Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bagels and chit chat

Dear foodies,

There still isn't cable at home and I have now moved to watching videos online. With a s-video cable in tow, I synced my laptop to the TV. Apart from watching comedy shows on Hulu and Youtube I also watched a few interesting documentaries and short films online. I vaguely remember having read about a guy who ate at McD's for 30-days to show how harmful it could be to a person's health. Morgan Spurlock, an independant filmmaker, put himself through through this 30-day diet, where all his 3 meals for the day would come from McD's. He would not order out of the menu (no customizations). He will super size it if asked to do so, but never on his own. And he won't work out excessively to burn it off, instead he will, based on stats for a typical American, take 5000 steps/day. Spurlock documented his challenge in the form of a movie called, Super Size Me. Three doctors watch his progress over the 30-day period and our astonished by the results. The nutritionist says his fitness levels are above average at the start of the diet, and over the next 30 days he sees his weight, cholesterol, blood pressure shoot up and his liver function deteriorate due to the high-fat diet. The doctors admit to not foreseeing the extent and speed of liver deterioration in him. What a high alcohol intake could do to the liver, a high fat diet can do, in much shorter time span.

The rules of the challenge do seem ridiculous upfront. No one eats every single meal from a fast food place. It is an exaggeration. But one that may not be entirely far fetched and, probably one that needs to made in order to get people to realize how bad it could be. Fast food chains offer a filling and cheap meal option, albeit, at the cost of your health. The video talks about the salad options having the same amount of calories as a huge cheese burger due the cheese topping and fatty dressings. Its not to target just one fast food giant, all these huge chains have made fast food synonymous with bad health.

spread - low fat sour cream, diced carrot, coriander leaves and salt.
They are a business and making money is the end game, so its wrong to expect them to be the health police here. A few years back the House of Representatives passed a bill called the 'Cheeseburger bill' which protects the food industry from being sued for obesity. The consumer needs to realize and take blame for jeopardizing their health by making wrong food choices. I agree with this legality, but the right options should also be just as easily accessible. The marketing for fast food is very heavily funded and they make cooking at home sound like an avoidable chore, uncool or wasteful. A 2000 cal diet is what is recommended for the average person, but look at the nutritional info of these popular restaurant menu items. 2500+ calories in a single entree! And the amount of sodium - 2400mg is is the recommended intake for a day and a few of those have more than 4000mg in them! That could get you on the cardiologists table in no time. And its not even 'fast food', its slow food... restaurant food.

Its true that we go to the restaurants to indulge. I wouldn't be happy eating a bland whole wheat pasta with steamed veggies or a plain dal when I go out. So its okay to cave in to the cravings, but what we eat and how much of it needs to be controlled. Few studies show how the portions sizes have increased gradually leading to more than 65% of Americans falling under the overweight category. It could be a marketing ploy to make us think they are giving us more value for money. In a seminar at work, the nutritionist mentioned that the amount of protein from meat on our plate needs to be the size of the fist. The restaurants seem to offer 4 times that quantity. Fast food also disguises itself as easy frozen entrees and meals too. Reading the labels on things we buy and being a conscious consumer is really important. There are many more valid points brought up in the film and the articles. I could go on n on with my rant here, but I will stop :D

my entry for Click - Stacks
Have you CLICKED yet ? I was invited to be a of the judge this month by the Jugalbandits and and I cannot tell you how thrilled I am :) I made these bagels for my breakfasts this week. I've tried my hand at making them a couple of times before, but I always ended up using too little salt, so this time I was careful. I topped them with sesame/nigella/black poppy seeds.

Enjoy your weekend :)

21 thoughts:

Nags said...

i just sent in my entry too.

and about the studies done on fast food, i read one where a dentist put a human tooth in 250 ml of coke and left it for a month at the end of which it was completely disintegrated and dissolved! how horrible is that?

i was never a huge fan of fizzy drinks but after reading this, i completely avoid it, even at pizza hut!

Manasi said...

i know the docu. u are talking about... the title is " super size me" or something similar. just goes to show how conscious we all need to be!
LOVE the stacks!

Nabeela said...

First of all: OMG, look at the GORGEOUS pictures you take now!! It's been almost a year since I last checked your blog and now it's completely different(in a very pleasant way!)
I don't know if you still remember me but I'm the geeky kid you used to e-mail with, who is still dragging her feet trying to finish her master's degree :)
I saw the documentary you're talking about and although it raised valid points, I too thought it wasn't a fair comparison. As for the 2000 calorie diet, it is usually more for men than women. My nutritionist gave me a 1700 calorie diet if I exercise and a low 1400 one if I don't! So women need to eat lower than men usually.

Parita said...

I am not much into burgers and frizzy drink or even pizzas, i have heard a lot how harmful frizzy drinks and high calorie food can be to our health so avoid it as far as i can, love the bagels, perfect for click and gorgeous black and white click!

Pooja said...

Hey you are so much right about the mcd's... i used to feast on the french fries a lot and gained like hell.. now slowly reducing down... glad that i'm out of reach of mcd's here in Africa.. i would love to try those bagels.. awesome click for the stacks ! i liked the spread with cheese

chakhlere said...

I totally agree with you Priya!!
Really these food joints are big mess.
Just imagine what would happen to our next generation if they grow up in such kind of environment with their other American or European friends who eat these foods as their staple food.
I hardly eat at mcd or any other such joints!!

