After getting out of college I started paying better attention to what I ate. In my case it was not what I was eating as it was how much it cost to eat. Finding out that fast food and junk in particular were too expensive and did not fill me up led to me finding ways to eat cheaper better food. Chicken surprise (chicken and whatever veggies and marinade I have in the fridge cooked together in a pan then wrapped in a tortilla) was introduced to me and it became my staple meal for a many of years.
I had gone almost three years without going into a McDonalds, Burger King, or Wendy’s until my buddy Dave and I went skiing at Mt. Hood in Oregon. On our way back to the airport we were really hungry and Dave decided to stop at McDonalds. I told him about the length of time it had been since I ate any fast food and I got a deer in the headlights look from him. I decided to order something anyways to get a taste of what I was missing out on all these years. The chicken sandwich and fries were a favorite of mine growing up so I went with it again. After taking my first bite of french fries all I could taste was salt. My fingers were glistening with little crystals. The sandwich was just as salty. We sat in the Mc’D’s for 10 minutes catching up on our trip and then it hit me. Pain started coming from stomach. I could not take it and ran to the bathroom. No, I didn’t puke, but let’s just say that I returned everything I ate to McDonalds. TMI I know.
Another 2 years goes by and Andrea and I are at a Illinois State Park for her family reunion. We stayed out late the night before and missed breakfast so we went into town with her brother’s family. They stopped at Wendy’s and I knew what was about to happen. I told them about my Oregon McDonalds trip and what happened the last time I ate fast food. Again, deer in headlights. How could I not eat fast food? Its everywhere. Spicy Chicken Sandwich and fries this time. Twenty minutes pass and the pains are back. Same exact ending. The worse part is that I’m still hungry as nothing stayed in my system. I must be weird right?
One more year goes by and I’m at my college’s homecoming. I spent the whole day partying it up with my old college buddies and at the end of the night I feel hungry but I know all that’s open in the direction I’m going is fast food. So my mom picks me and my girlfriend up (yes, my mom parties at Homecoming) and stops at McDonalds. I tell her to stop being a enabler and that its better for me to pass out instead of eating junk. This time I eat it all and make it to bed. The difference this time was I fell asleep less than 10 minutes after finishing. Well, after being up for 10 minutes in the morning I puke it all out and feel like shit the rest of the day. Yeah, I had been drinking the previous day but this was different. This was the fast food stomach pain all over again.
That was a year and a half ago since I dabbled in the fast food world. I do go to resturants and have a slice of pizza here and there but nothing drive thru esque. Its like my body punishes me when I eat garbage food now so its better to not eat anything at all. So why did I tell you all of this? Well, I came across an interesting article talking about pretty much everything that is made at McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, and any other fast food restaurant. I like this quote.
“For better or for worse, McDonald’s is no more a chemical laboratory of secret compounds designed to embalm us from the inside than any other processed food maker. A Happy Meal manages to stay unspoiled because it is fatty, salty and practically empty of nutrients — which, really, are all good reasons to avoid it anyway.” Sean O’Keefe
The article went on to some other interesting takes and experiments on fast food. The Happy Meal Project was done by a artist who took a picture of a Happy Meal everyday for 137 days. What you’ll see is that the Happy Meal looks almost exactly the same at the end as in the beginning. My favorite one is the Bionic Burger. This guy started collecting McDonald hamburgers over the years and created a burger museum. He has a 20 year old hamburger that looks like as if he bought it yesterday. After doing some research he finds out all of the chemicals that are put into a burger from McDonalds. Its pretty gross.
I do not like using the word never because things do happen so I’m not going to say I’ll never eat fast food again. Maybe next time it won’t make me sick! But it gets me thinking about all of the health problems our country and the world now are having because of fast food. I’m kind of glad I was poor at the time and was forced to look for other ways to feed myself before I took a real job as it challenged me to learn how to cook better foods. When I did get my first real job I saw many people who started with me put on 15 – 30 pounds in their first 4 months as it was easier to just get fast food for lunch and dinner on most nights. During my learning phase I found out that the trick is to prepare it ahead of time. Its too easy to say that I’ll never get fat because I was so active before starting to work that I would carry those habits with me. If that was true then my same friends who played college sports wouldn’t of either. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. They became less active and ate even worse since they’re lives became busier. Some have realized it was a problem and took care of it before their weight got out of hand.
After learning so much about health and nutrition from doing the P90X workout routine and Insanity over the past couple years the one thing that really sticks out about health is it all comes back to what you eat. I heard Tony Horton say that 70% of P90X is about what you eat. The exercises will only get you so much if you’re not giving it the right fuel. Its not hard to live a healthy life but hopefully these stories and articles will help you decide to stay away from the junk. Also, Subway is not fast food. Just saying. Its my savior when there are no other options around.