Organic fast food: Bringing good eats to the table


It's funny how the notion of "eating well" seems to constantly change. When I was a kid, it meant only eating out at McDonald's once or twice a month, only adding two or three packets of sugar to a glass of Coke, and trying to limit our fish stick consumption to three meals per week. Three years ago, it meant cooking most meals at home, reading labels to minimize high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) consumption, and eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Today, it means cutting out refined sugars, buying local food, and eating as much organic produce as possible.

The last one is the hardest part, as I discovered a few weeks ago, when I got a major craving for celery. Unfortunately, celery is on the list of the top danger foods, which means that when I eat it, I am also eating a witches' brew of nasty pesticides, many of which are impossible to wash off. However, when I went on my quest for organic celery, the best option that I was able to find was Whole Foods, which was charging $5 a bunch, or four times the regular price. Torn between the choice of poison or highway robbery, I went the third route and ate some carrots.

This problem increases when I eat out. At this point, I'd rather not even think about the ingredients that go into my food. A couple of years ago, I stopped eating at McDonald's and Papa Johns because I could detect the foul taste of HFCS in every bite. Today, I try to only eat at privately-owned and operated restaurants, as there's a much smaller chance that they're using vile chemicals and questionable ingredients. Beyond that, I just pretend that the hot dog bun I'm eating is HFCS free and that the onions are organic. Of course, there's a problem when eating out forces me to live in a fantasy world, but them's the breaks. After all, it's taken years for McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King and the other fast food companies to put "healthy" choices on the menu. I don't think I'm going to live to see them go organic.