"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Friday, May 3, 2013

What's Wrong With our Country

Hey look at me go, two posts in one week! Woot!

Anyway, this topic sprouted into my mind a couple days ago. Let me give you a small back story. Lately, my boyfriend and I have come to the inevitable conclusion that its seriously time to lose weight. Neither of us are significantly overweight, but we're both at the point where it definitely couldn't hurt to lose, either. Those happy blissful first years of dating make for a lot of restaurant frequenting and alcohol, neither of which are good for you! :( So we decided to do this together, the whole diet and exercise thing.

Now I overall thought I ate pretty healthy to begin with. As some of you know, I decided about 6 years ago that I was never going to eat or support any fast food franchise ever again. By support I mean I refuse to even take my kids there and give the franchise money even if its not actually being eaten by me. Will that change when I have ten minutes to feed the kids en route from soccer to dance practice? I hope not! Time will tell, but I hope that I can stick true to my beliefs.

So being that I never eat fast food (except for Subway and Panera if you want to count them), I also never drink Soda, never eat Chocolate and don't typically indulge in a lot of sweets, I eat a LOT of fruit and a fair amount of veggies....My only understandable downfall is my love for restaurants and that I probably don't drink enough water. I also have a bad habit of eating late at night.  Also, working night shift doesn't help at all. So based on all that, it didn't seem fair or right to me that I was still seemingly gaining weight at a rapid pace. So I had to put a stop to it before it got any harder to lose, and my boyfriend was on board. We thought about a couple programs, including Weight Watchers (a personal favorite of mine) or perhaps trying it on our own, or going to see a nutritionist, or a freelance dieting company, or one of those marketed weight loss pills/shakes or whatever.

But instead of spending money right away, we decided to do it on our own with the help of the program "my fitness pal". It's available online and via apps on a lot of phone carriers. Via phone, you can literally scan bar codes of what you are eating and it calculates everything for you. It's futuristic and awesomely awesome. It sets up a profile for you and makes goals and predicts progress for you based on how your day went. At the end of the day it even gives you pie charts of the breakdown of carbs, protein and fat you ate. It's pretty cool, and all for free. It focuses on calories mostly, but also tracks the remainder of nutrition for each product. Like Weight Watchers, It really teaches you what you were doing wrong and opens your eyes to how much you actually eat during the day and where you can cut back. Just from using the app for three days now I've realized a couple of my hinders to weight loss, some being: Starbucks Green tea frapps with soymilk/no whip (still unhealthy), Thai tea with bubbles, RITAS (I'm a ritaholic), my soy ice cream, and wineeeee. All of those said things I knew to not be extremely healthy per say but I didn't consider them to be *the* reason I wasn't losing weight. Now I treat myself to one of those said things when I have a couple calories to spare.

Anyway, the point of this post- what's wrong with this country?

The other night for dinner, my boyfriend and I picked Saladworks for dinner. For those of you unfamiliar with the franchise, its a lot like a Panera Bread- you can pick soups to eat, salads, sandwiches. What I found to be cool is you can create your own salad. My boyfriend got a Chicken Cesar premade salad, dressing on the side- And I made my own. I got romaine lettuce and added chick peas, carrots, egg whites, wheat noodles, croutons and lite raspberry vinaigrette dressing on the side, and it came with a whole wheat roll. For me, that's 509 calories. Not too bad for what I got (a lot) and the roll is to blame for a lot of that. My boyfriends was 441.

Now before I make my point here, lets think about a meal at McDonalds. Now I went to their dollar menu choices and picked out a theoretical/fake meal for my boyfriend and I.

Two McDouble Cheeseburgers, two medium fries and two sweet teas. This led to 1,840 calories, being 920 each.

So Saladworks: 950 calories for BOTH of us, cost me $19.58.
Mcdonalds: 1,840 calories, would cost me about $6.


I had to pause there for a second because it makes me so angry. So lets think about this. The country of America has a raging epidemic of obesity. We have ads everywhere to lose weight. Take this pill, drink this, eat this, join our program, be high school skinny again! Yet we have endless ads for fast food, too. So Okay lets say someone wants to lose weight but they are on a budget, like 89% of the country is. Lets face it the majority of us aren't swimming in cash.  So someone wants to go lose weight so they think, oh hey! Saladworks! I like salad! It's healthy! I'll lose weight! But oh, how much? That's $20!? When I used to spend about $6 dollars on my dinner? I can't afford to lose weight!  So they go back to McDonald's, spend less but also eat less matter, but eat more calories, gain more weight. See where I'm headed here? What incentive does the majority of America have to lose weight when it's obviously dramatically more expensive to lose weight. Joining Weight watchers alone will cost an individual about $52/month alone. People go to the fast food because its cheap, its fast and it tastes good. Places like Panera and Saladworks are dramatically more expensive and it takes longer. This.Is.Why.America.is.Overweight.

In an ideal utopian world, well- my utopia- people would have incentive to buy healthier things because its a lot less expensive. Popular fast food chains would become sky rocket prices-the dollar menu would cease to exist and "Value" meals would now cost $20. People on severe budgets would be drawn to healthier food because its cheaper. Think about it, we are digging ourselves a hole right into health care itself.

Someone on severe budget---> Eats fast food----> Becomes severely overweight----> A lot of health problems arise (diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, muscle/bone issues, etc)----->they don't go to the doctor because they don't have the money----->they wait and wait and those problems now become---->Strokes, heart attacks, knee replacements, gastric bypass, lifelong rehab, or even death.----they can't pay for that either.

Those second problems are so much more hard to take care of, not only on the demand to healthcare workers but to our economy! Treating someone for a FIRST heart attack that they can't pay for could cost the economy tens of thousands of dollars- and that's if its remotely uncomplicated!

It just gets me so angry. I am blessed enough to be able to afford the higher prices that come with losing weight. But a single mom with 3 kids trying to feed herself and her kids? Perhaps not so much. Yes I over exaggerated, yes I picked out dollar menu items as an example from McDonald's to make my point. Perhaps a more in depth meal at McDonald's would cost up to $15, but can you imagine how many calories that could be? Not only that, but my boyfriend and I were very full after our meal at Saladworks, and we felt great. If I ate $10 worth of food at McDonald's- Not only would I probably feel like complete crap, but it wouldn't be able to keep me full. I'd be craving more fat and sweets within an hour or two and then the cycle repeats.

Okay so I'm done now. I could probably talk for hours and hours about the Nutrition problems with our country, but I can't keep my audience forever. You're probably hungry by now. Just kidding. No I'm actually pretty hungry, I shall make myself some strawberries perhaps....yumm.

I'm sure some people won't agree with me, and that's totally cool- that's ALSO what America is all about- freedom of speech. Amen to that!

With love,



1 comment:

Unknown said...

It's unreal how unhealthy fast food is while at the same time being extremely inexpensive. It's sad to say that low income families can get more bang for their buck but get processed and terrible fast food rather than something healthy. I really do not eat fast food either with the exceptional burger if I feel the mood strikes which is about twice a year, but afterwards I feel terrible and just want to keel over hahaha.