I will be the first to admit that even with my Ivy League and boarding school education, I did not want to believe that fast food could be that bad for you. It’s not that I grew up on it, because McDonald’s was considered a splurge when I was young – frozen Pathmark beef patties and government cheese was our normal burger fix unless we were lucky enough to be invited to someone’s house for some good old barbecue. My mom taught us early how to drop some frozen fries into the deep fryer and it was as close to McDonald’s and Burger King as we usually got! In boarding school, we had a cafeteria, and at Columbia University, I usually could only afford cereal for lunch or whatever my roommates and I could siphon from the cafeteria during normal dining hours. Fortunately for me, I had a jock boyfriend who loved to cook me steak and eggs for breakfast or we would all meet up at the local diner after hours, so “Mickey Dees” as we affectionately called McDonald’s was not frequented.
As an independent mom, I found myself the past few years relying on the fast food restaurants way too much. It was so easy as we rushed from one after school activity to another to just drive through somebody’s window, order, and shovel it in, in the car on the way to the next place. My kids loved it, and I’m not sure if they were more addicted to the food or the toys. I had a lot less dishes to wash, and could spend more time with the kids, so it seemed like a win-win situation.
I think Facebook can ruin relationships, and a lot of people use it for their own promotion and sometimes vanity, but I can say that the one good thing that has come out of Facebook for me is exposure to healthier ways of living, thinking and eating. I’ve reconnected with old friends ; some from childhood, some from college and in-between and started reading a lot more about juicing, organic foods, exercise, yoga and meditation. I started to put two and two together. I was getting tired of the same old fried and dyed foods and I saw the scale slowly inching further and further to the right. Each day I vowed to get to the gym, and even with the gym, it hardly nudged. I was always sick and tired and every time I went to my doctor’s my blood pressure was high. She mentioned the words “if it continues to stay at this level we may need to talk about medication”, and my heart stopped. Diabetes and High Blood pressure runs rampant in my family. So far I had escaped the gene and I did not want to succumb to having medication regulate my body if I could help it, so I bought a juicer. And I joined a Facebook group that supported a healthier lifestyle, and I got honest about my eating habits, my exercising (or lack of), and I started to do what they suggested, even if I didn’t believe it. I started replacing my Wawa egg white, sausage, egg and cheese sandwich with a fruit smoothie, and I couldn’t believe the effect on my energy level! I felt instantly energized by the powerful antioxidants and vitamins that I consumed and the pounds started dropping like water rolling down an icicle after the temperature starts to climb.
I stopped having a desire for fast food. If my kids had a taste for burgers and fries, I would make them myself from scratch, add a salad and if they really wanted the latest toy that the fast food chain was offering, I found out that I could purchase it from the store for $1 and everyone would be happy.
This all started last summer. I am now 15 pounds lighter, my blood pressure is back to normal, I am not dragging through the day, and I honestly cannot stomach fast food any more. My FB group told me this would happen – the body will reject what is bad for you, especially if you are feeding it all that it needs – and I honestly didn’t believe that my french fry addiction would ever be challenged, but it is indeed true. I had an incident recently where this theory was tested. I was STARVING the other night. I had one of those busy days and didn’t get a chance to have dinner before I headed out for a night on the town. By the time the festivities were over, every restaurant was closed except for McDonald’s. I have to honestly say that if I ever get that desperate, I can usually get to a Chick Fil A and have at least real chicken, or a yogurt or carrot-raising salad, but this was the ONLY place open for miles. So I ordered – I figured I’d try to consume the chicken strips since it had no pink slime. All i could smell was the grease, but I dug in, peeling the layers of fried whatever off the top and going in for the meat. After a few bites and a few fries, I literally felt nauseous.
I was starving, and yet I couldn’t take one more bite. I was shocked that my body was turning on me and not just lost its appetite, but was rejecting the food! Luckily I had water and couldn’t wait until the next morning to have a hearty, healthy breakfast!
It really made me think about how important it is to feed my body and soul with good, wholesome things. I can’t say that I eat perfectly all the time, that I do Yoga consistently and sometimes I can go a week before I realize that I need to take time to meditate, but knowing made one big change that extended the days I will have here on this earth, I feel damn good about myself! I still love some fried fish, but I make sure it’s wild, it’s fresh and it’s made slowly, with love and care by ME!
The time is now friends. We don’t get another body in this lifetime. What are you feeding yours?