Monday, July 29, 2013

Convenience Foods

Convenience food has its plusses and minuses. On the plus side... Shoot! It's convenient. It can be found anywhere at any time the appetite strikes. It is at your beck and call. It is consistent. A McDonald's burger is a Micky D's burger in Denver, Colorado, the same as it is in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. It is easy and simple. There is no preparation. There is no messy clean-up. It is mindless. It is the meal of the moment.


Convenience food makes you fat and lazy. It litters the planet, its garish signs painting the skyline, its packaging stuffing landfills. It is not real food. It nourishes, but only for the moment. Its very ease is addictive. Its engineered combination of fats, salts, and sweets are addictive. You think you can get away from it, can handle it healthily. You think, Ah, this time I'll drive up to the window and just order the salad. Yet, moments after the disembodied voice asks, "Can I take your order?," you find yourself juggling in your lap a double cheeseburger, fries, and a chocolate shake. Convenience food is in the driver's seat. It lulls you into complacency; it allows you to forget your roots, your integrity.

I have been eating convenience foods lately. In man form. I have a convenience man. He is there when I need him. He makes it easy to lean. He is consistent in his offerings. He comes when I call, he leaves when I ask. And I find myself asking. A lot. I'm not even sure I like him. Sometimes I positively don't. He hangs on. He tells me he's trying to hang on. He engineers himself to hook me, to keep me coming back. He is on the corner in Denver, Colorado, and in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, texting the things a girl likes to hear. He feeds me, comforts me, warms my side of the bed before I get in. Yet he is not the one. He doesn't fit. He litters my mind with ideas that aren't me, lives in a way I don't admire. He is fast food, not my soul's mate. I know this and have known it for an embarrassingly-long time. I always think I can handle him, this relationship. I think I can order just the salad but find myself overeating, over-relying, letting him in when what I really need is to cook for myself.

How does one kick a convenience food habit? How does one overcome the withdrawal symptoms, ignore the availability and the advertising on every corner? Cold turkey? Cold bed sheets. Pfft.