With my recent bout with food poisoning (read here), I guess I should be taking my own advice. If you have ever had food poisoning before then you can understand how cautious I will be from now on about eating out. There a re numerous reasons eat out less, stopping it all together if possible, and to cook your own food. I am only going to name a few of the important ones.
- Food Poisoning. This is the most important reason. Anytime you eat out, you are saying that you are okay with the risk that you may contract food poisoning, or other foodborne illnesses like salmonella and E. Coli. You are taking these risks anytime you eat out especially at fast food restaurants, which are none to have bacteria everywhere. I used to work in a fast food restaurant (lasted three months) and I can tell you that they do not practice safety or sanitation measures 90 percent of the time. Many times that food has been sitting out, fallen on an unclean floor, touched by hands of person who doesn’t believe in washing them (which is how you can contract Hepatitis), amongst other things. I just want you to be aware that you are putting yourself at risk by letting a complete stranger prepare your food. Even if you’re vegan, cross contamination and old food can give you food poisoning and anything else.
- Saves Money. Do you know how much money you are really spending on your fast food bill? This also includes Starbucks. If you knew how much you spent in a year on fast food alone, you would be surprised. Take a look at your bank statements and tell me how much you have spent already. Eating out really eats at your pocket.
- Do you know what you’re eating? That meat on your burger, do you even know where it came from? What about those ribs? Are you sure they came from a pig or a cow? Because human ribs look exactly the same. Nowadays, meat farmers are not required to put where their meat comes from or if it’s even really meat. For all you know, you could be eating someone’s dead uncles ribs. It’s not just the meat that may not be real, but also the cheese. To top it off, you don’t know what is going into your food. Do you know what makes that food on your plate or in that bag taste good? Do you know if there is hair, spit, fecal matter, or bugs in it? Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Half the time you won’t know until it’s too late.
- Cooking food at home is fresher. When you prepare your meals yourself, you know that all of your ingredients are wholesome, fresh and you know what they are and where they came from, mind you if you follow a vegan diet. I cook a lot of plant based meals so I know that everything I prepared grew from the ground. All the herbs, spices, produce, everything. It’s not only fresher, but it’s healthier. You have more control of how much salt is in your food and you have the option of sea salt, which is the better option anyway.
- Saves time. I always, always, always bring my lunch to work and that’s mainly because I am a teacher. I can’t really leave work to go anywhere. Even when I had a desk job, I brought my lunch. Many people only have 30 min for lunch and if you are always buying it, you spend a good amount of that time either in a drive thru or standing in line, wasting your lunch. I prepare my lunches the night before so I can just grab and go in the morning. When lunch time comes, I can actually sit down and enjoy my lunch, not have to rush or scarf down my food.
These are the top reasons to stop eating out and prepare your own meals. Try it for a week and see what a difference it makes in your pocket and in your gut. Happy cooking!
Here’s a recipe to help you get started.
Quinoa and Bulgur Salad w/ Kale Pesto
- 1 c quinoa and bulgur mix
- 2 tbsp. Sunflower seeds
- 1/2 c and 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1/2 c dried cranberries
- 1/2 small onion
- 4 c of kale leaves, torn into small pieces
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Himalayan sea salt
Cook quinoa and bulgur as usual. Sauté onions, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries in the 2 tbsp of olive oil.
In a food processor, take 2/3 of the kale and the lemon juice and pulse until chopped. Slowly pour in the 1/2 c of olive oil.
Get a large bowl and pour in quinoa, onion mix and kale pesto. Mix well, adding sea salt to taste. Presto!