June 18th, 2013
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Down the street from my office, there once was an organic salad carry-out place, sort of similiar to Chop’t but not as inventive.  It went out of business many months ago and I have been watching the empty store to see what kind of business would open up in its place.
My office friends and I have been discussing what we would like to see go in there (Panera got my vote) and we all assumed that the next restaurant would be serving something in the same vein as salads, and if not salads, then something healthy for people to eat.
Wrong! Dunkin Donuts now occupies the once empty space where salad greens and raw veggies were served.  This week they are advertising a breakfast sandwich that uses a doughnut instead of a bun.  My son told me that he actually has eaten one of these sandwiches and they are delicious (figures!) but still it seems so unhealthy to me on so many levels.  Tells me a lot about what’s selling in downtown DC, right?
Fast and sweet gets people every time.  Especially when people are working in high-pressure situations.
It’s such a rude trick from the food industry: the idea that something sweet or fattening or loaded with carbs can plug up that hole you are desperately feeling or wipe out that anger you are feeling or soothe the hurt feelings that are within your psyche.  Physical reactions to the death of a loved one may include loss of appetite or overeating and sleeplessness so it’s perfectly natural that you would reach for the chocolate or the french fries or the glass of wine to comfort your broken heart.
Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the appeal of these foods because I used to eat them all the time too.  When I used to party my brains out, the next morning I would always want fast food.  While I was eating it, I felt great.  But afterwards, I actually felt worse because I didn’t give my body any nutrients to use to process the alcohol in my system or build up my immune system.
As more and more scientific evidence surfaces every day, there is no escaping the fact that there is a direct connection between health and diet.  People are also finding out for themselves that when they eat fresher, natural foods rather than processed foods (that would be me!), they feel a whole lot better.  Fresher may be a little more pricey than frozen or processed but there should be no doubt about spending the extra money because the quality of your life and the quality of your health are worth the investment.
Whether you’re grieving or stressed at work or anxious about your life in general, you are vulnerable and that’s when the desire for fast and easy and convenient processed food kicks in.  Once in awhile it is okay to indulge in something unhealthy because otherwise you’re going to feel deprived.
But do yourself a big favor.  You and I are not having a craving for broccoli or kale or carrots but it’s eating those things that will keep us going strong, strong enough to walk past Dunkin Donuts.
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