suzannaThe other evening I was skyping a catch-up with my nephew Kiernan McMullan – a much-travelled, broadly insightful singer/songwriter who travels & performs
throughout the USA, Ireland & the UK.

From a cute Gen Y boy (formative years in Boston, USA), who’d previously embraced the inescapable US corporate push to make hamburgers, pizzas and fast food fixes pass as normal food – to my enormous relief – this clever young man had at last developed a scathing opinion on all that hyper-marketed junk!  From personal experience, no less.

Although his Mum had served up vegetables & salads daily during his childhood, for 5 gruelling years on the road less travelled my darling nephew had truly believed he could busk by on the fast food fix. Then the epiphany happened. Plagued with coughs, colds & ultimately a bout with pneumonia, Kiernan finally got it that he’d have to stay healthy while driving & gigging the length & breadth of the US … or get sick, cancel performances … & not get paid.

Simple as that, really. A tough lesson but great motivator, as it turned out.

The ‘sodas’ were the first to go, he told me.  But it was only when Kiernan finally stopped munching his way through all that cheap convenience, swapping junk for fresh at any possible opportunity that he noticed – take a deep breath here, people – he actually began to ‘feel better’. Then his ‘puppy fat’ miraculously melted away. He slept better. His thinking was clearer. His songwriting more focused. He was less prone to infection – especially the allergy based upper respiratory glugginess which affected his singing. He had more energy. Hell, even his zits disappeared.

Well, duhhhh!  What Big Junkfood corporations don’t tell you about the relative cheapness of their products is the big fat price you’ll pay in the long term with the bills for your failing health. All of which is reflected in the skyrocketing obesity, heart disease & diabetes statistics coming out of the USA, UK & Australia. Other countries have these problems also, but none more than the Big Three.

Listening to Kiernan, it struck me that trying to find good nutritious food on the road was a most precarious & difficult endeavour. Not only for travelling musicians but for anyone who puts in long hours to achieve anything from traction in a career to a house in the burbs. So who is most at risk from seductive junk food marketing?

  • young execs who go home to pre-packaged pasta with no vegetables
  • salesmen on road trips who head for burgers & fried chicken
  • night nurses who grab a chocolate bar & a cola for dinner
  • ‘graveyard’ shift workers who order in from a pizza chain
  • working wives/mothers who’ve lost the will to cook & rely on take-out
  • children who think chicken nuggets & chips are food
  • anyone who ever failed to develop a taste for fresh produce and/or water

And how does Big Junkfood marketing seduce them? By carefully placing the following within easy reach from dispenser & outlets at every possible point (even in hospitals!), that’s how-

  • chocolate bars
  • sugary soft drinks
  • biscuits
  • so-called ‘health bars’
  • muffins  (lo fat, lite, hi fibre – they’re all junk!)
  • pizzas (unless made by an Italian Mother)
  • take-out fried chicken of any sort
  • hamburgers & fries
  • shakes & slurpees
  • and don’t start me on the universally appalling motel food!

Most of this junk, studiously marketed as ‘food’ by folks with university degrees in marketing rather than nutrition! Junk that’s carefully placed right under your nose by  trusted corporations (privately owned roadside diners are no better) all chanting the justifying mantra of ‘this is what the folks want’. All of them educated human beings who should have read the research on our First World diet-based diseases. All of them fellow human beings who don’t give a flying fig about your ongoing health problems because your continuing addiction to their products & profits is ensured by corporate research lab scientists – ie yet more educated humans whose sole job it is to seduce you into thinking what they’re selling is real food made easy!

Read more about what the so-called food corporations are expecting us to swallow –

*  Stefanie Marsh article ‘Is your child addicted to crisps? The food industry hopes so.’

