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Regarding Boobs and Pepsi

Listen Mr. Bloomberg, I am all for healthy choices. I don't drink soda , in fact, I choose to drink water most of the time because it makes me feel better. I limit the amount of fried foods I consume, also because it makes me feel better. And I exercise frequently because, yup, you guessed it. When I am eating and drinking healthy I have more energy, get sick less and like myself a bit more. And sometimes I gorge myself on a cheeseburger and fries because it is delicious and then drag my ass home to lay in the bed that I have made. The point is, I know all the information and I choose to be healthy.

I even go as far as to try to encourage my friends and family to be healthy. We have a water cooler at the dojo which we fill up every day in the hopes that our students stay hydrated. I give the kids in class a hard time when any of them reach for their bottle of lemonade during our scheduled "water break." I buy whole wheat bread and whole grain pasta for our house and cook vegetables often. My daughter likes fruit, grilled salmon, brown rice, broccoli and all natural peanut butter. She also likes ice cream, candy and french fries. She is allowed to have both.

I breastfed Maya for over a year, despite the fact that it took her almost a month to learn how to latch on. (I pumped an awful lot in that month in order to be able to still give her breastmilk. It was not fun.) The only time she had formula was in the hospital and during the times when I was not producing quite enough milk to satisfy her appetite. Nursing could be wonderfully pleasurable or make me want to rip my hair out in frustration. Still it was the choice I made, after much research and deliberation, and I believe it was the right one for my family.

The point is, these were my choices. No one forced me to breastfeed just like no one is forcing me to eat healthy. I learned all the facts and I made a decision. The heavyset dude I saw on the bus a few weeks ago with the Big Gulp is a grownup. He knows that soda is not good for him. But this is America, where, so long as we are not hurting others, we have the freedom to make bad decisions. Furthermore, businesses have the right to profit from other people's bad decisions. Is it morally correct to sell a giant soda to an overweight person? Perhaps not.  I would not work at Mc.Donalds because I could not in good conscience spend my days selling meals that consist of a burger, fries, soda and a toy. But it should not be illegal to do so. You do not have to eat there. Parents do not have to bring their kids there. We don't.

Mayor Bloomberg's newest initiative aims to limit new mother's access to formula in hospitals. ( Some of this plan I agree with. I am happy to do away with the "goody bags" that include free formula samples, coupons and ads for more formula. I am all for nurses who encourage breastfeeding by providing support, education and encouragement when it is not going well. Often understaffed hospitals and overworked nurses are too quick to push formula on new mothers who do not know any better. But what I am not for is anything that limits a new mommy's choice, in either direction. I am not for a system where an exhausted mom who has been trying for hours to get her newborn to latch on has to admit defeat and ask the nurse to please unlock the formula cabinet.

Getting people to make healthy choices, for themselves and their babies, has got to be about education. We need to teach people why breast is best and not with the aggressive and judgmental tone that so many nursing advocates adopt. Formula is not evil. It will not kill your baby. It just is not quite as healthy as breastmilk. Teach people why and then allow them to make their own decision.

And don't make the sale of giant sodas illegal. Teach people how much sugar is in a 32oz Big Gulp (91 grams!) and what long term effects that can have on your body. (Weight gain, increased risk of heart disease, increased risk of diabetes, not to mention headaches and a feeling of general crappiness.) Make it illegal for Mc Donalds to market to children and make sure everyone knows exactly what is in the fries that make them so addictive. (lots of salt and sugar)  If you believe that unhealthy people cost us more as a society, than raise the tax on Hawaiian Punch. But ultimately, people have to still have the freedom to make bad choices. It is part of being an American.

(By the way I don't agree with the helmet law either. Hello! Your head is where your brain is. If you are stupid enough to ride your bike in rush hour traffic without a helmet why should the government protect you? Clearly you weren't long for this world anyway. Survival of the fittest, baby!)

Listen, your body is your own. You can treat it like a temple, like a finely tuned car that is waxed daily and only given the finest gasoline. Or you can eat at Crif Dog every day. I may make fun of your dietary decisions but they are yours to make.

Besides, I enjoy walking around with my bottle of water, my pint of blueberries and my cloud of pure smugness. Without your giant soda, how in the world will I feel superior?


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