In Defense of Fat City, USA

Texas Rio Grande Valley fattest in the land

By Andy Porras
Published on LatinoLA: May 13, 2012

In Defense of Fat City, USA

Remember that old line, "Thin is where it's been - fat is where it's at?"

Whatever. Just in time for spring, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, has issued its yearly "fattest city in the U.S. list."

This year's winner is an area in the Texas Rio Grande Valley ( it's not a valley, really, but a delta containing many small lakes or resacas formed from pinched-off meanders in earlier courses of the mighty river).

If you have ever lived or visited there (like thousands of white folks from the north called "snowbirds"), it's not hard to understand why you gain weight after merely starring at a menu of a local eatery, especially a Tex-Mex joint.

Hey, this is the birthplace of fajitas, people. And a few hours upstream, in Piedras Negras, Mexico, they invented nachos. Enough said.

These well-Being committee members go ito detail as to the high-cost of being obese and rattle-off medical and healthcare cost figures. We're sure the area folks would like to thank them for being reminded of obesity contributing to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and various cancers. However, they forgot one fact- Texas is the state with the most uninsured residents.

These Paul Reveres of the palette, note that one-third of the entire country falls into the obesity class. They also cite the fact that this has been going on for decades, and today healthcare costs associated with obesity are estimated at $147 billion a year. Obamacare be dammed!

Another fact they forgot to bring out is how much of people's so called "body mass" is due to that All-American meat filler, pink-slime. Guess they didn't want to rattle any meatpacking corporate cages at this time. Add that slimy stuff to the rest of the junk food processing corps dish out as part of a happy meal and haleness problems are off to an unhealthy start.

Meanwhile, back in the Valley, all these fantastic eating establishments beckon both visitors and residents alike. Taquerias, taco-trucks and well established restaurants are constantly serving some of the best Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican dishes to be found in America the bountiful. Even gas stations and convenience stores get into the act offering real Tex-Mex (cooked on the premises) to-go favorites.

Yep, it's like the proverbial "child in a candy-store" anecdote. Extremely hard not to notice what they warn people to avoid. Then there are the aromas of Mexican recipes. Come on, who can escape the call of mole simmering in an earthen pot? Or the sizzling of fajitas with giant smoking jalape??os and onions, not to mention the sweet smell of freshly made corn tortillas. Stop, you say?

That's what those poor snowbirds tell their amigos in the Valley frequently, but to no avail. Valleyites claim that when the northern visitors depart Texas, their RVs and diesel-pushers are packed with frozen fajitas, sacks of Ruby Reds and oranges and other edibles.

Now you know who brought fajitas to the frozen tundra states like Minnesota and Michigan!

About Andy Porras:
Porras, who was in the Rio Grande Valley recently, lives in Sacramento. The writer cut his journalism teeth along the US-Mex border. He was a reporter for the Valley's Brownsville News-Herald at one time.
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