The other day, I ate what will likely be my last McRib sandwich.

I’ve always loved the McRib—even though yes, I’m aware that it’s highly processed, not really even a slab of real meat, but still—I love ’em, and whenever they’re available here in town, I’ll indulge them a few times before they’re once again mysteriously removed from the menu—

UPDATE: I recently read the following in Dr. Sunil Pai’s book An Inflammation Nation, which further motivated me to end my love affair with the McRib:

“[L]et’s take a brief look at the famous McRib sandwich. According to Time magazine, the McRib contains azodicarbonamide, which is a flour-bleaching agent most commonly used in the manufacture of foamed plastics like yoga mats and the soles of shoes. Yes, you read that correctly; the McRib sandwich shares ingredients in common with a yoga mat. Europe and Australia have banned azodicarbonamide as a food additive, classifying it as a “respiratory sensitizer” that potentially contributes to asthma. But this yoga-mat compound is just one of roughly seventy ingredients in what is supposed to be a sandwich. In addition to azodicarbonamide, the McRib contains chemicals like ammonium sulfate, polysorbate 80, and sixty-seven other ingredients (thirty-four in the bun alone). This “restructured meat product” (the appetizing technical name for the highly processed McRib patty) contains pig heart, scalded stomach, and tripe. This, by the way, is all according to the restaurant’s own website.

Even though the McRib contains no bones, the patty is molded to resemble a miniature rack of ribs. According to those who helped create the McRib, “When cooked together with salt and water, proteins are extracted and act as a form of ‘glue’ that helps keep the reshaped ‘rib’ meat together.” Even without regard for the “Frankenfoods” content of the McRib, the sandwich is incredibly unhealthy to consume. At a whopping 500 calories (a quarter of your daily calories), the McRib contains 26 g of fat (40 percent of your daily total fat), 44 g of carbs, and 980 mg of sodium (41 percent of your daily sodium).”

—and last month, they were back! So I stopped in one day, and bought one, for the first time in a couple of years. But surprisingly, I didn’t enjoy it. Didn’t really even like it…it was okay I guess (except for the bun, which was downright awful) but definitely not something I’d make an effort, or special trip, to get hold of….weird.

But then it hit me: my dietary changes over the past few years…!

There are many processed foods I used to love—hot dogs, mac-n-cheese, peanut butter sandwiches—which I’ve missed badly since changing my diet and lifestyle a few years ago, and that I occasionally found myself longing for. But surprisingly—like the McRib I had last month—the last few times I relented, and bought the unhealthy food and indulged for one evening…I didn’t like them! I mean, I couldn’t see myself ever going back to eating that crap, it tasted so awful, and made me feel so bad afterward, after just a few years of eating whole, natural, real, healthy food. Those premium Hebrew National bun-length kosher beef franks I used to love? Last time I splurged and picked some up to enjoy once again, I could barely choke them down. And I especially couldn’t tolerate the bread—even though they were whole-wheat buns, that I used to love!

I just couldn’t believe I ever used to eat that stuff, let alone love it and crave it!

Anyway, I experienced the same thing with the McRib last month, and will probably never eat one again.

All this demonstrates that your tastes do change over time…

Another good example of this phenomenon is soda: when you switch from regular to diet soda (as I did decades ago), you can hardly stand how the diet sodas taste, that odd chemical taste rather than sweetness…but over time, you get used to it, then one day you revert back to a regular soda and YUCK! it’s so sweet you can’t even drink it—and then you wonder how you ever drank them before!

And, in my case, I’ve gone even further and quit diet soda (well, 95% anyway), in favor of electrolyte water, bottled water w/lemon, or organic green tea…and now, I can hardly stand to choke down Diet Coke—which I used to drink all day long! I even craved it! And now, even Diet Mt. Dew—my favorite for nearly two decades—is beginning to taste a little strange, and so I rarely drink that anymore, either.

The point is, if you do decide to start eating healthy, nutritious food—even vegetables (yuck!)—and it all seems unpalatable and difficult at first, fear not—eventually, your taste buds and body will adjust, and the healthy food will start to taste so good and make you feel so much better, you’ll wonder how you ever ate all that processed crap for all those years in the first place!

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