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May 29, 2014

Watch Out for the Food Police

Harry M. Covert

This business of healthy eating has slowly but surely gotten out of hand. Food wizards all over the place forget that moderation is the key to good meals and dietary efficiency.


For some time, my attention has been interrupted by politicians on all levels espousing what food is best in schools, at snacks, at home for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.


Of course, moderation in all things is the ingredient to good health. If the public could – or would – stop watching the so-called diets and just be careful, they can continue to enjoy food and have long lives. Obviously there are exceptions. Some foods do have some unpleasant effects on a vast minority of eaters. Not me.


As a young boy our school lunches were pretty good. Not in the same category of today’s menus. Allowing students to have soft drinks never occurred in those days of yore. It was milk – real milk with lunch. On the whole, variety was pretty good, one day each week was set aside for meat loaf, mashed potatoes with or without good gravy, green beans (fresh) and corn (also fresh). Dessert was generally a pudding, on some days cobblers and others sliced devil food cake.


On Fridays, we had fish sticks, French fried potatoes. To no horrors to any of the young minds, there were no crybabies that this menu was a courtesy to religious sympathies. Our fish was good. If we wanted a change, we could bring a lunch, peanut butter and jelly or deviled ham or potted meat or cheese.


Other days included spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread and salads.


In my case, I enjoyed everything. To this day, I’m “ambidextrous” with food. I like everything with the exception of liver and onions, chicken gizzards, gyros with lamb and “mountain oysters.” I can more than make up with other tremendous things.  This list is ad infinitum and delicious.


I forgot to mention elementary school days. At morning breaks, dietitians gave us the old-fashioned peanut butter sandwiches that stuck to the roof of your mouth. Then we had prunes and a half-pint of milk. Skim and two percent milk weren’t around. Neither was chocolate milk in school for the pupils.


I’ve always admired the physician who started his daily routine with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on corn flakes. It’s worth trying.


The food police have gotten out of hand in recent years. Of course, in Frederick cuisines of all sorts flourish.


If government is so concerned with healthy eating and overcoming obesity, let the schools go whole hog and teach moderation and emphasize physical education. Let the “young ‘uns” run around the school yard. Require all students to exercise daily in their school gym with pushups, pull-ups, rope climbing and running. Yes, run around school tracks.


Battles over menus and obesity have simple answers staring straight into the faces of educators.


Restaurants should not have to face the wrath of those who disapprove of good food. Visits to the Golden Arches, the fast-food taco places, roast beef and seafood drive-throughs are okay. They key word is moderation.


My lifelong love of coffee began at age 11. At one time, some alleged experts said coffee was not good for heart patients. Not so. First hand, leaving a stent procedure, both the surgeon and nurses brought a bonus – a “cuppa” black coffee. Some say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” A pot of coffee a day obviously has the same effect.


I see no reason why a slice of pie – apple, cherry, blueberry or rhubarb with strawberry – is not a good way to start breakfast.


Please, don’t let the food police ruin your dining pleasure. In the Land of Pleasant Living, there is no harm – NO HARM – in a yummy Snickers or bag of nachos.


Sure works for me. A nice walk around the block follows. That is just what the doctor ordered.


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