Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Clean Plate Ranger

Americans are fat. We all know that we are bordering on obesity. We've heard the statistics over and over again. On average, Americans are 23 lbs over their ideal body weight. The fact is that American's are becoming more accepting of a larger sized self. The older I get, the harder it becomes to loose "that 10 nagging pounds", and I've finally discovered why.

Because my parents drilled into my head, at a very young and impressionable age, to eat everything on my plate.

I don't blame them, really, because their parents drilled the same thing into them. In fact, if we are looking to place the blame, we can blame World Wars 1 and 2. As a result of World War 1, our government created the "Clean Plate Club" because of the limited amount of food in the country. The Clean Plate Club, first established in 1917, was a movement that began after Congress passed the Food and Fuel Control Act . The act enabled President Woodrow Wilson the power to regulate the distribution of food, which was becoming scarce. Wilson appointed Herbert Hoover as the head of this task and his job was to make sure that the precious food Americans had didn't go to waste.

Hoover targeted small, school aged children, with the Clean Plate Club pledge:

 “At table I’ll not leave a scrap of food upon my plate. And I’ll not eat between meals, but for supper time I’ll wait.”

And so it began a generation of Americans who were taught never to waste food. That generation were our parents parents, who then raised our parents to believe in the same pledge. Then along came the Great Depression and World War 2 and once again food in America was scarce. The Clean Plate Club was re-established in schools across the country and another generation reinforced the importance of never wasting food. They taught their children and so on and you see where I'm going with this?

Flash forward into the future, and here we are Super Sizing everything and eating whatever and whenever we want to, yet we still fell the need to never let it go to waste. Old habits die hard, and Americans continue to overindulge and take home "doggie bags" so that not a scrap goes to waste. I noticed that when a large plate of food is put before me I immediately feel a pang of guilt, like I need to finish it and if I don't I've committed a crime of some sort.

And we wonder why we are 23 lbs. over our ideal body weight? Go figure.


Kenneth Noisewater said...

Very true. I like to clean my plate. Always. I used to have the metabolism to get away with it, but not anymore. I might have to quit the clean plate club and join a 3/4 clean plate club.

Andrew said...

This reminds me of how my grandmother always said she was saving things for "hard times" when I was little. This woman was a total pack rat, & it makes sense: she was a child of the depression so she was used to not having stuff, so she'd save everything "just in case."

I was never taught to be a member of the Clean Plate Club, though. My parents were just like, "Eat it all if you want or don't. If you get hungry later just re-heat what you left or fix something else."

the walking man said...

I dunno I am within 10 pounds of the same weight I was when I enlisted at 17. Though I stopped eating that processed McCrap 15 years ago too.

MarkD60 said...

True. There's even a TV show of this morbidly obese lawyer girl who is a reincarnated supermodel.