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So…for the past few days I’ve been wanting McDonald’s french fries. Annually, I eat at McDonald’s maybe four times per year (and that is a generous estimate). I’ve done a lot of reading about food and pleasure centers of the brain, etc. and I am convinced that whatever they make McDonald’s fries out of probably has the same chemical make up as crack cocaine. Really. Lots of innocent people get introduced to either ONCE and then cannot seem to break the habit and end up in lots of trouble (for example, it would appear that Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto has been introduced to both). There have been times when I have driven by a McDonald’s and smelled the fries cooking and desperately wanted them.

Now there is talk about the FDA banning trans fats in a lot of the food items a lot of people eat. Ummmm…good luck with that America. So you weren’t successful at the “War on Drugs” so now you’re going to attempt a “War on Food”?! I could go on for hours about how this too is a plan with immense flaws, but I need to attend to other areas of my life (and my present posture as I type this is SO uncomfortable).

I rarely give in to my craving for McDonald’s food. What I have realized is that if I wait it out, the desire usually passes. That is true about so many things I find myself wanting. Sometimes all I have to do is remind myself of the bad feeling I have afterward. (Also true about so many things I find myself wanting.) The other day on TV I heard someone say “a satisfied virgin is not a virgin anymore”. I kinda feel that way about trans fats and foods that are “bad for you”. Once we have had them, it is very difficult to just turn our backs and walk away. Food scientists have worked very hard to make sure our brains remember how much we like that manufactured goodness. Now the government is asking these scientists to come up with a “better”, “healthier” way to keep us addicted to the foods we really shouldn’t be eating…well at least eating in moderation.

I am good with moderation. Excellent, in fact. I eat things that are REALLY fat laden, sugar laden, etc. But I eat very small portions of these things. I know when to say when. And sometimes I just say no. Not everyone has that kind of discipline. I get that. I am not sure if the government can fix that, but I do appreciate the attempt to at least mandate the content of “bad foods”. And truthfully, I try to steer clear of processed foods in general. I am a big fan of natural. Even if that means butter, cream, cheese, pork fat. I’d rather have those things (all together on a sandwich if possible…lol) instead of food whose origin is suspect.

As a woman of “a certain age” I grew up with processed food and fast food as staples of my diet. It wasn’t until I became an adult and ate some really glorious meals that I began to appreciate “real food” on a whole ‘nuther level. I lived in NJ, “the Garden State” for a long time, so I know good produce. Loved summer corn, tomatoes, etc. But they were not the usual suspects on my plate. I ate A LOT of boxed Mac & Cheese, hot dogs, and other things with a long shelf life. Now I eat better. I like good produce, sustainable seafood, local grass fed beef, pork that forage and chickens that roam and eat what nature provides. Since I am not wealthy, this is a challenge. I am still fortunate. We are a small family of modest means. We have cars and access to farms, farmers’ markets, organic grocery stores, etc. My dear husband will tell you that I don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. HE IS CORRECT. (There, I said it.) Partly, this is because I am very picky. I want what I want when I want it and specifically I want certain foods when they are not accessible to me. In those cases, I will not eat at all if it means I can’t be satisfied. Processed foods and fast foods are reliable. I know what I am going to get every time I open up that orange box from the freezer and slip that black plastic tray into the microwave.

So I am going to watch with interest to see where this “Fat twah” (stole that from a news headline) takes us. It is hard to remove a memory of pleasure. Especially when that pleasure tastes so good. Bad foods will still be out there, trans fats or not. Culturally, we have to change our relationship with food in order to get healthy and get over/through our addictions.

Baby steps.

P.S. The fries at McDonald’s do NOT contain trans fat! But if you give me some fries…chances are…I’m gonna want some trans fats to go with it. (Ode to Laura Numeroff 😉 )

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