Wednesday, December 9, 2009


We know there are real addictions that exist throughout the world. People can rally around the addiction to alcohol and recognize how it effects the addict and his/her family members. People openly say cigarettes and tobacco are addictive and hazardous to health. And the world recognizes that second hand smoke is unhealthy too, which means everyone in a breathing radius of a smoking person is being effected by the addiction. What about other addictions? Is there such a thing as a food addiction? I believe there is. I believe a person can become emotionally dependant on the comfort of food.

So the problem becomes, how to break the addiction in order to live a healthy life? A person addicted to alcohol needs to stop drinking alcoholic beverages. He/she still drinks water, milk, juice, etc. Just not alcohol.

A person addicted to tobacco needs to stop smoking or chewing tobacco. He/she may chew gum or wear a medicated patch to help replace the addiction. But the main concept holds true, he/she must stop doing the addictive behavior.

So what does a food addict stop? We must continue eating in order to live. Right? The answer, I'm told, is to find healthy substitutes. So really a person must give up junk food and only eat healthy food for the rest of his/her life. And just like other addictions, it is easier said than done.

Here is my issue, not only does the addict need to stop the cravings and bad habits, not only does he/she need to find the cause of the addiction and resolve what led to the addiction in the first place, the addict must also deal with other people and their opinions and behaviors towards the addiction.

Society and the people around us understand how a recovering alcoholic must stay away from alcoholic beverages and bend over backwards to help on that journey. A host who normally chooses to drink responsibly will go to the trouble of removing all alcohol from the premises prior to inviting a recovering alcoholic over to visit. Thank you! That is called being kind, courteous and compassionate.

Smoking has been recognized by the government as being so unhealthy it is banned from public places. Thank you! A recovering smoker can walk freely into public places without being terrorized by temptation.

Yet, when faced with a junk food addiction, what do people do? They criticize. They tempt. They offer no alternatives or understanding. Food is everywhere (churches, stores, restaurants, friends house, theater, sports events, etc.) Now if it were fruit and veggie platters, I wouldn't mind one bit. YAY! I love food. And if someone wants to provide Subway sandwiches without the dressings, etc. YAY! You have my blessing to do that. Unfortunately, most of the food placed before me is bad for me. And I'll add, it is bad for everyone else too.

Who says there must be a dessert table at every potluck? Who decides that all the food at the main table will be caked with grease and cheese? Why do people think if you put iceberg lettuce in a bowl and have a thick mayonnaise sauce next to it, you can call it a salad? And does that salad amount to all the health offered at the event? Ugh!

I submit to you that a junk food addict, and most of the people could fall into this category, needs to give up all junk food forever and be supported by those around him/her to not be tempted.

I recognize this is hard for a few reasons:
1. most people don't really know what health food is. So let me make it easy, if it is a raw fruit or vegetable with bright and vibrant color, you are safe. If you want added flavor, put the sauce on the side. Please do not add butter or cheese or salt, etc.

2. most people don't want to be confronted with the fact that they are unhealthy and could be considered a junk food addict too. Okay, I sympathize. And yet, wouldn't it be heavenly to be able to go to a church potluck and only have healthy foods on the table? Wheat pasta with homemade spaghetti sauce. Fresh homemade soup with real meat and fresh veggies. Sandwiches with no salt lean meat and fresh cut veggies topped with a light vinaigrette. Yum! Honestly, when people bring fresh fruits and veggies to a potluck, those items are the first to be eaten. It tastes good and it is a no-guilt food. Mothers will crowd around a veggie tray trying to find something their child will eat, because we know it is healthy. Why not make everything healthy?

3. most people enjoy junk food and want the freedom to eat as they please. Okay, I get it. No one wants to be told that what they choose is wrong. But please do not subject me to your justification. I don't want to be told that I am wrong to give up junk food, when we all know it is the right choice. I don't want to be told "oh, it won't hurt to have one piece of cake. it is a birthday party." Well, some people drink and smoke at parties, do we tell the other addicts to cheat too. If so, I am so sorry for them, cause it is wrong.

And eating out, ugh! I would welcome going to a fast food restaurant and seeing truly healthy items on the menu. I would welcome Subway to have a drive through line or a family playground inside. If McD's can have a playground, why not Subway? I would love if the food offered at Panera Bread was more family friendly and more accessible.

If only our churches, families and friends could realize how much food is an addiction and make efforts to help us all. Our country is struggling with issues that we caused ourselves. Now we, as a people, must fix the problems and help each other through the consequences.

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