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I was reading an article online about how it’s much healthier to cook at home than to eat out. I’d agree with that. The article said that most restaurants (this includes fast food and food companies like prepackaged ready made, frozen, etc.) have made it their goal to convince us that they know how to make healthy food for us. That is a bold statement. Are they really convincing us? I guess that is true in a lot of ways, we either believe it is okay, or we just accept it for what it is – a compromise with varying reasons or causes and justifications. The food industry has kept things from us on purpose. I remember before “trans fats” was even a thing, and only recently have we been learning about GMO foods, it’s not that they genetically made a tomato bigger or whatever, it’s that they made the plants resistant to poisons (Round Up, etc.) and then we end up eating poisons.

Why do we go out to eat or buy pre-made food? Lots of reasons, could be because we don’t want to cook, don’t have time to cook, too hungry to cook, we enjoy it and it’s fun, we enjoy food, don’t have to worry about grocery shopping or preparing food or the clean up afterwards, maybe it’s cheaper to eat fast food than to fix dinner, plus we dine out for celebrations, or just out of habit.

Most people I know dine out at least once or twice a week, some of us go out more than that.  I usually try to get something healthy-ish. I’m not going out looking to be unhealthy.  You see a turkey burger with avocado and you think – hey that sounds healthy, but really the turkey patty has about 50 grams of fat in it because they are using fatty meat, probably all the fatty trimmings and none of the lean portions they use for lunch meat.  I heard about how Macaroni Grill was one of the worst places to eat for all the hidden fat in their food.  We eat salads at restaurants with dressing, either very fatty dressings, or the “fat free” kind is loaded with sugar or other unwanted ingredients.  Just read that McDonald’s new Kale Salad has more calories than a Double Big Mac?!

We can’t really drink diet sodas anymore can we? They have pretty much convinced me that they can cause cancer. I’m using organic stevia now to sweeten my tea, and I’ll drink regular soda if I splurge rather than drink diet. I try to avoid Splenda too, just in case that causes cancer.  I overhead a woman speaking with her friend at Chili’s not that long ago, she told her friend that her oncologist told her to stop drinking Crystal Light.  Jesus, I used to drink that a lot about 15 years ago.  Let me just repeat that, her cancer doctor told her to stop drinking it, that can’t be good – can it?

They add loads of salt to all food! Restaurant food and store bought food, it’s crazy. I took a look at the back of a bag of uncooked raw frozen shrimp we had, and it had something like 700mg of salt per serving?! They flash froze the shrimp in salt water. You can’t even try to cook healthy at home unless you read everything, I won’t be buying that shrimp again. I’d rather add my own salt. And now we have to worry about where our food comes from, Asian shrimp aren’t good for us, they have toxins or are farm raised in sewage water. We don’t eat farm raised Tilapia either.

I think it’s a lot harder to come up with amazing recipes with healthy ingredients.  I have a real appreciation for Japanese food, sushi can be very simplistic (if you go simple rolls, not the super fancy creations) and also so delicious! I also like good Mexican food, fresh guacamole, marinated chicken, fresh veggies, and rice. If you have time and the will to do it, you can cook really well for yourself at home.  When I buy vegetables, grains, or meat, I try to buy organic and usually lean (except for chicken thighs), wild caught seafood, I’m cooking on a very small scale. I try to cook healthfully, I use olive oil for most everything. We don’t eat red meat. With a full work schedule I can’t always be on point with cooking a healthy meal every day.  I can’t imagine what life would be like with a serious health issue, like those with diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, Celiac’s, or severe food allergies.

It’s just sad. We watch cooking shows on TV, and stars like Paula Deen are cooking up heart attacks in the making. Sure I bet that whatever tastes amazing with a pound of butter and loads of heavy cream in it, but I would never do anything like that at home, I’m not crazy. I don’t butter my bread with thick slabs of butter, and no you aren’t a genius for serving a piece of bread with a thick slab of butter on it to someone.  Can she really cook, or is it just all this unhealthy stuff people love like bacon, cheese, and butter making her seem like a genius.  Do we need our heads checked to tell us that Paula Deen is using too much butter? They parody her on Saturday Night Live as eating sticks of butter! I’ve got nothing against Paula Deen or any of the TV chefs, I’m mostly concerned about how they portray we should cook for ourselves at home.

I don’t think the restaurants and food makers are really fooling anyone, we know it’s mass produced food.  We live in a convenience culture, we want things fast and either don’t have the time or aren’t willing to make the sacrifice to cook at home.  There are a few companies that I think are trying to offer better food, like Amy’s, Lundberg Farms, etc.

You just have to read labels and decide. The struggle continues.  I’m no fool, I know eating the “Artisan Chicken” Sandwich at McDonald’s isn’t health food. Sometimes you don’t want to eat broccoli everyday. Sometimes we just want something to eat right now or we want our french fries or pie, basically your unhealthy trinity “fatty, carby, and greasy” as we call it.  Most of the time eating badly leaves me with mixed feelings, I might have enjoyed it at the time, but most often I regret eating it.

McDonalds for dinner...

McDonald’s for dinner…this is what happens when you are too hungry to go grocery shopping…

Until restaurants start providing customer with homemade quality food choices, with care taken as to what ingredients are used, we will always be better off cooking for ourselves.

Quinoa and veggies

Homemade organic quinoa and veggies

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