I don’t heart fast food.

Posted by Jen:

One area I have always been a bit, um, fanatical about is fast food. Here in Jenworld, we don’t usually eat at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and other purveyors of McCrap. As I type, I’m searching my memory for the last time we went to a fast food place and I think it might have been last summer. Or possibly earlier in 2007. It’s just not something we do very often. My children do not like hamburgers or hot dogs, and one of my daughters won’t eat chicken nuggets/strips/wings, which means that fast food isn’t really a food option for us, even if we were so inclined to go through the drive-thru.

On a larger scale, we don’t like chain restaurants such as Crapplebees, Dead Lobster, or Olive Fartin’. The food is unhealthy and rarely is it worth the calories. When we do eat out, it’s always at one of the dozens and dozens of wonderful local restaurants that we have here in our small college town. We are truly spoiled by such riches. It is only when we travel that we will resort to consuming calories at fast food restaurants if we have no other options available to us.

So it with this background that I recommend the following two books:

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Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

On any given day, one out of four Americans opts for a quick and cheap meal at a fast-food restaurant, without giving it a second thought. Fast food is so ubiquitous that it now seems as American, and harmless, as apple pie. But the industry’s drive for homogenization and speed has radically transformed America’s diet, landscape, economy, and workforce, often in insidiously destructive ways.

Eric Schlosser, an award-winning journalist, opens his exposé with an introduction to the iconoclasts and high school dropouts who first applied the principles of a factory assembly line to a commercial kitchen. Quickly, however, he moves behind the counter with the overworked and underpaid teenage workers, onto the factory farms where the potatoes and beef are grown, and into the slaughterhouses run by giant meatpacking corporations. Schlosser wants you to know why those French fries taste so good (with a visit to the world’s largest flavor company) and “what really lurks between those sesame-seed buns.” Eater beware: forget your concerns about cholesterol, there is–literally–feces in your meat. Schlosser’s investigation reaches its frightening peak in the meatpacking plants as he reveals the almost complete lack of federal oversight of a seemingly lawless industry. Almost as disturbing is his description of how the industry “both feeds and feeds off the young,” insinuating itself into all aspects of children’s lives, even the pages of their school books, while leaving them prone to obesity and disease.

If that book doesn’t turn you off of McCrap, then I recommend this one:

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Don’t Eat this Book by Morgan Spurlock

The man behind the movie “Super Size Me” tells his story, and a disgusting one it is. Though he wasn’t much of an activist before his month long, McDonald’s-eating experiment, Spurlock has since become a crusader for healthy eating. His passion is obvious in this book, which delves more deeply into the issues his film raised, focusing in particular on food industry lobbyists and youth-oriented advertising. His undisguised indignation at their manipulative tactics and his contempt for the often slothful modern American lifestyle rise inexorably as he reels off statistics about calorie content, chemical additives, lack of exercise and so on.

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7 responses to “I don’t heart fast food.

  1. Oh I KNOW! Fast food is not only unhealthy for the body, it’s hell on our environment and economics too. I, like you, always head to the mom & pop shop for dining out. As far as “Crapplebees” and the rest of the big box restaurants, they’re not much better, just cost more, eh?

  2. My rule is not to buy what I can’t make. I don’t mind the occasional chicken burger, but we have an indoor grill and it’s really easy to cook one up when the mood strikes me. We have a large upright freezer that saves us from visiting the fast food chains more than twice a year.

  3. Okay, I think I need to read these books. I enjoy eating out, and I like Little Caesar’s pizza and sometimes a whopper. What about sub shops? Do these also fall into the same category as McDs and Taco Bell, etc.? Christmas break will be great for reading these books.

    I feel the same way about prepared foods like Hamburger Helper or canned frosting. I can spend just a few minutes longer and make a meal similar to the boxed ones, but oh so much better tasting, no chemical preservatives and probably cheaper.

  4. feces? I just threw up a little in my mouth. I know it’s bad, I just didn’t realize HOW bad…

    excuse me now, blech.

  5. randomly stumbled across this blog..

    I have to agree that fast foot is the devil. I used to consume far too much of it.

    I was recently diagnosed with diabetes, now I have been eating much healthier. And I have to say it has been pretty good! But I think my family will get sick of me if I preach too much of this to them.. Seriously though, a good homemade salad with lots of stuff thrown in, trumps fast food almost every time (I still break down once every few weeks due to cooking laziness)

    For some reason as a kid I hated vegetables, but now I’m realizing I love them! Had squash for the first time in probably 15 years and it was great!

  6. I also stumbled across this blog. I too have diabetes plus high chloresterol which is now under control through diet. I can’t remember the las time I ate at a Micky D and don’t plan on it.
    My only concern, now that I am eating healthy, is that I don’t get struck by lightning.

  7. Having spent the last 11 months in India I noticed a couple of things. First, people in India eat a lot of food. You never have leftovers at functions because no matter how much you prepare, they can eat it. Second, they are also very skinny. I mean really, really skinny. But everything they eat is what they can buy at the local market which is usually fresh and grown locally. Of course you do see the occasional fat person, but they are usually the more afluent people who can eat at all those restaurants with the golden arches. And guess what? In India they deliver to your home!

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