Knowledge is everything! When you acquire knowledge your whole perspective on life changes. The decisions you make are all based on the knowledge you’ve gained through experience, education and by watching others.
I get amazed looking back on my youthful life. The phrase
If I knew then what I know now
rings clear to me. My list of must haves would have definitely been different back then.
My family and I were out and about recently and one of my kids asked if we could stop and get some Burger King. My face immediately scrunched up in disrelish at the thought. Before saying anything else I blurted out loud
From there my husband and I had a conversation that sparked this post.
We both went through that same phase of thinking fast food was everything! At one point it was delicious to us and we had no objection to eating it.
I remember those beautiful sunny Saturday afternoons when my parents took us to the park. We were always at the park on the weekends. My father worked hard throughout the week and we missed him when he was gone all day. The weekend was our chance to spend that needed family time.
It was also a perfect opportunity to ask our parents to take us to McDonalds for a happy meal.
Let me explain something. Going to McDonalds back then was like a vacation or a trip to a theme park. We went so seldom that it was a very special treat for us.
One of the reasons was at the time
my parent’s budget couldn’t afford us that extra “luxury”. The other reason was our parents told us too much fast food was not good for us. 😏
We didn’t buy the latter
excuse reason. We thought it was just their way of trying to deter us from the desire. Besides, we were just kids who didn’t care about healthy eating but only yummy eating. 😋😄
I remember looking forward to seeing what toys we got after the food was gone. Oh and of course eating my strawberry sundae if I was able to get one. We were pushing our limits asking for dessert too but my parents did give in on several occasions.
I remember saying to myself
When I grow up I will get to have as many cheeseburgers and fries as I want.
Oh yea, it was on now!
My junior year in high school I got my first paying job at...can you guess where?
It wasn’t just for the “yummy” food but because it was close to home, they were hiring kids my age often and it seemed like an easy enough job.
I worked there for two years, constantly eating the food on my breaks. I would even stop up there for a discounted (sometimes free) meal even off the clock.
It wasn’t like a vacation any more but it still felt like a dream that I could have the food I’ve always wanted more of anytime.
I probably had way too many shakes and apple pies for one person in a lifetime. I enjoyed it all! The experience of working, meeting new people, learning how to problem solve but most of all the grub.
After two years of working there I began to get over the hype. I started feeling sluggish all the time and just not myself any more. I was always a thin fit person with a very high metabolism but I am one to know that you can ‘look’ fit but be very unhealthy.
Eating fast food so often began affecting my athletic abilities. I was a cheerleader and ran track all throughout high school. I had to start making better choices if I was to continue with my sports (yes cheerleading is a sport so don’t try to convince me otherwise 🤨).
I started packing my own lunches from home and cut back on eating the food from work. It helped with getting myself back in order and focusing on staying fit for myself and my teammates.
Working at a fast food restaurant in my teenage years helped diminish the fantasy I once had. I thought being able to buy this type of food anytime I wanted was part of the fun of being an adult. I think the advertisements on television helped with that. It was a fad to eat out instead of at home.
Yes, it was fun being able to finally make my own decisions and have my own money but eating fast food wasn’t everything. I soon began to realize just how bad it really was for my health.
I remember doing research on the fries used at McDonalds and came across several experiments that had been done. People were keeping their burger and fries for 10+ years and showing how they never molded or rotted.
That’s right, 12 year old French fries looking exactly the same as if you brought them today. The only noticeable difference may be a fade in color.
Then I read about the ingredients they use in their fries and how some of it is even labeled not good for ingestion. No wonder our bodies have a hard time digesting this stuff...not sure if it should be labeled as food. 🥴 If it can’t rot or mold then it’s not food.
Once I got married my husband and I together decided to start looking into healthier lifestyle habits from what we eat, clean with, cook with and the whole works. Before you know it we were known as the health gurus in my family, teaching them about essential oils and clean eating.
I will admit that there are still times we do grab a bite of fast food to eat. Not that it makes any difference but I refuse to go to McDonalds or Burger King. I prefer places like Chick-fil-A or Raising Canes where most of the time the food is hot and fresh and the customer service is great. I am very picky about where I eat and which foods go in my body nowadays.
Back then I didn’t appreciate this but I am saying it now. I am thankful I had parents that cooked us healthy home cooked meals. I understand now why they only allowed the trips to McDonalds to be like a vacation, an occasional special treat.
It feels good to be following in my parent’s footsteps. My kids thank me all the time for cooking for them and I can see they do appreciate it.
However, kids will be kids and they, like I did, yearn for a special treat from time to time. Something different and that wasn’t cooked on my stovetop.
They enjoy opening up their happy meals and seeing what toy they have inside. It’s fun having something other than mama’s cooking.
Well, I am proud to say that our kids are so used to eating home cooked meals now that sometimes when we do eat out they make comments like
This tastes fake. Mom yours tastes better. I don’t want any more.
So although they still desire to have that fast food fix every now and again they seem to always appreciate what I serve from my kitchen. That makes me happy. ☺️
They are going through the phase I went through but only they are starting to figure out sooner then I did what really tastes better. They already know why we seldom go to those places. We teach them how unhealthy it is and about the long term effects it will have on them.
It’s also insane how much eating out costs today. To feed my family of seven we would have to spend around $50.00. 😳 So eating at home is both healthier and more cost-efficient.
We hope our kids follow in our footsteps and practice healthy eating habits with their own families. I know as they grow older they will have an even better understanding of why eating at home was our number one choice.