On occasion I will bring our 5-year old foster daughter to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal. She’s a good kid; she deserves the treat once in a while. It’s not ideal, but it’s a great way to get her some fruit, protein, and a horiffically-assembled plastic toy.
Several months ago, not only would I have gone merrily through the drive-thru to purchase said Happy Meal, but I would have indulged as well. Two double-cheeseburgers, large French fries and, naturally, a Diet Coke. And two apple pies. And sometimes – just sometimes – four-piece chicken nuggets because, well, I like chicken nuggets.
Not so much anymore.
I’ve always enjoyed cooking. Always. Even if I wasn’t keeping it healthy, I preferred making food at home. Have you ever made your own chicken nuggets? Battered chicken, fried in vegetable oil? Oh my gosh, there’s nothing like them. Fresh, hot, crispy…it beats that fast food stuff any day of the weak.
But that’s the thing about fast food, isn’t it? It’s fast. It’s easy. And cheap. Of course we know it’s bad for us. We’re not naive. Fast food is processed, cooked in grease, processed some more, loaded with sugar and preservatives, processed again, and into our belly it goes. But it’s oh so good, am I right?!?
The past year has put me through more drive-thrus than I care to admit. Burgers, burgers, and burgers. Sometimes chicken, sometimes burritos (yay for living in Southern California, where not only is there a Starbucks on every corner, but a Mexican food joint as well). I didn’t cook at home as much as I should. I wanted to, but I got lazy.
That changed a few months back. Overhauled everything. Diet, drinking, exercise. Point is I put fast food by the wayside. And that’s a good thing. What really strikes home is this:
I don’t miss the fast food.
Last night, as I was ordering in the drive-thru for our little one, something dawned on me. I didn’t want a double cheeseburger. I wasn’t craving chicken nuggets. And I was fine with that. I knew that, at home, I had chicken waiting to become part of a spaghetti squash dish I wanted to make. WANTED to make. LOOKED FORWARD to making.
Home cooked food is just better. Even if it’s a comfort-food-calorie-bomb; I’d much rather have meatloaf made at home than at Denny’s. But I cook healthy; grilled chicken, fresh veggies, salads, spices, herbs, you name it. It makes me feel better, gives me the energy I need to work out and, frankly, cooking is cathartic for me.
Don’t misunderstand. I’ve scarfed a burger once or twice over the past few months. A delicious carne asada burrito with guacamole. Steak. Even mashed potatoes, despite my break-up with carbs not too long ago (well, we have an on-again-off-again relationship). Because, contrary to popular belief, I’m human. I’m going to want those things. Depriving myself will make me go crazy, and no one wants a Crazy Sean on their hands.
But to not miss fast food is a hurdle I didn’t even know was a hurdle until that moment in the drive-thru. It’s a really great feeling to be like, “Yeah, I think I’ll go ahead and skip the grease-bomb this time, but thanks.”
Off to the gym!