Television commercials never cease to amaze me. This morning, yet again, I accidentally came upon a TV commercial that's screaming for rebuttal. This one, for Special K Protein Shakes. I guess I didn't learn my lesson after yesterday's blog post!
So, the scene: A lovely young woman in her car with a Special K shake in hand, stopped in front of a person in a cupcake suit who's trying to tempt her with a pretty looking pink cupcake in hand. She grips and sips on her Special K shake, staring back at him as if to say, "I don't need you anymore, evil cupcake." Then, a voice babbles something about the "Protein Effect" (Special K's newest marketing angle).
Yes, these shakes do have 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber as claimed. That's great for keeping you full and less easily tempted by a pretty pink cupcake (if the person in the cupcake suit doesn't scare you off first). However, the commercial fails to mention that the shakes also contain a whopping 18 grams of sugar. That's more sugar than the fiber and protein content combined! 18 grams is equal to 4.5 teaspoons or 1.5 tablespoons. If you had one of these shakes daily for a month, you'd ingest almost THREE CUPS of sugar. See my blog, "Sugar 101: Everything You Need to Know" for a crash course on why 18 grams of sugar is unacceptable in a drink or snack being marketed as good for you. In fact, why not note the full ingredient list for the milk chocolate flavored Special K Protein Shake:
"WATER, PROTEIN BLEND (WATER, NONFAT MILK, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE), SUGAR, MALTODEXTRIN, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF POLYDEXTROSE, CANOLA OIL, COCOA PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, MAGNESIUM PHOSPHATE, TRICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, GELLAN GUM, CELLULOSE GUM, SOY LECITHIN, MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, POTASSIUM CITRATE, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), SALT, POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, CARRAGEENAN, SUCRALOSE, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, VITAMIN E ACETATE, VITAMIN K1, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, NIACINAMIDE, VITAMIN D3, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, VITAMIN B12, ZINC SULFATE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, FERRIC PYROPHOSPHATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), MANGANESE SULFATE, THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), POTASSIUM IODIDE, FOLIC ACID, BIOTIN, CHROMIUM CHLORIDE, SODIUM MOLYBDATE, SODIUM SELENITE. SWEETENED WITH NUTRITIVE SWEETENERS AND NONNUTRITIVE SWEETENERS."
Drink up? Hm. No, thanks! My loves, Special K Protein Shakes are a processed food that the body was never intended to ingest or digest. Your body needs and wants food from nature, not from a laboratory.
TV commercials are created for the single purpose of getting you to comply with an agenda, whether it's buying a product or believing an idea, with truth and integrity NOT being part of the formula. Marketing is a powerful tool and we, especially children, fall victim to its manipulation every single day, everywhere we go. TV, radio, the internet, billboards, endorsed products/toys, movie and TV product placements, intentional supermarket layout and neuromarketing are constantly fed, most often covertly, into the psyche. The average child watches 10,000 food advertisements per year on television but they're never for REAL, healthy food. How can 10,000 views not affect the thinking of a child when repetition is the key to learning? Marketers study child psychology in order to be able to most effectively get children to nag their parents into buying products. There is actually a form of measurement in the marketing industry called the "nag factor". I couldn't make this stuff up!
I cannot stress enough the need for muting commercials! We use the DVR in my house so we can skip right over them. When I forget to press fast forward, I see the idiocy of marketing and then I end up here blogging about it, but only because I truly love you. :)
So, when you need a pick me up, don't believe the hype. Instead of trading that cupcake for a Special K shake, go for celery or an apple with natural peanut or almond butter, mixed seeds and nuts, chopped vegetables with humus, or berries with plain yogurt - all of which provide a serious protein and fiber boost! Is it easier to grab a ready-made shake on the go? Sure it is. But, can't we all find 2 to 5 extra minutes to make a better investment in our health? You betcha!
I watch very little television. The bit that I do watch is almost exclusively DVR'd so that I can fast forward through the commercials. I loathe television commercials to the point that it's a house rule that if they're on, they're muted. Today, I was reminded why!
I woke this morning and decided to watch a recorded snippet of Deepak Chopra talking about meditation. About 10 minutes in, I had to make a pit stop (hence, my need for meditation) and therefore didn't fast forward the commercials. As I came back to the TV, I was greeted by one of the most outrageous commercials I've ever seen. I laughed. I pondered. And then, I was simply disgusted, but I'm glad I didn't miss this one because it reminded me just how important my mission to spread wellness really is.
