Slow Can Be Mmm Good (aka: Slow Food)

I like a lot of fast things. Running fast. Speeding fast down a deserted stretch of highway. Fast roller coasters (with fast-moving lines). Fast rock songs that leave you breathless after a fast impromptu dance session. The charge of adrenaline, the fast blood pumping through your veins – speed can be quite a rush.

But not always.

slow sunrise heart Sometimes, slow is much, much better than fast. Slow sunrises on a warm summer morning. Slow hikes through a mountain wilderness. And especially, slow food. No, I don’t mean crippled prey that hobbles away as you aim your hunting rifle. I mean sloooow food, as in the opposite of fast food. As in, the slow food movement, which, in case you don’t know, is an entire thing.

There’s some political stuff, too, but to keep it simple, the slow food movement is about three things:

  • Avoiding fast food and processed foods with long lists of ingredients
  • Buying whole foods, then cooking and eating them
  • Making efforts to buy organic, sustainably grown foods from local growers, and even growing your own

There are so many good reasons to avoid fast food, that I could write an entire blog about it. Or, I can point you toward eye-opening books, such as Fast Food Nation or Food, Inc. I try to very rarely eat fast food. Yes, it can be very challenging in today’s fast-paced culture to make meals a slow-paced affair. Believe me – as a single mom of three kids who just happens to be a college student with a job, I get the whole time-crunch defense. Still, I try to find ways to cook healthy meals from scratch for my family on a regular basis. With a little effort, advanced planning, and some help from the kids, I manage to produce homemade soups and stews, veggie-loaded quiches, and pots of thick, spicy chili. We plant a small, organic garden plot each spring, and by summer, enjoy a harvest of juicy cucumbers, crisp green beans, and plump, colorful tomatoes.

more good slow food

Do we ever take shortcuts? Sure! Schedules can get pretty hectic some days, and there is just no time to wait for a casserole to bake. During times like these, we try to turn toward not-so-fast foods – foods that cook quickly, but are still minimally processed, like grilled cheese sandwiches, veggie omelettes, or homemade bean burritos. Foods like these are nutritious and packed with flavor, and can often be prepared faster than a trip to a drive-thru window.

veggies are the best

There’s one more component of the slow food movement which really appeals to me. It is about slowing down and savoring food. Sitting with family and engaging in conversation while eating meals (something I need to work on). Taking a moment out of our busy lives to enjoy the flavors of good, well-prepared foods, and taking comfort in knowing exactly where they came from and how they were produced. There are plenty of moments in our lives when faster is better. Food, however, is much better in the slow lane.

Wine, food and great friends

 

 

Being American = McDonald’s for Dinner

All-American food essential

Today I did something extraordinary. I decided to behave like a true red-blooded American and eat dinner at McDonald’s. Not so extraordinary, you say? Well here’s what you should know:

1. I used to be, um…overweight. Or as one of my kids not-so-tactfully pointed out recently while looking at old family photos, “Wow, Mom, you were really fat!” And so for the past two or three years, I have mostly avoided eating fast food. Unless you count Subway. Okay, and sometimes Starbucks.

2. I am a hopeless neurotic control-freak. Which means that every time I look at an item of food, I immediately start calculating calories (Subway Veggie Delite sandwich = 230 calories. Starbucks scone = 480 calories).

3. I have honestly learned to love healthy foods. I would rather snack on a big bowl of green beans or baby carrots than have a chocolate bar. Seriously.

So anyway, choosing to eat McDonald’s food for dinner was a big deal for me. Huge. But like a good patriot, I marched up to the cashier and ordered a Filet o’ Fish and fries. (Okay, fine, a hamburger would have been more American). The fries were golden and crisp and steaming hot, sprinkled in salt. And as I began to eat them, the burst of fried, greasy deliciousness was nearly unbearable.

Ronald and Friends

Suddenly, I was skipping through McDonaldland with Ronald and Grimace and the Fry Guys, singing about how I believe in magic.

Yes, okay, I was an over-commercialized latchkey child of the 80s.

But yes, those fries tasted amazing. Sensational. For the first few bites, anyway. Halfway through the box, I began to notice how very salty they were. So salty, that by the time I had nearly eaten every last french fry, my mouth was as puckered as Spongebob when he was all dried out.

Spongebob Dried Out

I then tried to eat my Filet o’ Fish sandwich, which tasted exactly like the cardboard box it came in, only slathered in tartar sauce. I managed a few bites before finally throwing it all in the garbage. Bleah. Sorry, Ronald. Sorry, Grimace and Fry Guys. The next time I feel like doing something patriotic, I think I’ll stick with watching football.

McDonald’s French Fries = 380 calories
Filet o’ Fish = 380 calories
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Total calories for 1 meal = !!!!!!!!