If That's Paradise, I'll Take Bloomington

So I'm working on a new recipe, and watching the History Channel, which pleasantly surprised me by actually showing a program about history, when an ad comes on for Mounds and Almond Joy candy bars. There's a guy in the office, sitting in his gray fabric box on the cube farm, just another stressed-out cog in the economic machine. He stealthily unwraps an Almond Joy candy bar, as the perspective changes to a shot from the outside of his cube. Palm trees appear, rising above the fabric walls, and sun is shining only on his little gray box. The perspective shifts back into the cube, and there's our guy, having a tropical vacation right there in his featureless corporate space. The tag line? "Unwrap Paradise."

On a recent episode of my podcast, I talked about the concept of treats, and how the word has come, in modern America, to connote sugary junk food. I talked about the fact that it seems to me that we substitute processed garbage for things that would give us more pleasure, and certainly reduce stress far better -- a walk in the sun, an hour in the bath with a book and a glass of wine, a night out having grown up time with our spouse, a vacation -- and not one in a gray fabric cube.

We are encouraged to think this way by endless junk food advertising, trying to convince us that the greatest pleasure and stress relief will come in the form of sugar and chemicals. Most of us are over-scheduled, over-committed, we're working more hours for less money, and expected to spend far more time on children's activities than our parents and grandparents did. ("Go out and play.") We're supposed to be grateful if we get 7 hours sleep per night and a week or two paid vacation per year; to ask for more is to be a selfish slacker. More and more, we're expected to bring the smart phone along on that vacation; heaven forbid we actually ignore work for a few days.

But a candy bar, a frozen coffee drink, a donut, that we can consume at our desks, while commuting or driving the kids to soccer practice, while getting things done. That it actually makes us feel worse in the long run is, of course, never even alluded to, except in the ads for the drugs we take to deal with the aftermath of loading our bellies with garbage.

I don't have a solution for the over-scheduling of modern American life. But I very much resent the constant selling of poisonous crap as the equivalent of time off to enjoy one's self, one's family and one's own life.

Yes, I have ranted about similar topics before. It's an ongoing, persistent meme in advertising, and it never fails to piss me off. So I do my bit to fight it by pointing it out, repeatedly. If at least a few people start noticing this insidious bait-and-switch tactic as a result, my ranting will not have been in vain.

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so true.

when people allude to cheesecake as "heaven", i'm wondering if they factor in how it makes them feel three hours later. why should one have a cake for one's birthday? i mean, i didn't feel deprived without it, but other people wonder why i'd have a birthday without cake and sweets. i'd rather spend an hour practising martial arts. it gives me my serotonin boost without the bad after effects.

half an hour rollerblading in the park is much more enjoyable and rewarding than candy to me. i'm tired of being told that i'm "not normal" and "everything in moderation"..


I've found a place where everyone makes sense!! :) Not new to low carb, but I am just joining the bloggers here. I bought Dana's "500 Low Carb Recipes" book a few years ago and it's been a life saver for me.

Diabetic Dreaming!

When I see this ad, I don't think of a tropical paradise. Instead, I see a diabetic future full of the medical interventions necessary to stay alive!

So, I'll pass on the Almond Joy in favor of "Pork Rind Joy" and leave the Diabetes to a growing majority of Americans who think that Low Fat, High Carb diets are balanced!

Thanks, Dana, for all you do to help people understand the counter-intuitive truth of low-carb diets and good health.

I, too, keep turning to the

I, too, keep turning to the history channel in hopes of seeing something about history. Usually I get aliens or nostradomus, instead. Those commercials usually just wash over me without notice. Lately, though, I've noticed one for box cake mixes because the dancing cupcakes form a qr code at one point. Interesting.

Aliens Or Nostradamus

But why settle for one or the other? A few months back, I turned on the History Channel to find them running a program in which, in the first five minutes I had it on, they mentioned the Holy Grail, the Knights Templar, the Ark of the Covenant, aliens, and the Third Reich. Think they worked in Nostradamus eventually, though I'm not certain. It turned out to be about how the Third Reich was using alien technology. Uh-huh.

And the Freemasons.

There's almost always something about the Freemasons. Or the Templars. :-D

Treat ads

The Snicker's commercials are another great example. You aren't yourself when you're hungry, so eat a gigantic candy bar. It will fix you right up, transform you from Betty White into a young male football player. Got hunger? Get candy! Given the obesity and diabetes epidemics, are ads for such sugary treats any less harmful to the public good than ads for cigarettes used to be?

Jim Anderson

(P.S., My wife and I used to live in Bloomington. Great town!)


Yep. Sugar is the cure for everything, didn't you know? Brings to mind the statement I read years ago, that the Arabs, who were the first to refine sugar, considered it a drug. How right they were.

Quite a while back, there was an ad on TV for Nips brand hard candy. Aside from the fact that a "nip" is a drink of alcohol, the ad was so obvious: It was an animation showing a woman having a horrible, stressed-out day at the office. People were shouting, phones were ringing, huge teetering piles of paper stacked up on her desk, till she was tearing her hair. Then she popped a hard candy into her mouth, and a Valium-like calm descended over her. The tagline was "Had enough? Have a Nips."

Rarely have I seen it made quite so explicit that the sugar-mongers know that they're selling drugs.


That is not a rant, but pure truth about the state of our country, sugar and all. Thanks for all your recipes. My husband loved the Ginger Lime steak. I found chuck roast on sale, had the butcher cut them in two steaks, then after I got home I decided I should have bought the rest of the on sale roasts to freeze. Went back to the store and they were all gone. won't make that mistake again.


Oh good, Helene! Glad to see you got logged in and can finally join us! :-)



Your help was exactly what I needed. Thanks again

Guess I've never seen those ads

because I never turn on my TV. Amazing what you miss when you're culturally ignorant like I am :-)

Don't even get me started on those gray fabric cubes. They only **seem** miserable until your cube gets taken away and you have to spend every working moment in an open environment, where you can't even scratch without someone noticing.

While I am neither over-scheduled nor over-committed, I must say that artificial cube (or cubeless, whichever one you have) is ultimately a soul-killing environment. No candy bar is ever going to help that, I don't care what the advertisements say.

Unfortunately, my employer

Unfortunately, my employer stocks lots of junk food and has free soda on tap. I'd bet the mortgage money that there are at least four undiagnosed diabetics in the office, and those snacks are the last thing they need.

Long ago, one of my cousins was an outstanding gymnast--so good, in fact, that there was talk of her training for the Olympics. But her family lived in a rural area, far from where she'd have had to train, and her parents had a farm to run and a younger daughter to raise. They passed up the chance. I don't know my cousin's feelings on the matter, but my aunt--who'd have borne much of the burden--doesn't regret their decision. My cousin seems to have lived a rich, full life without having trained for the Olympics.

The way to stop overextending yourself is to realize that family meals, a good night's sleep, leaving room for life's mishaps, and minding the work you already have, have value.