T Nation

Cookie Monster's Diet

I read this in the Sydney Morning Herald and thought fellow T-Nationers might find it of some interest.

"C is for calories. Just ask a Muppet
By Judith Ireland
April 16, 2005

Cookie Monster underwent the Muppet equivalent of a celebrity overhaul this week. After 35 seasons of indulgence, the producers of Sesame Street have put him on a fruit diet, and changed his signature tune from “C is for cookie” to “A cookie is a sometime food”.
While the Gershwin reference will probably be lost on the under fives, it is hoped that the “moderation” message will get through. It’s all part of the show’s new healthy lifestyle focus, in response to alarming rates of childhood obesity in the US.
Even the hyperactive Elmo has been conscripted into an exercise regime. Nothing is sacred. Here’s predicting a midseason plot twist with Miss Piggy succumbing to an eating disorder and Snuffaluffagus seeking detox for a (yet to be disclosed) cocaine habit.
Indeed it won’t be long before others sense the business opportunity and get in on the act.
Popeye (who has been languishing in a decidedly anti-Costello early retirement) will rejoin the workforce as an advocate for spinach. And Skippy will make a hop-back, to teach the kids what a lean, clean source of protein kangaroo meat really is.
But the irony of promoting a healthy lifestyle through TV aside, it hardly speaks volumes for our eating habits that we need to enlist the help of a Muppet with a penchant for baked goods.
While Sesame Street’s research and education vice-president, Rosemarie T. Truglio said, “we would never take the position of no sugar”, the Cookie Monster has effectively been reduced to a Cruskit Monster.
On the other side of the Atlantic, a Cruskit probably wouldn’t go astray. In the entire history of British children’s eating habits and school meals, it’s come down to the TV chef Jamie Oliver to ensure they get fed real food and not just vaguely reconstituted offal.
This week in his new show, Jamie’s School Dinners, Oliver began his crusade in a northern English school cafeteria, where some of the kids’ experience of fresh produce was found wanting to the point that they couldn’t distinguish between celery and a zucchini.
Of an unidentified crumbed object found in the school kitchen, Oliver observed: “I wouldn’t feed that to a dog.”
You certainly wouldn’t feed it to a Wagyu cow. This week a swanky London restaurant put a $134 Wagyu beef burger on its menu. Bred in New Zealand, the animals are “reared on beer and massaged until they weigh three-quarters of a tonne, more than double the weight of an average cow”, the restaurant told the Daily Mail.
Nor should you feed it to a cat. Back in Australia, the nation’s domestic cat population has let itself go. An ad featuring the feline equivalent of Elle Macpherson feigning yoga poses has hit our TV screens to promote a 98 per cent fat-free cat food. That’s right, pet people - not only do you need to constantly monitor the fat content of your own foods, you should be just as neurotic when it comes to your cat.
But maybe we’re not neuro enough. While some commentators panic about dwindling fertility rates, the Western world is growing. Call it food for thoughtlessness, but despite the wealth of information about diet and the wide range of fat-, gluten- and taste-free products, Australia is the fourth-fattest OECD nation, with 10 million expected to be obese by 2010.
Childhood obesity rates are so great that parents are in danger of outliving their offspring, while our shape has changed so much that car manufactures are making bigger cars to accommodate our wide loads.
There’s certainly something about the subject of food that activates our stupid gene.
Maybe we really are what we eat. That would explain the macrobiotically inclined Gwyneth Paltrow naming her unsuspecting baby “Apple”. Indeed, as we all heaved a sigh of relief this week that Britney Spears was officially pregnant (and not just fat), bookie monsters began taking bets for baby names. Odds-on she takes Paltrow’s lead and calls the kid Asparagus!
Of course, food advertising does nothing to stimulate collective intelligence. Sydney’s CBD is adorned with posters of airbrushed naked women instructing us to give into temptation and eat Tim Tams. What it neglects to say is that your chances of either looking like the women in the ads or getting a date with one of them are inversely related to how many chocolate biscuits you eat.
A giant billboard featuring a well-known sesame-seed bun is also putting in a conspicuous appearance. The ad includes an arrow pointing to something labelled “melted cheese”, which is handy, as the square, yellow layer in the middle of the burger could just as easily be tomato in disguise.
Then again, maybe we need things to be beyond obvious. We certainly needed Super Size Me’s Morgan Spurlock to eat Maccas nonstop for a month to come around to the idea that fast food wasn’t particularly good for us. And if the marketing success of flavoured water and fruitless hot-cross buns are anything to go by, we are an easily confused bunch.
According to the Flynn effect, humans are becoming about 15 IQ points smarter by the generation. But while we are solving trigonometric equations and operating DVD players with greater ease than our grandparents did, when it comes to food we are way up the back of the fridge and past our use-by date."

