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Lloyd Omdahl, Published April 28 2013

Omdahl: In obesity battle, it’s dine, then swine

Dr. Oz, the television guru on diets, has been touting all sorts of meals and concoctions to curb the obesity epidemic. In spite of his exhortations, Americans are continuing to balloon in their britches, raising the cost of health care for all of us.

In a ground war, we would be defenseless – too fat to fight and too heavy to run. Maybe six weeks in a North Korean prison camp would slim us down, but we can’t count on that occurrence.

Before proposing solutions, we should look at the source of the problem.

It seems that most obesity occurs in older folks when the last kids leave home, but the feeding continues. We keep cooking for six when only two are at the table. Then we eat and eat and eat, but leftovers keep happening and we keep expanding.

This results in a real test for the refrigerator. In the post-children home, the refrigerator becomes the depository of all leftovers. And leftovers accumulate and age at the same speed.

One of the options is a bigger refrigerator. However, our refrigerator is built in, and we would need to move some walls to accommodate a larger leftover storage facility. That would require a wholesale remodeling of the kitchen to the tune of $15,000 plus paint.

As a contingency move, we are negotiating with our neighbors for the bottom shelf of their 15-foot refrigerator. They have three teen-agers at their house and the food doesn’t even get a chance to cool off before it is on the stove, in the plate and down the hatch.

Their refrigerator is as bare as Mrs. Hubbard’s cupboard, but they may not want me coming over for a midnight snack every night.

Being Christian folks, we pay due regard to the Bible authors, even those writing primarily for the chosen people of Israel. The Bible says that we should not put leftovers on the table a third time.

Here’s the chapter and verses: Leviticus 19:6-7. When it came to eating the peace offering, Moses wrote that it was OK to eat the leftovers the first and second days but “if it is eaten on the third day, it is an offense …”

Some Christians would argue that they are no longer under the laws of Moses but under grace so it wouldn’t be a mortal sin to eat leftovers on the third day. It may not be a sin, but it could still be mortal.

To protect my belt line from middle-age sag, I have been looking for a 44-tooth Sus scrofa domesticus, more commonly called a pig, that would qualify as a pet and comply with city ordinances that outlaw farm animals in town.

Pet pigs can be bought for $500 and live for 15 years. Sears doesn’t even offer that kind of warranty on their best garbage disposal. Pigs are smart and can be trained for the Fifth Avenue culture.

Throwing out good food creates considerable guilt. Being able to feed it to a pig would relieve this guilt as well as reduce the odds of ptomaine from aging potato salad. Obesity from overeating leftovers would be stopped in its tracks.

Under current circumstances, the pressure toward obesity is tremendous. Therefore, as soon as the last kid gets out the door, every home should get a pet Sus scrofa to take up the slack.

This idea of owning a pet pig has great promise – unless the next door neighbor decides to get a pet coyote.


Omdahl is a former North Dakota lieutenant governor and a retired University of North Dakota political science teacher. Email ndmatters@q.com