Tuesday, June 12, 2012

FOOD POLICE

PICNIC AREA IN TAIRUA,
ONE OF THE SMALL TOWNS WE PASSED THROUGH OVER THE WEEKEND.

164 DAYS MAINLY WHEAT FREE - 7 DAYS OUT OF 30  EXERCISING

TOTAL WEIGHT LOSS FOR 2012:- 22 kg/ 48.5 lbs 


In New York Mayor Bloomberg has soft drink lovers trembling. He plans to fight obesity by restricting the sale of oversized sugary drinks. In New Zealand there is a debate going on about a 'fat tax' and a recent documentary about sugar has people talking about a sugar tax. Lynda commented here and a little discussion ensued. I thought I'd quote some of it as my way of answering a question about Goods and Services Tax, GST, on food.

Me:- The sugar debate has me rolling my eyes, especially when they start talking about sugar tax. GST on food is bad enough and we don't need any more stupid taxes.
The thing that surprises me is that by eliminating wheat I am not interested in sweet food. Sugar spikes insulin and is a serious contributor to diabetes but for me at least, grain starches are a far greater hazard.
One thing I hate is food police. It's not a helpful way to deal with a serious problem.
I guess we need Home Ec. teachers who have a good understanding of best nutrition and how the body metabolises food. .....
Penny replied with a question:- I Guess what I would like to ask is what you, Lynda and others, think of the proposition to have at least fresh fruit and veges GST free

Here for what it's worth is my opinion. I don't want to get too involved in politics but life is a balance of all these things and economics are a major part, affecting us all.

GST is just another tax, a fact of life. Once you get used to it it doesn't make much difference. Somehow Government and infrastructure and services have to be paid for. New Zealand has a small population to pay for all this so our taxes are probably higher per capita than some countries.

Having once had a small business producing and retailing fruit and vegetables I know how awful it would to tax various foods at different rates. Compliance costs would escalate and the end user, that's us, would pay. Our current system is straightforward and comparatively simple.

My main complaint is that GST is an easy target for Government to use when it wants to increase revenue and whenever they raise GST there is an increase in the percentage tax paid by lower income families. Personally I prefer this risk to the crazy decisions which would be made if politicians began differentiating between good foods and bad foods.

I would feel far happier if we had a better quality of Home Economics and health Education, especially at Intermediate level, 11 -12 year olds. It seems to me that is the age children take in this stuff and it holds them in good stead for the rest of their lives.

I believe we need good laws as not all people are intrinsically good but Government should not intrude in personal and family choices more than absolutely necessary for good order. We don't need 'Nanny State' laws but a balance between caring for one another and freedom of choice. All this talk of controlling what we eat and drink scares me. There is a thin line between telling people what's good for them and becoming authoritarian.

WIKIPEDIA:- Authoritarianism is a form of social organisation characterized by submission to authority as well as the administration of said authority. It is usually opposed to individualism and libertarianism in politics. An Authoritarian government is one in which political authority is concentrated in a small group of politicians.

I'm glad I'm not sitting in parliament making the rules. It's impossible to get it right for every individual situation.

Final word. GST, love it or hate it, we have to live with it so keep it simple please.

Reporting Back ..............

I've lazed around today. Couldn't get myself into any kind of useful activity. Sometimes there are huge advantages in being retired, like having no expectations to meet except your own.

HOW DID I DO?

My food has been fairly good although I had a snack attack mid-afternoon. I did manage to get on the cross-trainer for a few minutes. 

Breakfast:- Smoothie

Lunch:-   Chicken Salad, lettuce, red capsicum, gherkin, cherry tomato, carrot, brie, balsamic dressing.

Tea/Dinner:- Snack platter, hummus on cucumber, cherry tomato, salami, brie, buttered coconut bread, yoghurt cheese on red capsicum.

