Vegan Grandma

Monday, September 25, 2006

Book Report; Don't Eat This Book, Fast Food and the Supersizing of America

I have serious concerns about the unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits of people these days, especially children, who will pay in later life for the sins of their fathers (and mothers) who are not teaching their children well.

Did you see the movie "Super Size Me"? It was the story of Morgan Spurlock’s thirty-day experiment during which he ate nothing but three meals a day from McDonald's as part of an investigation into the effects of fast food on American health. The experiment resulted in Spurlock's weight gain of twenty-five pounds. His blood pressure skyrocketed, and his libido almost disappeared. Spurlock has written a book, Don't Eat This Book, Fast Food and the Supersizing of America, published by Berkley Books, that goes beyond the movie. Spurlock traveled around the U.S.A. visiting schools, hospitals, and homes to investigate school lunch programs, the marketing of fast food, and the declining interest in health and physical education. He writes about why fast food is so tasty, cheap, and addictive.

I found the book very interesting. Spurlock is able to discuss a serious subject with humor. Here are some quotes from the book:

"We spend more on ourselves than the entire gross national product of any nation in the world.......what does all that consumption do for us? Does it make us happy? You tell me. If we were all so happy would we be on so many drugs? Antidepressant use in the U.S. nearly tripled in the past decade". -page 6

"....It's only been in the last few years that we've become hip to a new killer, one that now rivals smoking as the leading cause of preventable deaths in America and, if current trends continue, will soon be the leading cause: overeating. Americans are eating themselves to death."-page 7

"Instead of trying to get people to buy two burgers, [the fast food industry] put a bigger patty on one sandwich, called it a Whopper and charged you a little extra for it. Instead of two Cokes, they started offering you larger cups.........people got to eat more, and they felt like they were getting a good deal."-page 20

" 'Fast casual' and 'family' restaurants also started increasing the size of their portions....Since food only represents about one-fifth of a restaurant's expenses, they can pile a lot more on your plate and charge you just a little more for it. You'll feel like you got to stuff yourself at a good price, so you'll come back."-page 20

"One nutritionist has said that your average fast food meal isn't one meal, it's more like three....."-page 22

"The average American teen drinks two or more 12-ounce sodas a day. How much sugar is in a single 12-ounce soda? Ten teaspoons. That kid is consuming the equivalent of twenty teaspoons of sugar every day. Just in soda. Throw in all the other sugar the average kid consumes in fast food, junk food and snacks, then ask me again why we're seeing an epidemic of type 2 diabetes in America's children."-page 25

"Physical activity has declined across the board at the same time that our caloric intake has increased. Studies show that almost 60 percent of Americans exercise rarely or never. That figure pretty exactly correlates with the number of obese Americans."-page 27

"Seventy-two percent of McDonald’s patrons-nearly three out of four-are what the industry calls 'Heavy Users.' Kind of a Freudian slip of the corporate tongue, don't you think? Users? Makes us sound like a bunch of junkies, doesn't it? -page 48

"This woman went to McDonald’s for thirty days, then another thirty; she limited herself to 1,800 calories, exercised regularly, lost weight and said she proved my movie was 'junk science.' Amazing how that happened, considering she did the two things no one in America does: She ate less and exercised." -page 51

"In November 2004, the News target Network reported on the rapid spread of obesity in China, saying 'that the typical American diet, high in red meat, dairy, processed food, soda, fried snacks, and white flour has increased diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity in just a few years' "-page 62


"But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that portion of life and time it had been brought into the world to enjoy."-Plutarch, Moralia
Vegan Cashew "Cheese" Sauce

This recipe was on my old blog-still is, I guess (I had to change blogs because the name of my old blog was too close to someone else’s). I really like to make this! It’s from The Saucy Vegetarian, Quick and Healthful No-Cook Sauces and Dressings, by Joanne Stephaniak, published by Book Publishing Company, page 70. I love this book! All the recipes in it are easy, delicious, and vegan. This "cheese" sauce is very easy to make. I like to eat it on crackers or on steamed broccoli.

Vegan Cashew "Cheese" Sauce
Makes about ½ cup

You can use this sauce for vegan Alfredo noodles or vegan au gratin dishes.

1/4 cup raw cashews
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes (available at natural food stores)
2 teaspoons sweet white miso or 1/4 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup water, more or less as needed (If I want the sauce to be thick enough to spread on crackers, I don’t use water, or very little.)

Grind the cashews to a powder in a dry blender. Add the remaining ingredients, using just enough water to make a thick but pourable sauce. Process until completely smooth.