Saturday, September 18, 2010

Recovery Day at PNC Park

Hey everyone! I have gotten some really good feedback on moving my blog to blogspot and I am really excited! According to my statistics.. I have twice the amount of views! Although half of them could be me going on in order to see how many people have looked haha : )

I wanted to use the blog today to talk about how you let your body recover from a hard week. Do you have a day that you make sure you take just to recover? I started pushing myself a little harder in the gym this last week and while I feel very healthy, It does take a toll on how worn down I get. Its important to take a day or two to let your body recover.

Yesterday was Friday and a few people from my office decided to go to the Pirates game... Go BUCS!!! So I went to the gym before we went to the game and had a really light leg work out because I didnt want to be to worn out for the game.

 My work out was simple:

10 minutes on the elliptical to warm up my legs and then 3 sets of 12 on every leg machine to work all major muscle groups. I also did some free weight squats with 35-45 pound weights which I am definately feeling today. Does anyone else think its awkward to do squats in the gym? I always feel weird but hey you gotta do what you gotta do! some exercises make you look silly but thats ok!

After the game I met my co workers so we could go to a little bar serving a wonderful happy hour downtown on Penn avenue called Seviche. They were having a wonderful happy hour with 4 dollar glasses of wine and 5 dollar tappas. What a deal! and they have it all the time. So we sat and relaxed eating some delicious food. Look at this 3 cheese plate!

I had a really good glass of sangria but it was so sweet that I felt like I only wanted to have one. I was kicking myself for the amount of sugar that was probably in that drink.

We walked over the bridge to the Pirates game and had wonderful seats with the other people that work with. Dont you love PNC park?

Its very easy to go wild with food in the ballpark with all of the hot dogs, pizza, beer and cotton candy. I even saw a dad buy his 5 year old son a hot dog, an entire cotton candy, nachos with cheese product, a large soda and ice cream in the course of 2 hours. That is just simply not ok to do to your the end of the game he was passed out and didnt even see the final hit for the Pirates win in the 9th!

There werent many healthy options to choose from at the Ball Park but we got very hungry so I decided that a soft pretzel and water were going to be my dinner. I love soft pretzels.. they are so good!!

By the time I got home I had realized that I was so tired and the day was wonderful. It was great to have fun and relax with some friendly people that I work with. I also got to sleep in this morning and get a full 8 hours of rest as opposed to the 6 hours that I normally get.

This morning after my full nights rest I had a non fat pumpkin spice latte and some good conversation with a good friend.

There is nothing more relaxing than that and while my legs might be sore from my work out yesterday I feel rested and like it was exactly what I needed!

Question of the Day: What do you do to relax when you take a day off of working out? How many days do you take off a week?

Friday, September 17, 2010

I've Moved My Blog

Hello Everyone!

As you've already noticed I have moved my blog! I thank Network Pittsburgh for everything they have done to get me into blogging and I have really enjoyed it. I've enjoyed it so much that I wanted to play around with the idea a little bit more. I wanted to have a little bit more freedom to change templates, colors and really personalize this blog to fit my personality.

I will still be posting on Network Pittsburghs blog site because they are such wonderful people and quite a few people still follow this blog directly from that site. I am hoping to pick up a few more readers and really dive into blogging because its just so much fun!

I have moved over only a few of my favorite posts from my other blog because to move over 40+ posts is a lot of work. I figured I would start the new school year off with a new year of fresh blogs : ) So please let me know if there are any questions you have or any support you need with your fitness goals! and keep your eyes peeled for some new and super exciting posts!

My Story

Good Morning everyone! My name is Mackenzie and I am a 22 year old recent college graduate and fitness/nutrition enthusiast. I have been very interested is different forms of exercise and proper eating for a good chunk of my life and I am so happy to have this opportunity to share my thoughts, experiences, and changes in my life with you. I should start off by thanking you for being interested in my writing and also telling you my story. The one thing that I promise anyone who reads this blog is that I will always be honest with myself and with you, I will make you think about how to change your habits is a supportive way, and I will always keep things interesting.

There are very few people in the United States that at some point in their lives hasnt worried or wanted to change their weight or improve their health. After all, at the end of the day what else do we have except our health? Many Americans have a habit of putting their health on the back burner in order to focus more attention on other things such as work, family life, friends, etc. While making time for all of these things is great.. where in your day are you making time for you? Some people think of any type of working out as torture but they should look at it as "Me time" in which you take an hour out of your day and do something that will make you happier, healthier, and less stressed later on.

