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86. ‘Don’t Eat This Book,’ Morgan Spurlock…

14 Oct
86. ‘Don’t Eat This Book,’ Morgan Spurlock…
Don’t Eat This Book: fast food and the super-sizing of america,Morgan Spurlock
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Recently, I have noticed my reading habits leaning more towards non-fiction than imaginary worlds and characters: I used to aim for a one real, one not alternating policy, but there is so much fascinating, well-written scientific, philosophical and educational writing out there, I often find myself reaching for those, possibly a sign of growing up and wanting to learn as much as possible about the world around me.
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It is also possibly an attempt to fill the gaps left by my education: I gave up on science long before mandatory tests at age 16, and was never allowed to study computers, technology or food sciences, making them all topics I naturally seek out in printed form.
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I have often felt that food and health, subjects which were more or less entirely absent from my schooling, are surely the most important thing you can teach a teenager, and I am now playing catch-up. Devouring (a fitting term) everything I can find by Michael Pollan is just the start of it: recently I chomped my way through the excellent, extended, paper-based version of Morgan Spurlock‘s award-winning movie ‘Supersize Me,’
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(For the full movie, see here).
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Here are some things I learned from this day’s reading, some of the most important and indeed habit-changing things I feel you should know, too.
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“…according to the Department of Transportation, there are now, for the first time in history, more cars than drivers in America…”
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“We eat a tremendous amount of meat in this country [the USA]. The USDA says we eat 1 million animals an hour…”
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Photo by jelleprins via Flickr

Photo by jelleprins via Flickr

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“You want to hear something really disgusting? The cattle industry buys millions of dead cats and dogs from animal shelters every year, then feeds them to the cattle who end up in your burger…”
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“For a while, McDonald’s was even working with the giant chemical company Monsanto, former producer of the herbicide Agent Orange, to produce chemically modified spuds that had the pesticides progammed right into them…NewLeafs were actually registered as a pesticide with the EPA.
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Let me repeat that:
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NewLeaf potatoes were actually registered as a pesticide with the EPA! And we were eating them!…”
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Photo

Photo by Foodiggity

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“[Mark] Fenton [former editor of Walking magazine] told me that fewer than half of all Americans get any form of exercise at all. Not even walking…”
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“…studies have shown that out of a typical gym period, only six minutes are spent being physically active…”
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“Did you know that in Chinese culture, you don’t pay the doctor when you’re sick? It’s his job to keep you well. If you’re sick, he ain’t doing his job, and he don’t get paid. If he comes around and makes you well again, then you start paying him…”
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Appendix 3 gave a terrifying list of all of the companies which come under the corporate umbrella of Philip Morris, the cigarette manufacturer, (which nowadays goes by “the vague, innocent-sounding name” of Altria): Maxwell House, Starbucks, Kool Aid, Capri Sun, Taco Bell, Kraft, Oreo, Planters nuts, Toblerone, Nabisco, Jell-O, Shredded Wheat, Daim, Terry’s Chocolate Orange, (Noooo!), Ritz, and literally dozens of others.
Depressed yet? Me too….

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Finally, a single paragraph which (hopefully) has changed forever the way I choose my snacks:

“…consumers often perceive an item that sounds higher quality as better for them, even if no mention is made of health or nutrition. That’s why you see restaurants breathlessly shilling ‘applewood smoked bacon,’ even though it has the same amount of fat as plain old bacon. Kimberley Egan, a partner at the Center for Culinary Development in San Francisco, which has done menu development for McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s, rattles off words that give ‘quality’ clues: ‘slow-roasted,’ ‘tender,’ ‘grilled,’ spicy,’ ‘fresh-cut’…”
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Excuse me while I go snack on some fresh-cut, tender bananas…
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Photo by Rick Harris via wikipedia commons

Photo by Rick Harris via wikipedia commons

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Posted by on October 14, 2013 in BOOKS

 

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