A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!
Sometimes, you just can't avoid cognitive dissonance.
At the Wisconsin Public Health Association meeting in The Dells, we perused the sports bar menu and laughed at our choices. Should we get the deep fried pickles, the deep fried cheese curds, the cheese-n-fat soaked nachos (not the name on the menu), or the sliders with deep fried onion rings and french fries?
Of course, we could have chosen not to be at a sports bar. But this was a meeting and the host was picking up the tab. So we'd hoped to do our professional duty (and pleasure, because it was a fun meeting too) and at the same time save our employer (ultimately you, the taxpayers) some money. This way, we wouldn't have to put dinner on the expense account.
The next choice was to eat junk or eat nothing. We chose to eat a very little bit of junk. But even that felt heavy. In whatever way you want to look at the word "heavy."
Public health is all about protecting everyone's health and helping people become healthier. A lot of that's education, teaching people what the right choices -- or more realistically, better choices -- are.
The meeting's meals were admirably public-healthy. Fesh fruit and vegetables, light entrees, efficient protein in the form of hard boiled eggs, like that.
It's so much easier to choose right when the right stuff is right in front of you.
At the sports bar, we laughed and discussed how our current reduced means (we've all been cut to 50% time, which translates to less then 50% income as the benefits costs stay the same) have affected our eating.
"I've actually started eating fast food," said one of us, arguably the one with the best health habits. She rides a bike to work, among other things, and is a when-convenient semi-vegetarian. "It's not just the cost: it's some other weird desire to stoke up for comfort."
Indeed. We all shook our heads in recognition. And we all slid our eyes toward our own larger-than-last-year midriffs.
To bring this rambling account to an end, I'll just lay out my own personal take-away. When we are thinking about the choices other people make when it comes to eating, let's factor in a little reality. And compassion. And think about our own.