‘Better Homes’ and a Shake Shack Burger

Originally posted at BIG Journalism

Americans are notorious for pointing out hypocrisy, especially when a religious preacher falls into sin.  Who can forget televangelist Jimmy Swaggart being caught frequenting prostitutes after crying, sermonizing and calling fire down from heaven to consume the adulterous.   After Swaggart confessed his infidelity, secular America gloated with satisfaction over a sanctimonious person falling from grace and having to endure public humiliation.

Yet, despite it being a similar type of duplicity, thus far Americans have not reacted with the same level of indignation if a public figure establishes him/herself as a lifestyle preacher and then fails live up to their own edicts.

That trend may change as Michelle Obama continues to man the pulpit as the Vicar of Victuals promoting herself as America’s authority on healthy lifestyles.  The problem Mrs. Obama faces is that, like Reverend Ted Haggard who preached against homosexuality on Sunday and played with boys on Monday, the first lady fancies herself the face of organically grown salads and then makes fried potatoes her vegetable of choice.

One would think a supposedly smart woman like Michelle Obama would know that after being chosen as the first female public figure ever to grace the cover of Better Homes and Gardens in a “fresh and healthy” interview, it might be wise to resist indulging in public food lapses.  The magazine, due out mid-July, pictures a sunny Michelle sitting at a picnic table next to a basket brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables.  The caption says:  Ideas and inspiration to help American families eat right.

The cover shot and interview were done in May.  However, since May Michelle has eaten fried fat cakes in Botswana and scarfed down 1,700 calories worth of Shake Shack fare in Washington DC.  A week prior to appearing on a magazine cover touting healthy eating and the first lady doesn’t have the sense to realize that passing on the humongous Shack burger, fries and chocolate shake might have bolstered her credibility in the “Let’s Move” Away from the Greasy Spoon campaign? Then again, Michelle did attempt to redeem her backslide by washing down globs of artery-clogging saturated fat with a super-sized Diet Coke.

In addition, Mrs. Obama is also in the process of convincing restaurants to list nutritional information on menus.  With that in mind, it’s more than fair to review Michelle’s Shake Shack lunch menu, which consisted of 1,700 calories, 98 grams of fat, and 163 grams of carbohydrates.

Seeing as how the first lady indulged in that fat-laden gastronomical Xanadu, maybe before Better Homes and Gardens hits the newsstands the editor should take precautionary measures by adding a disclaimer to the Michelle Obama health and fitness article.

At least Mrs. Obama admitted her clothes are tighter than they were in 2008 when she took up healthy, organic kale promotion as her signature issue.  In Better Homes and Gardens Michelle Obama said “that after moving into the White House she was not as active as she had been—and her clothes began to get tight.”

Although it would be generous to give the woman the benefit of the doubt, it’s unlikely that lack of exercise is the only culprit making her haute a little snug around the couture.  For the past three years the first lady has eaten her way through a NYC tasting tour, various and sundry BBQ spots, and a panoply of international cuisine. And all along the way she hasn’t failed, wherever she is, to tuck into any nearby hot fudge sundae.

Eating unhealthily and not finding the time to exercise while insisting that busy Americans working more and making less do what Mrs. Obama (with chefs, maids, 24 personal attendants and child care) supposedly doesn’t have time to do places Michelle in the same category and is as disingenuous as a preacher who decries adultery, leaves the pulpit, and meets with his paramour.

Bottom line: Mrs. Obama can eat whatever she wants.  However, she should practice what she preaches before she turns into the Jimmy Swaggart of healthy eating.  After being caught prostituting herself with a double portion of fried fat cakes, Michelle Obama should take a break from calling down upon the heads of the American public fat-free fire and Brussels sprouts brimstone.

Moreover, instead of  a reputable publication like Better Homes and Gardens swooning over Michelle’s heirloom tomatoes, which are ultimately destined to end up on the first lady’s 200-lb Hypocrite Burger, maybe the magazine should pick a cover girl whose ‘better home’ isn’t the White House and whose ‘garden’ provides organic arugula that she actually eats.


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