Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Longevity and Fast Food Nation?

Maybe fast food isn’t all that bad for you? Glen W. Bell Jr., the founder of the Taco-Bell restaurant chain died this past Monday at 86. He passed away at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, no cause of death was available at press time. Though for most of us, if we eat fast food on a regular basis, we’d be lucky to reach half Bell’s age.

There’s no question we live in a fast-paced world, where fast food dominates. It is far too easy these days to hit the local Burger King, quiet the kids while enjoying some family time by going to McDonald’s with a Playland, or satisfying a quick hunger with a quick taco at Taco-Bell.

These places were designed for our rapid-fire lifestyles. McDonald’s even has a university to train their managers and front-line staff, so that you are in and out of the line-up within a heartbeat.

But if you down too many Big Macs, chocolate Frosty’s, or enjoy too many Finger Lickin’ chicken meals, you may not have a heartbeat yourself.

Heart disease is still one of the top killers of North Americans, along with cancer (lung, skin, breast and prostate among the high ranking cancers).

You are four-times more likely to die from heart disease than a car crash in Canada, yet there are more licensed drivers on Canadian roads (some arguably should never have got their licenses in the first place) than there are Taco-Bell restaurants dotting those roads.

Maybe it was just a matter of coincidence that the founder of the largest Mexican fast food restaurant chain in North America died during the month when many have made New Years resolutions to shed excess pounds and get healthy? Or maybe it is a sign of our high calorie, drive-through eating culture?

Bell isn’t the first of the mighty fast food tycoons to pass away. The founder of burger giant Wendy’s died a few years ago, as did ice cream cone icons Ben and Jerry. One of those ice cream icon’s sons actually has come out on American television claiming his father’s product impacted his dad’s health.

Life isn’t forever, despite all the potions, lotions and magic concoctions you see advertising the eternal fountain of youth on late night infomercials. But we don’t have to die from eating poor diets, made of nothing good for our bodies.

That slice of processed cheese in your Big Mac has gone through so many chemical processes by the time it lands on your bun, it is anything but natural.
Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock coined the very appropriate phrase “Franken food,” in his documentary Super Size Me, where he shows us what a constant diet of McDonald’s will do to the human body.

We may not see cures for cancer in our lifetime, and we can’t control whether or not we are run over by a car, dying in a plane crash, or even simply slipping in the shower. But we can control what we put into our bodies, and that is a start.

I’ve often wondered if they put some magical secret ingredient in fast food products which cause us to suddenly have these cravings where we just have to have one.

But those cravings aren’t anything more than our own laziness in making our own healthy home cooking, or our thriftiness in search of the fastest and cheapest meal, rather than taking the time to invest in healthier choices.

It always amazes me, how people are so willing to drop thousands of dollars they don’t have to secure loans for high-end luxury cars which they’ll drive for a handful of years, yet they are too cheap to spend the few dollars they do have in their pocket on some fresh, natural, wholesome and healthy food choices for their bodies, which they will have for life. Their lives. That is if they live long enough to keep ‘em.

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1 comment:

  1. They do put something in the food to make it addictive; salt, sugar & fat.

    Great book. ^