I think that’s stupid. I grew up watching PBS because my parents wouldn’t allow cable in the house. Cookie Monster ate cookies. That is why he is cookie monster. That never made me want to go eat a whole box of cookies and I understood what “eating healthy” meant. That is like saying we now need the Hamburgler to start only smuggling salads away from McDonald’s…or worse yet, acting as if because he is technically a crook, that this will make kids grow up to be criminals. It is long past the time where some responsibility for your own actions needs to be taught, not some revamping of pop culture because your kid has been raised to follow the leader or to blame anything and everything else for the actions of the individual.

Let the muppet eat cookies. What next, Scooby Doo gives up Scooby Snacks for Slimfast shakes? Ridiculous. The world has gone crazy.

yes i do agree with you professor X, cookie monsters charm was that he was always wanting cookies, he with oskar where always (well still are) my favourite characters and changing who he is just wont be the same, but more importantly is a bit extreme, similar to Operational Health and Safty laws. (at least here in Aus) but i suppose on the other hand it is some action to reduce obesity and any action is better than none at all. but is it really going to be that effective in the long term. if the five year olds have cookies around for snaks they will eat and love eating them but the same with fruit. in my opinion parents should guide the children with the appropriate envorionment and good rolemodels. eventualy the children will make their own choice but hopefully we can nudge them in the right direction. but the emphasis is nudge not force. i mean cheat meals are so atractive because they are a chance to spulrge out and eat those yummy cookies, but they should be a treat not a regular meal

C is for cutting phase.

Cookie Monster starts promoting Low-Carb Grow!

[quote]mythwalker wrote:
if the five year olds have cookies around for snaks they will eat and love eating them but the same with fruit. in my opinion parents should guide the children with the appropriate envorionment and good rolemodels. eventualy the children will make their own choice but hopefully we can nudge them in the right direction. but the emphasis is nudge not force. [/quote]

This is where we disagree. I think kids should be FORCED to eat right. They are freaking kids, for God’s sake. Once they get to high school, they can make more decisions on their own. It is up to the parent…not Cookie Monster…not TV…not the movie industry…to make sure their kids eat right, play outside, learn moderation and don’t become fat asses. If there was more control in households instead of some half and half parenting, there might just be less obese 5th graders rolling to school on waists that wouldn’t look out of place on an aging construction worker.

different parenting techniques. from my personal experience having fruit and such at home was enough to get me to eat right, but on hind sight i didnt actualy have an altenative. my mother was a celiac (spelling???) so we didnt have alot of wheat based foods exept for bread and pasta.

However everynow and then i would be given a choclate as a surprise (and i was always disapointed as i knew once i ate it there was nothing i could do with it except shit it out the other end, i always wanted at toy.) so in a way i was forced to eat a certain way but i just didnt realise it. i remember the first time i had McD and i only wanted it for the toy that came with it, i hated the taste of the shit, and still do. so i guess it just depends on how the child is “forced” or “nudged” to eat right i guess its not so much if they are forced to but if they realise it and rebel. I think that TV should not think for us. i mean surly anyone who has kids is going to want to teach them as best they can not rely on the idiot box to do it for them.

But for a lot of people i am sadened to see that they might need TV to help them. our society is getting fucking depressing. people need to use their fucking head and start taking some iniative rather than blaming a fucking TV show for their kids being fat.
Defy mediociry

Oh, yes, I had forgotten, all my faults were due to the cookie monster… that bastard programmed me to have a bad diet.

