Sunday, March 19, 2017

The infamous 'O'

Let me start with my recent TwitterWar.
Nirmal Indian Curry Retweeted Joe Walsh
this is what I call 30% syndrome~read @WalshFreedom Poor also deserve quality of
life #obesity denies it @ypsireal
Nirmal Indian Curry added,
Joe WalshVerified account @WalshFreedom
Due to Philly's soda tax, Pepsi in Philly is laying people off. Such a shame the Left doesn't understand economics.
9:23 AM - 7 Mar 2017
Wow @WalshFreedom 200 K poor people in #Philly can die 15 yrs early due to #obesity that is nt a Shame but 100 people losing job is~30% synd
The background of these tweets starts in June 2016. Philadelphia became the 2nd city in the US to impose #Sodatax. Please read my earlier posts or at least 10% vs 30% vs 60%. There was a big fight put up by the soda companies and off course Mayor Bloomberg did his bit to stave off their challenge.
Fast forward 9 months. Due to #sodatax, there is almost 40% reduction in the soda consumption in the city and its suburbs and Pepsi Bottling plant there is laying off its 100 workers. I did mention in my post about the Union boss fearing such situation.
This tweet was from Mr Joe Walsh, a former Congressman. it talks about the ‘shame’ for left or so called liberals. I could not believe that people could be so ignorant or simply oblivious to their surroundings. I would tell you why.
Philly do have 70% overweight prevalence including 36% obesity rate as in the whole US. So just taking the city’s population of 1.5 million, 42% of them African-American and then knowing the obesity rate among African-American women being 56%, you would reach at almost 400 K people, not less, suffering from obesity. And if you know the obesity or overweight prevalence is precursor to majority of the health issues, you would agree that this is the reason why the US with 5% of the world population ends up eating 52% of the world medicines.
Besides that the obesity disturbs your day-to-day life as people spend more hours at the hospitals, lose job hours, or their kids lose their school hours or the quality time with their parent. And yes data after date points out that the obesity kills people 15-18 years early.
Then why 100 jobs for 100 people with 400 family members become more important than the well-being of 400 K people. Because they are poor or they are African-American. Or they deserve to live like this or die early. Why this becomes a left or right issue here? Like we are talking about our fellow human beings, not some aliens from other planets or our beloved pets. That shocks me to the core.
I don’t want to argue with anyone that Soda is bad for us humans in any form. See my earlier post - why #SodaFree restaurants. Whoever talks about the #FreedomOfPersonalChoice they are so ignorant. This freedom has led to more drug overdose deaths in the US than the guns or the motor accidents.
See we live in democracy and yes we should have freedom. But freedom must come with the full disclosure. Let the soda be marked with pH of 3 as it is most acidic drink. Let people know they can use it as a toilet cleaner too (normally has pH of 2) as demonstrated by Ramdev baba in India. Or it has Glycemic index of 90 as compared to 100 for Sugar. Let people know we should maintain 75:25 ratio for alkaline:acidic food. See here - .
If you go through this chart, you may agree that this is common sense, not the rocket science. Why you think we are fighting over the health care reform for almost 20 years now. Because we spend more time on finding health insurance than thinking about how to eat right or healthy. Because we worry more about jobs for 100 people than letting 400 K people live a miserable life.
But I recently understood where this is coming from. We transformed our cafe into a mission-first food vendor in 2013 and to fight obesity, overweight prevalence is our life-time mission. We lost 60% sales straightaway but I believe that our mission fits into our goal of making the first Indian food chain anywhere. So I always look to share our concept of and how it empowers each of us to take care of self, the community and the planet. We have got some recognition as we were ‘Space awardee’ at Motor City Match awards and then I got an interview at Michigan Business Network below-
Then we were contacted by @SaludToday in St Antonio, TX about our charter for #SodaFree #OnlyWholeWheat restaurants. Also our Twitter handle @NirmalCurry has 1800 followers with 15 millions secondary followers. If your tweets are liked by Ms Helen Clark, the UNDP administrator and the former prime minister of New Zealand, you may have some valid concept.
But I got jolts closer home. There were two events in Ypsilanti, MI where our Nirmal cafe is located. The first was Pitch Ypsi 5000 and 5 ventures were selected from 60 applications to present before the local audience. I have pitched all around in the South-East Michigan and I was confident to make it. But 5 selected were one theater group, one Microbrewery, one food vendor with Honduras connection and the winner was Grove Studios who create creative space by using the shipping containers. All worthy participants but no one talked about the health equality or eat right. Then I applied for TEDxYDL organized by the Ypsilanti library. There were 10 slots and all great speakers again here - .
But again no mention of health or obesity. That pushed me into introspection. I started thinking - do I know a single obese person? The answer was big No. Yes no one in my immediate family, friends or acquaintances are obese. The obesity rate among Indian Americans may be around 5% same as in India as we eat much less meat than other Asian Americans. So no surprise here. Is not 30% syndrome working here what I mention in my blog post. Like we don’t know any obese person or we are eating healthy, so we don’t accept that if obesity at all is a problem what we need to take care off. This is what I call ‘I am OK You are OK.’
I believe our concept has so much relevance as we believe that the health equality is the key to fight the income and educational inequality - other two components of the social inequality which we all love to talk about. Think of #ProteinProfile #SLowCarb or Glycemic index or the water foot-prints of food items, the HPP (high pressure pasteurization) we talk about, majority may be not aware of it or don’t care about it. Let me share HPP’s efficacy in reducing sodium in food or reducing food waste.
But Philly’s Soda tax proved one thing that if you go on harping about the same thing over and over again, people take notice of it. Or how you would explain 40% drop in the soda consumption. Like the tax is 1.5 cents per ounce, so a 2-liter (67 ounces) soda would cost $1 more. At the restaurants, it could be 10 cents rise for big one.
But let me share one thing if someone thinks this obesity or the life of these affected people don’t make impact on our lives. Yes it does. Our health insurance premium or health care costs are inching up day-by-day because we have so many unhealthy people to take care off. When they are not able to take care of children, these kids go on streets and then land up in the prisons all round the US. Again the US with 5 % of the world population has 25% of the world prisoners, all prisons run by our tax dollars.
We can do much better. We are done with the famous ‘O’ though I would miss the lady ‘O’ using the bully pulpit for the health related issues.

Its time to bring infamous ‘O’ at the front, back and center of our debate, no less.

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