J500 Media and the Environment

Fast fuel by kimwallace
March 4, 2008, 8:41 pm
Filed under: Food + Health | Tags: , , , , , ,

Food logs are so embarrassing. I don’t want people to know what kind of crap/fast food I’ve fueled my body with just to get through the day. I’m too chicken.

chicken.jpg Yup, that’s me.

Luckily, today has been OK, though I’m still a little shy to share. Here’s what I fed myself today:

Breakfast, 7:30 a.m.: Tully’s Kona blend coffee with a little bit of Horizon Organic non-fat milk and three tablespoons (I have a sweet tooth) of non-organic sugar. I think that non-organic sugar cancelled out the goodness (organic, non-fat) of what I fed my body.

Grade: C I should have eaten breakfast. (I have a delicious organic cereal, but I’d rather feed myself 10 more minutes of sleep than feed myself food.)

Breakfast part II, 7:50 a.m.: Arrive on campus and decide that I’m starving. Considering I will probably need my lunch break to finish up a short response paper for my 1 p.m. class (I’m behind in class), I decide that I should just eat a little something to hold me over until I get to go home. So, I head to the Underground and grab a Chik-fil-A chicken biscuit and inhale it before I get to my First Amendment class at 8 a.m.

Grade: F I should have eaten breakfast at home! What a waste of$2 and 420 calories. I could have gotten some fruit. That would have been too healthy, though.

Class, 11 a.m.: Finish up my short essay that I was planning on doing at lunch, but decide that I should probably eat with my friends at the Union. Good thing it was an individual workshop day, so I wasn’t being too much of a bad student by quietly typing away on the computer in class.

Lunch, 12:35 p.m.: I hate days when high school seniors or other random visitors are on campus and like to flood the Union at lunch. It’s already crowded in there. I wanted to get something very unhealthy, such as nachos, but opted for a spicy chicken sandwich with vegetables (non-organic, I’m sure) and baked Lays. I washed it down with a Vault, the ridiculous energy soda that has enough caffeine in it to kill a small child.

Grade: D Nothing about my lunch was good for me, though the caffeine did help me get through the day. The Union has an OK selection of organic options, but most of the items are snack foods or smoothie drinks. I usually get water or tea, but I was really craving caffeine today.

Dinner, 6 p.m.: Not really hungry. Too stressed out with the thought of the looming workload that this week has in store for me. Decide to make some Oolong tea to calm myself while I figure out what to eat. Still, nothing sounds good. Put a piece of whole wheat bread into the toaster, wait half a minute, then spread some non-organic Jif peanut butter and organic honey (from Mexico and Brazil, arrrrgh) onto my sad dinner plate. My dessert is a milk chocolate caramel Ghirardelli square. (Who eats dessert after eating peanut butter for dinner? Me. Told you, sweet tooth.)

Grade: Hell, I don’t even know anymore. It seems like my eating was kind of messed up today.

The night is still young. Knowing myself, I’ll probably continue to graze on random sweets or tea tonight as I finish up my work. My diet tells me that I am an OK food consumer who usually falls victim to fast food when faced with the time constraints and stress of campus life. And, I’m a chicken. I just looked through my freezer: frozen chicken breasts and frozen chicken tenders. I’m pretty sure they’re not GMO-free, either. But, I confess, they were either 1) cheap or 2) free.

On the days when I don’t go to school and am at work, I take time to pack a decent lunch of soup and snacks, and I am a mindful shopper—but I only like to get groceries every two weeks. So, when I’m running low (like I am now—if only you could see my sad refrigerator—I’ll try to post a picture), I tend to be running low as far as my dietary habits and health are concerned. I’ve worked in organic foods where I can, but the biggest problem is dining out and rushed eating.

How do you be careful about what you eat when you are in a hurry or going to a restaurant with friends? Not every chain has caught on to the organic food movement, so it has to be impossible for everybody to eat local or organic all the time. Any tips?

—Kim Wallace


5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Chipotle is a good chain to start with. The buy meat from Niman Ranch in Iowa which I have visited and love.

Your post made me happy and sad. Let’s make eating pass/fail, shall we? If you do it, you pass. No need for any Fs with Chik-fil-A. As we say in the South, it’s good eatin’ (in moderation).

Comment by j500

Eating well when you don’t have time is tough, and over several years I have perfected The Way of the Leftover. Cook a couple of big meals on the weekends and munch on them all week. This weeks’ selections in my fridge are pasta and sauce, mushroom-barley soup and a stir-fry. I have the luxury of living off campus and the resources to cook, though. -Jen

Comment by jenh

What a timely post—my roommate just put on a crock pot of stew for us for the next couple days. What do you do about eating right when you go to a restaurant (you can only go to Local Burger so many times!)?

Comment by kimwallace

I completely understand where you’re coming from when you get so frustrated and stressed. Nothing is good, nothing sounds good, so forget it? Not good either.

The Union actually has some other organic selections, and it gets some of its meat from Local Burger. Unfortunately, signage and advertising of this is lacking. I interviewed the director of KU Dining Services, and she said that they have had trouble finding a distributor for organic foods, so that might have a bit to do with the selection.

Comment by Lauren Keith

Kim, the question you raise about restaurants is a tough one, and you’re right about how much Local Burger a person can handle. Personally, I often sit down at a restaurant, look at the menu, and realize that I don’t know anything about the food, who’s cooking it, how it’s being prepared: literally, I just know the basic ingredients and the (hopefully) nice person I’m going to be tipping later.
I worked at the farmers’ market over last summer, and got to know several chefs from local places (Pacha Mama’s, Teller’s, and Free State mostly) when they would come buy organic produce for their dishes. Now that’s it’s winter (minus the three misleading of spring), their selection is much more limited.
The last time I ate at Free State I decided to ask the waiter if he could find out where the ham on my sandwich was from (yep, I’m one of those people). He asked the cooks and the manager and no one seemed to be able to find an answer! Not only did I not know where the food was from, neither did anyone preparing or ordering the food know!
I know Teller’s and Pacha Mama’s specify organic, free range, and local options on their seasonal menus, but let’s be honest, who has the money to eat there?


Comment by jkongs

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