Ahhh! Fast food. So, salty, so sweet, so bad for the environment (not to mention our waistlines).
Does the thought of crispy, salty, warm fries have you craving a little fast food?
It may be too late for your children, but save yourselves! Just kidding, you should save your children too. TV advertising is so persuasive that children like food in fast-food wrappers (especially McDonalds) better than food in a plain wrappers, or *shutter* no wrappers. Talk about a hard habit to break. Never mind that the food processing industry tries to produce food that is addictive – yup, you read that right. And, why not? It’s their business to sell more.
It’s a Win-Win
If your car tends to drift toward the drive-thru window, here are a few reasons to kick the fast-food habit:
- Diners on-the-run generate more than 1.8 million tons of fast food packaging in the U.S. each year. (The average American eats fast food more that 150 times per year.)
- Fast-food packaging makes up about 20 percent of all litter, with packaging for chip bags, drink containers, candy wrappers and other snacks comprising another 20 percent.
- Meat and dairy featured in many fast-food chains are two of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gasses. And, if you believe the Forks Over Knives documentary (I do), both are bad for your cardiovascular health.
- One in three adults in the US are considered clinically obese…often caused by poor diet.
Kick the fast-food habit to lose weight and help the environment. It’s a win-win.
NOTE: The Deck IS Stacked Against You
It’s a wonder we’re all not fast food junkies. No, seriously.
Michael Moss just wrote an article for the NY Times Magazine The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food (adapted from his book, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us) explains how process food companies have made food into a form of crack. And, some food will make you feel hungrier, so you eat more. Wake up! The food business is just that. A business. Yes, they provide a service, but nothing says they have your best interests at heart. Money first, customer second.
In another article, Michael Moss rounds out the picture by saying as a culture we’ve gotten a little too used to convenience and “lost not just the will but also the knowledge to make [home cooked food]. One reason that we eat processed foods is the decline of home economics.”
So, there you have it. As a culture we’re addicted to salt, sugar, fat, convenience and we’ve forgotten how to cook. Great.
Well, thankfully, learning how to cook isn’t that hard (OK, a little hard, but far from impossible).
Tools to Kick the Fast-Food Habit
- Meal plan, take lunch to work, and keep healthy snacks with you.
- If you’d just like your socks scared off watch Super Size Me (free on Hulu). Once you’ve freaked yourself out, watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (it’s actually a counter-point to Super Size Me and free on Hulu). Then, keep the ball rolling with Forks Over Knives.
- If you prefer to read, the book that got me to stop eating fast food was Fast Food Nation – great overview of the entire industry.
- Find fun recipes: Food Gawker, Feast of Joy, Two Peas & Their Pod, and Skinny Taste, to name a few.
See you in the vegetable aisle of the grocery store – or better yet, the farmers’ market. Spring is right around the corner!