Blah blah blah…

[quote]Professor X wrote:
That is like saying we now need the Hamburgler to start only smuggling salads away from McDonald’s…or worse yet, acting as if because he is technically a crook, that this will make kids grow up to be criminals. [/quote]

Although, it would be funny to see the cop double cheeseburger (what was his name?) give the Hamburgler a wood shampoo. “A standoff at McDonald’s yesterday end’s in bloodshed…”

A Cookie Monster eats cookies, that’s what he does. They should leave it alone and use CM to show what happens when all you eat is cookies. Kids, you don’t want to be a large, blue shapeless sack of fur with eyes that can’t focus, right? That’s right, now eat your spinach so your forearms will get huge!

C is for cutting phase.

Cookie Monster starts promoting Low-Carb Grow!

Lol, awesome.

[quote]
mythwalker wrote:
parents should guide the children with the appropriate envorionment and good rolemodels. eventualy the children will make their own choice but hopefully we can nudge them in the right direction. but the emphasis is nudge not force.

Professor X wrote:
It is up to the parent…not Cookie Monster…not TV…not the movie industry…to make sure their kids eat right, play outside, learn moderation and don’t become fat asses. If there was more control in households instead of some half and half parenting, there might just be less obese 5th graders rolling to school on waists that wouldn’t look out of place on an aging construction worker.[/quote]

Both are excellent points, IMHO. ProfessorX, more parents need to be told how it is in the way you have told it.

I agree that parents need to take more responsibility for their childrens’ learning, diet, exercise, habits, etc., rather than encourage a sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary habits by plopping them in front of their makeshift babysitter, the TV, to watch cookie monster gorge himself on chocolate chip cookies.

In reality, a large portion of childrens’ times are and will continue to be spent observing the media, and I can’t disagree with the fact that changing the habits of their makeshift role models (cookie monster, popeye, etc.) would be a benificial way to assist in early prevention of childhood obesity and other issues, in addition to lifestyle changes that target the entire family of the obese child.

Some points from a journal article (soapbox):

-Genetics and Lifestyle factors contribute to the global epidemic of childhood obesity. Obesity predisposes a child to other comorbidities, such as Diabetes type 2, atherosclerosis, heart disease, hypertension.

-Changes in food consumption and exercise are fueling the worldwide increase in obesity in children and adolescents. As a consequence of this dramatic development an increasing rate of type 2 diabetes mellitus has been recorded in children and adolescents around the world.

-Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to pathogenesis.

-Changes in specific eating patterns as well as alterations of the level of physical activity at a young age may explain the increase in adiposity among children. Increases have, for example, occurred in respect to the number of meals eaten at restaurants, food availability, portion sizes, snacking and meal-skipping, as well as in regards to hours spent in front of the TV set.

-Preventive programs fighting obesity in children should be developed on a large scale, and should focus on exercise training and reduction of sedatory behaviour such as television viewing, should encourage healthy nutrition and support general education programs, since lower school education is clearly associated with higher obesity rates.

-Childhood diabetes type 2 is on the rise. Adipose tissue that expands in the obese state synthesizes and secretes metabolites and signals proteins. These factors alter insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity and even cause insulin resistance. The adipose tissue thus seems to play an important role in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. Hence, obesity is the key risk factor for type 2 diabetes at a young age.

-Therapeutic strategies should include all of the following: psychological and family therapy interventions, lifestyle/behaviour modification and nutrition education.

-Treatment in the young age groups is particularly challenging because of the diverse linguistic, geographic, cultural, social, economic and political barriers. The latter influence the access to, acceptance of, and success of treatment. As was pointed out recently, we need to improve our communication and cross-cultural skills in order ensure effective treatment.

-A population and community approach for prevention of obesity in childhood and hence type 2 diabetes in childhood and adolescence seems to be the most promising and reasonable treatment strategy available at the moment.

-Conclusion: Obesity is the most common chronic disorder in the industrialized societies. In some countries, the prevalence of obesity in childhood and adolescence has become higher than that of asthma and eczema. Childhood obesity is associated with substantial co-morbidity and late sequelae. While diagnostic strategies are straightforward, treatment remains frustrating both for the patient, the family and the multidisciplinary team caring for obese children. In our opinion, much more attention should be given to the development of preventive strategies early in life. Finally, and most importantly, public awareness of the ever increasing health burden and economic dimension of the childhood obesity epidemic is of upmost importance.

