Mayor Michael Bloomberg is on a mission to save the lives and figures of New Yorkers – one food group at a time, I think. I’m not sure. It’s not really clear. I’m going to try to explain what he’s been up to, but I can’t guarantee that it will make any more sense to you when you’re done reading this than it did to me when I started writing it. Mayor Mike has a lot of rules about and issues with certain types of food and beverages, but his reasons don’t seem to follow any logic – or a consistent pattern.
The mayor doesn’t like the fact that people are consuming too many sugary soft drinks, and that’s part of the reason they’re putting on weight and costing insurance companies a lot of money. He’s decided that no sodas – even the diet kind – should be served in cups larger than 16 ounces. Now, naturally, some people aren’t so thrilled with this idea and they plan on challenging it. They’re probably going to lose, because the city’s Board of Health has already approved a number of the dietary measures Mayor Mike has requested.
The sugar laden 16 ounce containers can be filled with other things, though. The proposed ban doesn’t cover juices, milkshakes or alcohol. I get that juice is alright; it’s the other things that confuse me. There are ways around that 2 cup limit, however. You can buy two 16 ounce drinks, or if you happen to be in an establishment that allows it, you can go right up and get a free refill. Maybe His Honor just doesn’t like large drink containers. They are hard to balance in the cup holders in your car. By the way, those plastic bottles of Coke and Pepsi are 16.9 ounces, so there are a lot of folks carrying around some serious contraband.
The self-proclaimed fitness czar has found himself at odds with other things people consume. He’s gone to the mat over trans fats, and has seen to it that restaurants print or post nutritional information on their menus. That’s not so bad if you’re interested in how many calories are in that porterhouse you’re about to order, but he did take his zeal a little too far when he wanted to limit what people could purchase with their food stamps. Some federal regulators had to remind him that he could only change the laws in New York City.
There’s a little more to this than just a mayor gone wild. He doesn’t seem to understand that the rules should be applied fairly and consistently, and should also apply to him – you know – a little less talking the talk and a little more walking the walk. Mayor Mike, I’m sorry to say, is a salt-oholic. Yes, he sprinkles the stuff all over the place – not just on popcorn but on things like pizza and bagels. Too much salt is bad for you, right? It also makes you thirsty, so I don’t know what he’s going to do when that 16 ounces just isn’t quite taking that parched feeling away.
Now, just for a second here, I’d like to go back to that trans fat issue. Mayor Mike recently issued a proclamation honoring New York City’s Donut Day. Even Matt Lauer got a little lost with that one and asked the Mayor how that could possibly send a positive message about fitness. Bloomberg told him that everything was okay in moderation, one donut really doesn’t hurt anyone. I understand. I’ll have one of these, please.
New York is also known for the annual “Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest”, held on the 4th of July. The “athletes” – Bloomberg’s description, not mine – have 10 minutes to shove as many of these things into their mouths as possible. The record stands at 68. I’ll give you Mayor Mike’s official comment on this :
“This Fourth of July, roughly 150 million Americans across the country will enjoy at least one hot dog,” the mayor rejoiced. “Think about that: 150 million people scarfing down a typical American food.” Bloomberg noted with admiration that there’s a “science and strategy to the massive and swift consumption of hot dogs. I have to tip my hat to all of you who are competing. You are fine athletes. Independence Day is a wonderful time to celebrate our freedoms,” he declared “The right to eat as many hot dogs as possible—although not expressly named in the Bill of Rights—was no doubt on the minds of the framers.”
Yep, he’s a funny guy, alright. It could very well be that Thomas Jefferson or John Adams really wanted to include an amendment guaranteeing the right to bear condiments. The Mayor also explained why he wouldn’t raise taxes on hot dogs, as he did with cigarettes. He said, “I like hot dogs”. I guess that covers that. As for the weiner eating champions, well, those folks look like they have all the makings of true Olympians. I don’t think it’s doing much to promote his aggressive campaign against obesity, but I guess we should give him some credit for irony. I’ll bet a lot of people are happy that he worked out that pesky term-limits problem. Eight years just isn’t enough when you’ve got this kind of work to do.
Just for the hell of it, I looked up the recommended daily sugar intake as suggested by the American Heart Association. Men should be consuming no more than 36 grams per day, women should keep it at 24 grams. I also looked up how many grams of sugar there are in one apple – there are 23. If New Yorkers aren’t careful with their fruit intake, we may be referring to their city as the Big Brussel Sprout – as long as it’s only 16 ounces.
For All the Dads – Happy Father’s Day
Fathers need not fathers be.
All one needs to do is choose
To love for life, and that embrace,
Held long and hard, bestows the grace
Each craves. For all in time must lose,
Restored alone by memory.
So now it is with you and me.