Today’s Smart Fuel isn’t any particular item. Instead, let’s address the real topic at hand: the mountain of Thanksgiving leftovers lurking in the fridge. Perhaps you really indulged yesterday and felt more like a stuffed turkey yourself than a human about to eat one. Or, perhaps you were the model of restraint. No need to reveal which one.
For the weekend, for everyone, the smartest way to fuel up is to give away the sweets, get in a few good workouts, and enjoy the turkey. High in protein and some good fats, turkey is a fairly healthy choice (certainly in comparison to pie, candied yams and stuffing).
I don’t want to be responsible for any Pilgrims turning over in their graves here, but I’m always a little amused (no…annoyed) at what Thanksgiving has become. Why can’t we have a holiday where we all get together and exercise? Or make food for the homeless? Or how about a potluck where everyone has to bring a new, undiscovered healthy food?
If Americans didn’t already eat like it were Thanksgiving every single day (as many do…look at the portions at most restaurants), I’d say dig in, gobble, and don’t wear your belt. Unfortunately, I don’t see many belts at all these days.
“KFC is dropping the KFC logo and going back to the name Kentucky Fried Chicken – with a new, updated picture of the Colonel. The new Colonel will be more realistic looking. This time he’s 350 lbs. with huge scars from his triple bypass.”
- Jay Leno
I have to hand it to Taco Bell for being both devastatingly brilliant and unforgivably evil. In a new campaign called the Fourth Meal, they’re pumping the fourth meal (yes…“the meal between dinner and breakfast”) with a dazzling disregard for health, ethics, decency and taste.
Normally, I tend to admire rebels and rule-breakers. I don’t exactly have best friends over at Big Pharma. And I understand Taco Bell isn’t in business to kiss babies and hug Aunt Sue. Taco Bell is in business for the same reason everyone else is: to make some cash. Hopefully, you can make some cash while doing something good. Not so with el Taco. To that end, their marketers are brilliant.
Running a late-night campaign obviously aimed at college kids, night owls and (let’s be frank) bar flies – and being so blatantly cavalier about – is smart business.
The website is so cool, it’s appalling. At the site, viewers can choose to enter as a hip young man or woman. Next up, you pick trendy threads to wear. You navigate a late-night, funky urban street. Via a glossy black virtual handheld device (of course), you can talk, make buddies, and play – you can become a “Fourth Mealer”.
That’s right: Taco Bell is pushing an entire online community a la MySpace, Friendster, Squidoo (and your very own Mark’s Daily Apple) devoted entirely to feeling cool about scarfing a late night meal complete with the Taco Bell version of the four food groups: Melty, Crunchy, Spicy, Grilled.
Hey, I was a college kid once; maybe you were, too. We’ve all had a wild night (or ten) at some point in our lives. I don’t hold anything against Taco Bell for wanting to make a buck. In fact, I advocate a fourth meal – in the sense that I advocate several small meals throughout the day to maintain appropriate blood sugar levels and keep the metabolism firing full speed ahead.
But let’s consider, just for a second, if Taco Bell could have done something different. Kids are smart. They also like to rebel against authority. Don’t we all?
What if Taco Bell had incorporated a few healthy items into their menu, marketed them as still being tasty (surely the food chemists can handle that order), and gone with the whole Fourth Meal campaign anyway. Only, instead of advocating the late-night consumption of complete garbage, pitching the healthy Fourth Meal as something only college kids and night owls would really “get”.
Taco Bell: “Hey, it’s late. The parental units are home in bed and feeling great about their three squares. Your boss thinks you’re still at the office and your professor thinks you’re studying for that exam. Right. All the nerds are probably reading and listening to Beethoven. But you need a little veg, a little protein, and a little taste – now. So you’re eating a cheap, fast, healthy meal because you have a life. You’re a fourth-mealer. You either get it or you don’t.”
Researchers at Orchard University are burning the midnight oil as they attempt to determine how a single slice of the Cheesecake Factory’s carrot cake contains more calories than any of the combo “pick a number” meals at McDonald’s.
A professor leading the study quietly admitted to our reporters that we are probably closer to an understanding of string theory than a conclusive answer to what has been dubbed the “Carrot Cake Conundrum”. The professor has asked to remain anonymous to avoid jeopardizing her standing in the scientific community. “It’s the elephant in the room. No one wants to admit that we may never have an answer.”
The slice of carrot cake, which at 1 lb. weighs a lot more than even the largest of carrots, contains 1,560 calories. That’s well within the range of satisfying most people’s daily caloric intake needs. And it’s over twice the amount of calories in the Factory’s Original Cheesecake (a mere 710 calories).
Further confounding to the researchers is the fact that the cake does not appear to contain much carrot at all. The main ingredients are corn oil, cream cheese, eggs, butter, palm oil, butter, and hydrogenated palm oil. With 84 grams of fat crammed into six inches of sweetness, this dessert truly takes the cake.
The Cheesecake Factory does not reveal calories willingly – you really have to dig. Fortunately, there’s Google. Search “Cheesecake Factory nutrition information” and you’ll find lots of Factory quotes that all boil down to some variation of the following:
“Thank you for your interest in The Cheesecake Factory. Because we change our recipes and menu often, we do not currently have nutrition information for our menu selections.
Guest Services for The Cheesecake Factory Restaurants, Inc.”
I think the more appropriate quote should be:
“Thank you for your interest in The Cheesecake Factory. Because we change our recipes and menu often, we [insert lie here].”
Here’s the Clickativity.
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