I am an engineer in the high tech industry by trade. I guess the way I am wired, I tend to look for patterns and try to “fix” things. As I started this journey I realized I had much to learn regarding nutrition, and spent a fair amount of free time doing research. My job during that period of time required extensive travel, so I had time in the evenings to read, or while eating alone in a restaurant. I will admit that I am also a people watcher and I started to see patterns in the restaurants and supermarkets as well. My observations in restaurants, and supermarkets:
- One group seemed to hit the salad bar in larger numbers.
- That same group would load up on the high fat or sugar content toppings and then multiple ladles of ranch dressing.
- Order starchy carbs as side
- Almost exclusively ordered Diet beverages
This was in contrast to the other group, who I saw:
- ordering meat cooked dry (no added butter or sauces)
- very specific orders, questions about how food is prepared/served, to make informed choices.
- Salads as a meal, often with dressing on the side.
- One group tends to have lots of fruit juices, processed foods, sugar heavy foods, and pre-packaged meals.
- If I saw a fresh veggie in their basket it seems that iceberg lettuce was the most popular item.
I am familiar with the mindset that states that a salad is somehow “automatically healthy”, but that is so far from the truth when prepared in this manner
What about a fast food joint? The only one I ever happen to visit is Subway, and they are known for some healthy options. If you order carefully, you can get pretty healthy lunches there. Yes, their meats are a bit high in sodium, but overall it’s a better bet for me than a burger joint. two observations from subway. First of all, its the “and’s” that are the killer. i have seen with my own two eyes people ordering something off the menu of healthy options, but then turning that into a bit of a joke. for example.. “I will have the 6 inch fresh and fit ham on wheat” GREAT START!!
But then.. “and can you put double meat on that?”.. oh and can i get double cheese? and while you are at it, might as well make it a foot long, because it is a better deal, and i don’t need many veggies.. and can i have EXTRA ranch on it.. and can you throw a little southwest sauce, etc. you might think I am kidding but I have seen that exact exchange in a Fayetteville Subway.
My core message is that these are all choices, and we just have to be aware of what we order and HOW we order. If you are trying to change your body, try to visualize the order a person with your dream physique might order and order that. Yes, if you are heavy you can almost get away with ordering crap without anyone being too shocked. Before I could talk myself into ordering a large pizza for myself, but if it’s not in my house there is no chance for me to eat the whole darned thing. Today I am perfectly OK with ordering like a little old lady and being VERY specific with what I order. (e.g. asking for the 6oz filet cooked with no added butter/sauce, and steamed broccoli with no added butter/sauce). BTW. what do I order at subway? I order a 6 inch chicken breast on wheat (no cheese), loaded up with veggies and light salt/pepper and oregano.. I find it very tasty, and it is only about 320 calories.
I need to add that when I look at what people have in their basket or what they order, I am doing so as part of my own self-discovery process. I do NOT look down on them, In fact there is a part of me that aches to talk to them and share everything I have learned with them, but I am aware that would be quite unwelcome for most and rather rude as well. I guess that when you finally find some answers that help, you want to share that message and try to help others, but I am not going to be a total dork on a quest to offer unwanted help to strangers at the Kroger. I of course will still be a dork, but just one that keeps his mouth shut. 🙂