November 17, 2005

Canadian Athletes Pimping Crap (aka Hamburger Helper)

It may be old news by now but everytime it airs I cringe. What I am referring to is the low-budget Hamburger Helper commercial that stars Josee Chouinard of figure skating fame and Canada's women's hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser. The commercial exposes a major problem within the Canadian athletic arena. It is obvious that these stars need money if they are willing to pimp garbage passed-off as food. Some people may argue that if they were American they probably wouldn't have to do this and they would be better taken care of. That argument may be true. But it also doesn't have to be. Australian athletes have been well taken care of by the government and it has shown with stellar performances in almost all global competitions. Their government does it despite having a smaller economy and economic ratio then Canada's. I realize that athletics as a government priority in comparison to say health-care or education is probably small but it still has its place. It is an area for which Canadians across the nation can unite and feel proud about their country and its a way for the government to indirectly motivate youth to get involved by showing off the accomplishments of ordinary Canadians who worked for something. The second issue I have with the commercial is that it had to be Hamburger Helper that Chouinard and Wickenheiser are promoting. While I don't totally fault them, they are probably only doing what they have to in their financial interest, it's unfortunate that for all the postivity they can promote they are pushing a negative. Hamburger Helper is by no means the healthiest of foods. According to Nutrion Data, one serving of this supposed food contains more than 1/3 of a person's daily intake of fat, almost half of their calories, half your carbs, and almost twice the amount of your recommended daily intake of salt. That's right it contains 4568 mg of salt, which is 190% of your daily intake. This list also does not take into consideration that it contains Monosodium Glutomate (MSG). Their are many people and groups that have been arguing for years about the harmful effects of MSG on your body and mind. Issues such as obesity, diabetes, blood pressure problems and many other conditions have been apparently linked to MSG intake according to sites such as MSG Truth and The Slow Poisoning of America. I even have a friend who is a rising star in Canadian medical chemistry that has explained the problems. So why did I bring this up? Because for star athletes to be pimping crap filled with sodium, fat and MSG seems like a contradiction as well. I could probably guarantee their trainers and nutrionists (if they can afford one) would never in a million years recomend them eating Hamburger Helper because of it's lack of nutritional value. And to some degree, no matter how much they aren't getting paid by the government, to push junk onto the impressionable public almost seems like a partial undoing of their positive contributions. Brands such as Powerade, Bauer, etc. would probably use them in their advertisements. And probably for the right price (a.k.a. sell yourself cheap) they could get a couple companies to use them in smaller markets and make the same amount that Hamburger Helper paid them to sell artificial, unhealthy processed crap. Then again I could be wrong and the state that the lack of government support has left these athletes in is much worse then I realize... though, isn't Chouinard a professional now and performing in large-scale figure skating productions? Whatever the case here, it is defitinely embarrassing for so many involved and for various reasons.

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Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)