Nobody has to be told that we live in a very, VERY fast culture…especially when compared to the past. I have a grandmother who was born in 1920 (thank God for longevity), and sometimes I wonder if this world is like an alien planet to her. Tablet computers, Planes, High Speed Trains, Cell Phones, etc. I guess they had Planes and Trains in the 1940s when my grandmother was my age, but I think we know that they were a whole lot different.
Anyway, our food habits have evolved along with everything else. Lifestyles sped up, so food “sped up” too. It makes sense; if we are moving faster and doing more, then there is less time for cooking and more of a need for foods that require little to no preparation. Going back to my grandmother’s time, when she was around my age in the 1940’s, the fast food restaurant as we know it was barely existent. People still ate mostly home cooked meals back then. Fast food began to become more popular in the 50s and 60s.
Now fast forward to 2014. Fast food restaurants are everywhere. Why? Well because demand is much higher now than it was then, because, as stated before, things move a lot faster these days. But now we have a problem. The initial intent of fast food (and other quick foods) was for a convenient every-now-and-then meal when there was not enough time to cook a meal, but not for meals multiple times each day.
After thinking about a little bit, a thought came to my mind that I thought could be a good guideline, and that thought is this: “If it is prepared faster than normal, it likely is not as good for you.” I titled my post today after the common quote that says that “good things come to those who wait.” Think about it. It’s true.
I want to discuss several types of quick food to illustrate my point.
Fast food -Fast food restaurants provide a quick, tasty meal. They also provide (in general) a lot of fat, sodium, sugar, and sometimes even other additives we didn’t even anticipate (remember pink slime).
“Quick” Grains – Quick Grains include stuff like quick grits, quick oats and quick rice. They cook faster and have softer, more desirable textures, but at a cost. The improved texture is a result often of the healthy fibrous part of the grain being taken away, and the remaining part (rice and grits) is bleached to give it that white color. Bleach, man.
Frozen Dinners – Frozen dinners are convenient but sometimes have an ASTRONOMICAL amount of sodium in them (not to mention the saturated fat and trans fat), and I believe it is because the manufacturers have to make sure the frozen food still has taste after being heated up. They often have other weird, hard to pronounce ingredients in them, too. The choices in the organic section are a lot better, but even they are a little high on the sodium.
Canned Goods – I have heard some describe canned food as essentially ‘dead’ for all intents and purposes. There is also concern with harmful substances leaching into the food from the metal can over time.
The point I want to make is that it is always better to take the time to cook your meals. Visit the food sections on the perimeter of the store, buy whole food ingredients, and know what you are putting into your food. If you must buy quicker foods, do it very, very sparingly, and make the best choices you can (thankfully the fast food chains are coming out with increasingly healthy choices), but let that be the exception and not the rule.