Ok so my story. I will skip the "I was born in a small town..blahblah" because that has nothing to do with fitness and the town is so tiny it isnt worth mentioning anyway because trust me.. you've never heard of it. LOL ok so, Here comes the honesty part:

Younger Years:

Ok, when I was 14 I started to realize that my weight and what i saw in the mirror were starting to creep into my thoughts more and more often.Now, you might be saying "14? Honey, why were you even thinking about that at 14?" Which is true, I was 120 lb and 5'1.. not a large number by any means for a teenager..However, I put pressure on myself to lose weight. I gave myself a goal of 3 months ( a visit to see my sister in Maryland) to lose as much as possible. The only issue is.. that most people at the age of 14 dont understand how this is done and because of that it lead to 2 months of not eating as much as I should have. Did the weight come off? Yes.. was it the right way? No. So, I got down to 109 and still wasnt happy. I got very swept up in weight loss..I was eating probably 600 calories a day while running every morning.. Luckily, This made me realize one day in August.. that first of all this is something I couldnt do the rest of my life, it wasnt healthy, and I was starting to scare my parents. I was dropping weight very fast and my mom stumbled upon diet pills.. I hadnt taken any but regardless..they were there. I needed to learn how to be healthy and fit..and not worry so much about skinny.

I want to pause slightly to say that I write about this time in my life to prove a very serious point.. that when it comes to weight loss, exercise, and diet.. it is so very easy to be pressured, skew your self image, and get into bad habits. This is why I want to write, speak, and educate. Being healthy doesnt only mean weight..its not numbers..its how you feel about yourself as an whole person.

So, I joined highschool sports and got a YMCA membership. I started researching which foods to eat, when, and why. Learning about this stuff really sucked me in to the point where I got a job in the Dietary Department of a hospital. The education continued.

When I came to college everything changed. Suddenly, it was friends, parties, drinking, and late night pizzas.. this routine paired with a part time job and an 18 credit course load.. didnt leave much time or energy for my work out routine. My senior year this routine really caught up with me.. My weight was up considerably, I was tired and napping at every opportunity I had, getting 10 hours of sleep a day if possible and still being tired. I avoided mirrors, storefront windows, and just felt uncomfortable in my skin.I hit 147, I hated pictures of myself and being the stubborn Italian that I am, decided that instead of complaining and hiding I should do something about it. I had the knowledge.. i just needed to use it.

So in May of 2009, upon Graduation for my undergrad degree in business management, I decided that was day one of getting my routine back on track. I enlisted the help of one of my friends to teach me how to weight lift and started finding a time to hit the gym everyday. I knew my late night pizzas had to stop, alcohol had to be cut out, and I had to change my whole lifestyle back to how it used to be. So through continued research about health, eating the right foods, and learning about weight lifting/ exercise and being really sore many many days in a is now January 2010.. and I am 125, have joined a work out team at my University and have tried so many different foods and forms of exercise that I cant wait to share with every reader. I have started to train groups of people myself in the gym and have more and more people every week asking me to help them. So,  I have the knowledge of someone that has done it and been there and a want to help! I can tell you what works and what doesnt because I have experienced it.

Through this blog I hope to talk about new foods, new exercises and fitness routines, motivate others and hopefully continue to motivate myself. So if you are interested in improving yourself and trying new things please keep reading!

Thank you to everyone and to Network Pittsburgh for giving me the opportunity to Blog for them about something I am very passionate about.

