Why Choose HEALTH When You Can Choose Dinner in a Bucket?

February 11, 2014

Walk into a fast food restaurant and look at the menu closely. Your head will spin at the sheer number of options available to wreck your health and accelerate your arrival at the Pearly Gates. They may call it convenient and even more criminally…food, but what they’re really doing is robbing you of your health…and giving you a big, fat gut in the process.

McDonald’s website boasts: ‘McDonald’s is proud to offer you a wide variety of high quality, great tasting menu options.’ There’s certainly variety, from burgers to double cheese burgers to Quarter Pounders to Double Quarter Pounders to the new Angus Third Pounder (I guess a quarter pound of beef wasn’t making us fat enough) to McChicken to grilled chicken, crispy chicken and southern style crispy chicken for a total of 27 chicken dishes-salads, wraps, sandwiches and nuggets (whatever they are…) to their various breakfasts, to 12…count them 12 options for vanilla, chocolate and strawberry shakes and various sizes of French fries, Happy Meals, desserts, sides and sauces. But high quality? Well, like beauty, that’s in the eye of the beholder. I see nothing high quality about factory-farmed beef and chicken, fillers, additives, preservatives, refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils.

Here’s the kicker. We see it on every billboard: the new Angus Third Pounder with Bacon and Cheese. By their own advertising, you’ll need more napkins for this one…820 calories (370 from fat), 43 grams of fat (17 saturated), 140 grams of cholesterol, 2070 milligrams of sodium (almost a full day’s allowance) and 65 grams of carbs. More napkins? What you’ll need is a defibrillator! They have hit the trifecta of what’s killing us with this baby: fat, salt and sugar in obscene quantities.

And that’s just McDonald’s.

Taco Bell, with its abrasive commercials seemingly written by 13-year olds with ADD market a new death trap every week! With a menu that includes Cheese Roll-Ups (with 3 kinds of cheese), Triple Layer Nachos, Chicken Burrito and Chicken Soft Tacos (jeez, more chicken…), Crunchy Tacos, Soft Tacos, Double Beef Burritos, Cinnamon Twists and Hot Apple Empanadas, you’d think they have plenty of ways to steal your vitality and make you fat. But, no. They have created…drum roll, please, the Volcano Menu! The Volcano Taco, Burrito and Nachos contain the same swill as other menu items, but they’re topped off with ‘molten hot lava sauce.’

This is really funny (in a twisted way). Go the Taco Bell website and click on the nutrition calculator; the first items posted are their supposed ‘healthy’ fare from their ‘Fresco’ menu. The Fresco Crunchy Taco looks pretty good: 92 grams, only 150 calories, 7 grams of fat and 350 milligrams of sodium. Now click on the Volcano Taco. Wow! Also at 92 grams, it contains 240 calories, 17 grams of fat and 470 milligrams of sodium. And the Volcano Nachos? At 354 grams (yikes!), 990 calories, 61 grams of fat and 1880 milligrams of sodium, it has to make you wonder, what’s in that ‘molten hot lava sauce’? It really packs a punch…right to your gut.

I have to say that I admire the ‘brass ones’ on America’s beloved death peddler, Dunkin’ Donuts. Posting nutritional information for fried dough is such a mind trip, I can’t even fathom it. From 400 calories (for their Jelly Stick) to 200 calories (the Pumpkin Donut), all 40 doughnut choices get more than half their calories from fat. That’s a straight shot to diabetes, obesity and heart disease. One plain Cake Munchkin is 50 calories with 30 of them from fat. One Munchkin!!!!! Are we nuts?

Okay, you may say that everyone knows doughnuts will make them fat. But if that’s true, how do you account for more than $4 billion in sales each year? While ‘America runs on Dunkin’’, with more than 100 (100!!!!) coffee variations (and that’s not counting the massive tea menu), their big summer push is for their frozen drinks. One large Frozen Cappuccino with Whole Milk has 620 calories. You just downed about a third of your total caloric allowance for the day. Hope you enjoyed it. And the large Watermelon Coolata? 500 calories. Happy bathing suit season to you, too. None of this trash is healthy for you…from the coffee to the donuts.

And then there’s Subway…Eat Fresh, whatever that means.

But KFC takes the cake…or the chicken. As if it wasn’t insulting enough to convince America that they wanted to eat dinner in a bucket (really, a bucket?), they have come up with all manner of menu options to clog your arteries and shorten your life span. Then they came up with ‘Un-Think,’ selling us grilled chicken to assuage our fears about their food being not so healthy for us. And it worked. Even Oprah drank the Kool-Aid and gave away free grilled chicken dinners.

But it’s almost as though they can’t bear to sell healthy items. Their heart disease on a plate…the Double Down, a sandwich made from bacon and two cheeses and in place of bread, you get two fillets of ‘Original Recipe’ fried chicken. No bread; fried chicken wrapped around bacon and cheese. Nutritional information on this frightening creating is conspicuously absent from the KFC website, but I’ve discovered it has 1228 calories. Maybe there ain’t more information posted because well, it might just undo all the redemption of ‘un-thinking.’

Look, you get the idea. From Wendy (even though they say they are ‘way better than fast food’, I have yet to see how that’s true) to Papa John’s, fast food chains are hard at work to help break the back of health care in this country. With out of control portion sizes and calorie counts that defy decency, what are we collectively thinking? And please don’t even try the ‘I didn’t know’ argument. We all know. And forget the ‘It’s all I can afford’ argument. We can’t afford the crushing costs of the diseases that come with this eating.

What if we took a really sensible approach to health care and prevented most of what ails us? Did you know that nearly 90% of all the ‘lifestyle diseases’ (stroke, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, some cancers) that plague us are preventable if we just take a minute and think about what we put in our mouths?

A plant-based diet comprised of whole, unprocessed, natural foods is just the prescription we need for health and longevity…and to avoid being enslaved by large pharmaceutical companies who get rich off your suffering. Real food (whole grains, vegetables, fresh fruit, beans, nuts, seeds) is delicious, easy to prepare (no drive-through windows…) and the result is a vibrant, healthy you.

If that isn’t enough for you, ask yourself this, how can you continue to give your hard-earned money to companies that continue to produce bigger portions of more sugar, fat and salt-laden foods that kill you and your kids? They feel no responsibility and continue to produce such swill in the face of a staggering obesity, diabetes and heart disease epidemics because they know we’ll buy it if they package it right. It’s up to you. Vote with your dollar. Just say no.

Want to lose belly fat? Stay away from the Golden Arches, cartoons of little pigtailed girls, sprinkle-covered fried dough and dinner in a bucket. Eat veggies…and take a walk.