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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Surrounded by Meat

Is anyone else annoyed with the overabundance of pro-meat commercials on the air today? Let's start with the Hillshire Farms "Go Meat!" ads.

The slogan should be "Go Over-Processed Mechanically Separated Meat-like Substances!" And where the heck are the "Go Vegetables!" or "Go Fruits!" or "Go Whole Grains!" ads? We need to level the playing field here.

(It also makes me sad that the quirky girl from Garfunkel and Oates is in a "Go Meat!" ad.)

This next ad is particularly infuriating on multiple levels. Here we see what could be an adorable school play about VEGETABLES (finally!), but then a crazed carnivore schoolgirl shows up, dressed as a damn MANWICH, and ruins what could have been a very positive message about vegetables and supporting local farms.

And their slogan is, "Meat Your Vegetables." Why should we? Vegetables are just fine and dandy on their own. There is absolutely NO REASON to "meat" our vegetables. By "meating" our vegetables, we're canceling out all of the goodness of the vegetables.

Let's look at that "full serving of vegetables in every Manwich," shall we? Here are the ingredients for Manwich sauce, before adding ground beef:
Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Less than 2% of: Salt, Sugar, Dehydrated Onions, Dehydrated Red and Green Bell Peppers, Chile Pepper, Tomato Fiber, Spices, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Dehydrated Garlic, Carob Bean Gum, Natural Flavors.

Things to note:
1. The "tomato puree" is mostly water.
2. Is it a shock that HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP makes an appearance? This is followed by two MORE sweeteners: corn syrup and sugar. Bring on the diabetes!
3. The "vegetables" are less than 2% of the ingredients.
4. The sauce has 16% of the Recommended Daily Allowance of sodium.
5. There is only 1 gram of dietary fiber, which comes from the "tomato fiber" seen in the ingredient list above.

And finally, as if meat upstaging vegetables was bad enough, we turn to Chef Boyardee, who makes vegetables a bad word.

Why are children so afraid of vegetables? Is it part of their upbringing? Is it because vegetables are missing from the standard American diet that when a vegetable DOES make an appearance on a child's plate, they FREAK OUT because it doesn't taste like chocolate, cheddar cheese, or Dorito's? In the last couple of years, there has been a WAVE of incognito vegetables. Instead of introducing our children to a variety of foods, INCLUDING VEGETABLES, suddenly it has become commonplace to sneak them in, usually in with heavily processed foods, such as Chef Boyardee ravioli. A quick glance at the nutritional facts for this product shows that a 1 cup serving offers 45% of the RDA of sodium. And this is being peddled as a healthy choice for children?!

It is so important for consumers to look beyond the advertisements on TV and radio, in print ads, and floating around the internet. There are very few processed food items on the market that are "good" for anyone, and this also includes some items that are labeled as vegan. It's just always a better idea to find the time to prepare meals at home, using fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. It's good to know where our foods come from, and it's good to share this with our children. Getting children involved in the kitchen also yields amazing results.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - I have never seen any of those ads ... they must not air in Canada.