Thanks for such awareness creating article!!

Soma said...

Nice post Priya.. super size serving leading to the the unsightly things :-) are pretty alarming, but i feel for some reason the awareness only goes around among the ones already aware.. those who need to be aware are not, or purposely try to live in "ignorance is bliss". we enjoy everything, once in a while, & if i have pizza for lunch, i would do salad for dinner to compensate..do soft drinks in our house.. may be once in few months, mostly to keep the kids away from it, so we don't do it too.

Girl I just love that black & white picture. me, not yet clicked :-)

Srilakshmi said...

I've seen that documentary - It was scary and informative! SSM and Biggest Loser are the two main reasons for giving up on Burgers! Not a big fan of Bagels, but yours look tempting.. Lovely pics too!

Kalai said...

Oh my goodness! I guess a lot of the info is pretty intuitive, but some people really need the shock treatment. I absolutely avoid fast food like the plague! Bagels look awesome, girl. Nice clicks! :)

Superchef said...

the pics are just soo gorgeous, as always!!

n it really is saddening as to how much not-good fat we tend to intake thru these fast foods. Last time we went to CheeseCaek factory and they gave us their new menu with the calories in each item, there was nothing less than a 2500!! can you believe it!! we were totally scared to even order anything :D

Pavithra said...

wow looking gorgeous and gr8 clicks

rads said...

You made bagels? :|

*speechless*

Ann said...

Wow your pictures are awesome and so tempted for those bagels.
I heard abt the doc. you are talkinh abt. :(

Sushma Mallya said...

first time to your blog ...the pic has come out fab would love to try out this weekend

Hari Chandana said...

OMG..very good post!!

pelicano said...

Congrats on getting a judge's seat!

I could be the poster-child for avoiding sodas: drank Mountain Dew daily (all day) through the 90's... Though I "quit" about 8-9 years ago, my teeth are still suffering from those years- those that remain that is. :-) Now I treat soda as it should: a sweet reserved for VERY occasional indulgence!

I could go on and on about your pretty bagels but I'm sure you have stuff to watch on Youtube so I won't keep you... :-D

Hmm.. said...

Bumped into your blog thru Ek Cup Tea...And now Im hooked! :D
Lovely!! :)

Priya said...


Nags, I've seen that too! it is scary. And same pinch with the fizzy drinks :D I am not a fan of the carbonated feel. I'll take fruit juice or ice tea over it. the amount of sugar in those drinks is ridiculous.

Manasi, yes, it is called 'Super size me', the post also has a link to the movie.

Nabeela, How have you been!! You must revive your blog! I cannot tell you how many times I've tried to get to it. It was your bread recipe that got me started with baking at home, and the many doubts that I had :))
and yes, the pics are a lot better from the old camcorder ones, heheh, those were fun.
And its true what you say about our daily calorie intake. Once we start taking notes, 1400 just burns up into nothing :D

Parita, yaa, all those are ok only as long as its an occasional craving..at the most. I've tried to make some of the dishes I like when eating out, at home. Its a much better way of enjoying the things you like.

Pooja, even I avoid eating the fries there, its just too much work on the treadmill after that. so not worth it. Do give the bagels a try, they are a pretty easy to bake at home :)

chakhlere, yes. the video also showed how kids recognize the logos of all the famous fast food chains but are stumped when shown a historical figure. A lot of the marketing is targeted specifically towards kids, since the parents will have to follow them there. Knowing basic nutrition, and judging between good Vs unhealthy food is a must these days even for kids.

Priya said...


Soma, very true. these facts tend to effect the ppl who already know or practice them. I see huge lines in the drive thru lane of the McD's near my work place. People who are knowledgeable in many areas seem to fall short in this very important one. It seems like a obvious fact to us that eating a fried or processed item everyday is bad. Infact, the ppl lined up at these stores know it too, but they fail to understand the implications I guess or are just plain ignorant of the facts.

Srilakshmi, I got hooked to bagels from visiting Bruegger's bagels on Sat mornings when at the Univ. Burgers were never on my list since I could hardly find a veggie burger I liked. I feel lucky that way.

Kalai, yeah, shock treatment precisely! And its also probably the addiction that they start to creat over a period of time. In the 30 days that challenge was conducted, Spurlock found himself being depressed when he did not eat from McD's. He said the food made him happy. And it is scary!

Superchef, items on Cheesecake factory's menu make it to the most fattening foods served in US restaurants. It is really shocking how they design such menus. And even if they argued that the ingredients add to the flavor, the portion sizes can surely be limited. But no, everything is super sized and instead they put up such nutritional info which obviously not many seem to be bothered about. Its just a handful of us that take notice and get scared, sigh.

Priya said...


Pavithra, thank you.

Rads,:D just the expression I have reading about the things you jam into your day :)

Ann, you must make them this weekend then :)

Hari, thank you :)

Pel, hehehe, yeah, youtube, pbs, ted talks, are all keeping me very busy right now :) Many in my office drink soda's all thru the day, and joke when I go to refill my bottle of water. But I'm going to have the last laugh on that I guess :D *grins widely showing all her teeth*

Hmm.., welcaam welcaam :)

christy gerald said...

Wow! amazing.

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