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A Big to do About Nothing in Cleveland

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Message Suzana Megles

The different takes of people on current views always amazes me. In Cleveland, Joe Cimperman, a caring and intelligent Cleveland councilman, is seeking a ban on the use of trans-fats in our restaurants. Imagine that some people feel it is usurping our "freedom" to eat what we want. It is "Big Brother" interfering once again with our freedom to choose. Only one caveat -- those unhealthy food choices could possibly lead to heart problems or cancer and a lot of lost productive days from work and cost us millions of health-care dollars.

If by now we have not learned to be smart enough to check labels and not buy foods containing trans-fats, we are certainly living in the stone age. And, of course, the banning of this substance will probably make no discernible difference in the taste of our foods -- except maybe making them even more delicious as well as healthier.  

One writer on the Cleveland Plain Dealer staff wrote this week that some Clevelanders are probably not even aware of what trans-fats are -- yes, surprisingly. Where have they been for the last five years or more when so many people in the news media and on TV have been warning us about the dangers to our health from them? Here they are getting hot and bothered over something which will benefit them. 

I was reminded of the Point/Counterpoint series of many years ago between two pundits -- Shana Alexander and James Fitzpatrick. I believe that they had politely agreed to disagree without "fire and recrimination" re their different liberal and conservative viewpoints. I remember seeing them on TV and noting what a lovely face Shana had. I hope I also paid attention to the issues as well.

A sad note -- when I checked Shana's biography -- she died in 2005, and, perhaps even sadder, she had married and divorced twice and her only daughter committed suicide. It made me realize that no matter how beautiful or handsome we are or how many talents we have, there are always other, more important issues going on in our lives. I hope though that her life was still happy despite these reverses.

Yesterday we had a "point/counterpoint" exchange on our local NBC news channel re this trans-fat issue  It was certainly quite different from the Alexander/Fitzpatrick banter. The proponent of banning trans-fat was wonderfully composed while the other was noticeably agitated and angry that the City of Cleveland would have the audacity to try to impose its will on us. If it were a debate which could be judged on poise and statistics, I believe the speaker for the ban won hands down.    

Now another food warning for us has come to light re the harmful pesticide methyl iodide, a new chemical pesticide which has already been used to spray Florida's strawberries. I find it surprising that the progressive state of California is thinking to follow suit in using this harmful spray. And if you didn't already know, those delicious-looking plump, red strawberries many of us buy are considered one of the "dirty" fruits and veggies because of the harmful pesticides they are sprayed with. If you want a list of the most harmful "dirty" fruits and veggies, it is easily accessed on the internet. 

I foolishly buy them too, but with this new warning about increased use of methyl iodide on them, which is considered a  harmful carcinogenic pesticide, I've decided that I will either have to pay more for the organic ones without the eye appeal or do without. Yes, these organic ones are considerably smaller and more expensive, but why should I be paying for eye appeal and a possible danger to my health? 

Sadly, I imagine that most everything made from strawberries, unless the ingredients say "made from organic strawberries," will have to be off my grocery list. Before, I would sometimes mix frozen strawberries with my vanilla soy yogurt.  Now I will have to either look for frozen organic strawberries or forget it. I'm not even sure there are organic frozen strawberries either. Yes, the internet should be of help to me in this regard.   

And finally, I even wondered how would the people of Cleveland react if Councilman Cimperman would want to issue a warning about strawberries covered with the harmful pesticide methyl iodide? Forget it. I don't even want to go there unless, miraculously, the people of Cleveland realize that Councilman Cimperman is only thinking of their better health and well being in his quest to ban trans-fats.

Guideposts has provided me with a thought for the day which I think relates on how easily we become frustrated over matters -- even those which will prove helpful to us like the banning of trans-fats or forgoing the purchase of strawberries sprayed with methyl iodide...  

"Have you ever been obsessed by something -- consumed by a little thing -- really trivial in the scheme of things?  It is said that one can tell how big a man is by how small a thing it takes to frustrate him." (From a devotional by Cori Dewitt in "Fruit of the Vine.")

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