Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fast Food is Anything But Fast

The other day, I was thinking about “fast food” and thought about how this phrase really doesn’t apply at all:

1. To me, making fast food seems anything but fast. For example, as described by Michael Pollan in the Omnivore’s Dilemma, a Chicken McNugget contains 38 ingredients that include many corn-based substances, soy, and several synthetic compounds that have no business in our food. This sounds like a complicated recipe for what could be a simple breaded chunk of chicken. I’m suggesting that the manufacturing process is way more work than it should be – and hence, a slow process.

2. Most fast food is devoid of nutrients and importantly for my point, fiber. This suggests that it takes the slow route through our digestive systems. There are so many reasons why we don’t want food overstaying its welcome in our intestines, including constipation, damage to the lining of our intestinal wall, and an increased risk of colon cancer, to name a few.

3. Because a diet of fast food is nutritionally devoid of nutrients, it leads to obesity, which slows us down, a lack of energy and vitality, and disease, which makes us sick and can stop us in our tracks.

4. As Mark Bittman recently wrote in a New York Times article, “…in the time it takes to go into a McDonald’s, stand in line, order, wait, pay and leave, you could make oatmeal for four while taking your vitamins, brushing your teeth and half-unloading the dishwasher.”

If you’re in the habit of dining on fast food on a regular basis, try making your own meals for a change. Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated and the more you do it, you may actually find that you like your cooking better than anything served up at the drive thru.

After all this pondering, I thought it might be a good idea to swap the names Fast Food and Slow Food. Although, I don’t think Carlo Petrini would be open to the idea… ; )

Picture: A snail made out of bread at the Slow Food USA Festival in San Francisco, 2008

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