Snacks:- Almonds, dried apricot, brie, buttered coconut bread

Drinks:- Water x 1
Flavoured teas x 4

Daily Goal:- 1.5 lt or 5-6 large cups *yes*

Exercise:- Walk or Cross-trainer *yes*

10 minutes cross-trainer =2 km

I aim to walk or cross-train an average of 5 km or more each day this month.

I want to do at least 3 60 minute sessions

1 x 60 min. cross-trainer or walk 6 km Done
2 x
3 x

60/160 km for May

I am going to do the stretching exercises in my Jenny Craig book. I did them many years ago and found them easily do-able for me. My goal is to eventually stretch every day.

Stretching 2 x week.
Week 1 x1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

I am getting fitter, stronger, improving my stamina and flexibility.
Has to be good. Right!

BP 11th May, 2012 147/75
BP 23rd May 2012 135/75


1ST MAY 7.30 am:-  94 kg/ 206.5 lbs
1ST JUNE 7.30 am -  92.5 kg/ 203.5 lb

Start weight check:- 114.5 kg/251 lb

Weight loss 
January:- 10.5kg/23 lbs 
February:- 3.5 kg/7.5 lbs
March:- 3.5 kg/7.5 lbs
April:- 3 kg/ 6.5 lbs
May:- : 1.5 kg/ 3 lbs_
         
Next Official Weigh-in July 1st


4 comments:

  1. Although I'm not a sugary drink drinker, I absolutely do not agree with what is going on in New York right now. If government was truly wanting to help, they would stop pushing their food pyramid!

    Just my two cents worth :)

    p.s: I've changed my url to: http://somethingmorethanskinny.blogspot.com/

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  2. Hi MargieAnne,

    Thank you for responding to my question - I am genuinely interested in politics and I know not everyone is, so your indulgence is appreciated.

    I find it a tricky question, because as you say getting politicians / policy makers involved in deciding what foods are best and therefore worthy of an exemption is problematic in many ways. That is one of the reasons I posed it in the way I did asking about potatoes - as Lynda said she'd have no problem as they are whole foods, but obviously they could be controversial in terms of their place in a lower carb diet.

    My personal issue with GST is one you have mentioned - that it is regressive. GST is a tax on consumption, and those on lower incomes devote more of their total income towards consumption rather than saving, meaning a higher proportion of their incomes are inevitably collected in GST. I am sure the system in Australia isn't perfect, but I do like the idea that living essentials, however defined, are excluded.

    I say this as the partner of a smoker. I will never object to the price of cigarettes going up due to tax, because I know that it discourages him from smoking even though he hasn't stopped yet. But we are okay paying tax on a good that is going to harm him, because there are increased costs associated with caring for him if he gets sick as a result, or imposes that on other people (here's hoping not). One point I think people forget is that those dying of lung cancer from smoking for example have actually paid more taxes over their lifetime than those who don't smoke. I am not claiming it addresses the full cost, or is justifiable, but when people claim is is fully on the public purse they miss that part of the taxation regime.

    So, back to food. People find it interventionist and nanny state, and it is difficult to justify tax without definitively ruling what is bad for you and what is not, as the "nutritional wisdom" that is accepted as mainstream is open to debate (as it should be). Does that mean that food with no doubt over it (fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, milk and dairy) should have GST on them when they are staples? What about the much more definitive good like shelter or energy needs?

    I don't mean to make your blog political MargieAnne - as I said to Lynda, feel free to accept or delete this comment. I will not be offended. I continue to be intrigued by your efforts and will keep reading. I will also post this to Lynda so she can include it or not (I have no idea how much your readers cross over!).

    I'm glad you are going so well. Thanks for continuing to share your journey.

    Penny xo

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  3. Politics do not bother me.

    I lost my reply so suffice it to say I don't want the Government interfering in my food choices directly or indirectly.

    Blessings

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  4. Fair enough MargieAnne. I continue to enjoy your blog. I hope you are having a great day - sorry to leave such a long rant!

    Take care,

    Penny

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