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Opening Arguments

Too much of a good thing

Juxtaposition of the day. First this:

There's no “mystery meat” at one Queens public elementary school.

Public School 244 in Flushing is the first public school in the nation to serve all-vegetarian meals for breakfast and lunch, according to city education officials.

Chefs at the Active Learning Elementary School have swapped chicken, turkey and ham for black beans, tofu and falafel, and kids are digging in with delight.

The students are pioneers in a citywide effort to make healthy food a staple of every child’s day.

Then this:

Staying healthy means following a balanced diet. A growing number of people, however, are eliminating entire food groups, seeing only negative qualities in things like dairy, eggs, meats, grains, and fats.

Over time, the only things left in their diet are fruits and vegetables.

Taken to an extreme, it’s now treated as an eating disorder called “Orthorexia”.

This is how Boston University Nutritionist Jenn Culbert defines Orthorexia: “What it essentially means is that someone is obsessed with eating only healthy food that they consider to be pure.”

The problem, according to Culbert, is our bodies need those so called bad foods.

Fat helps us absorb fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K, and it also helps us absorb phydo chemicals in fruits and vegetables,” said Culbert. “Whole grains have been shown to be heart healthy. . . Dairy is a great source of protein and a great source of calcium and Vitamin D.”

So even an obsession with "doing the right thing" can be dangerous. We've all known people like that -- nice to know there's a name for that particular brand of creepiness. What do you call it when whole segments of society are becoming orthorexic, with people like Michael Bloomberg and Michelle Obama always out hustling for new recruits?

Leave the kids alone, dammit!