I have been eating clean for over a year now. I committed to eliminating foods that often cause sensitivities, increase inflammation in the body and effect hormonal imbalances such as grains and gluten as well as refined sugars, dairy and non organic meats. I include lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, seeds and nuts, and choose organic and GMO free when possible, I also limit meats to organic chicken or organic grass fed beef. With these changes 95% or more of my meals are created and consumed at home. I plan my snacks when I travel or am on the run, usually raw seeds, nuts, berries, veggies, a raw seed and nut bar or a stop at the local fresh organic juice café. I have benefited greatly from making these dietary changes, I have more energy, better moods, better digestion, maintain a healthy weight and of importance to me being thirtysomething, clear glowing skin!
I will be the first to attest that life can get busy and I was a "road warrior", eating mindlessly on the run and sometimes, even eating in the car just to save time! I ate my fair share of fast food and really didn't give it much thought, it was "food", it satisfied me, it was easy and hey, I was saving time by multitasking!
What was I thinking?!?! This past weekend I made the 6 hour drive back from a week long vacation in Northern Ontario, I scrambled to get on the road as I had a long drive ahead of me. I didn't eat much before setting off but did packed a few snacks. As it turned out I didn't plan well and the snacks weren't enough, so I succumed to the hunger!! I pulled into the service center to get fuel and food!! My options were limited, Tim Horton's, Taco Bell, Wendy's and another fast food establishment that I don't recall. I settled on Wendy's, it had always been my go to fast food burger joint in the past and really a little fast food wasn't going to kill me, right! Two Jr. Cheeseburgers "plain," a medium fry and a bottle of water, yes please!
But.....It was that ah-ha moment I felt when I took that first bite of my Jr. Cheeseburger ..... and thought this food tastes/feels dead! DEAD!! Suddenly I wasn't enjoying what I once didn't think twice about eating!! I glanced down at my burger and realizing it not only tasted "dead" it looked "dead"! I was eating some food like substance that had no energy, was processed and even bland in colour! However, hunger prevailed and I continued to eat it and then the fries....SAME feeling when I got to the fries!! What was I putting into my body, the fries were tiny little sticks of no substance, salty and in comparison to my homemade oven sweet potato fries, lackluster!
As I drove away it really struck me how much I have become accustomed to and enjoy eating REAL WHOLE food in it's most natural state. I won't deny it took my over stimulated taste buds some time in the beginning to really appreciate the true taste of food but I can honestly say for the first time in my adult life I am truly eating and appreciating the taste of food and not food additives, preservatives, artificial colouring or flavours. Nothing compares to the energy and life "real" food posses! Maybe it's the crispness of veggies, the sweetness of berries, the rainbow of colours or just the feeling that I am eating something that is real!
So curiosity got the best of me and I had to look up the ingredient list and "nutritional" value of my $9.00 meal, here's what I got for my money! The burger, cheese and bun along with the fries had a long list of ingredients, and some I couldn't even pronounce, eek!! Shouldn't fries be one, maybe two ingredients? Potatoes and maybe sea salt?! You can check out the ingredient list here! And the low down on the "nutritional" value of my meal, 1,780mg of sodium (almost a whole day's recommendation in one small meal!! (2,000mg is the current daily recommendation up from 1,500mg just a few years ago), 980 calories, 46g of fat, 16g of saturated fat, 102g of carbs and 8g of sugar (equivalent to 2 teaspoons!), all this in two tiny cheeseburgers and a medium fry!
My moment of truth was when I looked in the mirror this morning and my oh so glowing clear skin was NOT oh so glowing clear. Lesson learned! I can choose to dabble in a little junk "food", packaged "food" or processed "food" but I think next time I will just plan better, packing more healthy road trip snacks and save that moment of indulgence for something like my guilty pleasure of Green & Black's or Giddy Yoyo organic dark chocolate.
Check back soon! I'll be posting my top 10 Travel Snacks!