What I am about to say may surprise you.
In fact, it may go against what you think you know about me.
I believe in whole foods. I believe in buying local. I believe eating should be a joyful experience…. I believe in balance. (Don’t worry. I am getting to the part that may surprise you ?)
But when someone bad-mouths In-N-Out Burger I get a little defensive.
Two weeks ago, the Food Babe made an attack on In-N-Out Burger. Yep. I know. Our beloved In-N-Out Burger!
She claims In-N-Out Burger hides their ingredients from the public. She claims they use meat from factory farms. She claims they use GMO cottonseed oil. She is claiming they use high fructose corn syrup!!! (What do you think is in ketchup?)
And she is probably right! I should know because I worked there for seven years of my life during high school and college (What’s up store #61 & 147? Woot Woot! Miss you all!). But did anyone really think In-N-Out was a health food?
For those of you that don’t know Food Babe, she is a health food crusader. In the name of health she creates recipes, meal plans and investigates ingredients of common restaurants and food items to ensure there are no public health concerns or toxins. Over the years she has become a controversial health figure, with some claiming she is a hero while others claiming she is nuts. The truth probably lies somewhere in between.
But despite what Food Babe says I still LOVE In-N-Out!
I love the fresh ingredients.
I love the customer service.
I love the fresh cut french fries.
I love the cleanliness of the restaurant.
But most importantly, I love the culture of In-N-Out.
In-N-Out is more than fresh food. It is also a place of community. A place of belonging. People from all walks of life go to In-N-Out. Even vegetarians!
Working at In-N-Out Burger gave me a behind-the-scenes perspective of the cultural phenomenon. I can honestly say they practice what they preach. The facilities (stores and distribution centers) are spotless and their main focus is to provide the freshest ingredients as possible in the quickest amount of time. One of the main reasons they have slower growth than other chains, such as McDonalds, is because they want to ensure they consistently provide quality ingredients. Their distribution centers are strategically located to provide delivery at least 3 days a week to each of their stores. Where else can you go when the burgers you eat actually look like the pictures on the menu? I know from personal experience that despite not being organic or grass-fed they are producing a quality product. I feel more comfortable eating food from In-N-Out than some hospitals I have worked at.
I consider the Food Babe’s attack on In-N-Out Burger as an opportunity to consider, “What am I willing to give up in the name of health?
While I believe in eating whole foods, I also believe in balance and eating for pleasure. Balance and pleasure may mean I have the occasional In-N-Out Burger (I even state this in my About page). One of my favorite things about a road trip is going to In-N-Out Burger. Yes, I could pack all my meals but I don’t want to. I want to enjoy a HAMB > ANIMAL K M Inst (Code for animal style with ketchup & mustard instead of spread 😉 ) and split an order of fries with my husband (if he lets me 🙂 )! Would I purchase a grass fed burger if offered? Sure, but it is not an option and I don’t feel my occasional In-N-Out Burger will cause me harm.
Am I trying to argue everyone should eat at In-N-Out?
No, although you may be missing out on some yumminess 🙂
I am trying to tell you it is okay to have some fun foods in your diet. I continue to encourage everyone to eat as many whole foods as possible but don’t beat yourself up for enjoying an occasional ice cream cone at your favorite ice cream parlor. Aim for consistency not perfection.
My beef is not with In-N-Out (I know…pretty corny. Haha 😉 ). My beef is with perfection. Perfection does not exist…sorry 🙁
Even though Food Babe may be well intentioned, she is missing the whole point of In-N-Out Burger. It is not only about the food, it is also about the experience. Lots of professionals (including myself) promote the Mediterranean diet because of the health benefits. Frequently, specific food items in the diet are touted as super foods but it is more than that. It is also about the Mediterranean culture and more relaxed lifestyle that is attributed to the positive health effects. We cannot isolate individual components of a diet. We need to look at the diet and lifestyle as a whole.
The truth is toxins are everywhere!
Do you sometimes feel that everything causes cancer? It can become very stressful if you are avoiding all toxins. You probably shouldn’t even leave your house. No, seriously..don’t leave your house! Is avoiding all potential toxins really worth the extra stress? There is actually an eating disorder described as an “obsession with eating healthy ” referred to as orthorexia nervosa. It can become debilitating and socially isolating when striving to have a toxin free diet. The good news is that your body is very good at getting rid of these toxins naturally if you are healthy. Continue to support your body’s natural detoxifying capabilities with mostly a whole foods diet and don’t worry about the occasional In-N-Out Burger 🙂
Interestingly enough, In-N-Out Burger has announced they are going to “veer away from beef raised with antibiotics” during the time of writing this article. Like I said before, I LOVE In-N-Out. It is possible they made this decision based on pressure from Food Babe, but I honestly doubt it. This kind of decision would take time due to logistics and finances. They made this decision based on their commitment to quality and loyalty to their customers. Right on In-N-Out! #istandbyinnout