The new Cookie Monster song (instead of C is for Cookie):

C is for Coronary disease and that’s not good for me…
C is for Coronary disease and that’s not good for me…
C is for Coronary disease and that’s not good for me OH
Coronary Coronary Coronary starts with C…

Not sure, but I think the Cookie Monster was binging on cookies long before fatassness became an epidemic.

All this crap does is teach people to obsess about healthiness, but not to actually be healthy. Becoming healthy involves forming healthy habits… which pop culture simply isn’t going to magically force children to do.

in responce to chinadoll’s long but accurate post. Obesity definatly needs more attention than its getting. in Aus there are a number (8?) of health priority areas such as smoking, cancer, diabeties, Cornary heart diseas, diabeites, ect (i appolagise for not being as accurated about what they are as i should but im doing this from memory of a year ago) but obesity is not one of these listed for improvement, yet it impacts on many of them, whats more the “cure” for obesity (diet and exercise) would have a positive impact on all aspects of health and all of the current priority areas.

Aus Britan and USA are three out of 4 of the highest obese nations per capata, they might even be ranked 1,2 and 3 now im not sure. people have finaly relised this and now we see things like the cookie monster diet as a responce. town planners are now realising that its not ideal to have a great education complex, with primary school, high school and uni in one area with a number of top sporting facilites if everone has to drive to get there instead of riding a pushbike or going by foot, because noone lives there.

unfortunatly our epidemic wont go away overnight and it will take some effort. but its still not rocket science to realise that eating a little better and doing a little more makes an impact and is achivable by everone now.

[quote]NateN wrote:
Not sure, but I think the Cookie Monster was binging on cookies long before fatassness became an epidemic.[/quote]

Amen. This country simply did not have the epidemic of obesity it does today when Cookie Monster first began on that show in 1969. http://www.sesame-encyclopedia.com/Alphabet/SesameC/CookieMonster.html

(On a side note, as I searched out this information I quickly realized the frightening degree to which grown adults will argue over the minutiae of a children’s educational program. http://forum.muppetcentral.com is a prime example of this. Yikes.)

So now we have to change beloved cultural icons because kids are eating more, eating worse and not just simply playing outside? Even if you believe the media to be a huge driver of kids’ behavior, is Cookie Monster supposed to be some kind of tipping point? I just don’t see it and agree, that the world has flat out gone crazy.

Kuz

  • Return with honor.

L is for liquor, that’s good enough for me.

Come on people, let’s save Cookie Monster. I grew up watching this stuff, and my diet didn’t go downhill until my teen years.

Sure they can use Cookie Monster as an example of overindulgence, and teach that way. But he is Cookie Monster.

They have destroyed an American Icon of gluttony. I like gluttony. I prefer greed though. (I have my sins prioritized after all. Greed at the top, and lust a close second.)

Oh by the way Chinadoll on your new avatar pic:

[b]ROWR ROWR.[b]

i don’t have any idea of this “cookie monster”, sorry about that, but what i can see around me in Aus is people’s lifestyle…

they want to enjoy life, partying, they’re easy-going. and what they usually eat at parties?? all those high fat, high sugar foods & drinks.
the food company encouraged that.

exercise? too hard for them, they don’t have the will power to stay in shape. they’ll say:“hey, enjoy exercises, not punish yourself.”

and the Weightwatchers & Atkins products also make people confuse: which way of eating can make them healthy?

i do think parents is responsible about teaching their kids healthy lifestyle, but i see lots of parents don’t even eat healthy themselves…
how can they help their kids???

lots & lots of other factors affecting the situation too…

i don’t think Australian is stupid, just they let themself get out of shape. if that’s what they want, no body can help. everything have a price, they used their “health” to pay for those “enjoy” foods.

just my 2 cents

[quote]Monster Wong wrote:
i don’t have any idea of this “cookie monster”, sorry about that[/quote]

I feel bad for you dude - you totally missed out!

[quote]Kuz wrote:
Monster Wong wrote:
i don’t have any idea of this “cookie monster”, sorry about that

I feel bad for you dude - you totally missed out![/quote]

sorry…this is cookie monster?? oh…i know it…thanks for let me know…

[quote]The Mage wrote:
Oh by the way Chinadoll on your new avatar pic:
[b]ROWR ROWR.[b] [/quote]

Thank-you Mage, I’m glad you like it!