Blog Master G

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Super Size Me

Friday, October 22nd, 2004 · 6 Comments

Last night Jen and I watched Super Size Me, which is basically the book version of Fast Food Nation. That is, by the end, even if you never eat fast food like us, you’re still feeling pretty disgusted by food in general and the American attitude toward food.

It was an excellent movie. The premise, of course, is that writer/director Morgan Spurlock goes on a 30-day McDonald’s-only fast food binge. Despite warnings from doctors around Day 21 to stop, he presses on. It’s very eye-opening what he experiences along the way: The expected weight gain (about a pound a day, so that he’s gained nearly 30 pounds by the end), liver problems (one doctor compares the damage he’s doing to his liver to what an alcoholic does to his), lethargy (no energy), and even emotional problems (he’s depressed unless he’s eating).

It’s always been obvious to me (and probably most people) that fast food is really, really bad for you. The only thing close to fast food that I’ll eat these days is a meatless burger from In-n-Out, which isn’t your typical fast food place anyway (family-owned, real meat, real potatoes, real wages). I don’t even remember the last time I ate at Burger King or McDonald’s, but it was probably when I worked at both places during high school.

I hate fast food and I think that Americans would be healthier and happier if they hated it, too. Supply and demand, people. Walk away and there won’t be 30,000 McDonald’s joints worldwide for you to visit.

(A revealing tangent: Two-plus years ago while in Venice, we watched with utter amazement while American after American piled into the McDonald’s there; how sad that there even is a McDonald’s in such a beautiful, unique city.)

Now, I’m normally not one to preach, but I will say this: I never eat fast food and I don’t exercise regularly (I do ride my bike, rollerblade, and run on occasion, and, of course, ski every winter), but my health is superb and I’m not overweight. Again, I’m not bragging about this; I’m just pointing out that maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with the food I eat — or the food I don’t eat. Sure, I eat lots of pizza just like the next guy, but I do so in moderation.

The point is this: If you never eat fast food and eat everything else in moderation (don’t forget your fruits and vegetables), you can be healthy and fit with only occasional exercise. As this 90-year-old fitness guru (I forget his name; anyone know of whom I speak?) recently said, “If God didn’t make it, I don’t eat it … why the hell would you eat white bread when you could eat wholesome wheat bread.” Amen, brother.

As Jen aptly points out, however, we’re fortunate to have the time and the means to be able to eat the way we do. Were I a single mother with 3 kids and 2 jobs, I might not have the luxury. So in that regard, I am lucky.

Pass the fries.

Tags: movies

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jonty // Oct 22, 2004 at 10:35 am

    I see you knocking fast food in your most recent blog entry, but there’s a point that you’re missing. Despite your comparison, I think you fail to understand that there are a great number of people, like me, who treat fast food the same way that someone like you might treat alcoholic beverage. It’s a guilty pleasure that i *KNOW* is bad for me, but something i do every now and again to kind of reward myself.

  • 2 Joe // Oct 22, 2004 at 12:06 pm

    Another point about fast food is that it’s WAY cheaper and easier than healthy food. For folks stuck around the poverty line with a few kids to feed, 99-cent Whoppers and unlimited Coke refills are the only way they can afford to feed their family. Look at the difference in price between prime rib (lean, pretty healthy for you) and hamburger or ground chuck (super fatty and unhealthy) at the store, for example. Or the price difference between organic milk at Whhole Foods and the antibiotic-laden cow juice at Safeway. Poor folks can’t afford to eat healthy. That sucks.

  • 3 Jordan // Oct 22, 2004 at 5:11 pm

    I eat fast food nearly every day, and yet I’m not overweight and not dying of liver failure (my cholesterol level is hard to beat).
    It’s a bad misconception to think that major fastfood places are inherently unhealthy and if I just didn’t eat there things would better. I promise that I can worse things by buying from Whole Foods and cooking for myself.
    There are good choices and bad choices at any of these places. Is a big mac with a pound of french fries and 64oz’s of coke a good choice? No (you’re stomach is probaby full at about 50oz anyway). Is that you’re only option at McDonalds? Absolutely not.
    Avoid the secret sauce and remember the less legs the animal had, the better.

  • 4 Phil // Oct 22, 2004 at 8:22 pm

    I loved “Super Size Me.” I agree with everything it says but has it turned me off to fast food? Nope. And it hasn’t turned Morgan Spurlock off either. He openly admits that he loves how it tastes and the point isn’t that we should never eat it, it’s that we should eat it in limited moderation. Jonty is right. Treat fast food like an occassional guilty pleasure such as alcohol. The problem is that so many Americans eat fast food ALL THE TIME. For them, they need to stop and eat healthier. Sure economics and convenience are big factors, but an effort has to be made nonetheless.

  • 5 Dave Reed // Oct 22, 2004 at 10:24 pm

    I believe that guru is Jack Lalane, the famous one-arm-push-up individual.

    I honestly will agree with Jordan that what you eat, alone, does not have a sole bearing on one’s health and weight. Things like metabolism levels and how one’s body processes things affect it as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if one’s normal metabolism rate was set during childhood.

  • 6 Dave Reed // Oct 24, 2004 at 12:59 am

    Is it me, or is it ironic that Google plants Burger King and McDonalds ads on this page?