NOTE: This picture was taken a few weeks ago at Foster’s burger joint in Portland. It’s not a fast food restaurant. So technically I will still be able to eat it. (Cheater!)
The other day I went to local burger institution, Burgerville, for a chicken sandwich and fries. Yes, I bought a chicken sandwich at Burgerville. The irony is not lost on me.
Burgerville has an impressive reputation around southwest Washington for selling hamburgers, chicken, and fish made from locally raised animals. They are the anti-McDonald’s. They are dedicated to concepts such as efficiency and sustainability.
They are also upfront about your meal’s calorie and fat content. Some restaurants put the details on their wall or a brochure. Burgerville puts this information on your receipt.
It was while browsing my receipt for my chicken sandwich with bacon and cheese, fries, and soft drink — all of which totaled around 60 percent of my suggest calorie and fat intake — that I had an epiphany. This being Lent season — Lent started Wednesday and goes for 40 days until Easter Sunday — my epiphany involved giving up fast food.
About a month ago, I had mono and a string of other health problems that caused me to lose significant weight. At my last doctor’s visit I weighed 207 pounds, which meant I had lost around 33 pounds since arriving in Portland in early December.
As my appetite returned and I began work at a new job so too did my generally poor eating habits. I enjoy fast food. I do not enjoy vegetables. This is an obvious giveaway that I am not from Portland.
But I am also cognizant that fast food, particularly the saturated fat found within, is not good for me, and that to get True Blood abs, not to mention be healthy, I need to eat better.
Ok ok, True Blood abs, not Lent, were my motivating factor in banning fast food for the next month and change. I am not Catholic. So technically I don’t need to abstain from anything during Lent. But it’s kind of fun to test yourself by giving up something you don’t like.
Smokers do this all the time. It lasts half a day for most of them. I’m planning on making it to the finish line, although there might be some rule bending.
I wrote there might be some rule bending because I went to Subway on Thursday. I look at Subway as tasteless cardboard served under the guise of weight loss challenges.
Sensible people, given the choice of eating Subway and only Subway, will lose weight. That is an absolute truth.
There are many people that view Subway as fast food even though they don’t sell burgers and fries. Indeed, I read an article that said Subway had passed McDonald’s as the world’s leading fast food chain with something like 36,000 locations.
So I went into Subway and either extended or broke my Lent streak, depending on your view, by ordering a $5 footlong meatball and pepperoni sub.
To be brutally honest, I was ashamed of myself at day’s end. Here I had gone into Subway, with its stringy lettuce, watery tomatoes and other healthy earthen foods, and I left with quite possibly the unhealthiest item on the menu.
I’ve since had pizza from a local eatery. They serve by the slice. I don’t consider them fast food. Once again, it’s all in the interpretation. Either way, it’s not particularly healthy.
I guess I’ll start bringing a lunch to work this week. The thought excites me about as much as getting kicked in the stomach by a kangaroo. At least that would be a cool story.
You can’t go up to people and brag about that one time you brought a homemade turkey sandwich and apple to work for lunch. I mean you can, but not if you don’t want people deem you a weirdo.
So I’ll keep it to myself and soldier through Lent, hopefully to end up healthier (and maybe richer) on the other side.