Ivan Natividad: Keeping your eye on the ball
When I saw him square up to shoot the basketball, my mind told me to jump up and block his shot.
My body had other plans.
So after pummeling all 265 pounds of my 35-year-old body into a man who was likely more than 10 years my junior, he fell to the ground.
As he got up I apologetically said “Sorry, I can’t control my body,” which prompted some laughs from my teammates and the referee.
Oh how the soul stays sharp, yet the body doth wither … Though it doesn’t help when you fill it with a bunch of junk. Which is why following that reminder of mortality, I decided to give up a certain thing that has been a big part of my life.
It’s something that I have learned to love over the years. Something that has been with me through good times and bad. Through sickness and in health. Through the pain, through the sorrow … Through drunken nights, and morning hangovers.
My first love … fast food.
I’ve always been one for a good quick fix. Fast food is something that has never let me down. It never fails. It’s the Floyd Mayweather of the culinary world. Undefeated.
It’s fast, and it’s food. Simple as that.
But have you ever tried to get on the straight and narrow and told yourself “This is the day where it all begins. I’m going to eat right, exercise, feel energized about everything and live my life the way it was meant to be lived,” only to fall off the wagon indefinitely after one trip to Taco Bell?
Comedian Bill Burr has this great bit that gets me in the funnies every time:
“Fast food is like a conspiracy. I think that’s just how they keep us dumb. You can’t even think after a while. You ever notice that? Like you ever have your whole day planned out and you eat one Egg McMuffin and you’re on the couch ‘Ah you know what f— my dreams, I’m just going to lay here for a while.’
“… It’s unbelievable, healthy food you can’t even smell it. I’ll have a bag of apples right in front of my face, my eyes are closed and I can’t smell it. (But) 200 miles away, ‘Oh … is that KFC?’”
Oh the truth in humor.
Research published last year in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience showed a link between eating lots of fast food and increased mental distress.
According to the study, young adults who ate fast food more than three times a week had higher levels of mental distress. Moreover, the excess consumption of fast food, which is typically high in saturated fats, trans fats, and Omega-6 fatty acids can trigger an inflammatory response that causes anxiety and depression.
These are things I wish I knew as a child, although I’m not sure it would have mattered, as information on food nutrition is readily available now more than ever, and at least 34 percent of children, ages 2 to 19, in the U.S. still eat fast food on any given day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC’s research also shows that fast food makes up more than 11 percent of an American adult’s diet.
We’re pretty addicted.
Maybe it’s the accessibility and the more than 500,000 fast food restaurants that exist worldwide. Maybe it’s the targeted and effective marketing campaigns.
Maybe because it’s cheaper, and the bang for the buck is worth it. Or maybe we know the harmful effects that fast food can have on our bodies, but it tastes so damn good that we are willing to take the chance and hope for the best.
Don’t worry, this is not some Morgan Spurlock moment, I’m not going to pretend to know the reason.
I’m not even trying to bash fast food. I’m just rambling off some statistics that support this year-long decision I’ve committed to.
I may go a year without fast food and give it up for good. Or maybe I’ll go back to the beast and shovel it back into my body even more than before.
I don’t know. I’m three weeks into this, and what I do know is… I like being able to “control my body.”
So I’m hoping this will help get me get up off that couch again, and back in the game going for that ball.
Ivan Natividad is Digital Editor at The Union. To contact him call 530-477-4242 or email email@example.com.
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