Eat This, Not That!

I found an article the other day on the worst foods in America (from restaurants). Some of them were surprising – but not for the reason you might think. I wasn’t surprised by the food, only by the super-sized calorie count. I knew they’d be high, but I didn’t expect some of the meals to reach nearly 3,000 calories.

I don’t really get why the Eat This, Not That books exist. I’ve looked through a few of these and they’re all common sense. All I have to say is that if you are ordering something called a “Baconator” and you honestly don’t know it’s unhealthy, you’re probably too far gone to save. Even if you follow the cover’s splendid advice and swap your Whopper with cheese to a Big Mac, you’re still going to be fat. You may be 30 pounds lighter, but you’ll still be fat.

I could go into a deep discussion about the failings of society to properly educate people, but I’m not going to bother because at some point the consumer has to stop blaming and take responsibility.  Most people aren’t too poor or too stupid to cook a healthful meal. I’m not criticizing people who are overweight. I don’t care what you weigh. I’m criticizing all the people who continually buy books like these simply for a quick fix, rather than actually putting effort into creating a lasting lifestyle change.

When I worked at Books-A-Million we made an Eat This, Not That book, except we drew things like staplers (Eat This) and discount cards (Not That!). I liked that book.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Eat This, Not That!

  1. Beth - Realist Mom

    They need write a two page diet book: Page 1 – Eat less. Page 2 – Exercise more. And maybe a page on Baconators… ; )

  2. I agree with you. I still think there is a LOT we could be doing to educate people…I know some smart people who genuinely don’t think there’s a problem with all of the packaged stuff they buy (I’m not talking about obvious stuff like a Big Mac). But you’re right: eventually people have to care enough to do some research on their own.
    However, my biggest problem is with kids. They don’t have a choice of what they are fed at home or at school and they aren’t being taught any proper nutrition. So when that kid becomes a teenager and then an adult, who’s to blame? Sure they could do the research on their own, but I think we owe them so much more than that. Have you ever seen Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution? There was an episode where he was asking a classroom of HIGH SCHOOLERS where certain foods came from and they were clueless. The majority thought butter came from corn instead of cows (because they’re both yellow?), etc. Shameful, I say.

    • I totally agree. I definitely think we need to focus on food education in schools because from my experience the education amounts to NOTHING. I was lucky enough to have parents who cooked at home every night. But even still, I only found out about all this through reading on my own. I also agree there are many people who don’t know and don’t care, and that’s fine. Well maybe not, but that’s another issue completely. I get so angry when I see fat kids because at some points I’d consider it child abuse. These kids are fed this crap from when they are babies, and at that point it’s extremely difficult to ever change. I think in the future when all of these kids grow up there will be a lot more of an excuse to claim ignorance. I just think as it is now, the majority of people have access to this information, especially with things like Jamie Oliver’s show becoming so popular. I used to work in a book store as well, so I know all the info is right there, but people often times choose to go with the get thin in a flash books.

      • Nati

        It is hard, but get out of the mindset that fat=unhealthy. We’re a really judgmental culture and shaming people to do things differently never works; take all the initiatives aimed at schoolchildren which revert to labeling them to try to get their parents to “realize” their kids are fat. Some kids are fat. Writers have been writing about fat kids from all classes for years. Fat is a poor indicator of health. All the “thin” and “normal” weight children are eating the same shit. Because we have evolved over millions of years to crave things that are “bad” for us.

        Stigmatizing food is the problem here. When you tell someone one food is bad and another is good, it won’t stop them from eating it. It will just cause them to be dysfunctional with food. I have read quite a lot on the behaviors of people with eating disorders (one of those people is me) and lived long enough. The big thing is, how do we make ALL food good food while still changing our relationship with certain kinds for our own benefit? The see-saw of BAD FOOD/GOOD FOOD has caused things like hydrogenated oils to be used by American food manufacturers when coconut/peanut oils were the BIG BADDIES. Fats were removed from food and formulated to be more nutritious. Now carbs and hydrogenated oils are the enemy. It is like the freaking war.

        People ARE educating themselves and with that education, consumer demand is rising for unprocessed/organic/etc. foods. I eat processed foods. I look at the label and I make the choice whether or not to eat it myself. I am educated enough to know what risks I take. If some people take that risk, that is up to them. But it may not even be an option soon, who knows. When most of the RAW foods we eat are GMOs, what IS healthy eating? Should we throw barbs at people just trying to get by in a world where there is a LOT of misinformation, a LOT of choice (too much!), and very little time?

        • My whole problem was with this book. I wasn’t looking to get into some big debate about fat/thin people because that could go on forever. I was specifically talking about fat people who don’t want to be fat, hence the reason why they buy these quick fix books rather than being bothered to actually learn about fitness and weight loss, which is their real goal.

          You can say what you want about it not being fair that fat people are stigmatized, but we are talking about reality, not how things should be. Although you have done research to the contrary, there is a whole world of evidence and research on the other side of your argument as well that fat IS unhealthy and does lead to more health problems and medical spending. If it were as simple as you make it, there wouldn’t be a whole lot of debate on it. Until that day comes, I’m not going to take one side or the other, although I am leaning more toward the unhealthy from what I’ve seen and read.

          The truth is that fat people are stigmatized whether we like it or not, and this is my point in saying it’s unfair on the child. The parents (in many cases) can’t be bothered to cook their child healthy, nutritious food so they feed them processed junk and they end up fat from a very early age, and potentially suffer from all of the food related issues that you mentioned. There are far more fat children today than there ever have been, just like there are far more obese people than there ever have been, so it’s not like this came out of nowhere.

          Most of the thin people I know don’t eat the same crap in the same quantities. I didn’t eat that stuff as a child. My mom made me food from home so I never ate much junk food and I certainly didn’t eat in school cafeterias or have sodas for lunch. We also never ate out much, and we rarely ate fast food. When I do start eating a lot of fast/high calorie food, I do gain weight, and I don’t feel well. I understand there is a lot of confusion about what foods actually are healthy/unhealthy, but what I do know is that over indulgence is almost never a good thing in any regard.

          What I advocate is teaching children to think about food from an early age. We don’t talk about food at all in school, and clearly there is a lot to learn and discuss.

          One more thing, I read a really interesting NY Times article that’s basically shifting the bad nutrients war to sugar.

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