Thursday, November 25, 2010

"Making a difference one pizza at a time"

That's the title of Heart and Stroke Foundation Dietitian Samara Foisy's blog post on why she's thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Pizzaville in bringing them Health Check'ed menu items (something I blogged about yesterday).

Well, a friend of mine (who'd prefer to remain anonymous) had a gander at her blog post and sent me his creative edit of it.

Words in parentheses are hers, while the bold words are his modifications.

I think it rather brilliantly illuminates the problem with Samara's and the Heart and Stroke Foundation's logic.

Making a difference one (pizza) needle at a time

As a (dietitian) police officer I sometimes get asked why I have decided to work with (restaurants) drug dealers to help them offer (healthier) safer items (on their menus) to their customers. Especially (pizza restaurants) heroin addicts. Shouldn’t I just be telling people not to (eat pizza) use heroin? And shouldn’t I just be telling people to (cook) go to their doctors (from scratch) for their drugs and (eat) use all of their (meals) drugs at home?

In fact I do this. I encourage people to plan and shop for (meals) drugs, and (prepare them) take them as directed at home. This is something almost all of us could, and should, do more of. But the reality is Canadians (eat out) use drugs. A lot. (About one of every ten meals we eat comes from a restaurant. According to Stats Can one in four Canadians consume an item from a fast food restaurant daily.) And what are we choosing? About (40%) 80% of the time (either a sandwich, hamburger, hot dog or pizza) alcohol, but 25% of the time it’s prescription drugs and 15% of the time it’s marijuana; in 5% to 14% of cases it’s heroin. (Pizza) Heroin is not a surprising choice. It is (delicious) cheap and readily available. There are (7500 pizza restaurant operators) thousands of drug dealers in Canada and thousands of (restaurants) them include (pizza) heroin on their menus. In 2002 alone there were (more than 351 million pizza transactions in Canadian restaurants) nearly 100,000 arrests in Canada for drug-related offenses. Thatsa lotta (pizza) drugs.

So along with encouraging Canadians to (cook) get drugs primarily from their doctors as often as they can, and trying to make a difference this way, I also want to be practical. A big part of working in health promotion is meeting people where they are. If I can help people make (healthy eating) better drug choices when they are (eating out) abusing drugs, then I have definitely made a difference. By working with (restaurants) drug dealers to get some healthier items on their menus and identifying these healthier items for customers I have the opportunity to help a lot of people. And as a (dietitian) police officer, this is an opportunity I don’t want to miss.

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  1. haha that's funny! I have to say though that I do appreciate a semi-decent/better choice meal when/if I do go out (not that I could eat these pizzas since I can't eat gluten...) - but I was astonished at the statistics of how many times Canadians eat out. I probably eat out no more than 6x PER YEAR, and that might be pushing it! We just can't afford to eat out like that, but I guess it's also a bad routine (eating out) - and a chicken & egg scenario - if you don't do the work to make sure that good food is on the table, then you tend to not eat good food, ... and making sure that good food is there, takes work. I fear more for the families that are not growing together (except width-wise) because families are eating in their bedrooms or in front of the TV or in restaurants instead of at home, with no distractions. THAT is a huge price to pay.
    PS I love your blog - and that you're CANADIAN!!! :) Yah!!

  2. I LOVE the picture associated with this post and the anonymous "translator" is great.

  3. Rhodia11:26 am

    I was agreeing with your point of view on this pizza thing, until you made the comparison with police and drugs. I immediately thought of harm reduction strategies like the safe injection site in Vancouver. There is pretty much no question in my mind (especially after having read Gabor Mate's book on addiction) that these initiatives are good, even though ideally people would be quitting drugs altogether.

    Does the harm reduction parallel hold up in terms of food? I'm not sure -- because people aren't addicted to food in the same way they're addicted to drugs. And because even drug addicts are fully aware that they are doing something that is inherently unhealthy and that it would be better for their body if they could stop altogether. (Whereas the general population isn't necessarily sure what exactly constitutes a healthy/unhealthy diet.)

    In term of eating out, I personally choose to eat out as little as possible. When I do eat out, I choose "healthy" restaurants (such as Japanese) or else I just eat whatever it is that I really love and don't worry about nutrition (what does the nutritional content of one meal matter when it's so infrequent? -- it's the whole diet that matters)

  4. Sorry Rhodia,

    You can't compare harm reduction with drugs to what the Heart and Stroke Foundation is doing.

    Harm reduction involves the creation of safe injection sites, not working hand in hand with drug dealers.

  5. Anonymous12:11 pm

    There is a lot of information coming out that food addiction such as binge eating disorder has many similarities to other substance addictions. However unlike drugs, you can't stop eating.

  6. Anonymous6:49 pm

    I agree with Dr. Freedhoff about harm reduction in drug abuse not being a parallel here. Drug users/abusers have no choice but to use if they are addicted, and harm reduction seeks to shield them from other related dangers (dirty needles, violent crime, unsafe behaviours). Helping fast food chains be less bad is about as useful (and ethical) as offering coupons for cancer hospice care with every purchase of a carton of cigarettes.

  7. Anonymous3:59 pm

    Actually, Rhodia is on the right track. Comparing pizza to heroin is nothing more than rhetorical posturing, making use of a pretty elementary logical fallacy: the inappropriate analogy. Heroin is one of a whole class of mind-altering drugs which we don't need, and it is very bad for people to ingest. Pizza is food, which we do need, and it is not bad for people to eat it.