The Importance of weight training

The Importance of Weight Training
                Good Morning Everyone! Yesterday I had an very intense work out that encompassed all the basics of exercise.. cardio, strength training, stretching, etc. and as I looked around the gym I realized that there were many other people there who simply did the same machines for a hour and considered themselves done. During my time in the gym, I try to understand what exercises will be the most efficient uses of my time. I hardly got any results when I was doing my own cardio machine routine. When I started circuit training and splitting my time between cardio and lifting..I saw amazing results in my muscle mass, energy, and stamina. Therefore, I can only logically come to the conclusion that weight training/ resistance training is very important to overall fitness!
                Now I understand that there are a few issues that most people run into when they contemplating started a weight training routine. Many people that I have trained or that have been in the group I am training with have had many questions. I thought that I would use today's blog to field some of these common questions and concerns.. so let's get started!
•1.       I don't want to get bulky - Now obviously this is a concern I get mostly from women because they associate lifting weights with muscle-y bodybuilding men who can't touch their own shoulders because they are simply too buff. (Which is too much by the way.. if you ask me) This could not be further from the truth. Women's bodies are not created to hold heavy muscle tissue the way a man's body is. When a woman starts a strong weight lifting routine they will simply gain strength, boost Metabolism, and build lean muscle. It is virtually impossible for a women to get bulky muscle unless they are using supplements or spending hours upon hours lifting heavy weight every day. TIP: For men - Try Increasing the weight you lift on every set of exercises while lowering the amount of reps to build strong muscle. For women- try a medium weight (Any weight you lift, bench, or curl should be challenging but doable..for beginners I suggest 10 pounds dumbbells for most exercises) and try to do at least 15-20 reps every time..more reps with a medium weight helps to build lean muscle and not bulk.

•2.       I don't want to hurt myself - It is true that lifting is its own beast in a sense. It can prove to be dangerous if you don't know what you are doing. This is why I suggest that you don't undertake any weight lifting routine without some preliminary consultation first and make sure there is always someone there to spot you. There is a certain form for lifting and if it is done incorrectly you can hurt yourself and slow your results. TIP: If you don't have a personal trainer readily available (please sense the sarcasm) then think about asking an employee at your gym if they can show you a few exercises, spot you, or watch your form. Also, for those who are very inexperienced.. try taking a toning class! Low weights with an instructor showing you exactly what you should be doing. These are all stepping stones to learning the proper and efficient technique! Always make sure that if you are lifting that you have someone, whether it be a friend, trainer, gym employee, or friendly gym go-er to spot you! It is common gym practice to spot people who need don't feel weird asking someone.

•3.       Why does lifting help? - Lifting strengthens your muscles and causes more muscle tissue to be present in your body. More calories are burned in your body to sustain muscle then it does to sustain fat. This means that your metabolism (the rate at which your body uses energy) will speed up to burn energy faster to use the calories to sustain your muscle.

•4.       I am in great shape but lifting still makes me sore..why? This question is one that plagues even myself.. I have been lifting steadily for over 6 months now and I still have different body parts sore every day because of it. I am going to explain why people get sore.. and stay with me here because it sounds a little strange. When you make your muscles work hard you are actually essentially breaking them down and tearing them apart (sounds gross I know..why would you want to do that to yourself? right?) However, strength training and lifting tear these muscles down and throughout the next 48 hours your body does this amazing thing called "adapting." You body repairs the torn muscle and actually repairs it in a way that makes it stronger and more able to withstand intense work. This system of breaking down and repair is what strengthens your muscles but unfortunately the "repair" process means soreness. TIP: Make sure to have some source of protein both before and after your work out.. if you don't want to be as intense as drinking protein supplements.. try a handful of nuts or look up a list of protein rich foods that you might like and are easily thrown in your gym bag.  Protein and plenty of water help muscles repair faster.

Please remember that while some people get really into lifting.. that doesn't mean that you have to be a serious body builder to get results and appreciate it. Resistance training or 30 minutes of weight training in a day can be enough to build muscle and raise metabolism. You don't even have to use weights starting out.. many people have seen success using simply their body weight as resistance (Dips, push ups, etc.) Remember try something new and it could really pay off!!

Farmers Market Sunday! : )

Good Morning folks!
I wanted to use today's blog to tell all the Yinzers out there (Aka those natives of Pittsburgh) about the wonders of farmers markets! Do you take the time to look for local farmers markets in your area? Have you noticed that their prices are usually lower than the super market? Also, you can help local growers support their families instead of grocery store chains? I love farmers markets because you can never get fruit or vegetables quite as fresh as those that have been grown on a local farm.

My mom and I spent a lovely day together in the sunshine looking at 2 of the farmers markets that are closest to her new house in Wexford. One of them I had been to before and the other I had not. I loved them both (one is considerably bigger than the other) and I think that they deserve a little bit of free publicity here for what they offer.

