Fun with Food: A Tale of Two Sandwiches

I’m a bit of a nerd and a detective rolled into one. I love asking a question, then unraveling strands to find the answer. I used to do this all the time when I was a kid. I’d be bored in church and daydream. I’d suddenly realize with a start that I was daydreaming, awaken from my reverie, and wonder how I’d ended up thinking about chocolate bars or unicorns. I’d take my thought and trace the labyrinthine path back to the original statement that spurred the final outcome.

That skill came in handy when my husband and I watched television the other night and a commercial came on that made us both stop in our tracks. It was a commercial for a fast food Reuben sandwich. Now, I am not a fan of Reuben sandwiches. Even when I worked in New York City, where the Reuben was born and where you can still buy authentic Reubens from authentic diners, I didn’t care that much for them. Sorry, Schlotsky’s deli fans, the Reuben isn’t my thing.

But here I was, sitting in my living room, an almost vegetarian/vegan, drooling over a meat and cheese filled calorie bomb.

What gives?

I had to explore. I had to find out! The result led me down several paths of inquiry. We started with the nutritional data on the sandwich, amazed and astonished both to find that it was 1) 640 calories 2) 80 milligrams of cholesterol and 3) 2, 240 milligrams of sodium. The sodium pushes it past your daily recommended limit from the American Heart Association, by the way.

I calculated the cholesterol at about 120 milligrams based on the average portions and nutritional information found online. My bullshit meter was on high; I smelled deception. Time to investigate.

I learned more than I bargained for during my inquiry. For example, did you know that the reason why fast food in person disappoints visually (but still tastes good) is because they use food stylists to “make up” food for photo and television shoots like the way people wear makeup? They add wax to salad dressing and cheese to make it look creamy and antacids to soda to make it fizz. Ick!

Tricking us into salivating over food we neither want nor need, and in fact, food that makes us fat, tired, and unhealthy is just the start. Read the whole piece that I wrote on Medium.  It’s astonishing how we are all being manipulated into an unhealthy lifestyle.

Well, not so astonishing when you consider that the fast food industry in the United States is worth $198.9 billion annually.

Hey, everyone deserves to make a living. But I’d prefer to make a living without dying, thank you. I’m going to avoid fast food.

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