Well, I did this to myself. I wrote a blog entry in response to Kerry's Open Call about addictions, about my own addiction to Coca-Cola and how drinking Coke sets off a chain reaction of cravings for fast food when I do it. I talked about how I've nobly gone without Coke for 49 days.
And writing the post, talking about how I love Coke Icees and Wendy's fries, gave me the worst cravings ever.
I'll be fair, it wasn't all Kerry's fault. It's also springtime. The trees are budding, the grass is full of little purple flowers, and my husband and I saw a pair of bluebirds gathering lichen to line their nest in our tree. It's easy to stay inside and cook homemade chicken soup in the dead of winter, but in warm weather, I want to be outside picnicking. And my picnic repertoire does not yet include tasty, quick to fix, yet healthy meals. I was caught unprepared for the beauty of today.
So I went to Wendy's. It seemed better than the alternative, which was chewing off my own toes while wailing about how miserable my life is. Sometimes you just have to give a little.
First, I'll confess it, I stopped at the Tiger Mart for an Icee. I had decided to cheat in moderation, so I only got a small one, not my usual 32 ounce. Incidentally, I spent more for the small, because one of the things about the 32 ounce version is that it's the one they put on sale. No sale on modest sized drinks.
But I got my overpriced drink anyway. And promptly poured it out in the parking lot, because the machine was malfunctioning and it had separated into syrupy gluck. Not too long ago I would have sucked down the gluck regardless, pretending to enjoy it and justifying it by saying that I couldn't waste the money. Today I am a better person. I poured it out, drove to the Tiger Mart a block away where the machine was defrosting, cursed God, and cut my losses, deciding to get unsweetened tea instead.
Onward to Wendy's. Here I made another change, ordering a quarter pounder with bacon and cheese instead of the Baconator. I hate the Baconator anyway; it always was too much sandwich. But Wendy's tries to force you to buy it. Their standard menu does not offer a sandwich less than two pounds which has meat, bacon, and cheese. And if you add cheese and bacon to the standard quarter pounder, the employee rolls his eyes at you as if you've asked him to give you all your change in Mercury Dimes. Nevertheless, that's what I did. And I had a baked potato instead of fries, despite really wanting fries, and I only stole six of my husband's fries.
We ate at the park. And instantly, even before the food is gone, I remember why I stopped doing this. I feel terrible. I feel embarrassed for feeling terrible, like I've turned into that balding elitist loser with the annoying vegan girlfriend who made "Supersize Me" and very melodramatically threw up because he couldn't finish a single McDonald's meal. What was up with that guy? But now I'm him. I've finished my meal, yet I am both still hungry and bloated. My heart rate, which before I ate was under 60, is now in the mid-80's. My stomach is bulging and I keep wanting to belch. I had planned to walk around the lake, and now I don't feel up to it. We walk anyway; heart rate shoots up.
As I write this, it's three hours later, and I can still feel that meal sitting on my stomach like I've sucked down a deep-fried sofa bolster. My heart rate is still elevated, and I'm both jittery and unsatisfied. I feel TERRIBLE and it's a feeling I recognize: this is how I used to feel all the time, before I stopped eating junk food. What is in this stuff?
So - and here we come to the point of this post - I go to the Wendy's nutrition information page. Here's the link.
It's a very handy page. I choose from pull-down menu's: Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers. Quarter pound single. This gives me a bunch of radio buttons, and I tick off what was on my sandwich. Patty, cheese slice, bacon, mayo, ketchup, mustard, pickles, onion, tomatoes, lettuce, bun. 550 calories. Huh. High, but not that bad really.
Here's the problem, and I'm going to bold this text so please excuse me for shouting.
EVERYTHING THEY SAY IS A LIE.
550 seems a little low, doesn't it? I mean, I know how much meat goes into a quarter-pounder, by definition: a quarter pound. And a quarter pound hamburger patty doesn't have 2oo calories as they claim.
Here's the Calorie King site, which I generally use for finding out how many calories things have, because it conveniently allows you to compare portion sizes and is just generally nifty. If you don't like this one, feel free to look it up on the site of your choosing. I compared meats, and based on the extremely greasy mouth feel of the Wendy's patty, I'm guessing it's not lean meat.
200 calories per patty? Bullshit. Not in this universe. Let's say more like 320. That's how many calories are in a quarter pound beef patty.
Checking the other information, I found the same issues. 70 calories in a one ounce slice of American cheese, according to Wendy's. NOPE! That's simply untrue. A one ounce slice of American cheese has 105 calories. 60 calories in four slices of bacon. Who would even begin to believe that? Geez, I wish four slices of bacon only had 60 calories! In the real world where you and I live, it's 46 calories per slice, more like 200 for four slices. 40 calories for mayo. Well, they cheated a little differently on this one, claiming that their sandwich has a teaspoonful of mayo on it. WRONG AGAIN! Easily a tablespoon on that sandwich. We'll call it 100 calories.
I wasn't able to check on the bun, since different buns have different caloric content, but it was a giant, sweet, Kaiser-type bun. They claim it has 160 calories, which is the same number found in a modest grocery store bun. I can't prove it but I think this is another lie.
They even lied about the number of calories in ketchup.
All together, when I added up the number of calories their sandwich really has as opposed to the number they claim, it turned out to have 900 calories. That's nine. Hundred. Not five hundred and fifty. That's three hundred and fifty calories they lied about. Three hundred calories is an entire lunch.
Now, about the rest of my meal: They claim 270 calories for a 10 ounce baked potato, and Calorie King agrees with them. 45 cal in one package of sour cream plus 50 cal in one package of pseudo-butter spread. Sounds reasonable. 365 calories for a potato.
And the six stolen fries? Well, Wendy's doesn't give information on individual fries and I didn't count the total number per package, but somewhere I read that there are about 15 calories per big fat Wendy's fry, which is why I ate six. Call it 100 calories. Plus two ketchup packets, 20 calories.
That makes my calorie total for this horrifying meal 1385 calories, not counting my abandoned Icee. That's as many calories as I ate YESTERDAY. Of those calories, more than half are pure fat and a lot of the rest are empty carbs.
Ye Gods, no wonder I feel like crap!