One of the most popular documentaries, Super Size Me, was created by Morgan Spurlock. In the filmmaker’s own words it is "one man’s journey into the world of weight gain, health problems and fast food. It’s an examination of the American way of life and how we are eating ourselves to death”.
A healthier than average young man, Morgan conducted a mini-experiment eating exclusively McDonald’s food for a month. Guess what happened. No, you don’t know. Besides gaining 27 lb in 30 days he almost ruined his health. It took him months to lose extra pounds and regain his former vitality thanks to his vegan chef girlfriend.
One point made in this cautionary but entertaining and witty film is our responsibility for our own health. Citing a court case where 2 overweight girls sued McDonald’s and lost, Spurlock also interviews the lawyer who successfully sued tobacco companies and who doesn’t think that food industry should be left alone.
Consider the following facts. In Europe the median age is almost 50 and it keeps rising fast. In the US, the richest country on earth with top-notch technology, it’s only 37 and rising more slowly. Why do so many immigrants coming to this country gain weight including those from other developed nations? Do they suddenly change their eating habits? Maybe additives and fillers, processing and preservatives, coloring and genetically modified foods are not that harmless after all? And another thing, how many times you heard about new drugs, procedures, products successfully used elsewhere but not here? The latest news: the government is considering offering your tax dollars to multi-billion pharmaceutical industries, the richest in the US, in order to motivate their research for new antibiotics. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to buy the ones already used in other countries?
Watch The Corporation (available on youtube), a documentary from Canada exposing the true nature of business. Even if you know that your health is not on the board of directors’ agenda you should still see the inner-workings of these business behemoths.
A focus groups rep said they don't do business in the Bay Area. Why? We’re too educated and thus too demanding for their liking so they prefer the states where the Joe-public can readily swallow their sales pitches. What does it tell you? Consumer education is the key. They will use every trick in the book to transform us into mindless consumption robots (see the BBC series The Century of the Self - also on youtube). However, if we exercise self-control and demand what we need they’ll have to adapt. (Buyer beware though: McDonald’s added salads to their menu that contain more fat than a Big Mac)
Fast food does not have to be fatty and unhealthy. And it won’t cost more either in spite of what McDonald’s & Co will tell us. What will cost is their restructuring: abandoning their reliance on mass production of frozen pre-cooked concoctions and adopting new healthier menus. Look beyond burgers and fries, folks. There’s a variety of healthy alternatives around the world that are already used as fast food.
We flock to Italian, French, Greek, Indian, Mexican restaurants. The list is endless. Have you seen American cuisine restaurants around the world, or even here? McDonald’s and some other fast food chains are the omain ambassadors of American “cuisine” along with other fast-food joints. Are you proud yet?
Here’s another sad thought. It’s a known saying in the business world: bad publicity is better than no publicity. The popularity of Super Size Me might bring a fat cat smile to McDonald’s bosses: best exposure and it didn’t cost a penny. (And I just added to this elation.) Too bad their biggest honcho did not live to enjoy it – he died of a heart attack.