The first place is a local families business called Sorgeols. Sorgeols is located in Wexford and is filled with fresh homemade/ organic foods and hand crated trinkets. They have a bunch of different types of foods to offer including a barn completley dedicated to Allergen and Gluten Free foods. Yes folks that's right.. they have a barn completely dedicated to Gluten free foods! (Sorry for the picture quality.. Im only working with a blackberry here lol)

Soergels                        inside

 Anyone that knows me knows that I love looking at trinkets and I also love good healthy foods! So this combination was perfect. My mom wanted to go into the gift shop first and it was great! Three stories of hand crafter childrens toys, candles (that I spent 20 minutes smelling because I loove scented candles) and wooden folk art. It was a really neat place with lots to look at but one of the things that I wasnt expecting was live bees! My mom called me over to a bee hive that they have inside the store (dont worry folks..behind glass or I wouldve been running for cover) You could see the bees producing natural honey combs behind the glass and it was so neat but I was still a little freaked out.. give me spiders, snakes.. anything but bees!

bees                            gifts

I had come here before a few years ago with friends around autumn and had such an amazing time. They offer really inexpensive hay rides that will take you up to a pumpkin patch and you can search their huge field for the best pumpkin you can find! They served delicious warm apple cider and places to take your picture. It was truly an awesome experience and a perfect activity for the fall. Here are a few of my favorite pics from that experience.. you can see how much fun we are having! and one of my favorite people is in these photos who I miss dearly! My college room mate and one of my best friends, April.. since graduation she has moved to New York City to pursue her dancing career and is doing so well! I am so proud of her and I think she has so much strength to move on her own the the big apple! Love and miss her!

me and ape
...and then of course there is me in my senior picture in the sunflowers moment sunflower

Or how about the one where I am being a huge camera hog on the hay ride?

The best part was that I found homemade apple butter in one of the stores there! It was a huge jar and it was soooo good! And the best part was it had a total of 3 ingredients- apples, apple juice and spices. You can't beat that kind of purity in your food! Put it on whole grain toast and you have yourself a breakfast of champions!

The second time around I was on a mission to find that apple butter again because it was so good and I lucked out! I couldn't even resist breaking it open in the car on the way home and taking some because I remember it being so tasty!
 apple butter

I think my favorite part of the whole day was that the offered roasted corn! This corn was so good that my mom and I both had to try a piece of it and definitely could have gone for seconds. Soergels is a great place to spend a few hours and get some healthy food and sunshine. There is plenty to do and see and it even has a petting zoo to keep the kids entertained so look it up!

The second farmers market that we went too was much smaller but only about 3 minutes away from the first called Shenots Farm. The best part about this Farmers market was that apparently they are known throughout the area for their home made fudge recipes... and believe me there are so many to chose from you wont know what to eat first! They had probably 30 different kinds of fudge that ranged from raspberry chocolate to turtle or mint. I could've eaten them all! But unfortunately I was so full for Soergels that I did not partake but trust me it looks delicious : )

!  shenot                  

 They also offered a lot of very inexpensive fruits and vegetables... even had bushels of peaches that were straight off the tree! and a hay play area that the kids could play in while you were shopping. I, of course, could not leave without getting my picture taken with this lovely cut out... did you guys know I am 5'1! and apparently 8 years old at heart : )


Before I end this blog I also wanted to let those who frequent the downtown area know that there is a farmers market every Thursday around lunchtime in Market Square. Local vendors set up their stands with fruits, veggies, homemade pies and even wine! If you have a minute on your lunch break you should check it out! if you go onto the website for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership they will give you a lot of information on this Farmers market and what vendors are there.

Farmers markets are a great way to make sure you are getting fresh organic produce and that it stays relatively inexpensive. Plus, it is a great reason to get out and about on the weekends when it's nice and take the family out for some family fun time. I know that picking pumpkins and fruit for jams/preserves were some of my favorite memories when I was growing up. Not to mention last fall when I had to help navigate myself and my mother through a 3 mile corn maze! Good thing one of us can read a map! Ha

I hope to one day take my family for a hay ride with some apple cider in hand! Every child should have a memory like that to look back upon.
 What farmers markets have you been too? Where are they located? Did you enjoy the experience? Do you think they are better than going to the grocery store?
Please take some time to Google search some farmers markets that may be near you! Get out and enjoy!

