"Crispy bacon, sizzling sausage, melting American cheese, and fluffy eggs piled high on a split-top bun. The Enormous Omelet Sandwich. One more reason to get up in the morning." Disgusting. This may be worse than the grits, sausage, and the other fattening stuff Krystal manages to fit into the large styrofoam cup a former colleague devoured each morning.
About a year ago my friend Ivy wrote a blog post about how fast food isn't the problem causing obesity in children; he contends the problem is that children are not getting outside and playing enough. As an example, Ivy cites himself, noting that he ate McDonalds growing up and was always active; so he didn't get fat until he went to college, started drinking beer, and became less active.
I must admit that I also grew up eating a lot of fast food and did not struggle with my weight as a child. I remember ordering a sausage biscuit and strawberry milkshake at Burger King quite a few mornings; doughnuts and the like were not uncommon either. And like Ivy, I was very active and enjoyed playing outside. But weight aside, what was that kind of food doing to my arteries? And what kind of taste was I cultivating?
A little over a year ago I was hanging out at Donatello's parent's home, and his sister came in the room with a quesadilla filled with mushrooms and salmon. I was amazed and envious for two reasons. First, I was surprised that she cooked a quesadilla when there were delicious brownies (encrusted with Oreos too!) and cookies sitting out in the kitchen; I would have just fixed a plate of those for my meal. And secondly, I was shocked that she craved something so healthy. I crave sweets, pizza, Mexican food, and the like. I so wish that I craved healthy food like Donatello and his siblings do (and am proud to report that I now crave frozen blueberries with Cool Whip). And I am working on cultivating such a taste--if I stick with it for a while, I'll start craving spinach salad with apples and candied pecans. But for the most part, eating vegetables and fruits feel like a huge chore to me and has to be a very conscious effort. It's almost like I am fighting 18 plus years of a habit that is pretty thoroughly ingrained. Fortunately I've long since broken the fast food habit, and despite my affinity for salty fries and chocolate milkshakes, I rarely indulge if for no other reason than my feeling that McDonald's represents so much of what I do not like about America. Despite pretty well forsaking fast food, I still make pretty unsound dietary choices--often letting consecutive days pass without consumption of a fruit or vegetable.
So perhaps during this time of transition (I move on Saturday), I should add one more transition and make a conscious effort to eat at least one vegetable or fruit a day. Yes, I realize that is much less than the recommended amount, but for me that would be an improvement. It'll help to be living in the land of salad, sushi and edadame, and the like again--Calhoun doesn't exactly have those types of restaurants. Sure there's a Longhorn now, but that is about the only place you'll find romaine lettuce in your caesar salad.
Anyway--back to childhood obesity--one thing I've learned this summer as I've attempted to (slowly) lose the weight I managed to find in Europe is that you can exercise a ton, but until you change your diet (significantly), you're not going to lose the weight (at least at my age:). Sure that may seem like a no-brainer to some of you, but it was news to me. And when a kindergartner is given the choice of pizza every single day, I doubt they're going to make good choices on a regular basis (and my mom reports that they now pour ranch dressing all over it too). Nachos are another typical entree. So if these children are as immature and irresponsible as I sometimes am with my diet, they'll choose the nachos and ice cream.
My med school buddies report that they are seeing more and more overweight children, and it took one of them a few weeks to realize that when the children reported that they played football and other sports, they meant on video games. I vote for boycotting McDonalds and tossing the Gameboys, so that children can return to building forts, making mud slides, and starting impromptu games of softball in the front yard. And eating food that is just as simple as fast food but more healthy, i.e. a peanut butter sandwich with sliced apples. Sure fast food isn't exactly the devil, but since most Americans eat it more days than not, it's certainly not making the citizens of our nation a better and healthier group (or helping decrease these darn health insurance premiums).
p.s I'm grateful for flip flops...better than barefoot since it doesn't hurt and your feet stay clean, but airy and light so you still get the basic freedom of being without shoes.