Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pay Now or Pay Later

Fast food is hard to resist. The concept is fast and cheap food, right? Fast enough to fit into a hectic lifestyle; after all, who has time to cook, especially with a house full of active kids and tired adults? It's cheap enough even in this economy. That dollar menu is so tempting. Not to mention how much the fat and carbs fill you up and keep you from eating again for hours sometimes, especially if you get the burger plus fries plus a soft drink plus the dessert. The kids like it. Fast food places are easy to find on every corner and convenient on the run. There's quite a selection of burgers, chicken, roast beef, tacos, pizza, pasta, hot dogs, sandwiches, fried rice, sweets, you name it. Which makes me wonder how Sonic can be one of the smallest buildings ever and offer so many selections. How do they do that?

If you can believe it, I just added up in my head 28 traditional fast food places within 15-20 minutes of my house, and I live in the suburbs. I also didn't count the ice cream and donut shops, small mexican and pizza places or the food court at the closest mall!

Let's go back to the temptation of fast food based on cost, in terms of time and money. We've established it's fast, convenient and cheap. So fast food wins, right? I say wrong. You're either going to pay now, or you're going to pay later.

Think about the fast food menu. It feels like a dollar here and a few dollars there right now. But think about what that type of food over a sustained period of time can actually cost you. Consider the simple things such as additional clothing costs due to weight gain, all the way up to strain on your body (joints, heart, lungs, organs and blood) doctor bills, prescription drugs, insurance issues. It's a vicious cycle. Now consider having to try to reverse your lifestyle under duress, damaged self esteem, potential loss of abilities or activity due to obesity and its associated health problems. It's not worth it. You can learn to order in a fast food restaurant if you must eat there, but better yet, avoid them completely.

Now think about the grocery. True, it may cost a little more to buy that extra lean ground beef, the 99% fat free ground turkey, the non-fat greek yogurt, chicken breast and lots of eggs. But if you shop the perimeter of the store and focus on fresh fruits and veggies, meat, eggs, non-fat dairy, whole wheat grains, and frozen veggies the prices are very reasonable. Much more so than the conveniently packaged foods you pay for in the center of the store that have no nutritional value. In the summertime it's highly likely you can find a farmer's market or stand selling fresh local stuff. I'm not even talking about organic, just not fast food and not the trans-fat laden center section of the grocery store.

Approximately $10 at the local farmer's market

A well planned trip to the grocery followed by a designated time for food prep can do wonders. My husband grills a ton of chicken breasts at a time, we hard boil at least a couple of dozen eggs at a time (even my dogs eat hard boiled eggs, but that's a different story). Veggies stay fresh when they are chopped and refrigerated. Last night we put several cups of steel cut oats on the cooktop for 40 minutes while we were doing other things and then split them up into 1 cup containers for the week.

Are we perfect at this? No! Do we eat perfectly? No. But with very deliberate and focused effort we've turned our kitchen around and our bodies are showing the results of it, and I'm 43 with a husband that is 59. If you have young kids, involve them now, there is so much to gain from it. Our grown, married kids are still trying to adjust to the way we eat now and they are relatively healthy eaters. If I knew then what I know now. We don't get a do-over, but we can start making changes right now, so we're not paying and sacrificing so much later. I hold my sweet grandbabies and know that it's all worth it.


Smoketheblowfish said...

Kelley, you are the Queen of Quotes aren't you?

"We don't get a do-over, but we can start making changes right now, so we're not paying and sacrificing so much later."

So true.

When given the "option" of stopping for a quick bite at a fast food place, I opt to go home and have a salad, veggies and some type of fish/meat/chicken. If that's not possible, then I opt to do a unintended fast.

This closely follows one of my rules: If you eat crap, you'll look and feel like crap.

later Kelley


Kelley Moore said...

Smoke, I like your options, and you are so right about how what you eat impacts the way you look and feel. I remember I didn't realize how bad I was feeling until I detoxed myself by cleaning up my eating. Amazing.