Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mass Quantities

Gluttony is the source of all our infirmities, and the fountain of all our diseases. As a lamp is choked by a superabundance of oil, a fire extinguished by excess of fuel, so is the natural health of the body destroyed by intemperate diet. - Robert Burton

My Saturday started like many others - sleep in a little bit, take the dogs out, have a cup of tea.  I checked in with one of my besties to see what she was up to for lunch.  She mentioned that she and her daughter were discussing where to go for lunch.  Her daughter wanted to go to Golden Corral and, although my friend wasn't a huge fan of the place, asked if my BFF and I would like to meet them there.  I've never been much for buffets (I always picture little kids wiping the snot from their nose and then handling the food with their sticky hands) but since BFF and I hadn't been to a Golden Corral before, we agreed to give it a try.  And I am glad that we did but not for the reasons you may think.

It was literally a corral.  Upon entering the restaurant, the first thing we noticed was that everyone was being "herded" through the line to get our drinks and pay and then to another "holding" area where we were asked to wait for a table to be made available for us.  As we made our way through the restaurant, I couldn't help but notice the people that were there.  Most were obese (many, morbidly so) and had children who were on their way to being obese.  By the time we arrived at our table, I was already wondering why I was there.  I was surrounded by statistics and, on paper, I was one of them.  We set our drinks on our table and off we went to the buffet.  There were different sections of the buffet for different types of food: Mexican, Chinese, Italian, standard American fare (meatloaf, burgers, etc.), seafood, salads and desserts (including a chocolate fountain.  I did indulge in the chocolate fountain but to my credit, I only had two very small items from there and didn't finish the second item).  As we made our way through the buffet, my bestie pointed out how no one was at the salad bar.  I turned to look and sure enough, no line at all at the salad bar but looking around at the patrons, it didn't surprise me.

I saw large men and women carrying multiple plates at a time piled high with various fried foods.  I did also see some thinner people eating the same foods and for a moment I thought that they must not eat there often because they weren't overweight.  Then I reminded myself that just because they were thin didn't mean they were healthy.  They could be just as nutritionally deficient as an overweight person.  Remember - eating a lot of food doesn't mean you are nourishing your body properly.  Most mass quantity/processed foods do not contain the necessary vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy body.  I was tempted to take pictures of the buffet lines for my blog but didn't feel it was appropriate to do so.  Goodness knows I wouldn't want my picture taken if I were eating a week's worth of calories at one meal.  You will just have to trust me when I say that it was all so much.  

On our way home, BFF said something that I thought summed it all up.  She said "there is so much food there that it makes you want to keep eating until you pop."  And I realized, she's right.  That's the point of restaurants like that - it's a lot of food and it's extremely cheap.  The mass quantity food is loaded with sugar, salt and chemicals and it is addictive.  For $8, an adult can go in and eat as much as they want from the buffet.  But, in the end, what does it REALLY cost?  Diabetes medication.  High blood pressure medication.  Achy joints.  Body fat percentages well above what is considered to be safe and healthy.

It was a very eye-opening experience.  Although the buffet experience is an extremely rare one for me, I do eat out and admittedly, I don't always make the best decisions when selecting from a menu.  I did get a very large salad and ate it before I ate my chicken tender, one mini slider burger (didn't eat it all) and single slice of cheese pizza.  I ate a sliver of a rice krispie treat covered in chocolate, half a macaroon covered in chocolate and some sugar free strawberry jello.  That was it.  I made one trip through the buffet line and I am proud of myself for that.  Yes, my food selections could have been better and I know that.  My lesson learned was that I do NOT want to be someone who allows food to take over my life.  I don't want to be the fat girl in the restaurant with three heaping plates sitting in front of me.  The thing that tasted the best to me was my salad.  It tasted fresh and crisp and delicious.  I didn't have to wipe grease off of my mouth with every bite.

So, my vow to myself to cook more at home is certainly a good one for my health!  The fact that I will be able to control what goes into the food I make gives me a tremendous sense of relief.  No servings of mass proportion needed.  Needless to say, I was very happy to eat my carrots and celery as an evening snack. 

Happy Trails!

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