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Nothing makes you more aware of what is in your food than when you ask.  Seems like such a simple statement, doesn’t it?

D & I went out to dinner with our toddler last night.  We were both craving protein and wanted to satisfy that craving with burgers from Cheeseburger In Paradise.  We’ve been there before, not too long ago actually, and the food is pretty tasty.  But this time was different.  We’ve really been trying to be more conscious of what we eat and where it comes from.  So last night, we asked.  D had called and talked to a manager before we left the house and was assured that there was no pink slime in the burgers.  The manager had also asked us to have our server get him when we got there.  When we got the restaurant, the name of the meat supplier was printed right on the menu…at least for the burgers.  By the time the manager came over to us, D had the suppliers website pulled up on his phone.  No where did it confirm that there was no pink slime in the meat.  We know that the cows were grass fed and raised on farms with room to roam, but we don’t know what happens when they leave that farm.  That made D’s decision easy, he would go for the pricier prime burger that was more likely to be a clean quality cut of meat.

Since I haven’t eaten red meat in almost 20 years, I had the manager check the labels on the chicken and turkey as well. He brought over the actual labels from the packages in the back.  And it didn’t look good.  The ground turkey was full of fillers like maltodextrin.  The chicken label was far from informative.  Sure it had the processing plant name and the distributor name, but no mention of where the chicken came from or how it was raised.  When I brought that to the manager’s attention, he said that for the cheap price they paid for the chicken he highly doubted it was free range or antibiotic free.  Good to know.  (Keep in mind that while all of this is going on, the toddler is being…well…a toddler.)  And knowing that the fish was most likely farm raised and also fed antibiotics, and not knowing where the produce came from, I also went the safer route and shockingly ordered the prime cut burger. *Gasp*  I know.  I was a little nervous.  It wasn’t too bad, actually.  It didn’t have the gritty texture I remember ground beef having.  Our son liked it, too.  He ate 3/4 of it!!  He’s never eaten that much of a burger before.

Knowing what we now know, I doubt we’ll go back unless the suppliers change.  The manager himself was not educated about what went into the food served, and admitted he had a lot to learn.  He was just going off of written statements from the corporate office and the suppliers, as so many of them do.  He seemed truly interested in learning more about what goes into commercially processed food, especially food he is supplying as a service for other people.  He was so kind and understanding and respected whatever decision we were to make about eating at his establishment.

Last night I learned that it really does take a lot of effort to eat clean while eating out.  There are so many different factors now to take into consideration when buying food.  It takes a lot of questions, and quite a bit of patience.  And so completely worth it when you stop and think what all the stuff they put in our food is doing to our bodies and our minds.  Everything from heart disease to celiac disease to ADD to cancer and so much more can be linked to the chemicals dumped in our food.

Frankly, we decided we’d rather make our own…EVERYTHING!  So I am now truly committed to this learning curve, and am asking for a meat grinder and pasta attachment for my mixer as my birthday present.  I have the feeling my little KitchenAid mixer and my Ninja will become my best friends in the kitchen.  Next up…sauces and scones.  Please share any fabulous recipes you may have, I’d be thrilled to read them here.  That means I don’t have to go search for them!