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Thoughts from the treadmill

WARNING: I go off on a tirade today. If you don't want to read my rant, please go about your business.

Watching television while on the treadmill is a good way to occupy your little brain while pounding away the miles. Watching the Food Network is probably not a good idea though. I came up with about five meals I would like to prepare that would cause me to have to run about 500 more miles to work-off the calories. Plus, it made me hungry. Drooling while on the treadmill is not a good look. For anyone.

The ads were disturbing - and mind-boggling. Nearly every ad was for a food-like product and the ads that were not for food-like products were for products to treat the diseases we get from eating food-like products. Heart disease. Weight loss drugs and businesses. "Eat this to lose weight." There is just something wrong with that concept. Vicious circle. You get the idea.

The ads actually lie. I saw commercials for the following three products. Each professed to help your kids eat healthy foods or do better in school. How is this legal?

I was pretty shocked to hear the "Mom" on an ad for Nutella say she spreads Nutella on "healthy foods" to get her kids to eat "healthy foods". (Lady, if you put enough sugar and chocolate on Brussels sprouts, your kids will eat 'em!) Nutella ingredients: Sugar, Modified Palm Oil, Hazelnuts, Cocoa, Skim Milk, Reduced Minerals Whey (from milk), Soy Lecithin: an emulsifier, Vanillin: an artificial flavor. Don't get me wrong - Nutella does taste delicious, but spreading sugary junk on whole wheat toast does not make for a healthy breakfast. How about a bowl of rolled oats with chopped hazelnuts instead?

Kellogg showed an ad professing your kids will be able to stay focused at school if they have a full belly - and the way to keep your kids full is with full grains. True enough. After reading the ingredients on the the box, I can't understand how even one single box of Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats Little Bites is purchased. It is like reading a horror novel. The chocolate version contains: Whole Grain Wheat, Sugar, Semisweet chocolate chips (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla extract), cocoa (processed with alkali), salt, artificial flavor, gelatin, sorbitol, reduced iron, niacinamide, pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), folic acid, zinc oxide, Vitamin B12. To maintain quality, BHT has been added to the packaging. Who would feed this to their kids? Your kid may be full because they will want to eat several bowls of this sweet junk. They will not be focused in school - they will be hyped-up on enough sugar and B-vitamins to drive their teach crazy.

Yoplait has a promo advising busy parents to simply freeze their Go-Gurt product (yogurt-style substance in a squeeze tube) and place it in your kid's lunchbox. By lunchtime, the tubes of yogurt will have thawed. How convenient! Guess what is inside the plastic tube? Ingredients: Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Milk, Sugar, Nonfat Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Kosher Gelatin, Ricalcium Phosphate, Potassium Sorbate (To Maintain Freshness), Carrageenan, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Colored With Carmine. Well, at least the gelatin is Kosher. If you do the math, Go-Gurt has more sugar per ounce than cola. If I freeze yoghurt, it would get all curdley and yucky. Go-Gurt is not yogurt. Go-Gurt is very scary.

In his new book, Food Rules, James Beard Award-winning author Michael Pollan states you should never eat any food-product that advertises on television. With a few exceptions, I think he may just have the right idea. Mr. Pollan also advises: Everything in moderation. Including moderation.

Dear Readers: you all know I am a bit over the edge on the whole mega-business of food in our country. I may sound very preachy. But I will not apologize (and I warned you in the first paragraph at the top of this page!). Our "food" is killing us, yet every year more and more and more and more crap (not FOOD) is placed on our grocery shelves. We buy this crap. We eat it and feed it to our children.

We need to stop.

Here are a few interesting videos and books you may be interested to rent/view/borrow/download/read/buy to learn more about the American food industry and the foods we eat.

King Corn
Food, Inc.

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto - Michael Pollan
Food Rules: An Eater's Manual - Michael Pollan
Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlosser

Until my next update, (when I promise to be off my soapbox), I remain, your whole-grain correspondent.