Relax, it’s just lower quality food

I’m doing some thinking out loud- thanks Amanda for hosting the party!

I have a secret…

Sometimes I eat fast food and sometimes I enjoy it…

I’m not talking about the hip fast food (Chipotle/Panera)… I’m talking Taco Hell Bell. And Dunkin’ Donuts bagels.


Now, I’m not going to pretend that I eat fast food often. It’s probabaly as low as 1 time/month.

I read a story recently about a girl who went on a trip with friends and they decided to stop at a fast food establishment for breakfast. The girl was so concerned about the “chemicals” and fat/calories in the fast food that she settled on something that  basically guaranteed she would be hungry like an hour later. Now, her “lesson learned” was to pack food/snacks so that she would be prepared next time.

When I read her story, I felt myself flashing back to my eating diorder days where I always had snacks to avoid situations of having to unknown food or else I would order two yogurt parfaits because it was the only food I trusted. Somehow in my mind I believed that one single meal of lower quality would absolutely wreck my health.

You guys, people survive CHEMOTHERAPY and drinking DIRTY WATER and go on to live very healthy lives. Eating a sandwich off the dollar menu once in a blue moon may not be your first choice, but it sure isn’t going to ruin your health.

I’m not endorsing fast food. I’m not suggesting you make it a part of your regular diet. It isn’t a part of mine. If I had to pick between cooking and getting fast food, I’d pick cooing 99.99% of the time. I don’t usually crave it.

However, if I am on a trip with my friends or my church and they want to stop at the golden arches for lunch, I’m not going to freak and neither should you. If you want, pick one of their healthier choices, like a salad or grilled chicken sandwich. Or if you want french fries and a burger, realize this isn’t a place you would normally eat and eat the french fries.

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I fear that when we demonize places, we further the distance between healthy eating/living and normal people with busy lives. We don’t want people to think that healthy eating is going to be too hard. The truth is, the American working world has made it extremely difficult for people to find the time to re-learn how to feed themselves in a healthy way. As they go through the Wendy’s drive way, they feel judged or too far gone to adopt a healthy life. NOT TRUE! You can enjoy fries dipped in your frosty and still be healthy.

I realize people have various reasons for not eating fast food (ethical, allergy, previous addictions), but for the majority of us we won’t be harmed by eating it.

So relax gal, it’s just lower quality food, not poison.

One last point… I read this article a few months ago and this was probably my favorite line: “I actually enjoy fries and shakes. I wouldn’t worry about nutrition right now because it’s not in the cards. I’d rather get a healthy meal I could savor later, and something quick and enjoyable now.”

Please, think out loud in the comments!

28 thoughts on “Relax, it’s just lower quality food

  1. Preach it, lady. “It’s just lower quality food.” I love this – somehow it puts it all in an ever newer perspective. There’s no point trying to pretend that some of these things are in fact “good” for us, so its a much more alleviating feeling to just accept that sometimes food isn’t perfectly healthy, but that its okay, because our bodies are tough machines who know how to handle it.

  2. You know, I think the stress people put themselves under worrying about getting the right food or about the possible chemicals in their food is much worse for the body than the food itself. Stressful eating causes indigestion and you body does not absob the nutrients as well.
    I think fast food places are great in a pinch. Food is just food.

  3. Amen, lady! I totally second what Ellie said — stressing about eating perfectly is SO much worse for us than not worrying about it so much and consequently maybe not eating ALL the nutritious things. I remember being obsessed with eating 100% clean a handful of years ago, and the irony was that I was actually way unhealthier than I am now that I’m eating more “lower quality food” and not worrying about it as much.

  4. Yes. Yes. Yes. Stress over eating, I’ve learned, is so much more harmful than the actually healthiness or unhealthiness of the eating. 🙂 I’m learning to enjoy more, and want to control less, because I know God is in control, and He can bless any food to my body. Gratefulness and peace is more important than the perfect diet with a lot of anxiety.

  5. preach it!! I do like to treat my body well, feed it well, nourish it, blah blah blah – but sometimes I just want a fatty piece of cake with all the extra frosting from the container. Sure, it doesn’t make me feel all that great AFTERWARDS [tummy ache!!] but cake makes me happy. And I eat Taco Bell too, on the days my hubby is really craving it for lunch I get the Cantina Bowl [the only thing on the menu that works with my gluten-intolerance!]. I’m sure the chicken is filled with chemicals and I know the rice is white rice, but whatever!!

  6. Amen, sista!
    I went through a period of eating too much fast food (think picky teenager who went on a lot of youth group functions) to avoiding it like the plague. Now I’m at a happy medium and enjoy a #1 at Chick-fil-A when the time is right. Do I wish there wasn’t a McD’s on every street corner? Sure. Does eating a fast food hamburger sometimes make be feel sick after? Yep. But sometimes I want the greasy fries anyway.
    I totally agree that worry about “perfect eating” is WORSE than eating low quality food occasionally. I also think we should realize our privilege when it comes to what we “put in our bodies.” As you say, people thrive after chemo and millions don’t have clean water.

  7. Yes to all of this! Honestly, you worded my thoughts on the issue so well I don’t necessarily have anything to add. People stressing over clean eating don’t realize how much time is eaten up by their investigations on what is ‘safe’ to eat and worries. And like your examples illustrate eating is a means of socializing. If you’re the only one who can’t mindlessly munch on some chips or fries it doesn’t allow you to fully engage in a group.

  8. I found myself saying AMEN to every single line here. I remember when I used to, and to be honest, still do get worked up over the situations where I have to eat “lower-quality” food. It has really influenced my relationship with some people, and I am still learning to accept the fact that not everything I eat has to be a superfood. Just because it’s not a superfood doesn’t make it junk food. I used to think out-of-season fruit, white rice, and even oatmeal that was non-organic would be total garbage for my body and destroy my overall health. I love this line: “You guys, people survive CHEMOTHERAPY and drinking DIRTY WATER and go on to live very healthy lives.”

    Kate, if you wrote a book, I would buy it because every word you write is so honest, beautiful, and relatable. Thank you for sharing yet another lovely post 🙂

  9. I love this, just last night I had a huge bowl of fries and a pulled chicken burger, and guess what?! It was awesome and I don’t ever want to feel guilty about going out with friends and enjoying indulgent food 🙂

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