Your questions about The No Junk January 30 Day Challenge answered. #nojunkJanuary
Why do I love junk food so much? I find all kinds of reasons to justify eating it with the top one being it’s easier and cheaper. Just so you know, I am not a vegan or vegetarian, I eat meat. I want to know how you say its cheaper to cook because I can eat off the dollar cravings menu at Taco Bell and be full for $4-5.00 (plus tax and whatever it costs for a soda)… so say $6.50 and I’m done. No dishes to wash either! Three of my friends want me to do the junk food challenge with them in January. But first I want to know why should stop eating fast food and cook like you suggest, when I can just do what I’ve been doing? It works for me.
The food choices that many of us make, in addition to other choices we make on a daily basis, are never based purely on cost or convenience. When it comes to food, our choices are based on several factors, including time to shop and prepare meals, work and school schedules, cultural and familial norms, laziness, exhaustion, cravings, etc.
I think the most important factor to consider is that some people truly do LOVE to eat food that’s bad for them simply because it makes them feel good. What they are doing is self-medicating with food instead of drugs. Sometimes the choices are coupled with “I deserve this!” or “I need this” — a reward for themselves in that moment because whatever they are eating tastes good and gives them momentary pleasure, with no regard for the consequences.
It reminds me of a time I was out with a friend shopping. She’d picked up quite a bit of weight, and as she tried on the size she USED to wear, nothing fit. She got discouraged so we left. In the car she said she was hungry, so we drove to her favorite take out burrito joint. I’m thinking since she just saw the evidence of how eating badly was not working, she’d get something light just to hold her until dinner. Instead, she got to the counter and ordered a SUPER sized burrito with extra cheese and extra sour cream, then proceeded to eat the entire thing. That giant, 2500 (or more) calorie burrito was her comfort, irrespective of the fact that eating those things was what got her to the size she was.
The consumption of thousands of calories in one sitting is bad enough, but when those calories contain little nutritional value it becomes a problem. Fast food addiction compels many of us in a similar way that any drug compels an addict to come back for more. Food addictions and drug addictions are the same – you eventually need more of it to get the same “high.” Some people will go back to the fast food restaurants they like every day, and some even twice per day (for lunch and dinner). The junk food cycle is a vicious monkey on the back of millions of people.
Though I’m with you on the dishes and cooking issue (I don’t like to do it either), the fact that just about everyone has an automatic dishwasher in their homes and apartments makes that a moot point. So let’s look at what you might order from the Taco Bell $1.00 menu. Let’s say you want to spend $4 (not including your soda and any sales taxes).
You go in and order two Shredded Chicken Mini Quesadillas, a Beefy Fritos burrito, and Cinnamon Twists for dessert.
In that one meal you have ingested a total of:
Calories: 1510 (the average woman needs 1500-1800 for an entire day to avoid gaining weight)
Saturated Fat: 10 g (20 is the USDA recommended amount for a 2000 calorie diet)
Total Fat: 41 g (65 recommended max per day)
Sodium: 2310 (CDC and American Heart Assn recommends no more than 2400 per day)
Cholesterol: 70 mg
Carbohydrates: 111 g (300 is the recommended amount for a 2000 calorie diet)
Fiber: 9 g (25 is recommended minimum for everyone)
Sugar: 15 g (0 – you don’t need added sugar)
Protein: 38 g (50 for the average person)
I couldn’t find any numbers on other nutrition, but I’m sure there is at least some calcium in there somewhere because of the cheese.
Now, a chicken burrito made at home with 1/3 cup diced fresh chicken breast, a reduced carb whole wheat wrapper, shredded romaine lettuce, tomato salsa, canned black beans, rice, and ¼ avocado sliced would cost about $12 total, feed at least 6 people (because most people can only eat half to two-thirds of theirs in one sitting), and provide the following estimated nutrition per burrito:
Saturated Fat: 2.4 g
Total Fat: 13 g
Cholesterol: 43 g
Sodium: 450 mg
Carbohydrates: 88 (desirable complex carbs from the whole grain tortilla, black beans and romaine lettuce)
Fiber: 20 g
Sugar: 3.4 g
Protein: 37 g
PLUS you get 12% of your daily calcium, 45% of daily iron, and 14% of daily vitamin C met in this one meal.
To me there is no doubt which is the better choice long-term for both your health and your wallet. Hope you decide to give it a go! We’d love to have you join us.
Get more delicious meat and dairy free recipes in WHY VEGAN IS THE NEW BLACK. For more information or to order your copy, click the graphic at right.
Category: Veganism and African Americans