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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Diary of an Omnivore

Written by Kyle Slagley

I have a confession to make: I love Cheez-Its. And Pepsi. And occasionally, even a Whopper or some Chicken McNuggets. I, like millions of other folks out there, have fallen victim to that dreadful predator that attacks when you’re at your most vulnerable, hungry, and pressed for time – the junk food industry. Last week, The New York Times Magazine published an article that explained to me just how much engineering, research, and food chemistry has gone into cultivating my love for those little orange crackers.

I happen to be one of the lucky ones with taste buds that shun sugar, salt, and grease for the most part, and living with a vegetarian also has a positive effect on my diet, but while I have only a handful of vices when it comes to processed food, the research that has gone into Cheez-Its has certainly paid off with me.

Now, I’m not here to tell you what to eat or what not to eat, but this story and a couple related ones regarding public health that have come out in recent weeks may make your patrons curious enough to dig deeper into the hidden secrets of what they eat. Worry not; we can help!

Food Additives – Let’s start with the basics. In this video, Learning Seed shows viewers a straightforward history of food preservation and then leads into an explanation of various flavorings, colorings, and preservatives contained in tons of things we consume on a daily basis.

Eating for Your Future – Discovery Education also goes for a direct approach in this video that details how eating choices affect quality of life. Geared mainly toward teenagers, viewers will learn that eating well does not have to be a chore and that there are numerous ways to make a healthy-diet lifestyle fun.

Junk Food Wars – Cambridge Educational gets a little more defensive, arming kids and teens with some knowledge on how to ward off the dangers of too much junk food. With positive reviews from Video Librarian, School Library Journal, and Booklist, there is enough information in this video to help kids develop a strategy for healthy eating.

Fast Food Nation – Reporter Eric Schlosser puts the fast-food industry directly in the crosshairs now. Attacking everything from how the food is prepared to how restaurants market toward kids in an effort to groom them into lifelong customers, this book may make you think twice before super-sizing your fries.

Born With a Junk Food Deficiency – Not only does Martha Rosenberg go after junk food, she goes after big pharmaceuticals as well. Rosenberg doesn’t pull any punches, resulting in an expose that targets every level of public health. If this title seems controversial, it’s because it is, but it’s also bound to generate discussion within your community.

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