Monday, February 14, 2005

No, I don't want fries with that

I finally saw "Super Size Me" this weekend. While overall I wasn't really surprised by how the movie unfolded (eat fast food three times a day for a month and you will gain weight and trash your health), there were many moments in the film that I did find somewhat shocking.

I was disturbed by the scenes in a school cafeteria, where kid after kid went through the lunch line buying crap like fries, chips and candy bars. One of the cafeteria workers, who is clearly either extremely naive or extremely stupid, when asked if she thought it was a good idea that kids are eating nothing but junk for lunch, said something about how the kids are just buying that stuff as, like, a side dish to their brown bag lunch. So they track down some of these kids at their tables. There are no brown bag lunches. These kids are dining on lunches of chips, candy and soda! Let's see, how many essential nutrients might we find in such a lunch? Can you say, NONE! To quote one of my favorite lines in the film "Say Anything," spoken by Joan Cusak to her screen/real-life brother, John: "There's no food in your food."

It's not as if I and my friends were paragons of nutrition when we were adolescents, and certainly we consumed our fair share of junk, but we were never that bad. Perhaps that's because our cafeteria wasn't "brought to us by" junk food manufacturers.

If you saw this movie in the theater, it's worth renting the DVD for the bonus features alone. There's a nifty interview with the author of "Fast Food Nation," and a scary and quite disgusting experiement in which the film's hero/subject conducts a little experiment: He takes several glass jars, placing into each one a different McDonald's food product (fries, chicken sandwich, fish sandwich and various burgers). In two, he also places a burger and an order of fries from a non-fast food burger joint. The viewer is then treated to glimpses of how the various food items, um, biodegrade (or, in one horrifying twist, FAILS to biodegrade) over a 10-week period. Really, really gross.

In fact, this movie might be worth owning as a motivating tool to stay on the nutrition straight and narrow. Feel yourself sliding into unhealthy habits? Just pop this little baby into the player and you'll be back on the wagon in no time. If things get desperate, fast forward to the graphic footage of the gastric bypass surgery in action. Bon appetit!

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