Have you heard about the Taco Bell Drive-Thru Diet? I hadn’t tried it yet, but it sounded fantastic. I drive my car to Taco Bell, order special items from the Drive-Thru, and I lose weight. I don’t even have to walk to the counter to order my food. I simply eat in my car, and then drive back to wherever it was I was comfortably sitting before without any tedious physical exertion. And I get to slim down just like Christine, the Taco Bell version of Subway’s Jared. Something for nothing. Awesome.
Excited, I clicked on over to the Taco Bell Drive-Thru Diet website to learn more about this healthy way to lose weight. There it was! It’s a Drive-Thru Diet. I’d be Eating Better. I can take a pledge to eat food off the diet menu. I can lose 54 lbs just like Christine did! But then I got to the bottom of the page and I was confused. I even felt deceived.
As you know, the Drive-Thru Diet menu is not a weight-loss program. For a healthier lifestyle, pay attention to total calorie and fat intake and regular exercise. (Drive-Thru Diet is) Not a low calorie food.
Baffled, I went to dictionary.com to clarify the meaning of diet.
di⋅et Pronunciation [dahy-it] -noun
- a particular selection of food, esp. as designed or prescribed to improve a person’s physical condition or to prevent or treat a disease.
- such a selection or a limitation on the amount a person eats for reducing weight.
Just two diet burritos off the Drive-Thru menu will give you 2,580 mg of sodium, 280 mg over your daily recommended allowance. Recent studies show that cutting salt intake is as good as quitting smoking. And as the Taco Bell website says, the food is NOT low calorie. So if this diet is neither for weight loss or for health, than perhaps the other definitions of diet apply:
- food and drink considered in terms of its qualities, composition, and its effects on health. Drive-thru diet…you get what you pay for.
- food or feed habitually eaten or provided. As in, I survived on a diet of gruel, bugs, and rain water while in the prison camp.
I guess it was too good to be true. It’s not a diet that improves health or sheds pounds. “Diet” refers merely to the quality and composition of the food you will habitually eat as provided at the Taco Bell Drive-Thru.
INTRODUCING THE BIKE CARSON RIDE-ON DIET
I figure if Taco Bell can create a diet, so can I. I’m going to call it the Bike Carson Ride-On Diet. It’s not a restrictive diet. You’ll get to eat plenty of food. Good food. And you’ll lose excess pounds. Quickly, in fact. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Jeff’s going to sell me his diet book, and I’ll have to mail order tasteless, expensive meals from him”. But here’s the thing. I’m not going to charge you anything. You buy nothing from me. In fact, I bet that if you are reading Bike Carson, you already have the required equipment. Your bicycle. All you have to do is ride your bike more, make better choices by eating good tasting, high quality food, and live a happy and fulfilling life.
I’m not a dietitian or personal trainer, but it doesn’t take a genius to realize that the body was not designed for the sedentary lifestyle and highly processed foods of today’s America. Over thousands of years, our bodies adapted to high levels of exercise and a wide variety of foods. Only recently in our history have we gone overboard with reduced physical activity and the oversimplification of our diet to mostly corn and soy. The results have been disastrous.
The keys to a healthy body are so simple, yet health and vitality have been shrouded in mystery in a nation awash in thousands of diet books, celebrity fads, and billions of dollars in advertising from the “food” industry. The two main ingredients for health are simply 1) to fuel our bodies with a wide variety of high quality, nutrient rich foods, and 2) burn calories and strengthen our bodies with exercise. Why have we made this so difficult? The reason is because corporations are making billions of dollars off keeping people overweight, sick, immobile, and full of false hope.
FOOD and NUTRITION
When we think of “diet foods” we often think of minuscule TV style dinners, meal replacing drink mixes, and other boring, restrictive, and tasteless foods. It’s no wonder nobody sticks with these so-called diets, and are always reaching for the latest and greatest fads. These methods seldom work, and most people go back to the American diet of speed and convenience that has left us overfed but malnutritioned.
Thankfully we don’t need to invent some new way of eating, but merely get back to traditional foods that weren’t created in a top-secret corporate food laboratory. Here are some suggestions and guidelines from the Bike Carson Ride-On Diet:
- Try to eat organic, minimally processed whole foods. To reduce spoilage and extend shelf life, nutrition is removed from processed foods and replaced with chemical additives. Whole foods have the fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, and fats our bodies need. Buy organic to further reduce the bad chemicals you put in your body, and to support sustainable farming methods.