*  ‘Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us’ – by Michael Moss (WH Allen)

Frankly, it makes me want to shout out “WTF?!”  And, reduced to teeth grinding frustration at this slavish devotion to marketing hype, I often do (as my junkfood addicted clients will surely attest). Especially when I’m trying to convince someone with metabolic disorder bordering on Diabetes2 NOT to guzzle ‘soft drinks’ for thirst. Or munch through brand name snacks several times a week because that’s normal for them. And, more especially so, when my 20 – 55ish  clients just can’t see anything wrong with their fast/packaged/convenience food choices because they’ve been doing it as a norm/treat/fallback for as long as they can recall. Like for the past 35 years when those very same soft drink/convenience/snacks companies & fast food outlets have spent billions of dollars in advertising to convince people that that their products ARE normal/treat/ thirst/food choices! Grrrr!

At this point, please Google the corporate protest that fast foods merely represent  ‘treats in a normal nutritious diet’.  When they know full well, by dint of their billion dollar research machine, that their main audience happily justifies fastfood as a normal everyday choice. In short, these companies rely on you being seduced by their advertising push promoting the quick & easy & cheap, singleton & family fare,  with junk solutions for breakfast & lunch & dinners & snacks. Good grief! Have we truly become that stupid?

So the main questions are  …

  • Are fast & convenient thirst & hunger fixes delivered by international corporations normal? Or are they really a textbook case of persuasion?
  • What do you think about that? Like, really?
  • Does anyone even care to look at the history of such marketing?
  • Have you considered that some of our children are doing university degrees in the promotion & spin skills that will convince you to eat/drink this garbage well into the future?
  • When you add up your monthly medications bill at 45 or 55 or 65 for hypertension, cholesterol, Diabetes2, IBS, metabolic disorder (all completely preventable diet based diseases) do you add that to your cheap junk food costs?

WARNING! TRICK QUESTION ALERT! Could our laziness, complacence, confusion and nutritional ignorance be exactly what the Big Junk Food corporations rely on for their skyrocketing profits? Nevermind the growing obesity, diabetes, inflammatory disease, food allergy, gastrointestinal cancer epidemics in the First World?

And so … back to my darling nephew. When it came to the crunch, what Kiernan actually did to buck up his energy & feel better was really quite simple. For starters, he avoided anything straight out of a box or a branded bag. He switched to eating ‘live foods’ (vegetables, fruits, even superfast smoothies including kale & parsley!). He grilled lean meats. And, when reduced to the offerings from Big Junkfood, he chose the option with the most fresh stuff in it – all such options precipitated by multiple lawsuits, I might add. Thankfully, the results of Kiernan’s quest for a square meal have been life changing for him. To put it bluntly – he discovered that fresh food works better for him in every way. It’s not rocket science … anyone can do this.

The truth is out there … so why don’t more people spend an evening on Google researching what they’re being seduced into eating? You use it for every other damned query, right? The fact is … we’re all ‘on the road’ … all of the time. And what we choose to eat & drink has a direct action on how we cope with our own particular ‘road trips’.

So what’s it to be for you?  WARNING! ANOTHER TRICK QUESTION ALERT!

Choice #1 – the obesity, food cravings, cellulite, aching joints, fuggy head space, irritability, low energy, Diabetes2, gout, sleep apnea, hypertension and soaring cholesterol that inevitably come with a hypnotic habit of shovelling in the sugars, trans fats, chemical preservatives & nutritionally useless uber-refined carbs of so-called ‘convenience’ foods ?


Choice #2 –  Nourishing your body and mind with the whole gamut of Mother Nature’s wholegrains, the crispy greens/reds/yellows of vegetables, the luscious fruits & lean ethically/sustainably produced meats and fish … which will have you marvelling at the positive difference in your energy levels, clear thinking, mood & healthy blood test results ?

Never has the phrase ‘You are what you eat’ been more important in so-called ‘First World’ countries where folks are just soooo pressed for time they can’t even be bothered to toss a pre-washed salad!

All I’m asking is that you explore the marketing influences which assail us every day and cut yourself free of them. In my opinion, junk food is the spam of the nutritional world. And just like the spam junk in your emails, you should just flush this crap away in your e-trash. But if you really want to look (and think) like a chainstore pizza/hamburger or a sugary soda/chocolate bar … who am I to stop you?

In the meantime … take care of yourselves.

And … catch up with Kiernan McMullan’s terrific new iTunes offering here



  1. admin on July 9, 2013 at 12:14 pm said:

    Very nice blog Suz

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