Fast Food… Is That 99 Cent Meal Really A Good Deal?

You don’t need to be a food critic to know that fast food is bad for you. But many of us decide to eat it every once in a while as a “treat” because it tastes good and well, who doesn’t want to live life on the wild side sometimes? Compare it to you, a “goody two shoes” girl that has a huge attraction to that motorcycle riding, earring wearing, bad boy, leather jacket and all. But, when you really get up close and personal with that mysterious bad boy, you might not be too happy to find out that he has a lot of extra baggage that you didn’t really sign up for. Take fast food, and I mean those popular so-called-‘restaurants’, McDonalds, KFC, Chick Fil-A, etc, but also your local fast food joints as well, and even sit down restaurants that serve similar items… Do you really know the ingredients? After movies like Supersize Me and Fast Food Nation, Food Inc, etc, companies have started changing their advertising, you know: 100% all white meat chicken, etc. But, what is really in it? Well, if you stop by one of the restaurants, you’ll practically have to ring the manager’s neck to give you the ingredients, never mind the possibility that they don’t have them at all. What does that tell you from the start? (Ok, maybe these restaurants are playing hard to get like that motorcycle-driving mysterious guy you had a crush on in high school, but I bet you might not end up wanting what you bargain for in the end.)

Secondly, even if you did know the ingredients, it’d be pretty hard to trace every single ingredient back to the factories, countries, farms (??), and labs that went into making even the simple bun. What I’m saying is that for some of us who know at least a little bit better than the average American about food, it might be your guilty pleasure every once in a while, but soon you’re eating yourself to death. And, no matter how thin and good looking you may still be on the outside, it doesn’t mean you’re not morbidly obese on the inside. And you may be dealing with severe health problems down the road. Cancer? Heart Disease? Diabetes? Ever think that maybe the reason that these health problems have become so widespread and prevalent in America in the last 30 years may be because of the food we’ve been industrializing in the same time period? Before it used to just be plants, vegetables, animal protein, grains. Now it’s over 14,000 man-made products complete with names that none of us can pronounce or comprehend. Where do oreos come from for example? If someone told you to bake them an oreo, how would you do it? What if they told you to grow a twinkie?

Besides grocery stores and their many troubling aisles of fake, overly processed ‘food’, let’s go back to my main topic: fast food. It took me quite a bit of time to get these ingredients on the internet. (Kudos to you fast food restaurants for keeping your ingredients so secret! For those Americans that believe ignorance is bliss, you’re making their lives much easier! The rest of us on the other hand….). Some of the places I researched I still can’t find; thanks Pop-eyes, for example. I’m thinking I will have to contact the CIA to get their ingredient list. Nevertheless, here’s a list of those fast food items you may know far too well. I bolded the ones that are obviously bad for you. Also, at the end of the list you’ll be happy to see a silver lining… there are options!! For example, Paula Deen’s recipe is incredibly simple and has very few ingredients, only takes 25 minutes to make, and boasts 12 servings!!! 12! If you’re craving those chicken nuggets, why not try this delicious all natural recipe… you can wait 25 minutes right?

KFC Chicken Breast Strips (Notice how this chicken is almost half additives…):

Chicken Breast Strips Containing up to 43% of a Solution of: Water, Seasoning (Soy Protein Concentrate, Salt, Rice Starch, Carrageenan, Dextrose, Onion Powder, Dehydrated Chicken Broth, Maltodextrin, Spice Extractives), Sodium Phosphate. Breaded with Wheat Flour, Salt, Spices, Monosodium Glutamate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Garlic Powder, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oil, Calcium Silicate (as Anticaking Agent), Modified Corn Starch, Gum Arabic, Natural Flavor, Extractives of Turmeric, and Extractives of Annatto


Chicken McNuggets

White boneless chicken, water, food starch-modified, salt, seasoning (autolyzed yeast extract, salt, wheat starch, natural flavoring (botanical source), safflower oil,

dextrose, citric acid, rosemary), sodium phosphates, seasoning (canola oil, mono- and diglycerides, extractives of rosemary). Battered and breaded with: water,

enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), yellow corn flour, food starch-modified, salt, leavening (baking

soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate), spices, wheat starch, whey, corn starch. Prepared in

vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an

antifoaming agent.