The Cost of Being Healthy

     Hello Everyone! I would like to take this blogging opportunity to share with my readers something that has been bothering me for quite some time. The cost of having a healthy lifestyle. I walked into Giant Eagle tonight and filled up my cart (buggy for you Pittsburgh-ers) with my regular healthy fair which consists of foods such as zucchini, apples, sweet potatoes, whole grain cereal, and eggs. When I was done shopping I found the shortest line and hopped in back. I couldn't help but notice that there was a middle aged couple in front of me in line that had their cart filled to the brim. Upon further inspection I saw that their cart was filled with more than enough bags of potato chips, frozen dinners, and soda to easily sustain more than 2 people (Came to the conclusion that they must have children). I will admit that I felt a small twinge of remorsebecause all that I could think about was the poor children who would grow up eating this food. There was not one real fruit or vegetable in the entire cart.

     Now  please understand that I wasn't judging this couple because I understand the reason behind shopping the way that they were and I can promise you that it didn't have much to do with what "tastes good." I saw how much their bill came to for their cart filled with food and then it was my turn. I put my healthy food arsenal on the conveyor belt and saw that the total for my healthy foods (For only one person) was scarily close to the cost of food for the 2 + people that had gone before me with the cart of unhealthy choices. Are we really surprised that 70% of American adults are overweight? Or that there is an obesity epidemic that is hitting Americas youth?? How is anyone expected to make healthy choices when advertising and sales prices are forcing people to make unhealthy decisions? Why would you buy an apple that costs 2.50 when you could buy a bag of potato chips that lasts longer for 1.50? These are all thoughts that plague me every time I go to the grocery store. It leads to thoughts such as "what am I willing to pay for my health? or could I put a price on my childs ability to run and play?" Note: I dont have any children but if I did I would not want to be placed in the position where I would have to choose between paying my bills and buying my children food thats important for their health and well being.

     I wanted to be able to arm my readers with the ability to still make healthy decisions even though most grocery stores and advertising are usually trying to convince them to do the opposite. After some thinking I thought of a few ways in which someone can avoid being sucked in the food industries ploys. Ways that people could save money and still manage to make healthy eating decisions.

•1.    Make sure you always prepare yourself for your trip to the grocery store. It is so important to go to the store with a plan of meals and snacks for your week. If you go in with a plan then you are less likely to aimlessly wander and be taken in by the advertising and fatty snacks. You have to take the time to think about your plan of attack when you're shopping.
•2.     Try to buy foods that can be versatile. I have discovered that healthy staples in your pantry can be very helpful and can be used in a number of recipes in different ways. Some of these staples are rice, potatoes, spinach, and whole grain pasta. They are used in many healthy recipes and can be spread out in their use for quite some time! Also, they are pretty general items in the grocery store and because of that aren't that expensive.
•3.      Save money by preparing and separating things yourself at home. This is not a rule that helps save money simply for health food but for all foods. Grocery stores like to charge you extra for thinking about your convenience and because of this they will raise prices on items like pre cut carrot sticks, 100 calorie packs, etc. Think about buying these items in bulk and separating them by serving size when you return home. This way you are still buying the same healthy foods but are not paying someone else to separate or peal them for you.
•4.    Always..always..always check serving sizes! The average American eater does not look at food labels and does not realize that what they would normally serve themselves is a much larger portion than they should be having. Serving size has been created to show the amount of the food product that you should consume to sustain yourself. If you were to only eat the recommended serving size of the foods you buy think about how many more times you would be able to enjoy them and still feel sustained.

•5.      Last and not least.. the rule that your mother has told you since you were a kid. Never shop on an empty stomach. You are so much more likely to splurge and buy more food or make bad food decisions when you are hungry. Make sure you eat before you go so that you can make smart decisions based on your health plan and not your rumbling stomach.

     Now this subject is something that I could go on and on about for a very long time. I feel very passionate about how its society and marketing that are adding to the health issues of today's average American. Instead I would really love to hear what you guys have to say about this! Let me know about any instances that you have run into unhealthy marketing ploys or your thoughts on the cost of health foods. I am very interested and I promise I will respond!

Thank you

The Definition of Blogging and Some Serious Favorites

Good Morning everyone!!

I am fresh off of a long weekend spent with my wonderful boyfriend down in Charlotte North Carolina and I am pumped and ready to finish out this week. It is very hard to get back into the routine here when you spend time having so much fun somewhere else but alas it is what I have to do! This weekend was perfect because of the fact that I got to relax and take some time away to enjoy the warm weather and spend some quality time with my boyfriend. I think that sometimes taking into account your mental health and wellness is just as important as physical. It is important to take a minute out of your day for yourself.. even if it is just to listen to a favorite song or perhaps theres only enough time to take a few deep breaths.

