ve got health “experts” telling parents to put kids on low-fat diets starting at age two. And yet as the article notes, followup studies of kids who lived on this extremely high-fat found that they have normal cholesterol and cardiovascular values. You’d think that convince some experts to stop harping about the dangers of giving kids whole milk.

  26. gollum says:

    Well, I know how to make nice veggie dishes, but in this case, it would be “Monday Gruel”.

    Just to pop in on the potatoes, they are one of the worst carbs (behind fruit/hfcs), apart from night shade issues (solanin et al.), the fungus that makes them mouldy also produces an ultratoxin that makes people go diabetic. Certainly our ancestors lived through it – no panic – but maybe not as long or as good. Science has only recently figured this out (they got the consumption/diabetes correlation and identified the toxin, not much to fuss there). My body always knew the earthy taste of potatoes cooked in their peel (to be peeled at the table) was disgusting.

    If I was to think of the most harmless carb, it would probably be rice. (Bitter) chocolate for its other nice stuff and because you don’t eat it by the pound. Buckwheat is also nice. You can even “pop” it somewhat (I add some butter to “cool” the popped nodules, then salt and quark).

    And to think potato skins became a popular side dish …

  27. Stephen Taylor says:

    To me it seems that you have two basic influences.
    1) Freedom of choice (natural selection) on one side (smoking, boxing etc.), the laws of nature will take care of what is good and what is bad for you.
    2) Government plus do-gooders (eugenics) on the other (5-a-day, vegans etc.) the law of the land will take care of you and what you eat and kill you with a long and painful death taking Statin drugs.

    I’ve read Dr Kendrick’s book and it is an excellent read, funny and easily understood.

    He has that rare gift for taking some complex concepts and making them easily understood, while sneaking a bit of wit in there too.

  28. AP DUBYA says:

    Hi Tom,
    Great post. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend reading an article called “Procrastination and Obedience” by the Nobel-winning economist George Akerlof. I can’t quite do his argument justice in this brief message, but it’s a truly brilliant analysis of what causes otherwise normal, rational people to participate in actions that go against their best interests. He outlines one of the main problems with bureaucracies: the lack of an outlet for dissenting views. This lack causes many of the abuses we see not only in a bureaucracy or corporation, but also contributes to the “brain-washing” we see in cults & gangs.
    I think the wholesale acceptance of the lipid-hypothesis is pretty closely related to what Akerlof discusses (esp. when he talks about “dysfunctional bureaucratic personalities”). here’s a link:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/39228458/Procrastination-and-Obedience-George-a-Akerlof

    Interesting paper. Some of the same ground was covered in “Mistakes Were Made (but not by me).”

  29. Be says:

    “I’m pretty sure the vegans would shake their little fists and stamp their little feet so hard, they’d split the heels on their Birkenstocks.” I fell out of my chair! As always, thanks for the chuckles!

    Can you imagine that as products of the 60′s and 70′s that our new cause for rebellion has to be food?

    Seriously?

    Do we not see the connection here between Orwellian big government and personal freedom? I guess not when even the esteemed Reason Magazine allows John Stossel to puke all over their name with his dreck:

    http://reason.com/archives/2010/11/18/natural-is-not-always-better/1

    I wasn’t crazy about Stossel’s analysis, but at least he’s not advocating big-government involvement. As a libertarian, he’d support your right to buy raw milk or run a restaurant that doesn’t observe Meatless Monday.

  30. Jerome Grossman says:

    I’m still a little unclear on exactly what the ordinance does–does it prohibit the offering of meat on Mondays, or mandate the offering of at least one non-meat entree on Mondays, without prohibiting the serving of meat?

    I went looking for clarification but didn’t find it. Either way, it’s none of the city council’s business.

  31. js290 says:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8901290975296745403#

    There’s a slide in Cordain’s presentation that shows grass fed cattle has slightly higher omega-3 fatty acids compared to the grain fed. However, the same slide shows that deer and elk have significantly more omega-3 than cattle.

    Stossel’s just offering up more info, which is a good thing. Personally, I try to buy grass fed because I’d like to believe that’s how the cattle should be fed and raised. My price point is usually $8/lb. So, I disagree with him that it’s twice as expensive. I’d be kidding myself if I thought the slightly better omega-3 to 6 ratio was making significant health improvements.

  32. Andrew says:

    As ridiculous as this is, still doesn’t come close to the recent hysteria over Four Loko and mixed caffeine and alcohol drinks. Reeks of market protectionism and old wives telling us never to mix our mashed sweet potato with corn and turkey on thanksgiving.

    Yeah, that one is nuts. Is Khalua and cream going to outlawed? Irish coffee?

  33. Laurie says:

    ARTICLE ALERT. This is a good one and at least it’s a start. Today’s ‘The New York Times Magazine’, Nov 21, by Fred Vogelstein “A BIG, FAT MIRACLE.”
    It’s about treating his epileptic son with a 90% animal fat ketogenic diet. There is a Fat Head cringe worthy statement or two, but overall, it’s worth reading.
    Baby fat steps.

    At least it will some parents aware that there are other options besides drugs. I liked that the writer mentioned the kids who follow this diet don’t appear to develop cardiovascular problems any more than other kids. (That’s a DUH to us, but a surprise to most people, I’m sure.)

  34. D00d: Birkenstocks don’t *have* heels.

    Rats! Do they have soles?

