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Fast Food Truths. Warning: You May Never Look at Them the Same

Fast Food Truths. Warning: You May Never Look at Them the Same

Google “fast food truths” and a slew of gruesome results offer a behind-the-scenes peek at the chemical-laden nasties that tantalize and entice your taste buds, all brilliantly disguised by grilled aromas and appetizing colors.

These results mean nothing to your 30-minutes-for-a-break rush, or your growling belly. You just want it fast, without knowing about all the additives and horrendous processing techniques. After all, people have been eating Chicken McNuggets and vat-deep-fried fries, and drinking strawberry shakes for years, right? Yet the amount of chemicals hidden in these foods is astounding, and here are a few of the highlights.

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The Usual Suspects

  • Deep-fried fast foods. If you want a simple recipe of potatoes plus oil without chemicals, then you had best skip the drive-thru and take a few minutes to julienne those potatoes yourself. One common denominator in food research results is the chemical ingredient dimethylpolysiloxane: used for breast implants, silly putty and as an additive to prevent the oil from foaming in the deep fryer as it cooks your French fries, chicken nuggets, chicken breasts, and so on.  Here’s more information for you if you care to read on.
  • Strawberry milkshakes. Did you expect that real strawberries were coloring and flavoring your fast food shake? Eric Schlosser’s research quashed any hope for that when he penned “Fast Food Nation” and exposed a laundry list of chemical flavorings and colors used to create a simple strawberry shake. These included but are not limited to: amyl acetate, rum ether, solvent, butyric acid, ethyl acetate, and cognac essential oil.
  • Hamburgers. Did you know that you are risking contamination by eating just one hamburger? According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention food safety fact sheet, that one hamburger “may contain meat from hundreds of animals,” which means if one animal was infected with something nasty, the whole batch of food is infected.

More fast food horrors

Did you see the Facebook video circulating in newsfeeds showing a pinkish glob of bones and tissue being pumped through a processor to eventually become hot dogs, bologna, and even Chicken McNuggets? Long-time vegans and clean eaters discovered the grim horrors of what was really gracing the grocery store shelves long ago, and still the list of fast-food horrors seem to be never-ending. Yet rather than take the time to prepare our own food, we rush for the quick fix and turn a blind eye to everything except the good smell and taste of the food in front of us.

Chances are most of us would never tolerate any of these rumored fast food restaurant conditions in our own homes:

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  • Mold in the ice dispenser
  • Fecal bacteria on drink fountain dispensers
  • Cooking grills with layers of caked-on fat and food particles.

Or how about:

  • Seaweed (carrageenan) in our ice cream
  • Beetle juice (carminic acid) in meats, cookies, sausages, juices, and preserves
  • Duck feathers (L-cysteine) in our hamburger buns
  • Bee vomit (honey) as a natural sweetener
  • Wood pulp (cellulose) in cheese and salad dressings?

Cancer-causing ingredients

It’s not only the unhygienic cooking methods that can make you sick. There’s a chemical cocktail in there that can have long-term effects too, such as:

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  • Acrylamide. Foods fried or baked at high temperatures (think fast foods) produce this carcinogen.
  • Sodium nitrite. Also cancer causing and found in pepperoni, sausages, hot dogs and bacon.
  • TBHQ (tertiary butyl hydroquinone). This is not cancer causing, but is lethal in high doses. Found in Chicken McNuggets, according to this article levels of more than 0.02% of this chemical in foods are dangerous. One gram can actually cause “nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and a feeling of suffocation.”

Fast food places suit the “progression” of the American lifestyle: hurry up and get it done, no matter that this method may kill us. The real truth is, when we eat fast food, we’re eating processed food designed for mass consumption. We focus on the “fast” instead of what’s healthiest for our bodies.

Featured photo credit: Alvimann via mrg.bz

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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