One of my favourite side effects of living a low tox life – where we’re conscious of what’s good and true and what’s spin, is how commercials become more like comedy segments. I rarely watch commercial TV but when I do, I actually enjoy watching the ads. It helps me help newbies unravel what they’re trying to make us buy, and gently (or sometimes not so gently!) tell it like it is to help you transition towards more whole foods deliciousness. Tonight was one such occasion thanks to my husband’s guilt pleasure watching X Factor. The ads were in full force and one iconic brand’s slogan add particularly stood out.
“Taste the feeling”
With the funky music, pretty young things, sensual kissing and summer lovin’. The aspirational messaging was beautifully put together. If I were 16 and awkward, I totally would have wanted the life they were selling. Maybe that drink would help make me cool? Hopefully?
For your curiosity and as an exercise in analysis, why don’t you go and google ‘taste the feeling’ images, and see what picture they’re building for you to aspire to in life. You’re going to need tools to taste the feeling, right? You’re going to need our product, of course!
But what exactly is the ‘feeling’ we’re tasting?
- High Fructose corn syrup – derived from GMO corn and processed for maximum fructose. They admit it is GM on their website and they also state that they see no harm in GM ingredients. The World Health Organisation states otherwise, with the main pesticide used in GM farming containing glyphosate, a ‘probable carcinogen’.
- Caramel Colour – Depending on the country, undoubtedly to save money where people haven’t picked up on it yet, it could be 150d as it is in Australia or it may be listed carcinogen 4-methylimidazole. Good times. 150d isn’t that awesome either, given it carries asthma and hyperactivity warnings by HACSG group and could be made from GM corn, GM sugar beet and it’s technical name is “sulphite ammonia caramel“. Mmmm – taste THAT feeling, hey?
- Phosphoric acid – Fancy poor bones later in life, then drink up! It’s a crystal extracted with sulfuric acid or by burning off elemental phosphorus and adding water to the byproduct. It’s used in fertilisers, livestock feed, soaps, polishes, dyes, polishing metals and in many other nonfood products. It’s added to soft drinks to provide a sharper, tangy taste and to help slow the growth of moulds and bacteria in sugary formulas. (source livestrong.com.) Plus, this ingredient is one of the ways soda is bad for your teeth, causing enamel corrosion. Lastly, if you’re drinking out of an aluminium can, this acidic solution ensured leeching of aluminium. Oh yay! NOT.
- Natural Flavours – Could be many things but always comes from a lab, not ‘nature’ as the name might suggest. A ‘natural flavour’ can have up to 100 ingredients in it. While the original ‘inspiration’ might have been an extract from something from nature, solvents and preservatives will be added to stabilise it and give the ‘consistency’ to the end product. Consistency can go jump. I want things to taste like grandma made them! If you’re vegetarian (or anyone really!) you might be also horrified to learn that the anal glands of beavers can be involved in ‘natural flavour’ ingredients, although these days it’s deemed ‘too expensive’ for most of the food industry.
- Caffeine – Some peeps can handle it, some cannot. If you’ve ever had a CYP450 test to assess your detoxification enzymes (me being a nerd of course, I have and I did so HERE with Martin) you will know pretty soon whether you can or can’t – or you can of course rely on whether one coffee or soft drink sends you up the wall or gives you a jittery feeling or a pounding heart. If you experience any of those things, it’s time for a caffeine farewell ceremony.
There is nothing about any of that that is worthy of our tasting – except for the ice cold carbonated water (soda streamed from water from my favourite ceramic water FILTER of course!)
Many of you these days are well versed in the fake stuff and I’m so proud of how far everyone has come or the amazing “I always knew it” people we’ve collected along the way in this community, and I ask you: Who now can you extend a hand to who’s newer to it all? Who is struggling to figure things out that you know? Often I see in ‘advanced wholefoods communities’ quips like “I haven’t drunk anything like that rubbish in years” or “well of course that stuff’s poison, tell me something I don’t know” and that’s awesome that you know, but think of someone just getting curious reading such comments and thinking “Gosh I’m a loser, I still can’t let this stuff go” or “Everyone seems to know their stuff and I’m just going to look like an idiot if I ask a question”.
So newbies, next time you see a commercial and hear the slogan – turn to the ingredient list and see if there might be a disconnect for you. Once you start to see things for what they really are, they’re not so aspirational or delicious after all. I’ve talked about this at length over the years, starting with my post It’s time to redefine treats. Ask yourself these 4 questions:
- What’s in it?
- How did they make it?
- Are their company values aligned with my personal values?
- Do I really want it now that I know the answer to the first 3 questions?
When we connect to our critical thinking abilities when it comes to what we put ON and IN us, advertising is like water off a ducks back – ok, maybe it touches us just enough to illicit and eye roll or a giggle, but slowing down to stop and think about something and ‘get real’ with it, is a sure fire way to assess whether or not it benefits us or the planet in the short or long term.
Have you experienced a commercial television awakening as you’ve become a real foodie over the years? Maybe you were born a hippy or born super smart to just know it was all spin.
There is no ‘wrong’ except feeling guilty. Whatever you didn’t know yesterday isn’t worth your negative self talk. It’s much better to get excited about what you’re going to change from today!
Just remember to ask:
Fancy making some super easy iced tea? I have a recipe HERE for you!
Real Food. Happy Bodies.