Walgreen's latest marketing campaign aims to make you think that you're crazy if you use nutrition to battle a cold. Yes, they've stooped to the lowest of the low, bashing good wellness practices and insulting our intelligence at the same time. Ouch.
The scene: A slightly overweight woman is standing at her kitchen counter, looking sickly in her bathrobe, wiping her runny nose. On the counter in front of her are several healthful ingredients, ideal for treating illness, that she is reluctantly dumping into a blender, such as kale (my favorite food!), ginger root, lemon, raw egg yolk, sardines, garlic, cayenne pepper sauce, onion, and some orange liquid (presumably orange juice, hopefully fresh squeezed!). As she's looking disgusted at adding ingredients to her concoction, a script plays in the background, spoken by a cheerful male voice (sounding much like the adorable John Corbett):
"When you're sick, seems everyone and their brother has a home remedy to try. But Walgreen's knows that you need advice from an expert. [Scene then pans to the same but now healthy woman, dressed nicely at Walgreen's, talking to a Pharmacist with a box in hand and looking so very comforted.] That's why our pharmacists are trained to know just what you should take for your symptoms. They're here and ready to help. Before you try anything TOO CRAZY. [Scene pans back to woman looking sickly, now smelling the finished blender concoction and dumping the lumpy mix into a glass. She obviously doesn't have a Vitamix. Woman is so disgusted that she puts her glass down, giving up on that "craziness".] You can stop by today for the service you trust, at the corner of Happy and Healthy."
Translation: If you choose natural healing over chemical drugs, you're crazy. Walgreen's lies at the corner of "Happy and Healthy"? Keyword: LIES. Seriously, friends. Walgreen's wants you to skip the nutrient dense smoothie and head to the pharmacy for a drug that will mask your symptoms but do absolutely nothing to heal you or promote your good health in general, leaving you more susceptible to colds in the future and needing a detox to get all those drugs out of your liver! This is not conducive to "Happy and Healthy"; it's conducive to staying sick and unhappy while Walgreen's thanks you for your money.
Things like this keep me motivated on my mission to help people navigate through media and marketing manipulation and to steer themselves to lasting wellness. Here's what Walgreen's doesn't want you to know (or believe) about the healthful ingredients in their commercial that can heal your body, boost your natural immunity, and increase your lifespan:
Kale: Second most nutrient dense food on earth. Full of fiber to cleanse your gut, antioxidant vitamins to fight disease, minerals such as iron and calcium to build strong bodies, vitamin K (for blood, bone, and cell health) and essential omega-3 fatty acids (for heart and brain health and to fight inflammation). Excellent for the lungs.
Ginger: Powerful anti-inflammatory, immune booster, promotes healthy sweating to detox during colds and flu, cancer fighter, boosts gastro-intestinal health and powerful fighter of motion sickness.
Garlic: Powerful antioxidant and natural antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, assists in normalizing blood pressure and blood cholesterol.
Lemon: Alkalizing (creates an alkaline state in the body, vital to good health), high in vitamin C and flavonoids to fight colds and flu, liver cleanser, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer.
Onion: Antibacterial, promotes cardiovascular health, high in vitamin C to boost immunity, B vitamins for energy, high in potassium for multiple health benefits, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer.
Cayenne Pepper: Promotes circulatory health, anti-fungal, anti-cancer, clears mucous, anti-inflammatory, promotes detoxification.
Egg yolk: Nutrient dense! B vitmains for energy and immune boosting, calcium and magnesium, antioxidants, selenium, zinc (cold fighter!), lecithin to counteract the cholesterol, and more!
Sardine: Promote heart and bone health, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, second highest B12 content of any food, high in vitamin D for numerous health benefits, rich in selenium, high in calcium.
Smoothies are a great way to create a nutrient dense health boost, but adding all the above ingredients together, as the woman in the Walgreen's commercial did, will surely turn off a lot of newbies (a great way for Walgreen's to keep people coming back for more drugs!). So, try adding a few of those ingredients to a smoothie with lots of berries or other colorful fruit. See my KaleBerry smoothie recipe for starters. You'll love it; I promise.
As a health coach, my advice is to add any of these health promoting foods to your diet anywhere you can sneak them in. I also advise that you not take health advice from a television commercial, and most definitely not from a drug store. Even better still, MUTE the commercials!
Cheers to your health.