The weekend was wonderful and was filled with seeing old friends, meeting new friends and seeing some new places I hadn't yet in Charlotte. (pictures soon to come once they get off the camera!) One of the best parts was that I was able to be there with my other half to watch the season premier of Madmen! Did anyone else get a chance to watch it? What did you think?

Click here to create a MadMen themed Picture of yourself: )

Alrighty, now that we have had our update.. lets get down to the nitty gritty of what this blog is about. I love reading blogs by other, usually more established nutritional and fitness bloggers. It helps to give me recipes, ideas about exercise classes and also helps me to get a feeling for what I want my blog to be.. What do I like about the set ups I see? What do I not like? How can I use the things that I do like and make them more my style? Today I was reading one of the posts of one of my favorite blogs to read and saw that there has been a string of comments that were accusatory and mean. Preaching to the blog writer that they were a terrible human being because they dont shop strictly at local farmers markets and that they dont take up the human rights issue? Ok, slow it down here.. this is a friendly blog about her healthy lifestyle.. not CNN.

It made me mad because this person was saying that bloggers dont have real facts and basically have no real purpose because they arent living in the woods, foraging for berries. So I wanted to set the record straight for all of the nutritional and fitness bloggers out there.. I blog because I have a real interest in leading a life of balance. I want to live a healthy life by eating well with small indulgences, exercising just like the rest of my blogging friends.  Nowhere in any of our writings do we claim to be Doctors, Hollywood personal trainers or part of the barefoot running brigade. I have found that there is a network of young (20-30 years old) bloggers who like to share their lives with people who will read, converse and support. We are simply people who want to share our experiences and to have an outlet for our interests, we want to share with people that it is possible to live in a healthy balance and enjoy our lives with boyfriends, friends, husbands, fiances, houses, careers, school and anything else you can think of.

In the spirit of true balance in the world.. I decided to use my blog to share with my readers some of the best bloggers that I enjoy reading under the umbrella of a healthy lifestyle. These people are interesting, funny and keep your attention while offering good information through their experiences.

Please check them out

This is called Sweet Tooth Blog written by a 26 year old woman named Courtney

A blog about healthy living and an obsession with Peanut Butter

A blog about a healthy lifestyle between veggies and sweets

How Sweet Blog
A young woman and personal trainer writes about her love of food

A wonderful blog by a women named Ann Gatty.. she helps people discuss how to deal with stress

So please check out these writers and see what you think.. and please remember that comments are always loved and appreciated as long as they are supportive. Its hard enough to maintain a healthy balance with all the other stressors in everyones lives. Women should support women in whatever it is they want to do to improve themselves. Maybe that will be my next blog... a personal health piece on women keeping women down... hmmm.. what do you think??

Dont Insult My Intelligence

Good Morning my lovely blog readers.. how are you today?  I am currently wearing a new black dress and pumps that I got on sale for work and my favorite short strand of pearls that my ridiculously wonderful  boyfriend gave me.. so I have a little kick in my step today and I am feeling feisty. So as I am feeling feisty today I have decided to discuss something I've seen this morning that deserves to have a little attitude thrown its way.. one small thing that knocked me off my cloud for a few seconds this morning...

     Has anyone seen the new Wendys commercial  in which their tagline is something along the lines of "we now have real food!" and they advertise that their salads have what!? REAL CHICKEN!! Now, my first thought was .. " so that would lead me to believe that the rest of your menu does not include real meat?" and also "what in the hell were you putting in  your products before that couldn't be considered real food?" I really think that Wendys kind of stepped on their own foot here bc to endorse your "real food salads" you have to admit that the majority of what you sell isn't real food.. and lets be honest with ourselves.. it truly isn't. Its preservatives, oil, fat, and chemically created flavorings.. and that's not food, while it may fill your does not nourish your body which is the only reason to eat.

    Please fast food fat cats.. do not insult my intelligence and think that I am dumb enough to think that you are actually trying to do something healthy for the American Public, okay?

