While eating at a restaurant the other night, I saw the following quote on the wall, “You are what you eat, so don’t be fast, cheap, easy, or fake.” I know the sentiment behind the quote was sincere and was encouraging people to eat the best food possible, hinting that their food was such food. The sign was encouraging us to have high standards when it comes to choosing what we eat. However, I want to let you know that some of the best food available is fast, cheap, and easy, and I highly recommend eating it on a regular basis. As for the fake food, I agree; we need to skip it altogether.
We all know that fake means not real. To dig into to concept even further, let’s examine the three definitions of the word fake from dictionary.com
- prepare or make (something specious, deceptive, or fraudulent)
- to conceal the defects of or make appear more attractive, interesting, valuable, etc., usually in order to deceive
- to pretend; simulate
Let’s also examine the definition of food:
- any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.”
When you think about what you ate or drank yesterday, was it nourishing? Did it sustain life, provide energy, and promote growth? Did it really? Even if it provided short-term energy and kept you from dying, what is it doing to your body over the long haul? Is it clogging your arteries, padding your thighs, and feeding high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, or other diseases? If it was the latter, you have been consuming FAKE FOOD, a fraudulent substance made to appear attractive and valuable. You’ve been eating something that simulates food, but in fact, it’s only a food-like product, and products are not manufactured to make you healthy. They are manufactured to make corporations billions of dollars.
It’s all about dollars and cents for us as well as the corporations. We must be smart with our money, right? At the same time though, we lead busy lives and can’t spend exorbitant amounts of money on food – something we’re just going to flush down the toilet. After all, that’s all that’s going on, right? Think again. The average American eats about a ton of food each year. How can that much of anything go through your body and not have an effect on it? It can’t. YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.
A bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit is about $3.19 under the golden arches, but when you buy one, do you eat it alone, or do you add sides and a drink? Even though you can make one yourself at home for around $1.17, most people don’t. The convenience outweighs the fact that it costs more to eat out. While not being as cheap as eating at home, it’s still not that expensive. Many deem it worth the price because it’s fast and easy, and so are most Americans – easy. We’ve become easy targets for the marketing campaigns of companies that sell food-like products.
Eating these food-like products on a regular basis also has long-term costs that people don’t consider. When we eat food-like products that don’t promote health, it’s only a matter of time before our bodies become sick. We’ll need to go to the doctor, which will cost money for the visit, lost wages, drugs, etc.
Contrast the short-term and long-term costs of ordering oatmeal in the drive-thru. It’s only around $2 and even cheaper at home. Furthermore, it can be considered an actual food because it nourishes the body and helps to clean out the arteries, unlike the breakfast mentioned above. Going through the drive-thru, it is just as fast, but at home it’s even faster to prepare than a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. Either way we get it, it’s fast, cheap, and easy, but it’s not fake.
You can also eat good food for lunch and dinner that’s fast and cheap. Rice, canned beans, lentil or vegetable soups, or frozen vegetables are very affordable. They don’t take any longer to cook than many other pseudo-foods you may currently be eating. The tricky part comes when eating out. It’s cheaper to get a crappy combo meal at a burger joint than to get a salad and lentil soup. As above though, we must also figure in the costs of the long-term effects on your health of the burger meal versus the healthier soup and salad meal. Over the long term, real food wins the cost war every single time. Just a few items you may want to compare before filling your grocery cart:
- 90/10 Beef is around $2.81 lb at our local Sam’s club
- Pinto Beans – $1.59/ lb
- Lentils – $1.12/lb
- Rice – 44 cents/lb
- Deluxe Stir-Fry Vegetables that serve 7 – $2.24
Another thing to think about when it comes to comparing the cost of food, of course, is how large are your portions? Most of the single size portions of the unhealthy food-like products are laughable, and no one eats a single size portion because it doesn’t make them feel full. On the other hand, things like whole grain rice, fruits, vegetables, and beans are full of fiber. Fiber creates bulk in our digestive system and makes us feel full, and it also feeds beneficial bacteria in our colon while meat, eggs, and dairy have choline and carnitine, which our gut bacteria breaks down into something known as TMAO which increases inflammation in our bodies and the risk of heart attack and stroke. How’s that value menu looking right about now?
The real value menu is in the produce section. It’s where you get the biggest bang for your nutritional buck, and when it comes to a quick snack, what’s quicker than a delicious piece of fruit sweetened by Mother Nature? Grab your snacks on the produce aisle and ignore the junk at check out.
- Snickers bar 78 cents – 240 calories
- Gala apple 88 cents by itself but cheaper than the snickers when bought by the bag – 80- 90 calories
- Banana 18 cents
I encourage you to take a serious look at what you’re consuming. Look at the total cost of it, not just your grocery bill or restaurant tab. As you’ve read in this article, there’s much more to it than that. Start planning healthier meals. Eat a healthy snack before going to the grocery store, and go get everything you’ll need to eat a healthy diet all week. If you must eat out, look for the best options, and eat REAL food. Carry fruits and/or vegetables and healthy dips with you to work. Don’t be a target for major food corporations anymore. The healthiest foods don’t have an advertising budget. Some of the best food you can eat is cheap, easy, and fast. You are what you eat. BE REAL. To be the healthiest you can possibly be, choose the healthiest food you possibly can. I wish you a happy and healthier 2019.
Netflix recommendation: In Defense of Food