Big Mac® Bun:

Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, enzymes), water, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, soybean oil and/or partially hydrogenated soybean oil, contains 2% or less of the following: salt, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, wheat gluten, ammonium sulfate, ammonium chloride, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated monoglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, guar gum, calcium peroxide, soy flour), calcium propionate and sodium propionate (preservatives), soy lecithin, sesame seed.

100% Angus Beef Patty:

100% Angus beef.

Prepared with Grill Seasoning (salt, black pepper) and Angus Burger Seasoning: Salt, sugar, onion powder, natural (botanical source) and artificial flavors, maltodextrin, natural beef flavor [beef broth, yeast extract, maltodextrin, salt, lactic acid, natural flavor (plant source), beef fat, citric acid], spice, dextrose, autolyzed yeast extract, garlic powder, dried beef extract, sunflower oil, caramel color, worcestershire sauce powder [distilled vinegar, molasses, corn syrup, salt, caramel color, garlic powder, sugar, spices, tamarind, natural flavor (fruit source)], spice extractives, annatto and turmeric (color), calcium silicate and soybean oil added to prevent caking.

McChicken® Patty:

Chicken, water, salt, sodium phosphates. Battered and breaded with: bleached wheat flour, water, wheat flour, food starch-modified, salt, spices, wheat gluten, paprika, dextrose, yeast, garlic powder, partially hydrogenated soybean oil and cottonseed oil with mono -and diglycerides, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, ammonium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate), natural flavor (plant source) with extractives of paprika. Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent. CONTAINS: WHEAT.


Fish Filet Patty:

Fish Filet (Hoki and Pollock), water, food starch-modified, yellow corn flour, bleached wheat flour, salt, whey, dextrose, dried yeast, sugar, sodium polyphosphate, potassium polyphosphate, cellulose gum, paprika and turmeric extract (color), natural flavors (plant source). Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent. CONTAINS: FISH (HOKI AND POLLOCK), WHEAT AND MILK.



Video about chicken nuggets:

Chick Fil-A Chicken Biscuit

Biscuit (enriched bleached wheat flour [niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], vegetable oil shortening [palm and/or palm kernel oils], sugar, cultured nonfat milk, leavening [sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate], salt, maltodextrin, whey, natural flavor, dextrose, water, self rising flour [enriched bleached flour {wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid}, baking powder {baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate}, salt, butter oil [soybean oil, palm kernel oil, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavor, TBHQ and citric acid added as preservatives, and artificial color]), chicken (100% natural whole breast filet, seasoning [salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika], seasoned coater [enriched bleached flour {bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid}, sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, nonfat milk, leavening {baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate}, spice, soybean oil, color {paprika}], milk wash [water, egg, nonfat milk], peanut oil [fully refined peanut oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness and Dimethylpolysiloxane an anti-foaming agent added]).

Chick Fil-A Chicken Strips

100% natural chicken tenderloins, seasoning (salt, autolyzed yeast, maltodextrin, spice, natural flavor, chicken fat, garlic powder, sugar cane syrup, onion powder, paprika, molasses, sodium diacetate, tomato powder, silicon dioxide [anticaking agent], sugar, oleoresin paprika [color], citric acid, smoke flavor, caramel color), seasoned coater (enriched bleached flour [bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, nonfat milk, leavening [baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate], spice, soybean oil, color [paprika]), milk wash (water, egg, nonfat milk), peanut oil (fully refined peanut oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness and dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent added).


Chick Fil-A Chicken Nuggets

100% natural whole breast filet, seasoning (salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika), seasoned coater (enriched bleached flour [bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, nonfat milk, leavening [baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate], spice, soybean oil, color [paprika]), milk wash (water, egg, nonfat milk), peanut oil (fully refined peanut oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness and Dimethylpolysiloxane an anti-foaming agent added).



