Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Answers for Diana

Since she asked me three questions and says she wouldn't mind an entire post dedicated to the answers, I am doing that here. I am nothing if not a servant to my readers.

1) Have you seen movies like Supersize Me and Food Inc.? What do you think about them?

I have not seen Food Inc., in large part because I have seen Supersize Me. While it is a somewhat entertaining movie, overall I did not like it and don't see the point. The filmmaker, Morgan Spurlock, eats McDonald's three times a day for a month - who the hell does that? And who says that's a good idea? What exactly is the point? If he had eaten McDonald's once a day for a month, say for lunch, and then charted the results, I would have been much more interested. The results would not have been as dramatic (although I question whether the results in the film are true; if you put a gun to my head and forced me to guess I would say that they are not and, like his behavior in the film, are exaggerated for the sake of entertainment) but they would have been relevant. Because some people might actually eat at McDonald's every day.

But nobody eats every meal of every day at McDonald's, and, furthermore, Spurlock not only does this, but he intentionally overeats. He eats more than 5,000 calories per day. And he does not exercise one bit! News flash: if you consume more calories than you burn, you are going to gain weight. He could have eaten broccoli for every meal, and if he had consumed 5,000 calories of broccoli instead of McDonald's (admittedly, that would have been a LOT of broccoli,) he would have gained weight.

The documentary was well made and funny, and it does illustrate a valid point: that eating 5,000 calories a day of sugar and fat-filled food is bad for you. I think even a four year old would know this, but it's still true. But I just don't understand the reason behind the documentary, because I'm not sure that anyone would ever do something like that, and certainly nobody would claim that it is responsible. Spurlock is being intentionally irresponsible and then complaining about the results.

A few years ago, for my mom's birthday (it was a big one but I won't say which) I went down to Newport Beach with my family and had lunch at the Crab Cooker. It just so happened that my brother had an acquaintance who had a film entered into the Newport Beach Film Festival that day, so we all went and saw it.

It was a documentary called Downsize Me about a man who saw Supersize Me and had the same reaction to it that I did, so he decided to do the same thing as Spurlock, but instead of sitting around doing nothing every day, he continues with his lifestyle, which includes working out rigorously. Well, at the end of the month, he had lost eight pounds, his HDL (good cholesterol) went up and his LDL (bad cholesterol) went down.

Now, is this any more of a revelation than Supersize Me, i.e. that if you eat McDonald's every day and exercise it is healthier than eating McDonald's every day and not exercising? No, of course not. But it points out that maybe McDonald's isn't the big problem. Maybe our sedentary lifestyles contribute even more to what a country of fat people we have become. (Of course, if that's true then we have ourselves mostly to blame. It's much easier to blame a $30 billion corporation, I suppose.)

When I was 15 I lifted weights after school for a half hour every day and then had two hours of basketball practice. Pretty much every night I went by Jack in the Box and had a crispy chicken sandwich, french fries, fried raviolis and a Coke. And I was in the best shape of my life. I was 6'2" and weighed 155 pounds. My body fat was under 10% and I could dunk a basketball, two things that probably will not be occurring ever again in my life.

2) Have you ever had a burrito from Chipotle?

Yes, I have had Chipotle a few times. I always seem to be in the minority, but I do not like it at all. I have had tacos, burritos, and a salad, and every time I have found the food to be incredibly bland. But, like I said, a lot of my friends really like it, so maybe there is just something about it that I don't get.

3) What percentage of your eating is done from the grocery store/restaurants? Like maybe 35% restaurant, 65% grocery store?

I get asked this one a lot. No, I do not eat at restaurants 35% of the time. Not even half that. It may seem from my blog that I am always eating out, but I eat about 20 meals per week (lunch and dinner every day and then sometimes breakfast or a snack.) And I only post about three restaurants per week. So that's about 15%. I would say somewhere between 15 and 20% of my meals are from restaurants.


Diana said...

Thank you. :) I agree with the commentary on Supersize Me. I really loved the movie (because it was entertaining, and I couldn't take my eyes off of Spurlock's moustache...), but it was obviously exaggerated for dramatic effect.
I do think that you should take the time to see Food, Inc. though. It's not along the same lines of Supersize Me; at least I don't think so. Most of the things in the documentary are things I knew already (such as how much of our food comes from corn and all of the politics behind that), and it's obviously biased in one direction.. but you should still see it and then write a post about that too!
I like Chipotle's burritos mainly because of the rice. I found a really good recipe and have been able to duplicate it at home, though. The only thing that's missing for me are the spices for the chicken. I was just curious, and I'm actually not surprised to hear that you don't like it!

Jesse said...

Hey - While I do think Spurlock's movie was a bit exaggerated, I would still encourage you to see Food Inc. It does not focus exclusively on health, but rather takes a look at the other social implications of our processed food diet. Some examples are green house gas emissions, environmental damage, and food safety. I agree with your statement about the sedentary nature of our population, however, food plays a role in the obesity epidemic as well. We should also remember that the American diet over the last 50 years or so is drastically different than how we were evolved to eat. I don't think its a stretch to assume that there may be some consequences from the change.

JustinM said...

Cool - it's actually in my Netflix Queue for instant viewing, I just haven't gotten around to it. (I still have two movies plus the entire 5th season of Weeds to watch.)