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Satire: Eating Rationally

By Ruchi Vaidya, feature editorFood-is-our-demise-and

Food is one of the only things on this planet that we live for and die loving, mostly because of its versatility. Take a potato for example; you can bake it, saute it, fry it, deep fry it, boil it, make it tangy, and make it spicy — the possibilities are virtually endless. Sadly, because of our innate desire to overindulge, we usually end up trying all of these things, sometimes even over the span of one meal. Although it is not entirely our fault, since our emotions also cause us to overeat, making it feel as if a buffet is the ultimate answer to getting over a breakup. See what I mean? Food is our demise, and with one in three adult Americans obese and one in six American children in the same boat, we are fast sinking and the safety of the shore is nowhere to be seen. To fix this seemingly endless problem, I have devised a simple plan to fix America’s obesity problem while simultaneously bringing the underweight population to a more acceptable size. This can only be achieved through the means of food rationing. Yes you read correctly. Food rationing is the only way to save our nation, and without it the consequences could be dire.

Many of you must be wondering why I have chosen food rationing over, say educating the masses on proper nutrition. The answer is quite simple really; think of a young child as an analogy for the people of America. To get this child to eat right, would you force him to partake in a rigorous class on healthy eating or would you make things easier on both parties by controlling what the child is eating, and making sure he gets the recommended amounts of fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy he needs to stay healthy? With the latter option, the child has no choice but to accept the rules he is given and in turn stay healthy. Although this proposal may seem devoid of the principles of freedom through which our country was formed, a wide array of healthy food choices will be provided to the people to make sure that they get to choose what they like to eat. These options will be graded on a point based system, much like that of Weight Watchers, to ensure no one is eating above or below the allowed food intake.

Our first step in this revolution would be to place a weight and height measurement question on to the census (with an “approved by a doctor” stamp). This way, people would not have to go out of their way to fill out an additional application or take any other unnecessary steps. After we have that information, we can determine the ideal BMI of each individual inhabitant of USA (using organizing tools such as Excel), and use it accordingly to ration out the food. Anyone with a BMI less than 18.5 (considered underweight) will be given more food to increase their weight, while those with a BMI of 25 or higher (considered overweight to obese) will receive less food to decrease their weight. Those with a healthy BMI will be given a “goldilocks” amount of food — not too much, but not too little either. To enforce these regulations, during trash pickup days, a dietitian will follow around a sanitation worker and check the garbage bags to make sure no one is overeating or undereating. The houses will also be stamped with a letter “U” (underweight), “O” (overweight), or “N” (normal) to increase the efficiency and accuracy of the data collected by the dietitian. If there are multiple people living in one home, different bags must be used to help distinguish between the different body masses. Anyone who refuses to comply will be taken to a nutrition camp where they will be watched 24-7 to make sure they are getting all the nutrients their bodies need.

These nutrition camps will be centered around both cleansing the mind of the preconceived notions of body image and ridding the body of the toxin known as junk food from Americans. As we all know too well, people who reside in this camp may be obstinate to some degree and teaching them proper nutrition might be a laborious task. To ensure that all of the insubordinates are learning correctly, the camp will be divided into two programs: the “meditation” center and the “peer-mediation” section. In the meditation center, simple hypnosis techniques will be utilized to make all of the insubordinates involuntarily believe that junk food is equivalent to ingesting rat poison. Likewise, in the peer-mediation section, different techniques will be enforced to get similar results. In one of the activities, insubordinates will partner up and take turns being blindfolded. The insubordinates who aren’t blindfolded will hand feed the other different foods (including fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, and an assortment of junk food), and ask the other if he would like more of that particular food. If the blindfolded partner says yes to a healthy food or no to junk food, he will be given a reward. If he says yes to junk food or no to healthy food, the other partner must electrocute him. Although this may seem like an extreme measure that causes both pain and suffering, it has been proven that 41 mA of direct current for women and 62 mA is not harmful in the long run and both parties are able to regain their muscle control, while, simultaneously, realizing that the food that they have chosen or refused is the reason for the pain that they have experienced.

Another major step would be using fast food restaurants as a reward for dedication at the gym. Restaurant often serve monstrous portion sizes, dousing their foods in oils, fats, and sodium (all of which are detrimental to the body), and even use manipulative psychology against you to keep you wanting more (like using the color red which ignites hunger). Sadly, Americans love fast food, and getting rid of all of these notorious restaurants would not only be close to impossible, but also an inefficient use of resources. Taking all of this into consideration, I decided that fast food restaurants could be used as a reward for those who spend extra time at the gym. Because many gyms can be intimidating to those who first join, there will be three types of gyms: the beginner’s gym, which will only consist of simple cardio machines, the intermediate’s gym, which will have weights along with cardio equipment, and the advanced gym, which will have a myriad of different weights and machines. It is recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week, so all citizens will be required to go to the gym for an hour and half a day, twice a week, to slightly exceed those requirements. Those who do more than the daily requirement, specifically, at least 1 hour a day, 4 days a week, will receive a “golden ticket” which they can use to redeem as a reward for their dedication. This is where the fast food restaurants come in. To be allowed to eat a greasy meal, the citizens will exchange a given number of tickets for a meal of their choice. The greasier and fattier the meal, the more tickets it’ll be worth, likewise, healthier meals will cost less tickets, ensuring that no one eats more than what they have burned.

Being unhealthy can not only be detrimental to your body, but can also negatively impact society as a whole. Take the economy for example; it is estimated that per capita, medical spending is $2741 higher per year for people with obesity than their average weight counterparts. Obesity isn’t the only thing that can impact the economy: being underweight can emulate the same effects by decreasing the workforce participation rate and other crucial elements of the economy. Furthermore, being either underweight or overweight can wreak havoc on the body. Those who are overweight will accumulate visceral fat, which is located deep in the abdomen and surrounds vital organs like the liver, heart, and even lungs. Visceral fat may not seem like a direct threat at first, but because of its location, it can lead to a wide array of ailments including heart disease, type-2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, high blood pressure, and even certain types of cancers. Likewise, being underweight can cause high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, low immunity, anemia, and even osteoporosis, because skinny people tend to overindulge in unhealthy meals and skip the gym. Although it is important to point out that these disease cause an aggregation of a huge medical debt, it is perhaps even more important to note that the reason we spend all of this money is to save our loved ones. It is time now to stop being unhealthy and take such ideas into consideration. After all, if we wait too long in this unanchored boat and drift out to sea, I know who I’ll be planning on eating first.

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