Paula Deen’s Chicken Nuggets with dipping cream: servings: 12!!

prep time: 10 minutes!!

Cook time: 15 minutes!

Total time 25 mins!!

2 cups crushed sour-cream-and-onion-flavored potato chips

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

6 chicken breast fillets, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

1/3 cup butter, melted

Honey Mustard, recipe follows


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the crushed potato chips in a shallow dish. Beat together the egg and milk in a shallow bowl. Dip the chicken cubes into the egg mixture and then dredge them in the chips. Place the chicken nuggets on a baking sheet and drizzle with melted butter. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. The chicken nuggets can be frozen after baking. Serve with your favorite sauce, such as honey mustard or ranch dressing.


Honey Mustard:

3/4 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

1 tablespoon lemon juice or juice from 1/2 lemon

Horseradish, to taste

2 tablespoons orange juice (more or less as needed)

Combine all ingredients except orange juice; stir well. Thin to pouring consistency for dressing or dipping consistency for dips with orange juice. Cover and chill for 2 or 3 hours.

Yield: 1 1/4 cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: None

Ease of preparation: Easy

Vs. All Chicken Nuggets Recipe: 6 Ingredients


vegetable oil

4 cups all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons garlic salt

3 tablespoons ground black pepper

4 eggs, beaten

8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into small chunks


  1. Heat 1 inch oil to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) in a large skillet or saucepan.
  2. Stir together the flour, garlic salt, and pepper in a bowl. Dip the chicken pieces individually into the beaten eggs before pressing into the flour mixture to coat; shake off the excess flour. Place the coated chicken pieces onto a plate until all the chicken has been coated.
  3. Cook the chicken in batches in the hot oil until golden brown and no longer pink in the center.


My Newest Favorite Water Bottle

I don’t want to count the chickens before they hatch, but I have a great feeling about this one. In my marketing class the other day my professor pointed out that one of the silliest marketing goldmines is water. He told us that he thinks it is hilarious that companies have made millions of dollars selling something that is free. He said, “the government hasn’t found out a way to tax air yet, but I’m sure they’re working on that too”. I looked around the classroom and about half of the people had a water bottle on their desk; Poland Springs, Deer Park, Dasani. An interesting point was brought up that Nestle Pure is actually the same company as Poland Springs, but Nestle Pure is much less expensive. Some students also noted that they don’t by Aquafina or Dasani because those companies filter their water through reverse osmosis, instead of getting the water straight from the natural spring source. But it’s not just that companies are making so much money off of something that is free in nature that strikes me, it’s that water bottles are extremely bad for the environment. There are enough water bottles used everyday that last year alone, enough “water bottles were used to wrap around the earth 190 times” (according to Brita).


See video

Responses varied in the class, but some students said the reason they buy water bottles is because of convenience, taste, and one student even said she buys them because she “like[s] the look” of the bottle. Another student raised her hand and showed us her reusable water bottle that actually has a filter built in, which I thought was really cool and refreshing to see amidst all of these non-reusable water bottles. Hers wasn’t Brita, but a similar company and her bottle was much smaller than this one I just found. It holds 20 ounces of water, is BPA free, reduces chlorine taste, is perfect for on-the-go, and is really quite affordable– it’s only $9.99!  1 filter can replace 150 plastic bottles and it lasts about 2 months. You can get 2 replaceable filters for just $6 on Check out this completely awesome blogger, designer, Mr. Kate’s post about water bottles.

Benefits of drinking water:

Boosts your metabolism

Great for your skin

On average, you will eat 200 less calories if you drink water before your meal as opposed to not

Want to take it to the next level? Check out these ways you can make a difference and help save the planet by using less.

xoxo & bonne santé,


Eating Real Food: College Tips

Now that I’m back at school, it is definitely much more difficult to eat right. Our cafeteria offers a salad bar and steamed vegetables everyday, but other than that the options pretty much are all meat, white pasta or white rice, white flour pizza, and a sandwich section that offers processed bread (generic wheat bread, white bread, Arnold Sandwich Thins). All of last year I would live off of sandwich thins, bananas, deli turkey, and salad. But ever since this 30 day challenge this summer I just can’t really eat that anymore without feeling guilty. (See other posts) As you can tell, I really wish there were more options, especially since this year I am not allowing myself to eat that mystery deli meat anymore. I know many people around the country are having the same difficult search for healthy food on the go as I am. Thus, I have developed the following rules of thumb, and I think it has helped me cope with the fact that I cannot have access to an array of all-natural, organic, local, unprocessed, real food all the time.

1. Stay away from mystery meat…[ I know this is very difficult for those non-vegetarian, non-flexitarians out there, but if you want to be sure that you are not supporting an industry where 60 billion animals die every year (that’s 10 animals per person on the planet) *and that is estimated to become 120 billion by 2050* than it may be worth your discretion]. If you would rather, ask your cafeteria cook where they get their meat, make a rule to eat one serving or less per day, etc… All of these tricks will enhance your health and help start a revolution. If your meat is living in a factory its whole life, getting diseases and being injected with antibiotics and hormones, you probably don’t want that in your body, right?!

2. Choose simple vegetables. By simple I mean look for raw vegetables at the salad bar, or steamed vegetables that don’t have sauce on them. That way you can be sure there aren’t traces of MSG, unneccessary added salt in general, and sugar that really does nothing for your health. You can spice up those vegetables with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil if you want, or even some butter for flavor, and that way you know what you’ll know what you’re adding.

3. Make salad the biggest part of your plate. You’ve heard it over and over again, but it takes your body 20 minutes to realize that you are satisfied after eating. If you load up on salad, which takes a while to chomp down on, you’re more likely to eat fewer calories and you’re also less likely to crave simple carbohydrates that can be detrimental to your health. Try making half of your plate salad, with a simple balasamic vinegar and olive oil, some beans and legumes from your salad bar, carrots, or whatever type vegetables you’d like. I actually like adding steamed vegetables on top of my salads at school to give a balanced texture.

4. Make water your drink of choice. If you don’t already drink water regularly, you can be sure that if you start switching that regular soda, orange juice, sports drink, fruity juice, etc, that you will see unbelievable results. Americans in general consume a lot of calories, but many of those calories are hidden in the drinks they choose regularly. Even milk can add unnecessary sugar to your diet (LAUSD recently banned chocolate milk from schools because of the high sugar content). Water is refreshing, zero calories, vital to your health, boosts your metabolism, cleanses your body, and if you want added flavor it’s as simple as adding a slice of lemon, cucumber, or even some fresh berries to it!

Take your weight in lbs, divide that number in half, and that’s the number in ounces you’ll need to drink everyday to be adequately hydrated! If you weigh 120 lbs for example, you’ll need to drink 60 ounces of water everyday to be hydrated.

tips: bring a reusable water bottle with you. Ever heard of a Bubba keg? They are great, they sell them in 54 ounce jugs, 32 ounce jugs, and various other sizes so you don’t have to worry about counting your ounces all the time. Camelbak bottles are easy to carry in your backpack, etc etc.

5. Load up on beans and whole grains. These provide you with great sources of protein and will definitely help you stay full longer. Remember, while that box of Lucky Charms claims to have whole grains in it, it is not considered a real food. With all of those added chemicals, preservatives, artificial colors flavors, and added sugars it’s really just a joke. I actually consider it a dessert. If you’re shooting for cereal and they don’t have anything but General Mills, go for the regular Cheerios. If you prefer, you can even add honey and fruit to it and eat that on top of some greek yogurt. Beans are so great for you because they provide you with fiber and vital nutrients that can really keep you focused on your school work. They usually don’t have any hidden sugar (usually but you could also check with your cafeteria cook to be sure they don’t boil the beans in sugared water), and will help you to sustain your energy throughout the day.

6. Stay away from ice cream. I don’t know what it is, but last year the number one fault my friends and I made in the cafeteria was ice cream. They have Turkey Hill at my school and Edy’s softserve as well as oreo, heath bar, and sprinkle toppings. After a while it becomes a routine to eat ice cream after every dinner, and sometimes even lunch. You really can get addicted. Just keep away from it in general, it’s not even good quality– it doesn’t even taste that great– and it’s not worth the sugar low you get afterwords! Instead, be like my smart healthy cross country friend, Hillary, who would sit there with her apple and peanut butter while the rest of us were consuming an unnecessary amount of added sugar and preservatives. 60 calories for one apple + maybe 100 cals for a tablespoon of peanut butter– that’s a solid real food replacement right there! Make sure your peanut butter doesn’t have extra sugar and hydrogenated oils though.

7. Carry almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and/or other seeds and healthy nuts with you in your backpack. When you’re hungry and you turn to a protein source instead of a carbohydrate you’re more likely to stop when you are actually satisfied. Ever go hungry for a couple hours only to turn to ice cream or chocolate as your first method of nourishment? I bet you over compensated and overate!

8. Fruit. Most cafeterias provide a fresh fruit stand, that usually includes apples, bananas, and oranges. Stock up on these and save them for later. While some cafeterias technically don’t let you bring food out of them (like mine), they will never know if you put that apple or banana in your backpack for later! You pay enough to go to school as it is, you deserve to have some extra fruit on hand. Luckily we also have some apple trees on campus, so sometimes my friends and I will stop by and get one of our taller friends to reach us a delicious looking one!

9. Be a social eater. Make time to spend time with your friends over a meal. In college especially it is very easy to become anti-social if you are staying in your room all the time. Go out, make friends, sit with a new person everyday. You’ll be eating less calories and starting a routine before you know it.

10. Have only real-food healthy snacks in your room, stay away from snacks that you’re overly crazy about, like chocolate, ice cream, etc. If you know that you have those in your room you won’t be able to stay away! Keep tuna, nuts, seeds, apples, carrots, unsweetened dark chocolate, oatmeal, almond butter, greek yogurt, low sodium tomato soup, Go Lean cereal, etc on hand. These are all very nutritious and if you’re unable to go to the cafeteria they can really come in handy. Stay away from gatorade, cookies, chips, soda, ice cream, and overly processed food that claims to have nutritional benefits like: Nutrigrain bars, Special K bars, organic junk food in general.  All that you’ll gain is a bigger waistline, a heightened blood glucose level, and a headache.

11. Breakfast. Probably the number one meal you will be eating without people is breakfast. Most of your friends will have early classes and it’s hard to find a person who will want to wake up early if they don’t have class. My go-to breakfast is oatmeal. It is so good for you, easy to make, and versatile! Recently, the following has been my go-to oatmeal recipe:

Honey Flaxseed Oatmeal by Nutrishus

3/4 cup whole grain oats

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup water

2 1/2 tsp whole flaxseeds (you can get from your health food store.. they need to be refrigerated after opening–I love TJ’s golden flax)

1 tbs honey

Simply put the sea salt, oats, water, and cinnamon in a microwaveable bowl for 2 1/2 minutes. Add the flax seed and honey and voila! A 3 minute, satisfying, delicious breakfast on the go!

If you have a little bit more time, I recommend taking an apple (I’ve been eating macintosh recently), and slicing it thin and adding it to your oatmeal. They get warm so quickly it’s like eating an apple crumble for breakfast!

What’s good about this recipe? Everything! Oats Whole grains, fiber, iron, protein, lowfat, cholesterol free

cinnamon: regulates blood sugar

flax seeds: excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids which are incredible for your heart, protein, fiber, delicious texture and nutty flavor

honey: natural sweetener that won’t spike your blood sugar levels

Bonne santé et bonne appétit!