Thursday, March 25, 2010

Do You Know What's in Your Food?

Unless you've been living under a rock, President Obama signed the controversial Healthcare Reform bill earlier this week.
Buried deep within the bill is a requirement that all fast-food places post their nutritional info on the menu by 2011. I remember a few years ago when businesses started printing brochures that contained the nutritional info--but how many people really look at that prior to making their order?
I think people will be shocked to see the caloric value and fat intake of their favorite fast-food items. Did you know that a Chipotle tortilla ALONE has over 400 calories??? I want to say it has roughly 12-13g of fat as well, but they no longer post their nutrition guide online ;-)
Just think what your Chipotle burrito contains by the time you do the tortilla (that's a meal in itself!), rice (plenty of carbs there), beans (nothing wrong there), meat (at least it's hormone free), cheese & sour cream (oh god, just let the cellulite spread further across your thighs ), guac (but that's a good fat!) and salsa (yay for more veggies!)...then add some chips & soda and you're screwed for the day. The average Chipotle burrito contains 1,000-1,500 calories and your entire daily intake shouldn't surpase 2,000! Don't get me wrong--I love Chipotle and get a sick, twisted kick out of eating an entire burrito bowl in one sitting, but it's just plain bad on the waistline.
I will be the first to admit that I'm not a lettuce salad-and-no-dressing-with-a-side-of-celery-sticks type of eater. Not even close...everything is fine in moderation....I love a great deep-fat-fried chimichanga covered with cheese sauce, but I'm only going to eat it about once a month.
When I was at my endocrinology appointment this past fall, he was telling me that the number of practicing endocrinologists is not growing, in fact it's falling--but yet diabetes is exploding like crazy (ps I don't have diabetes--that's not why I was there!). I realize that not everyone can control whether they end up with diabetes or not, but so much of the risk factor is influenced by diet and lifestyle. To me, it's an easy choice--eat healthy & feel good or eat crap and suffer for it later. And don't even get me started on what poor lifestyle choices will end up costing the healthcare industry...
I realize that healthy food isn't cheap...we've all heard about those studies where someone has to live on food stamps for one week and they find they can't buy their organic head of lettuce as it costs too much. Then they end up stocking up on potato chips, processed cheese, soda, higher fat ground beef, etc b/c they can't afford the healthy alternatives.
I've been on a strict meat-free diet since the first of February and my body is loving it--I'm convinced that being vegetarian is for me. My chronic headaches no longer exist and my digestive system is finally normal after years of IBS. I originally intended to go vegan, but so far I'm happy with just cutting out meat.
Last week, I finally caved in a purchased a "lifetime" membership to People's Grocery, the local health/natural food store. It cost $50 but I get 15% off my purchases, I am entitled to member-only sales, I have access to overstock items and I also will be involved with their annual profit sharing. After shopping at Dillons & Hy-Vee for my vegetarian items, I realized that People's really doesn't cost much more. They also have a deli that has homemade naan, fresh hummus, soups, salads, etc and all the options are super healthy. It's SO much more enjoyable than trying to pick between fried chicken legs, pork friend rice or chicken strips!
All in all, I can't wait for 2011..there's times I end up hitting the drive-thru, but it will be nice to see what the nutritional value of my food is (or lack thereof) before I order. Now if we can only get them to eventually post all the additives and preservatives!

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