    Now I know you are all thinking .. oh jeez not another "holier than thou" salad eater telling me that I shouldn't stop at McDonalds on my way home. I know its bad for me but its fast and its they have healthy menu items too!  Ok, so to that I say.. first of all.. I am not a strictly salad eater..yes I try to shop organic as much as possible, yes I try to get at least 4 servings of vegetables everyday, and yes I very rarely eat out.. but that doesn't mean I don't eat real food or have a tremendous sweet tooth that I battle on a daily basis. I have eaten my share of 1 pound burgers and fries. So I am not going to sit here and tell you to not stop at your favorite fast food joint but I will ask you to at least acknowledge how they are contributing to the obesity epidemic in America while they are making you think that they are doing everything they can to help it!

     So we all know that lately we've been seeing new menus popping up at Fast Food places all over the place whether its Taco Bells new Fresca Menu or McDonalds new line of salads..leading us to believe that these restaurants care about our health and want to give us options that aren't deep fried. Well one of the menu items that truly angers me the most is the infamous "fast food salad"..first of all have you ever priced a fast food salad? The average salad at McDonalds will cost you between 5 and 6 bucks and that's without making it a meal. Now what exactly are the ingredients in one of these salads? Usually.. iceburg lettuce ( no nutritional value.. you might as well be eating paper), 3-4 cherry tomatoes, process chicken strips, 6 butter soaked croutons and then a handful of parmesan cheese on top. Now I don't know about you... but I don't think that McDonalds can possibly justify charging that much for a salad with those ingredients.. when they are telling us that we can get a double cheeseburger, fries, an apple pie and a drink for the same amount of money plus tax.

     Now some of you reading this right now are saying.. well there's more turn over because salads go bad faster and so you are paying for the freshness.. I hate to burst your bubble oh fellow business majors but if you think for one second that there aren't just as many preservatives in that chicken and vegetables as in a hamburger.. you are wrong. Ever notice that they don't make those salads to order? They get them out of the fridge.. and they are salads that have been sitting there all day I am sure. Lettuce not brown yet? Hmmmm.....

    So why would these fast food places create these menu items if they really weren't concerned with the well being of their customers? I mean after all.. if we're all dead from heart disease than there isn't anyone to buy their food right? Supply and demand theory? Unfortunately, any decision a fast food chain makes is monetarily much money can I make?

     Fast food restaurants saw a trend in the United States of people trying to lose weight but unfortunately the trend was that Americans wanted a quick fix.. they wanted diet pills, trendy exercise programs and shakes that will make you drop 50 pounds in 3 weeks.. so why wouldn't the fast food industry just jump on  the bandwagon.. after all we were all gullible enough to believe in these miracle pills.. so why wouldn't we be gullible enough to believe that we can eat fast food and lose weight? So out came the Subway diet and your favorite and mine, Jared (which if you read one of my previous blogs you know that it wasn't the subs that made him lose the weight.. it was the miles he walked to subway).. out came the Fruit and Yogurt Parfait at McDonalds ( which has as much fat in it as a cheeseburger) and or course the grilled chicken sandwiches as Burger King (on a huge white flour bun with processed, frozen chicken and mayo on it).. and look at the prices on these menu items. They are astronomical!! So they are going to prey on someone attempting to get healthy but with no real knowledge of what healthy food is and charge them 6 bucks to eat something that's just as bad for them as a double cheeseburger would be.. and they will make billions in the process. ** Insert maniacal laugh of a fat cat executive here

     The newest trend is the reduce sodium and change the oil that the fries, chicken strips, and onion rings are fried in so that they are doing their share to help America. Any idea how much sodium  is in their food to begin with? A small chicken Mcnugget, you know the ones that people feed to their young children? Has over 440mg of sodium in them alone.. not to mention the 100mg in just ONE ketchup packet of theirs, plus add in the fries that you know they are going to want.. that's another  140mg. So your young child just inhaled almost 700 mgs of sodium in one meal.

Don't believe me? Check it out. The National Heart association states that the average ADULT Peron should keep their sodium intake between 1000-2000mg a day. It would be a safe bet to say that a child of 8 or 9 should have considerably less on a daily basis and we are giving them that sodium in just one of the three meals they will have that day.

So please America, this is my final plea to please please please stay away from fast food. Food is meant to be enjoyed and savored.. why do you need it to go from the restaurant to your stomach in less than 5 minutes? Isnt anything worth having worth waiting for? Are you going to be just another gullible American consumer who will pay for anything if it has good enough marketing. I challenge you America to start using your head! And realizing that they aren't here to help you.. they are here to make money off of what they view as your stupidity.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree?