Fast food for breakfast: Are we truly what we eat?

In the wake of Taco Bell's announcement that it will start serving breakfast March 27, accompanied by examples of what it will be serving, I paused to think about the dichotomy in America's eating habits. Again.

Did you see the Waffle Taco? It's a waffle folded like a taco with scrambled eggs and either bacon or sausage, with a side of maple syrup. And the new breakfast Crunchwrap? That's a bacon, eggs and hash browns version of its tortilla-based Crunchwrap.

Now, I am not saying that we should all eat totally healthy all the time but the Waffle Taco alone has 460 calories and 30 grams of fat. What direction are American eating habits going now?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Now that the average body weight tends toward plump rather than svelte, the perception of what's normal may be sliding. And that may have health consequences that are flying under your radar.

So, what's the new "normal"?

The CDC says the average American is 23 pounds heavier than his or her ideal body weight. If we equate "normal" with average, it's not much of a stretch to say it's normal to be fat. I just don't get that or agree with that.

I can cast the first stone because I need to lose about 20 pounds myself. I worry about a longtime friend who doesn't get enough exercise and weighs way more than he should.

OK, in researching this today, I stumbled across a hamburger chain I'd never heard of called Whataburger. Apparently it has 735 outlets in 10 states, all in the South and Southwest, and is open 24 hours a day. I looked at the pictures of the burgers -- even the menu that has "under 550 calories" offerings, and I must say it all looked delicious.

On the regular menu, what looked especially good was the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit. Apparently Whataburger's ketchup -- its ketchup -- is so good it is sold in stores.

See, I can understand why we indulge ourselves, despite the fact that all the restaurants also offer salads.

I have been "sheltered" apparently because I have never been to a Whataburger's nor a Shoney's nor a Tudor's Biscuit World. I have been to Bob Evans and had the biscuits with the white sausage gravy -- a concoction that a friend of mine has always called "pidge grease," if memory serves me correctly. That's about 660 calories a serving.

I think that, if we indulge ourselves occasionally, we can maintain a healthy balance between what we should eat and what we do eat. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Follow me on Twitter @KimWendel


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