In case you haven’t figured it out yet, the fine publishers of NJroute22.com are not the type to “eat out” too much. We discovered quite a while ago that redirecting our energy (as well as financial resources) towards other aspects of life was more beneficial for our lives.
We also were enabled by all the information available for free – to learn how to cook almost anything we wanted – without investing in cookbooks or classes!
That’s not to say we’re disparaging others for choosing that form of recreation, socialization, and feeding their bodies. We just don’t do it nearly as much as the average Joe.
Fair questions: Why eat out at all?
In this segment, we’ll delve into various inquiries as to what exactly is the phenomenon regarding “eating out.” You know, what is exactly wrong about feeding yourself? There are many aspects to this facet of human life. The following list is purely my stream of thought and not some kind of all-inclusive (suspiciously-funded) “research study” or other nonsensical pseudo-scientific BS. This is real and from an actual human mind!
► Do people eat out because they’re lazy?
My first gut reaction is that many people eat out because it is a LOT easier than cooking food at home. Taking care of yourself requires multiple steps. Acquiring food (from supermarkets), having the tools and apparatus to prepare it, as well as the clean-up afterward. Most people often consider that time-consuming as well as “labor intensive.” In many cases, “eating out” is actually financially cheaper than doing it at home. For the short-term at least. But most certainly NOT long-term.
And I guess the fact that nothing needs to be cleaned up – is a bonus for folks who just want to plop down on the sofa or in front of their screen to binge-watch some psychologically addictive show.
► Does the food taste better?
Most commercial restaurants (fast food or even higher-end dining establishments) have been known to add “flavor enhancers” to their products. Those create dopamine-enhancing reactions.
Eat any Asian or Thai food – despite their claims to say “no added MSG,” – and see how you react.
Increased salt (bad salt in fact) also adds to the “love” of what you’re eating.
There is some kind of physiological connection people have towards their food these days. And we firmly believe that people “think” this commercial food actually tastes better. We’re convinced it’s a chemically-induced feeling. Which is why we’re highly selective as to where we ever eat commercial food.
► How about saving time by eating out?
Another “excuse” many individuals use for eating out is because it “saves time.” And in part, we do agree with that. Depending on the variables – in many instances, it certainly IS more time-efficient to grab a meal outside of your home.
But really? Are a few minutes saved worth it to ingest (most often) inferior ingredients you didn’t source yourself?
What do you do with the “saved” time? Something productive? Sit on your rump? Something to think about.
Sounds like a giant excuse in my mind.
► Eating out is FUN!
If you eat properly – “entertainment” or “fun” should never be part of your feeding vocabulary in our opinion.
Food is FUEL. The same way you insert FUEL in your car. A basic necessity.
It should be efficient (i.e., long lasting), and come with no detriments (i.e., you’re hungry again an hour or two later).
How food became an entertainment industry in much of the world is bizarre to these authors. Your “fuel” should be an after-thought, not a primary focus of your life.
► Eating out has been commercially promoted beyond belief
Our last thought in this segment is – that it’s entirely possible this entire industry is (was) a part of an entire massive marketing program that literally convinced (or coerced depending on how you look at it) generations of people to believe that “eating out” was some kind of “destination” or even better, a “victory” of some sort.
This is why horrific places like McDonald’s included TOYS and other garbage with their food. Or why poison-peddlers like Chuck E. Cheese bundled nonsensical “entertainment” along with their rodent-food!
It may have never ever been about “food” per se, but purely about profit and emotion.
Eating Out in 2018 – what has changed? What is new?
For one thing – we know we’re not alone when we balance our checkbooks at the end of the month. That eating out is a costly endeavor. And is why millions of individuals and families are choosing more economical alternatives. Like re-discovering “The Joy of Cooking” at home with family once again.
However, the recreational food industry has also stepped up their game in a multitude of ways in order to grow, maintain, or hang onto their customer base.
Offering healthy ingredients (i.e., organic) has been one of them. Most places have been slow to adopt, but the trend is quickly changing (like Chipotle), as this is a “do or die” moment for many large establishments.
► Eating at home used to be a drag
When we were fat idiots living at home with our parents – we didn’t know jack squat. Our folks cooked relatively pedestrian things. Meatloaf. Veggies. Basic human food.
