Consider the peach

That’s exactly what I was doing the other day…considering a peach. Considering, contemplating, admiring, enjoying. It was a splendid, juicy peach…sweet and perfect, sliced into a pretty turquoise bowl and topped with a generous dollop of plain Greek yogurt (pity that I failed to photograph it). It was a magical moment, until…
[Cue sound of needle scraping across vinyl record album]
…I made the mistake of clicking on this article. It’s a killer, I’ll tell you. I laughed, then I (nearly) cried. Here’s the part that made me laugh:

“Let’s get one thing clear: Restaurants have nothing to do with the nation’s obesity epidemic. It’s not their fault that two out of three adults and one out of three children are either overweight or obese. 

“True, a typical restaurant entrée (without an appetizer or dessert) has 1,000 calories. And doozies like these dishes range from 1,200 to 2,500 calories, according to the chains’ own numbers. But no one’s forcing us to order them. 

“Look at it this way: Some diners may want to put on extra weight, boost their blood pressure, and bump up their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Restaurants are just there to help.”

Oh, my. So what nearly made me cry? The rest of the article! It was one example of dietary excess after another (the article isn’t titled “Xtreme Eating 2011” for nothing). It was gross and disgusting and exactly the type of thing I would have found occasionally appealing pre-2006. I’ve eaten in four out of seven of the “featured” restaurants (although never the Cheesecake Factory, thank goodness), although it’s been years, and they’ve long been on my “never again” list.
Here’s what really irritates me about these “upscale casual” restaurants: They are not inexpensive and they are not all that fast (since you have to be seated, have your order taken, etc., etc.). So you can’t even use Fast Food Defense I (“It’s a cheap way for people with little money to fill their stomachs”) or Fast Food Defense II (“Today’s working parents are too busy to cook”).
With the money you spend at Crap-lebees, you could buy the fixings for a delicious, healthy dinner, with money to spare. With the time you spend at the SaltSugarFat Factory, you could throw together a simple, delicious, healthy meal, get the spouse or kids to help you do the dishes, then still have time to put your feet up.
Seriously, my dear readers. Eating healthy food that tastes good does not have to be hard, it does not have to be expensive, it does not have to be time consuming. You just have to value yourself and your health enough to get out of the restaurant habit.