- Eat fruit and vegetables over a wide range of colors to receive the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Fruits and vegetables will boost your immune system, and fight inflammation and oxidative stress to your body.
- Don’t be afraid of a little fat in your diet. The body needs fat to function properly, and it helps curb your appetite. If you look around America, you will notice that the emphasis on a low fat diet just isn’t working. Some good sources of fat are from nuts, olive oil, avocados, and fatty fish like salmon.
- Eat less meat. Labeling of origin and contents of today’s meat products is sparse. It may take some effort, but if you choose to eat meat, find out where it comes from and how it was raised. If it’s wild caught fish you enjoy, find out if that particular species is fished in a sustainable manner. Factory Farms (or Confined Animal Feeding Operations) are hard on the environment and the animals. Additionally, much of this meat is full of antibiotics and growth hormones. Also be weary of ground beef. Much of it now contains fatty trimmings, by-products the industry once relegated to pet food, that are treated with ammonia to kill pathogens. With such little care for the treatment and processing of the animals, is it something you want to put in your body? You are what you eat.
- Eat traditional home cooked meals made from scratch. Ethnic foods developed around the world over hundreds of years not only because they tasted good, but also because the combination of ingredients promoted health.
- Read food labels. Avoid foods and drinks with long lists of ingredients, ingredients you need a degree in chemistry to decipher, high fructose corn syrup, and trans fat (partially hydrogenated oils).
- Plant a garden. Food always seems to taste better when you produce it yourself. You’ll appreciate the work that went into growing your own dinner, and you’ll have no questions on how your food was grown.
With all they gyms and exercise equipment available today, you’d think we’d all be a lot skinnier. But exercise just for the sake of exercise fails time and time again, because it’s soul crushing and boring. Americans are always on the go, so it only makes sense to incorporate exercise into our daily transportation needs. Going somewhere is something you were going to do anyway, and you’ve already allocated your time to do it. Do you really need a steady supply of imported gasoline and several thousand pounds of metal to get you from place to place?
- Riding a bike is fun. You may even have so much fun that you forget you’re getting exercise.
- Commute by bike or use your bike for errands around town. 40% of U.S. urban travel is 2 miles or less. 90% of those trips are made by car. The bicycle is perfect for quick urban trips, and you can easily ride 2 miles in 10-15 minutes.
- Those short trips add up. It’s not hard to rack up 100 miles of bicycling in a month with just a few miles here and there.
- Pack a lunch of healthy food. Ride your bike to the park for lunch and have a picnic, or use your whole lunch hour for an extended ride.
- Start a biking or walking club at the office. It’s a fun daily social event, and a great support group to keep motivated.
- Turn off the TV in the evenings. Go out for a ride with the family when the weather is nice.
- Gas prices are on the rise again. Use the money you save by not driving to buy high quality, healthy food. A healthy body is a good investment.
- The more you ride your bike, the more you’ll want to ride your bike. It’s inevitable. As fitness increases, your miles increase. You’ll want to ride further than the last ride. You’ll want to explore and rediscover your neighborhood and city.
- Balance calories in with calories out. The more miles you ride, the more calories you burn, the more you can eat!
Ok, so maybe I can’t patent and sell my Bike Carson Ride-On Diet. I’m not breaking new ground here, or making any revelations. While there certainly is more to the big picture, it’s simply too easy for people to do the stuff mentioned above on their own and see good results. It may take a leap of faith and some discipline to get started, but luckily there is a cascading effect. Eat right and exercise, and you’ll feel better and get more done. This naturally leads to the urge to continue to eat well, and to get even more exercise. It’s a self feeding cycle of fulfillment and happiness.
The weather will warm up soon, and the daylight is already returning. Get out there and ride your bike or walk instead of driving. Rediscover you neighborhood and city. Rediscover good tasting, high quality home cooked meals. Instead of eating in front of the TV or in the car, sit down with family and friends for quality food, drink, and conversation. As the economy continues to deteriorate, and services we take for granted begin to fail, it will be vital to take good care of ourselves, become more self-reliant, and build a strong community. Riding a bike is a cheap and efficient way to take care of your exercise, transportation needs, and boost your health. It’s also a great way to reconnect and become closer to your community. Ride-on.