If You’re Reading This, Please Share Your Thoughts…

by Kenlie Tiggeman on June 1, 2012

If you know me at all, then you know that New York still feels like home to me even though I no longer wake up there every morning.  And if you know me outside of my blog, then you might know that while I don’t often see eye to eye with Mayor Bloomberg, I do have a great deal of respect for him.

A few years after I moved to New York it became mandatory to share calorie counts on menus, and I was okay with that.  As someone who tries to be conscious of what I’m consuming, I was pleased to have the information readily available, but seeing the nutrition facts posted on the menu never had an impact on what I was eating.

As someone who began making a conscious effort to know such things, I wasn’t surprised when I saw the information; I was already aware of it.  And I was aware of it because it was my responsibility – my choice,  to make myself aware.  An interesting fact, however, is that my favorite restaurants in New York (not chains) still don’t post that information so it didn’t affect me often anyway.

And on the rare occasion that someone would convince me to go to The Cheesecake Factory (I prefer the sushi next door) I always laughed when I saw my friends openly gasp at the nutrition facts.  I heard “Oh no, I can never eat here again” and “How can it be that fattening?! It’s salad” was a common question as well.  But the fact is that my friends still ordered the same meals and the same drinks and desserts.  And soda drinkers will still drink soda.

Mayor Bloomberg has proposed a ban on sugary drinks in restaurants in New York.  In his attempt to curb obesity, he has suggested that restaurants (and places like Starbucks as well) should no longer be allowed to sell sugary, calorie-laden drinks that are larger than 16 oz.  And maybe you’re thinking that this doesn’t affect you because you don’t live in New York City, but take a look at history.  New York sets the bar for everyone else, and I have a serious problem with what the mayor is trying to accomplish here.

I stopped drinking soft drinks in 2009, and I have talked ad nauseam about the benefits of breaking that addiction in my life.  It’s easily the best thing I have ever done for my body.  The cravings were almost unbearable at first; it wasn’t easy.  It took a long time to find soda repulsive, but I do.  In fact, I rarely waste calories on drinks of any kind.  Water is the only thing I drink regularly, and in my view diet drinks are just as toxic as their non-diet counterparts.    (I prefer to waste calories on food, but that’s a different flaw for a different day.)

I drank a 90-calorie iced coffee this week at Starbucks. It happens, but it's incredibly rare.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the mayor on a few occasions, and I believe that he cares about New York and its people. I realize that his efforts come from a positive place, but this attempt to control our caloric intake is eroding the rights of Americans.

I’m overweight even though I weigh a lot less than I used to, and I’m afraid that Mayor Bloomberg simply does not understand the the psychological (and in some cases) physical damage that could result from telling Americans what they can or cannot consume.

Like many Americans who have never struggled with weight and/or food addiction, he doesn’t understand the complexities of obesity.  And it seems that he has also failed to realize that addicts find ways to sate themselves.

I despise soda.  It controlled me for years, and I wish that everyone could experience the positive effects of no longer drinking it.  But it’s not my decision, and it shouldn’t be Mayor Bloomberg’s either.

The government already controls so much more than it should, and adding calories to the unconstitutional list of things that the government already controls makes me sick to my stomach.

It may not seem like a big deal to some, but my question is when will it end?  Where will we draw the line?  I don’t want to look back at my life fifty years from now  only to wonder at which moment America was no longer a free country.

I don’t get political on my blog often, and it’s not likely that I will.  This issue, like many others, is extraordinarily important to me, and I want to know what you think.

Do you support Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal ban sugary drinks?  Do you think it’s discriminatory? Do you think that the government has a right to tell you what you consume everyday?


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