I am a good cook. I have several friends and relatives who are better than me (you know who you are) but I am more than confident in the kitchen. The Boyf also knows his way around a spatula and frying pan too but I have to admit something right now. I have almost given up on cooking.
I really enjoy the process of planning meals, shopping and preparing food. In fact, when I was living on my own interstate, I would often undertake massive cooking projects as a sort of entertainment. I remember the weekend I created the most enormous apple strudel from scratch, pasty included. I ate one slice and had no one to share it with, which is awesomely sad. I don’t like most modern apple strudel recipes. My grandma didn’t use filo or puff pastry from what I recall.
My dad’s family are from a spot sandwiched between Italy, the former Yugoslavia and Austria. My grandma’s cooking had many German and Austrian components. Here is the best, genuine Austrian strudel recipe I could find. If you eat too much of it, you will never look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but he likes his strudel and in 2007, Vienna threw him a massive party where schnitzels and strudels featured heavily.
Interestingly, Austria and Schwarzenegger are now at loggerheads. In Austria (as here in Australia) the general population is against capital punishment, where criminals are put to death for their crimes. Schwarzenegger “refused to block the execution of a convicted gang founder” and his decision “triggered a wave of protests that culminated with the renaming of Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium.” Schwarzenegger responded by severing ties with the city. Interesting, hey? Read the article here.
Strudel aside, this post is about crappy food
I have been blogging quite a lot about fast food. I have told you why I loathe subway but like McDonalds, I have told you about how easily bought I am with a few crappy fast food coupons and I have relayed the story of the professor who lost a bunch of weight eating total crap.
On a side note: The Boyf is trying to get me to eat more healthily but I am steadfastly determined to continue to eat crap. I would like to say that I used to waste a lot of time eating very healthy food, writing vegan food plans and the like. This is not necessary for good health. The thing you really need to do is focus on controlling your portion sizes.
That is the one advantage fast food has over home cooked, wholesome food.
Think about it.
When you order a burger from a fast food joint, when you buy a ready meal from the frozen section or when you sign up to a food home delivery service, you get a set number of calories. You can log these and track these with ease.
Now – I know a hell of a lot about calories. I have even written a post on why I think the kilojoule is an ineffective method of measuring energy. Know your calories. You can tell me just about ANY common food and quantity and I will give you a fairly accurate idea of how many calories are in it.
So how many calories are in a slice of bread?
There you go. That’s your problem. Now if you are really smart like me, you know there is no answer. It’s completely variable. It depends on the bread, it depends on the size of the slice. You may be thinking, surely you can give me some idea. A slice of bread should really give you between 80 and 120 calories, but if you cut the slice yourself and if the bread has nuts, seeds or dried fruit, your slice of bread could contain up to 400 calories. Yups. That’s a big difference. That’s a McDonald’s cheeseburger of difference, plus a couple of your friend’s fries.
When I cook, portion sizes are hazardous. Have you ever made a truly delicious risotto or a batch of golden schnitzel? There will be none left at the end of the meal if you have done a good job. This is not ideal.
When I was hardcore vegan and very careful with my portions, I would spoon out cups of brown rice into Tupperware and weigh out my bits of broccoli. What sheer and utter madness! No one wants to eat a bag of weighed and measured broccoli and brown rice for lunch. No one. I don’t care how delusional you are. That is not really living!
Plus, a cup of brown rice, a bit of tofu and a cup of broccoli florets, finished off with a tablespoon of kecup manis (similar to soy sauce) gives you the following calorie breakdown:
Typical vegan lunch
- 1 cup of brown rice (245 calories)
- 1 cup of steamed broccoli florets (48 calories)
- 100g of firm tofu (127 calories)
- 1 tablespoon of kecup manis (41 calories)
Calorie total (typical vegan lunch) = 461
That’s with no oil or other fats. It’s a very depressing meal. You will eat it and feel bloated, unsatisfied and generally angry.
Typical fast-food lunch
- 1 Oportos single classic burger (380 calories)
- 1 potato and gravy (115 calories)
- 1 coke zero (might give you cancer but has no calories)
Calorie total (typical fast food lunch) = 495
You will eat this and feel like you have cheated death. You will be amazed at how long it takes for you to get such crappy food, and how expensive it is. You might get colon cancer like Sharon Osborne for eating too much crap.
“I was a fast food junkie,” says Osborne. “I ate all the wrong things, like milkshakes, ice cream and butter. I mean, this one colon has to deal with all the rubbish we put in our bodies. We don’t realize the damage done each day. We must do a better job taking care of ourselves.” (source)
Could that be the future for me if I continue to eat crap every day? Sharon spent a lot of her life morbidly obese. Thankfully I don’t have this issue. I am a normal weight and since eating fast food I am in the ‘lean’ category of BMI >22. However I was sold the “eat healthy food” line my whole life and I now think that the message was wrong.
If you are struggling with your weight, if you weigh too much, you need to attention your portion sizes as a matter of priority. This is why programs like Lite and Easy or Weight Watchers frozen meals work but there is no need to spend money on this stuff. You can get portion controlled food at any chain of fast food restaurants and due to new legislation that means that more and more of these places are putting calorie information at point of purchase.
If you are having a hard time controlling your portions, that’s OK too. Find out more information on how to control your eating naturally with Therapeutic Hunger. Get free tips here or buy the Amazon book here.
The one advantage fast food has over home cooking is that there is a limited, portion amount of it. It takes a great amount of discipline to portion out the rest of your strudel or schnitzel and eat only the correct amount. It would take the discipline of Arnie himself. That’s far too much for me.