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Day 36

Cronut and Brain Fog

“Maybe America has gone too far, it is going to take us a long time to get back on track because the marketing, the money and the patterns have been deeply established. My hope is that the developing nations see what we have done and don’t follow our lead.” A professor of Public Policy for the US Government on obesity today.

In 1990 China had little to no known cases of obesity, today 1 in 3 people are overweight or obese. I’d say they’re hot the heels of the US.

 

 

I saw something today that I hope never makes it to the Great Wall. Its called a ‘cronut’ and its a mix between a croissant and a donut. A sugar pastry dance party for your mouth. Enough said.

(Today’s title would make for a great band name though)

I woke up in a very rural part of the US today and had my first real experience of how hard it is for people to eat well here outside of a major city. Avoiding sugar is harder than choosing an appropriate political leader. I searched for anything that wasn’t a chain with a big colourful mascot on it (invariably red and yellow, 2 colours that stimulate appetite and create rushing so you eat and get out. The companies know this).

I eventually ended up in a Walgreens, which is a pharmacy/supermarket where you can also get flu vaccines and children’s diabetes tests. Much like the Nestle/Jenny Craig yo yo scheme, this chain also appears to provide both an illness and a cure.  It was really hard to find something remotely healthy for me to eat. I settled on a tub of blueberry yoghurt with 5 teaspoons and a Starbucks iced coffee with 12 teaspoons. It was comically sweet. I also purchased a pack of dried apples that were ‘baked in fruit juice’ for extra crispiness. The fructometer was at full capacity. 4 slices got me another 5 teaspoons.

I then had a mind blowing, mind expanding meeting with a retired NASA physicist who has worked with all forms of altered states of consciousness and studies mental function. This amazing man meditated for 2 weeks at a time and tried substances like caffeine and different preservatives to note the effects on the body. He said that by far the strongest was sugar. It took 4 hours for the ‘buzz’ to leave the mind and 8 DAYS for it to leave the body completely. Remarkable stuff. He said quite beautifully that “sugar causes a fog, but most people have been in that fog since having sugar as a child, so don’t know what life is without it. It just becomes their reality. Its only when stopping for a period of 3 months or more that people really see the changes and have a “Wow” moment.”

It was hard to leave the conversation but more travel awaited. I hit the skies with a Naked banana/pineapple protein drink (7) and prepared for the next catch up. 2 hours later I was in another state, in another office getting some terrific dirt on the food industry. We discussed the tricks of the food companies and the work being done behind the scenes to fight these metabolic syndrome problems. I learnt of scientists being paid off regularly, lip service charitable donations and ways to plant doubt about the science in the public’s mind. This was all coming from a leading advisor to the US government on public policy, it was juicy stuff, apple juicy.

He talked about headway being made in the US though, as I sipped Peach iced tea,  and a time very soon where these companies may be facing law suits in regards to obesity in the same way the tobacco companies did. They are not stupid though and every conceivable plan is being hatched to avoid it happening.

This man was a lovely chap but for a man so ingrained in the fight against obesity,  oddly he recommended a famous local rib house for dinner. It felt strange eating ribs covered in a sugary  BBQ sauce and small sweet fried potatoes that we would call donuts in Australia.  It was even more disturbing to see how packed the place was, how big the portions were and how even bigger the people eating those portions were. The USA was all the rage in the late 80s and bigger was better. It feels like 7am sunday morning for them now, the fluro lights have come on, the make up has run and there may even be a little bit of vomit on the shoulder. Its time to just have a little lay down, reassess those last 3 tequilas and think about the little pash you had in the corner with the shy person from work.

Tomorrow the adventure rolls on and more mountains of sugar await. I am determined to beat the 34 teaspooned cup of Jamba Juice.

36 and 40.

 

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