It had been at least 6 months since last having a Wendy’s hamburger. Swinging through the drive-thru for a quick lunch on the go, I wasn’t prepared for how my taste buds would react.
Honestly, I wasn’t that hungry, but new if I didn’t grab something to eat now, a nasty headache would soon follow.
Mom unloaded the bag, handing me a carton of fries and a curiously large, foil wrapper. Stowing the burger on my lap until I got through the city traffic, I munched on fries pondering the weighty burger sitting on my leg.
Through the busy traffic now, I kneed the steering wheel to free my hands and carefully unwrapped half of the foil revealing the meaty monster within. “Don’t you think this burger looks a little big?” I asked Mom.
She just shrugged, “No…”
Perplexed at the ginormous hamburger staring me in the face, I wondered if the prep team had accidently given me a ½-pounder instead. And then I realized my error. I usually order the junior sized burger.
Knowing if I ate the whole burger I would blow my calorie budget for the day, I thought, “I could just eat half of the hamburger and throw the rest away.”
But it looked so good!
The bun felt soft through the wrapper and looked fresh instead of smashed like fast food buns usually look. Peeking out from the edge of the bun, the lettuce was fresh and green instead of the tasteless, white stems they usually give you, and the tomato was surprisingly red and ripe rather than pale and hard. Finally, the meat glistened with juiciness under the edge of a melted slab of cheese, and beckoned my mouth with the smell of deliciously seasoned meat.
Shutting out the alarm bells ringing in my head screaming, “Don’t do it!” I quickly realized why they were going off as thoughts of not being hungry flew right out the window with that first, mouth-watering bite.
“How long had it been since I had enjoyed such a delicious hamburger… ON A BUN?!”
Devouring the burger within minutes of opening it, I felt a bit like a lion enjoying a fresh kill.
Since the first of the year, I had been diligently following the 7 steps outlined in the book Younger Next Year for Women, but it didn’t matter how guilty I felt for ignoring Harry’s 5th Rule to Quit Eating Crap! I savored this “CRAP” to the very last bite, and would get back on track tomorrow.
When it comes to living a new, healthy lifestyle, sometimes you will experience a little slip. But it’s when the train jumps the tracks and you find yourself out of control that you have to remember your WILL and REASON once again. So this next bit is a little like therapy for me, and I hope you will take a look and think about it too.
I thought I knew a lot about the types of foods that were considered healthy, and which ones were considered junk. But I never realized how bad the WHITE foods are for a person.
What are the white foods?
Dr. Lodge states, “Bad carbs are the white foods – potatoes, white rice, and pretty much everything made of refined flour.”
Honestly, I thought rice and potatoes were fine in moderation, and being I never went overboard with those food items, how could they have any ill affects?
Pasta is another white food that does you no favors at all, and although I don’t crave pasta much, I know that others have put this item on their red light foods list. You know… the dangerous foods to have around or you will over indulge.
Bread, on the other hand, is a delicious bit that I enjoy very much. As mentioned, I have been having a hamburger once in awhile, but it has been of the lean beef variation without a bun. How boring, right? But I like it, and it fills me up and helps me feel satisfied. So I’ve been doing fairly good at avoiding white bread.
So what’s the deal with white foods, you ask? Why are they so bad?
According to nutrition science, carbs (even the good ones, like fruits and veggies), don’t signal your body to stop eating like fats and proteins do. But bad carbs, the starchy foods, are basically sugar. They are loaded with calories, have no nutritional value whatsoever, and thirty minutes after eating starch, it signals your brain that you are starving again.
Since natural foods do not contain much sugar, when you ingest even a small amount of starchy food, it signals your body that you just consumed a large meal due to the amount of sugar your body is detecting in your stomach.
Put another way, after consuming a 1,000 calorie meal such as a hamburger, fries and soda, your body thinks it ate 10,000 calories.
Since your brain now thinks you must’ve eaten an entire buffalo, it signals your stomach to produce a ton of insulin and acid to digest it all … hello acid reflux and diabetes. And then it stores away every bit of the starchy carbs as FAT because, after-all, you must be starving to have eaten an entire buffalo, and it may be awhile before you kill another one.
Starchy food NEVER gets digested away and out the drain. It is always stored as fat. Every bit of it!
Besides storing this food away as fat, eating starchy food signals your brain that you are starving hungry again not long after. So 30 minutes after I wolfed down that Single Combo from Wendy’s, I felt hungry.
That’s a pretty grim picture of bad carbs. Especially after you realize how much of the crap we eat.
And the icing on the cake if you don't exercise…
“Your body reads idleness as a sign that you are starving to death, no matter how much [or little] you eat.”
You know what that means. We need to exercise.
So the question remains, what should we eat to stay healthy and keep fat from sticking in places we don’t want?
Doc Lodge urges us to stick to the basics. Eat all natural food. You know, the real stuff, and the fresher the better. No prepackaged crap.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables
Hundreds of micronutrients can be found in fruits and vegetables, and they are critical to your body. They are “essential to our immune systems, muscle and brain function, heart health, bone health and blood formation, as well as the antioxidants that protect us against cancer.” And being every body is different, the amount of each kind of nutrient each body needs varies for every person.
By eating a large variety of fresh and wholesome foods, our bodies can sort out which nutrients it needs on its own. We can start by trying to eat 4 different colors per day.
Fiber is also important as it is indigestible roughage that keeps your colon clear and free of cancer causing junk. It also helps to fill you up so you don’t feel you’ve been cheated on a square meal.
The goal is to eat 40 grams of fiber a day, so beef up your fiber intake by adding beans, whole-grain breads like pumpernickel or rye, and high-fiber cereals like Cheerios or Shredded Wheat.
Eat Lean Protein
Protein is needed for support of every cell in your body. Your body also uses protein for building and repairing tissue, making chemicals your body needs such as enzymes and hormones, and is the foundation of your entire skeletal and muscular system.
Making sure you eat enough lean protein is not only important for normal bodily functions, but helps to satisfy your hunger too.
For healthy protein intake, switch to skim milk, eat lots of oily fish like Salmon, and white meat chicken. But for the hamburger and steak lovers (like me), back off a bit... especially on the hamburgers, and switch to small, lean portions on the steaks.
With a list of do’s and don’ts, it is up to us not to let the train jump the tracks the next time a drive-thru beckons.
What do you think? Can you cut the CRAP?
I’m going to keep on trying! And if you decide to give it a go, let me know how it's going for you too, will ya?
Thanks so much for reading!
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Crowley, Chris & Lodge M.D., Henry S., 2007, Younger Next Year for Women.