All this talk about Harper’s Burger Bar, Smoke’s Poutinerie and Five Guys Burgers and Fries has Kingstonians loosening their belts, and for good reason. Don’t get me wrong, I love indulging in grease-laden treats once in a while, but for many, fast food makes up too much of their daily diet. Whether it’s justified as a result of time constraints, geographical convenience, or the economics of a daily meal deal, some people simply cannot help themselves. With poor nutrition in mind, it should come as no surprise that 25 percent of Canadians are considered overweight, while health officials project a 5 percent increase by the time we reach 2020. Stats aside, what can we do to win the battle of the bulge? What if Kingston banned fast food once and for all?
I can already hear the chorus of laughs and boos from naysayers chanting let them eat cake, or in this case Big Macs, Whoppers and 12 piece buckets. The Limestone City is no stranger to the fast food franchise, as we’ve got clusters clogging up various arteries downtown, at Division and the 401, as well as at Bath and Gardiners Road respectively. Obviously the prevalence of these fat factories is correlated with demand, otherwise they would not remain in business. Even so, while the idea of an outright ban on fast food may seem far fetched or even overprotective, we need only look to that southern city by the bay for an unprecedented, radical plan to combat the likes of the Clown, the King and the Colonel.
Earlier this month, San Francisco’s Board of Governors sent a strong message to the Golden Arches by passing a motion to ban the Happy Meal. The decision to target meals that do not meet nutritional guidelines, and their respective colourful, plastic rewards, was clearly designed to save kids from future diabetic comas and bouts of sleep apnea. Joe Eskenazi of the SF Snitch writes:
The Board of Supervisors today passed an ordinance that will require meals to meet nutritional guidelines if restaurants wish to include a toy with the food purchase. More importantly, the supes passed the so-called “Happy Meal Ban” by an 8-3 vote ? meaning it can survive a promised veto from Mayor Gavin Newsom. That’s right: San Francisco done banned the Happy Meal. Robble robble.
Don’t get me wrong, I love treating myself to fast food once in a while, and I can’t imagine Kingston without it. Even so, that doesn’t mean that a fast food ban would be a bad idea. Buy why stop with fast food when there’s cigarettes, drive thrus, and even bottled water that should arguably be outlawed. In the end, a decision to stop serving fast food in Kingston would put a lot of people out of work, while municipal officials would be chastised for telling us how to raise our kids, and moreover ourselves. Back to being the devil’s advocate, perhaps we need a little bit of saving and healthy redirection once in a while? What do you think? Should Kingston become a shining example in promoting healthy living and take fast food off of the menu, or is the happy meal ban simply a crazy idea spawned by a city overrun by hippies?
Special thanks to itspaulkelly for today’s photo.
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