  35. John Hunter says:

    I saw that bit by Stossel. Though i don’t agree with his analysis 100% it’s still nice to see a libertarian face acquiring some air time. Unfortunately he is still on the fat is bad for you and a calorie is a calorie bandwagon. Anyway we can get a copy of “Fathead” and “Good Calories, Bad Calories” to him?

    I sent a copy of Fat Head when he was with ABC, sent another when he moved to FOX, along with several emails and comments on his blog. It’s either not getting through, or he’s not interested.

  36. Noah says:

    I have read this article over and over, but it boggles the mind in ways that prevents me from understanding anything past the point where we are informed of a conflict of interest the size of a continent. Why is Ms Burke not in the middle of a legal case for abusing a public position? Why is that particular information not the next thing we are told, right after we are told of the conflict of interest?

    Maybe its a culture thing, but I am gobsmacked. Our politicians are self serving scumbags, but they would never dare be this obvious or they would get tarred and feathered, put on a rail and run into the nearest river….by a judge!

    If we tarred and feathered every politician in America who uses his or her office for personal gain, it would soon look as if America is ruled by a race of chicken-people. I would, of course, love to see that …

  37. Soles, but not souls, and certainly not Soul. They have ugly cork soles. They come in just above Crocs in the “but it’s cooooomfortable” fugly shoe rankings. AKA “pedal birth control.”

  38. Laurie says:

    Same issue as ‘epilepsy successful treatment with animal FAT’ in the Nov 21 NYT mag is this
    “”"The Workout Enigma
    By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS
    Why do some people not get fitter when they exercise?”"”

    Lots of DUH’s and ARGHH’s escaping on my breath yesterday.

    I’m waiting for the day they just admit everything they’ve been telling us is wrong. And I’ll probably still be waiting when I die.

  39. Dan says:

    At least we’re not yet coerced into meatless Mondays, but who knows how long that will last. Government suggestions can easily turn into mandates. In the mean time, I think we should have some all meat Mondays.

    BTW, there is a ray of hope in California. San Mateo County is threatening to prosecute TSA perverts.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/70207.html

    Good to know there are still some sane people in California.

  40. Olga says:

    Hi Tom:
    I had a “be healthier or else” experience today that I want to rant about. I usually buy coffee at the hospital cafeteria in Ottawa where I work because they have 18% cream. So when I went down to the cafeteria today to buy my coffee I was dismayed to find that there was no 18% cream. I asked one of the cafeteria workers about the cream and she said they were no longer supplying it. I asked why and she replied…this is a hospital and we are looking out for your health. I concealed my outrage and really wanted to say, so does that mean you are also getting rid off all the cakes, pies, gigantic cookies, candies, chocolate bars, and many, many other types of junk food, that are not only full of sugar (which is far worse), but in fact contain lots of, FAT, but I just smiled and walked away. After all, she was just following instructions, from those who supposedly know better.

    Good grief. It may be time to sneak in your own cream in a hip flask.

  41. Mr. Crow says:

    check this out, it’s amazing

    Health fads from hell: margarine, canola oil, soy foods, green/black tea – RMHI
    http://www.rmhiherbal.org/review/2000-4.html

    Thanks for the link. Some interesting stuff there.

  42. gollum says:

    Can I have some Doramad with that?

    Never heard of potato skins as a dish. Probably a public school or something? Split potato wedges (or whatcha call them in English) with (some?) peel on it, I have seen however. As I heard about some moronic chef babbling about how you can make a nice veggie soup out of carrot peels and other junk. I do this with mackerel leftovers (solyanka) and bones (chicken soup), but for obvious reasons, vegetable peels go in the trash. This is also why you should prepare your food yourself. (However, on second thought, they probably do not do this in restaurants, too much work, cheaper to open MOM’s(tm) good old instant veggie broth, now with 50% more LOVE(tm).)

    Potato skins are a side dish in many restaurants. Scoop out out the potato, fill the skin with onion, cheese, and bacon, then bake them.

  43. Darth Chaos says:

    And a a member of CSPI’s National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA) coalition takes money from McDonald’s as well, and that member is the American Dietetic Association. What gets me is PETA and PCRM both praise the ADA on their respective websites, and the ADA is funded by the beef/dairy industry. Radical vegan groups praising a beef/dairy industry front group (also a Monsanto front), and CSPI (another Monsanto front) whining about evil al-Qaeda Happy Meal toys yet allowing a McDonald’s front group on its NANA coalition…can’t get more Orwellian than that.

    Oh, and Michael Jacobson is now saying anti-Monsanto activists who say Monsanto wrote S.510 or that S.510 benefits Monsanto are “dangerous extremists”. Me thinks Jacobson is the dangerous extremist.

    http://freedomandlinux.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/cspis-michael-jacobson-smears-obesity-truthers-and-anti-monsanto-activists-as-dangerous-extremists/

  44. Fred says:

    I’m vegan and I think that the idea that a government can force a business to serve only vegan/vegetarian dishes one night every single week of the year is absolutely ridiculous! Our governments already have too much say in our daily lives to come out and do something like this. If you want to eat vegetarian or vegan, great. If not, it’s your right to make that choice. If you own a restaurant, you have the right to serve whatever you think will make you the most profit. I hope that it gets blocked by the hard-working citizens of Cincinnati – I’d be shocked if this passes.

    I’m with you. I certainly wouldn’t impose my no-grains diet on anyone.

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