We got excited by restaurant food because of the “bad things.” Like french fries. Or tasty food our parents didn’t know how to cook.
In retrospect – it is amazing to see the addictive power of certain kinds of foods. In particular, processed carbohydrates of any kind. They nearly turn people into mindless zombies. My own recollection serves as proof.
As I look back into my past – it’s clear as day what dictated my food consumption. Carbs. Almost always. Bread. Chips. Crunch.
► Today, eating out is social media? WHY?
For this new website – we’ve taken on several social media accounts – including some (like Pinterest) that almost require that you post some ridiculous “food porn” kind of image in order to get a single person to click on it.
From what used to be a few people with good analog camera skills taking food photos – we now have an entire MASSIVE industry of “foodies” who photograph and document every single bit of food in their lives. It’s truly mind-boggling what technology has done to something as basic as eating.
However – I will add that perhaps there is something beneficial about not having ONLY “Zagat” reviewers dictating what is good. But at the same time, having a million food reviewers (not knowing who has or hasn’t been paid to influence) it gets even harder as the waters become muddied. “TMI” as they say.
We still would rather judge for ourselves, rather than some reviews influencing our experiences.
But other than “Easy” or “Yummy” what else is there?
Not sure of what others think – but examining OUR past, I guess there are a few distinct reasons why we might have ordered commercial food in our past lives…
- Pizza. That is hard as hell to replicate at home. Not so much these days, but overall – pizza is one of those things that has a unique footprint. Plus, it’s not only relatively inexpensive – it’s also highly addictive (carbs). But going to the pizza parlor is an easy slam dunk for families with kids. So we see why it’s not always a bad idea.
- Chinese foods. Two reasons. One, not many people possess the myriad of ingredients typically included in most Chinese dishes, as well as the high-temp woks needed to prepare such dishes. But also the MSG addiction of the soy sauce.
- Sandwiches. Blimpie used to be our favorite. Was like crack cocaine. That white flour bun was beyond stroking our dopamine hit centers. Soaked in olive oil and vinegar with thin-sliced onion and oregano and a slab of mayo – unreal (in our minds).
- Variety. Sometimes people need to spice up their life – and do things outside of their routine. This is understandable and human nature. Food is just one of many areas you can make your life more interesting.
(FYI – we weighed a solid 300lbs a decade ago. Now we’re walking tall at 220. No more bad foods for us!)
Primer: How we quelled hunger (long-term)
Not going to get into the mega details about how we fixed our addiction to food right now – but here are a few quick things we did to redirect our focus in life, instead of thinking about our next meal… (your mileage may vary).
Focus on Fat: We stick with meat, eggs, and dairy (including cheese). We also eat fats without analysis. By making them the focus of our diet, we found that we began eating naturally and never over-consume. Eating fatty foods not only helps you lose weight, but it also keeps you satiated. Win-Win! Most folks are still convinced that “IN = OUT.” Not true. We eat almost only HEAVY FAT FOODS (Including the blubbery parts of every meat we cook).
Careful with the protein: Too much lean meat turns into the equivalent of sugar. We stopped favoring products like dry turkey or “low fat” anything. Because eating all that lean protein all day long eventually become the equivalent to gorging on Cheetos. That’s what happens to un-utilized proteins. So keep that in mind if you’re not a full-time athlete.
Steer clear of the carbs: Pasta, bread, chips, potatoes – were all deal-breakers that prevented us from getting skinnier. It’s hard to eat out because of the tempting sides. Look at most restaurant menus – carbs everywhere, and hard to avoid. Devil’s temptation in our eyes. That is another reason why we chose to limit our eating out – because it’s not easy while maintaining a certain type of food intake.
Where do you fall? Hard-core Foodie? Or a home cook? Somewhere in-between?
Like any segment of human life, eating out probably has the same “bell curve” statistic. With about 80% of the population eating out occasionally to some degree (for social reasons, family, etc.) And about 10% of the people eat out very often (daily), and 10% more like us – hardcore home cooks.
We will still feature restaurants from time to time here. Especially if they serve truly exceptional food or if we want to point them out for other reasons (unique, new, fun, etc.)
Do any of you self-analyze your eating habits? Or is life too short to be worried about such things? All interesting facets of humanity for sure!
Enjoy your next meal, whatever (and wherever) that may be!