Catholic Family News

Why Catholics Should Avoid ‘Fast Food’

God could have chosen not to create food. He could have made man in a way such that he did not need to eat in order to survive. But, in His infinite wisdom, God did.

Because God’s splendor is best shown forth in variety, there exists thousands of differently textured, colored, and tasting foods containing various nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for man to enjoy.

Children and perhaps not a few adults may be shocked to learn that food doesn’t come from the grocery store. It comes from the earth. As punishment for Original Sin, man must work the land by the sweat of his brow, sometimes for many months, in order to bring forth that which sustains his earthly life.

How could it be otherwise? Everything good for man requires patience and preparation.

God’s Plan for Food

Food is mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament and during the life of Christ, Who is frequently recorded as teaching and reclining at table. Preparing meals, as St. Martha did in John 12:2, is also something God reminds us is a good and holy thing.

God has elevated certain foods above others — fish and bread (and the drink of wine) being the most obvious. Wholesome and containing much of what is needed to keep man’s body functioning properly, bread, fish, and wine serve as a reminder for man to abstain from what is unhealthy and to eat what is good for him.

God has made man’s relationship with food laborious, similar to how his supernatural life requires strenuous effort. Take, for example, broccoli, asparagus, and all the other “green foods” man tends to shy away from because they aren’t the most delectable. Do they not require a bit of sacrifice to eat? Are they not perhaps a form of light penance deigned by God in exchange for a healthy, long life?

Eating between meals and eating alone are not activities Christ is ever recorded as doing. Snacking, in other words, was never given to us as an example by Our Lord.

Food is intended to sustain life and should not be eaten for the pure enjoyment of it, which easily leads to gluttony and idolatry.

Taken collectively, it seems God’s plan for food is thus: All men must eat. Food comes from the earth and requires work to cultivate and prepare for consumption. Certain foods are favored by God. Certain foods harm the body, though they are often the tastiest and most difficult to resist. Food is a means to an end and should be eaten with others and not for its own sake.

Dangers of “Fast Food”

The “fast food” industry attacks each and every aspect of God’s plan for food.

For starters, fast food is not real (i.e. natural) food. It contains inordinate levels of sugar, salt, preservatives, calories, and fats.

Fast food is frozen, shipped thousands of miles, microwaved, deep fried, and prepared in seconds. High blood pressure, clogged arteries, obesity, heart problems, and intestinal damage are just a few of its worst side effects.

Prepared by workers often earning unjust wages, fast food “meals” are accompanied by a 32-ounce jug of flavored high fructose corn syrup, which some studies show can cause cancer.

Low-grade poison seems to be an apt description for much of what passes for fast food.

In addition to its lack of nutrition, fast food is generally meant to be consumed not with others but on your own. It is intended for the “man on the go”, to be eaten within seconds during his 25-minute lunch break from his dawn-till-dusk office job.

Far from replenishing his bodily needs, fast food disrupts man’s digestive process in a matter of minutes.

An Unnatural Order

The animals that sustain the fast food complex are in no way raised according to God’s plan. Pumped full of hormones so they can increase in size unnaturally fast, these genetically modified animals are more man-made mutants than creatures of God.

Top soil is raped by arrogant corporations who think God’s timeline for the growth of plants and animals isn’t quick enough. They apply harmful herbicides and pesticides to God’s green earth, leaving the land unable to reproduce, like a husband that just underwent a vasectomy.

In every way, fast food represents a parallel, prideful food pyramid that spits in the face of God’s plan for food. It is liberalism applied to nutrition.

Many fast food “restaurants” are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, requiring their workers to slave away on Sundays, Easter, Christmas, and other Holy Days of Obligation. Prime, Sext, and Compline are replaced with the “liturgical calendar” of economic liberalism — “the morning rush,” “the office lunch crowd,” and “the fourth meal.”

Catholics truly need to ask themselves: “If Christ walked among us today, would He eat at McDonald’s or Burger King?”

Fast food is akin to unlimited cell phone data but for calories, requiring no sacrifice, no inconvenience, and no suffering. Anything our taste buds desire — pizza, tacos, burgers, french fries — our taste buds get. Whereas God separated the night from the day, fast food unites them under the “dollar menu” at all hours of the day.

Purposefully added salts, oils, and un-pronounce-able ingredients give fast food the needed flavor required to lure man back for more, making him a slave to his belly until he is unrecognizable from his previous self, who not long ago was thirty pounds lighter and had a longer life expectancy.

Damage to Family Life

Fast food, which relies on the motor car for its sales, tends to tear asunder family life. It provides a cushion to the petroleum-dependent, suburban lifestyle, which insulates persons from inconvenience and encourages them to enjoy the luxuries of life — air conditioning, cable TV, hot tubs, etc. A forgetfulness of the virtues of patience and long-suffering are the hallmarks of suburban living.

Rather than enjoying a dinner prepared by a loving and dutiful wife, fast food hands you a meal not on a plate but in a brown paper bag, prepared not with love but with that most capitalistic of terms: “efficiency.”

Instead of discussing the day’s activities with those entrusted to his care, fast food encourages a husband to eat in the solitude of his SUV, scorning the tradition of preparing, sometimes for hours, “grandma’s recipe” together as a family.

To Eat or Not To Eat?

Whereas God’s plan for food involves working the soil, fast food creates food from mechanized processes in laboratories with artificial ingredients from chemically-treated land, destroying the earth’s bountifulness in the process.

Whereas Christ reclined at table with others and used meals as an opportunity to teach the Faith, fast food encourages the consumption of quickly-made food on your own as fast as possible.

Whereas preparing meals has historically been done by loving spouses, fast food relies on strangers microwaving obesity-inducing ingredients for unjust wages every day of the week, 24 hours a day.

Whereas Catholicism calls on the children of God to fast and abstain from certain foods, fast food tells you to satisfy your cravings, whatever they may be.

Faithful Catholics must resist the unnatural fast-food system created by modern man. As far as possible, Catholics should avoid eating fast food and amend their eating habits accordingly. They should strive to have a garden of their own and prepare meals at home with their families, knowing that the false, Matrix-like fast food industry set up by arrogant, atheistic man works in every way against God’s plan for food.

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Stephen Kokx

Stephen Kokx is a journalist for LifeSiteNews. He has previously worked for the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Peace and Justice. A former community college instructor, Stephen has written and spoken extensively about Catholic social teaching. His essays have appeared on such outlets as CatholicVote and Catholic News Agency. Follow him on twitter @StephenKokx.

Stephen Kokx

Avatar photo

Stephen Kokx is a journalist for LifeSiteNews. He has previously worked for the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Peace and Justice. A former community college instructor, Stephen has written and spoken extensively about Catholic social teaching. His essays have appeared on such outlets as CatholicVote and Catholic News Agency. Follow him on twitter @StephenKokx.