tricks & treats

August 28, 2009

part 1: tricks
i made it to the very last showing of Food, Inc in the triangle last night. allie and i made the pilgrimage to cary together to see it, and couldn’t stop talking about it all the way home! what a thought-provoking, informative, and interesting movie.

compared with films like fast food nation or supersize me, it was less about food, and more about the trickery and deceit that the few enormous companies in charge of essentially ALL of our nation’s food supply employ, and how these practices trickle down to the consumer in the forms of lame-o quality products, e. coli outbreaks, and obesity.

since everyone seems to ask this first, i’ll address it up front: no, the movie did not make me want to be vegan (or even vegetarian). atilla is right: i love food too much! and i mean, i was aware that eating meat — say, some chicken — means that a bird was sacrificed. obvi.

however, what i did NOT know was that the same meat suppliers that produce mcdonalds hamburgers are responsible for stocking all of the supermarket shelves as well. and while i had an inkling, i did not grasp the disgusting enormousnous of the meat processing plants, or exactly how environmentally devastating (and politically favored!) the cattle/pig/poultry indusries are.

the segments on the corn and soybean industries were also very interesting. i understand that there may be benefits to some of the genetic engineering that is used on plants; we’ve got a big world to feed, after all. however, the proprietary nature — large companies ‘owning’ their strains and pretty much shutting everything else out — is dangerous. i fear that a complete lack of genetic diversity will come around to bite us in the ass at some point.

the movie produced a thought that i have at times at my job, which is:

just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

ie, we have gotten to a point in society where the availablility of technology has far outrun our abilities to determine exactly when and how it should be used to benefit rather than harm us.

but i digress. so how will this movie affect what i do as a consumer?

■ i already shop at whole foods (pretty much exclusively) for food, but i think i need to be more discerning while i am there. i am going to look into whether their meat comes from the same places. i am thinking — and hoping! — not, but i admit i haven’t read the fine print.

■ i will think twice before ordering meat in a restaurant unless i know where it came from.

■ i will be better about reading ingredient lists of snacks and other packaged foods, and i’ll try to go less packaged when possible

■ i will look for organic and/or local products when possible

■ i will make a point to go to the farmer’s market — starting this weekend!

seeing an inconvenient truth back in 2006 sent me into a depressive and hopeless state for weeks (seriously). food, inc didn’t set itself up as quite the harbinger of doom and actually left me feeling somewhat empowered to make a small impact as consumer. i highly recommend the movie (duh) and would love to hear your thoughts as well!

part 2: treats

a big thank you to molly from POM for sending me some coffee to sample! i tried some yesterday morning (NEEDING a morning pick-me-up). now, in line with what i wrote above, here’s the ingredient list:

reduced-fat milk, brewed rainfoest alliance certified coffe, POM extract, organic cane sugar, natural caffeine.

decent, and not too long. knowing what i know now, i would have preferred that the milk was organic, but i do appreciate the lack of high fructose corn syrup and other mysterious additives.

nutritionally, this sweetened drink is more of a treat than a health food. of course, i am okay with morning treats every so often, but i think it needs to be acknowledged as such! the hard data: 170 calories, 3 grams total fat (2 saturated), 20 grams sugars, 7 grams protein. it does contain 25% of the RDA of calcium, something that i definitely should be taking more of.

the taste? i tried the cafe au lait flavor, and it was creamy and mild. it was less sweet and cleaner tasting than a bottled starbucks frappuccino, but still felt like dessert. to be completely honest, i probably wouldn’t buy this product because i like other treats better and i like my coffee BLACK the best, but i did enjoy it.

thank you, POM!

i was going to write more about the treats — mostly non-edible — that i have planned for this weekend, but i’m out of time. i’ll just finish with:




workout: 4 miles before work. i don’t know the pace because i need to change the battery in my polar! probably ~8:45?

doin’ time: nope. hmm, i wonder what martha thought of Food, Inc?

reading: NO! AHHHH! although one might argue that the educational experience of the movie was enough.


  • Reply Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Last day! Congrats.

    Have you heard about that movement to boycott Whole Foods because of what their CEO wrote about healthcare reform? I find it interesting and I'm conflicted about the matter.

  • Reply Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    last day! yahoo!

    not sure if i want to see that movie or not but i agree 100% with your bullet points of what you, as a consumer, can do

  • Reply Krista August 28, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    I was interested in reading your thoughts on the POM coffee as I'm due to recieve a package myself. Thanks for the review!

    I haven't seen Food Inc yet and to be honest, I'm not sure that I want to…..

  • Reply Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Yay for last day! I haven't seen the movie yet but would to check it out once it's on dvd. That pom coffee looks interesting…I wish it didn't have milk added already.

  • Reply Meredith August 28, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    I felt similarly about Food Inc. I was shocked to find out that bit about the seed business. I live in a small town in the middle of midwest farm country (who would put a med school here??) and I had the chance to discuss this with some of my patients who are farmers. Some of them told me horror stories about Monsanto sending the "seed mafia" to their homes and land looking for saved seed. Crazy!

    We don't have Whole Foods here but I have been able to find local grass fed pasture raised meat at the farmer's market and local co-op. I do love food, including meat, and it makes me feel better to know where it came from. Its a little bit pricier, but tastes better.

    P.S. Proximity to Whole Foods/Trader Joes is one of my residency program criteria, so UNC/Duke is moving up on the list!

  • Reply Chelsea August 28, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    I've never seen that movie but I've read about a the meat/dairy industry and I definitely agree with all your points. I am pretty good about buying organic stuff for home use, but I don't always think about it in restaurants.

  • Reply Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Did they really put extra caffeine in their coffee? Like, added caffeine extract? That is so weird and not something I would buy!

  • Reply Meredith (Pursuing Balance) August 29, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Good for you for being a responsible consumer! There's actually a website called where you can compare different companies to see which is more ethical (that's how I chose my phone company!).
    Oh, and in regards to inmytummy's comment — apparently the WF exec wrote that as his personal opinion, and WF has really scrambled to make sure that people know it's not the company's stance. So I'm still going to shop there! 🙂

  • Reply Jess August 29, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    I got the POM coffee too, although I still haven't tried it. I like black coffee too and agree with this being a "treat."

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