"Fast Food Nation" and "Cola Wars":
Do You Want Lies With That?
Browsing through the
video store recently, I found myself bored by the usual drama, comedy,
action, etc. movies and instead drifted into the documentary
section. I picked up a movie called “Cola
Wars”. I don’t drink either Coke or Pepsi, or any
other pop for that matter, but it looked interesting. It
was. The second movie I’ll tell you about is called
“Fast Food Nation”, not actually a documentary as it is a
fictional story, but it is based on facts of the beef industry.
This movie is one I will never forget.
Many recognized actors—Bruce
Willis, Patricia Arquette, Greg Kinnear, Ethan Hawke, Kris
Kristofferson, Wilmer Valderrama, and even our own Avril
Lavigne—star in this film.
Did you know that Coke and Pepsi were both created by
pharmacists? Coke was developed by a pharmacist wanting to stop
his addiction to morphine. He was taking morphine to relieve him
of his Civil War induced pains. By
combining cocaine from the coca leaf and caffeine from the kola nut, he
created Coca-Cola, which he later marketed as a brain tonic and
hangover cure. Despite the facts that he remained addicted
to morphine and Coca-Cola never did work as a brain tonic or a hangover
cure, Coke is still the most successful and recognizable drink thus
far. A pharmacist also created Pepsi, which originally contained
pepsin for the relief of indigestion.
We now have energy drinks, “fruit drinks”, and sport
recovery drinks that claim to enhance how you feel and perform.
What all these companies share in common with the empire that is Coke
is that they spend billions of dollars on marketing and know that they sell an image more than a product.
It is easier to sell to a 12 year old and the 12 year old in every
person than to sell to 30 plus year old. So, these companies make
promises of youthful experiences that they usually can’t
fulfill. Yet, we believe.
This movie was an eye-opener, but I don’t drink pop, energy
drinks, or recovery drinks, and my favourite beverages are water and
tea, so the movie didn’t make any impact on how I live my life.
FAST FOOD NATION
The next food documentary that I watched, however, did have a huge
impact on my thoughts and feelings toward food. Several years ago
I read a book called “Fast Food Nation” by Eric
Schlosser. At that time I did make significant changes in my
eating habits. Watching the movie, which is a fictional story
based on the factual contents of the book, reminded me of my commitment
to continue to improve my food choices.
I won’t give away the whole story in case you want to see the
movie, but the gist of it is that it follows the stories of several
people involved in some manner with a fast food burger chain that they
call “Mickey’s” (they carefully never name
McD’s, but the relationship is obvious and they make sure to show
the big illuminated yellow arches in the background scenery). A
Mickey’s marketing executive is sent to the town that has the
largest factory for processing Mickey’s beef. He is told
that third party testing has found fecal coliform (e coli from feces)
in their burgers and he is sent to investigate that issue. A
parallel story shows migrant workers illegally crossing the American
border from Mexico to find a better life. They find difficult,
dangerous, and abusive work in the factory. Another story follows
a teenager who works behind the cash register at the town’s
If you want to continue to eat non-organic, factory-raised beef, I suggest you stop reading this article now.
I will keep it basic and not too graphic, but I doubt if you’ll
ever again eat a fast food burger if you watch the movie or read on and
then watch the links that I will recommend at the end of this
article. You might also want to think about all the meat that you
buy at your grocery store, local deli, or restaurant. But don’t fret, I will recommend some places where you can get safe, humanely treated, healthier meats if you like.
I enjoy a good horror movie, but the story that takes place here is
based on real life and is so much more horrific. The movie tells
a story of how the feces gets into the beef; how the factory workers
are mistreated, abused, maimed, dismembered, and killed; how the cows
are tortured throughout their lives and sometimes even still conscious
when they are being “processed” (i.e. gutted); and how
difficult it is to make these companies change.
You, however, can make a change.
Every company relies on your
money. If you don’t spend your dollars on their products,
they must change or go bankrupt.
Watch these links to see if you can stomach the “Fast Food
Nation” movie or book. The links are in cartoon format, but
I warn you, the actual movie is extremely graphic, especially at the
end. It needed to be to make the impact that it does.
Learn more. Watch these short cartoon movies that are at once entertaining, informative, and eye-opening:
Now, make a change.
Please tell me your thoughts if you are provoked by any of this.
Plastic Water Bottle Dangers
studies have shown that plastic bottles, including the popular
Lexan® polycarbonate plastic, like those sold under the brand name
Nalgene®, readily leach a chemical called bisphenol-A (BPA) into
the liquids that are stored in them. BPA has been linked to cancers,
miscarriage, birth defects such as Down's Syndrome, prostate tumours,
lower sprem counts, infertility, and possibly even enlarging fat cells.
Health Canada is expected to release
its findings on the BPA risks by this May, but Mountain Equipment Co-Op
has already pulled all of its hard plastic containers off their
shelves. Their spokesperson, Tim Southam, states that they would
rather be safe than sorry.
Mountain Equipment Co-op halts sales of plastic containers with BPA
On the Trail of Water Bottle Toxins
trialing several options for stainless steel water bottles, myself,
I've now found one that I like best. Check it out for yourself online
or in my clinic. At only $20, it's a great present for yourself
or someone that you care for. Get 2 bottles for $35.