White House executive pastry chef Bill Yosses is throwing in the cookies and cream for a more healthful job in New York thanks to First Lady Michelle Obama's green tooth. Apparently, Michelle's obsession with the White House garden rubbed off on him. In 2009, Michelle directed the pastry chef to make healthier desserts. Who knew there was such a thing? I thought the whole point of desserts is to enjoy a tasty decadent treat.
The openly gay chef, who was first hired by Republican First Lady Laura Bush in 2007, (so much for Republicans hating gays), began substituting honey and fruit puree for sugar and butter as his new boss requested. Yosses told the New York Times cooking this way inspired him to pursue a food literacy program for kids. In June, the pastry chef will move to New York where his husband lives.
Yet parting is such sweet sorrow. Yosses lamented, "I don't want to demonize cream, butter, sugar and eggs." But his boss lady does.
All of America knows by now Michelle Obama prefers the Jolly Green Giant dancing in our heads instead of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Her Let's Move anti-childhood obesity campaign, a good initiative, morphed into a war on food that taste good rather than portion control with exercise. Fearing more regulation, companies like Dannon, Subway and Darden Restaurants pledged to partner with Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign, reducing the fat, sugar, and salt in their foods.
It's rare for first ladies to wade into policy. But Michelle Obama is sneaking in her attack on the food industry under the auspices of her Let's Move campaign. In February, the first lady joined the Food and Drug Administration to propose changes to nutrition labels on packaged food, which will be finalized later this year. Never mind the fact that studies show consumers ignore nutrition labels and calorie counts for food choices listed prominently on menus.
What's missing from the First Lady's initiative is common sense and personal responsibility. When people are incentivized to eat healthy, they do. Many corporations offer wellness programs which reward employees with lower premiums for maintaining good health. Mrs. Obama should encourage these programs. More regulations on the food industry aren't needed.
She also should have encouraged her husband, President Barack Obama, and Democrats to first tackle healthcare reform by pushing insurance companies to charge weighted premiums where healthier people, regardless of age, pay lower rates for healthcare in exchange for choosing to lead healthy lives. Rather than pushing for the federal government to dictate what food we buy for ourselves or our children, Michelle Obama should add portion control awareness to her initiative because eating too much of a good thing whether boiled potatoes or a mountain of plain rice can make you fat too.
This brings us back to Let's Move, where Michelle Obama has put a much needed focus on the food served in US public schools, which is generally garbage. If the federal government is going to stay in the business of funding the National School Lunch Program to the tune of billions of dollars, I agree with the First Lady-- the government should demand schools serve kids healthier choices.
I'd recommend that Michelle Obama advocate that the US follow the French way, a balanced diet, using fresh food, portion control--dessert included. Not only does France feed kids healthier food for less than America does, but it also teaches kids to enjoy a variety of food that's good for them where cookies and fresh vegetables live on the same plate in moderation.