Get ready for this.
Every day, nearly eight million people “dine” at a KFC “restaurant” (formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken). Every single day! In this case, I’m using the words dine and restaurant loosely. There are more than 11,000 KFCs in more than 80 countries and territories around the world. Ugh! It’s bad enough that we eat this stuff, but I also cringe to see our unhealthy fast-food obsession creeping into countries that consider preparing meals and gathering together to enjoy them an important part of their culture.
The KFC website has links to hundreds of foreign franchises. “Finger lickin’ good” just doesn’t sound right spoken in French.* And addresses like Nantes St. Herblain, 6 rue des Cochardieres should not be connected with an American fast food franchise. French words go with fine wine and gourmet fare, not soda pop and junk food.
Talk about a cultural train wreck.
Although I haven’t read the book, French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating For Pleasure by Mireille Guiliano, I have spent time in France and know that the French take pleasure in eating. Meals take time to prepare, fresh ingredients are used, and people eat slowly and enjoy the food and each other. They put their forks down and talk in between bites. Meals are not made ahead, kept warm under heat lamps, or served in plastic wrap. Food is not tossed at them through drive-up windows. They eat real food and savor each bite. And in general (in general), they aren’t overweight and don’t suffer from poor health at the same levels Americans do.
Unfortunately, that is changing. With places like KFC on the rise in France, Mireille’s next book might be entitled, Uh-oh, French Women Do Get Fat: And End Up With Diabetes And Heart Disease.
We just spent the past several months listening to our presidential candidates talk about rising health care costs and how obesity and chronic disease has reached epidemic proportions. Everyone argued about energy independence, the economy, the health care crisis, and the environment, but no one brought up the food industry as part of the problem. What we eat, where it comes from, how much it costs, how it ends up in our grocery carts or on our plates, how it impacts our health, and what the government chooses to subsidize (or not and why) is a major part of this convoluted equation. Our industrialization of food impacts public (and foreign) policy, but no one seems to connect those dots.
Okay, I’ll stick to my nutritional roots and resist launching into a political rant, but I will suggest we support our local farmers and ranchers and eat a rich variety of wholesome foods. It is healthier for us, healthier for the animals, healthier for the economy, and healthier for the environment. If you’d like more information on these subjects, check the links I’ve provided below.
In the meantime, I’ll get back to my intention with this blog — healthy eating and healthy living. Last week I received a load of Yukon Gold potatoes in my Grant Family Farms CSA delivery and I thought I’d put together a compare and contrast menu for you on how potatoes can be a healthy vegetable choice or an artery clogging bowl of slop.
Nutritional profile of potatoes
• rich source of vitamin C
• high in vitamin B6, which promotes nervous system health, heart health, and is essential for new cell formation
• high in potassium
• good source of fiber, tryptophan, manganese, beta carotene, folate, lutein, zeaxanthin, and copper
• one cup of baked potato with skins contains 133 calories
Healthy holiday mix/mash of Yukon Gold and sweet potatoes recipe
what you need
• 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-2 inch chunks
• 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-2 inch chunks
• 1/3 to 1/2 cup milk (for dairy-free, use plain rice milk)
• 4 tablespoons butter (for dairy-free, use Earth Balance Buttery Spread)
• 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
• 3/4 teaspoon sea salt or Kosher salt
• freshly ground black pepper to taste
what you do
• Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a medium boil and cook until tender (20 to 25 minutes). Potatoes are done when you can pierce them easily with a fork.
• Drain well, return to pot, and mash them to desired consistency. You can also prepare them in a mixing bowl.
• Put milk, butter, and syrup in small saucepan and heat until butter is melted and milk is warm. Stir gently until well blended. Don’t let this burn, it can happen fast.
• Stir or mix in the milk/butter/syrup mixture and the salt and pepper until well combined.
• Makes 6 servings of about 2/3rds cup each, takes approximately 45 minutes to prepare
Nutritional breakdown of healthy holiday mix/mash of potatoes recipe
• 150 calories per serving with milk and butter (less with rice milk and Earth Balance)
• 4 g of fat (less with rice milk and Earth Balance), no trans-fats
• 11 mg cholesterol (less with rice milk and Earth Balance)
• 26 g carbohydrate
• 3 g protein
• 3 g fiber
• 320 mg sodium
• 369 mg potassium
• Contains 190% of DV (daily value) of vitamin A
• Contains 20% of DV of vitamin C
KFC Potato Bowl
what you need
• A car with gas
• Cash in your pocket
• Approximately 30 to 45 minutes of spare time
• Decent health insurance
• Tums or Nexium
what you do
• Get in your car and drive to one of the 11,000 KFC franchises.
• Push button and talk to speaker stand, ask for “mashed potato bowl.”
• Drive forward 25 feet, idle your car and wait.
• When attendant opens the drive-through window, be prepared to catch food as he/she tosses bag to you.
• After attendant closes window, realize you have no cheap plastic utensils to eat with.
• Wave frantically to get the attention of the teenaged attendant who is ignoring you.
• Honk your horn.
• When 16 year old attendant finally opens the window, sighs, and sputters with disdain, “Like, what do you, like, want now?” — answer nicely that you’d like utensils so you can eat your food.
• When he/she rolls his/her eyes and tosses you a plastic fork wrapped in a paper napkin and covered with plastic wrap, breathe deeply and practice kindness.
• Either eat while driving en-route to wherever you’re going, spilling food on your clothes and endangering yourself and others, or bring home and eat in front of the TV while watching Cops or America’s Most Wanted.
• Feel stressed, bloated, and icky. Eat 2 Tums.
Hey, no one’s perfect. We can all relate to participating in some version of this, but we also know we’d be much better off eating fresh, wholesome food while relaxing and enjoying it. Plus, it takes no longer to make up a bowl of roasted veggies or cook up some rice than it does to order and eat fast food.
Nutritional breakdown of KFC Potato Bowl
• 740 calories PER SERVING
• 35 g of fat (including trans-fats)
• 60 mg cholesterol
• 80 g carbohydrate
• 27 g protein
• 6 g sugar
• 7 g fiber
• 2350 mg sodium
• Contains 8% of DV of vitamin A
• Contains 10% of DV of vitamin C
* My header (lechement de doigt bon) is supposed to say Finger Lickin’ Good in French, although I think I might have said Licking of Good Fingers instead. I like that phrase better anyway.
Go forth, make healthy choices, and lick good fingers.
In good health,