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NYC=No Large Soda; LA=Meatless Monday

From coast to coast the nanny state continues to grow. Everyone is familiar with Mayor Bloomberg’s recent health promotions taking away the salt shaker and large sodas in restaurants. Now the city of Los Angeles has voted to promote ‘Meatless Mondays’.

The Los Angeles city council unanimously voted to adopt a resolution urging residents to pledge to have meatless Mondays. The resolution does not have the force of law but the city officials hope to start a trend.

From the City Council that declared war on trans-fats and fast-food restaurants comes the latest way to make residents feel, well, guilty about what they eat.

LA Daily News: “This follows the `good food’ agenda we recently adopted supporting local, sustainable food choices,” said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who has called for a ban on new fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles to fight obesity.

“We can reduce saturated fats and reduce the risk of heart disease by 19 percent,” Perry said. “While this is a symbolic gesture, it is asking people to think about the food choices they make. Eating less meat can reverse some of our nation’s most common illnesses.”

Councilman Ed Reyes, who joined with Perry in proposing the resolution, said one of his sons has been diagnosed with diabetes.

“The issue is how does a local municipality engage in this and how do we create change,” Reyes said. “If we do it one plate at time, one meal, one day, we are ratcheting down the impact on our environment. We start with one day a week and then, who knows, maybe we can change our habits for a lifetime.”

In July, 2012, following the USDA’s embrace the Meatless Monday concept the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President J.D. Alexander called into question USDA’s commitment to U.S. farmers and ranchers. Following their interaction the USDA removed its support of the campaign.

Alexander was quoted as saying, “Beef is a naturally nutrient-rich food, helping you get more nutrition from the calories you take in.”

Please watch the Today Show promotion of Meatless Mondays:

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 An observation: One of the councilmen (Ed Reyes) who joined in proposing the resolution stated that he had a son with diabetes.

According to the American Diabetic Association’s website: Foods that contain carbohydrate (including starches) raise blood glucose. By keeping track of how many carbohydrates you eat and setting a limit for your maximum amount to eat, you can help to keep your blood glucose levels in your target range.

Foods high in starch include:

  • Starchy vegetables like peas, corn, lima beans, and potatoes
  • Dried beans, lentils, and peas such as pinto beans, kidney beans, black eyed peas, and split peas
  • Grains like oats, barley, and rice. (The majority of grain products in the US are made from wheat flour. These include pasta, bread, and crackers but the variety is expanding to include other grains as well.)

While the dietician on the video promotes whole grains and beans in place of the meat she does not mention that diabetics often must limit their grain and legume intake. Meatless Monday may well influence their diabetes management.

And as a PS to that there are many meats that are low in cholesterol and necessary for good health.

But the end question really remains the same: Is it the government’s job to restrict our food choices? If this plan is adopted where will it end? Will adults who do not take government assistance be required to purchase only approved food items? How soon before banned foods like brownies, hot dogs or even chocolate milk soon become black market items?

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