• Robert Saucedo

I Come To Bury Taco Bell, Not To Praise It

Taco Bell made news today when it was announced that they are restructuring their menu, removing staples such as their Mexican Pizza, pico de gallo, and shredded chicken. A part of me really wants to go on a Taco Bell tonight and binge - spending $20 bucks to buy all the crap I love from their menu while I still can. You can buy a lot of Taco Bell for $20. There is a real thrill in taking home a giant to-go bag full of tacos, burritos, Mexican pizzas, and other assorted tex-mex delicacies, laying your bounty out over your table, and then plunging your face into the spread as if your nose was Scrooge McDuck swimming in a pool of gold coins.

I associate Taco Bell with excess - it’s cheap food, brightly colored and, despite a plethora of invented names, all the dishes are oddly familiar. It’s easy to overdo yourself at Taco Bell. That might be the reason why their food is also the most likely to give me a nasty case of diarrhea. Taco Bell once, around the time Jarred was Subway’s spokesman, tried to advertise their food for people on weight loss programs. Sure, you can lose weight by just eating Taco Bell - but it’s because you’re going to shit yourself to death.

I once saw a Taco Bell taco artist inject guacamole into a burrito using a calking gun. I continued to go to Taco Bell for a decade after that. What can I say? I love Taco Bell.

I love all fast food in general but I have, almost completely, avoided it for the last six months. I have stuck to a pretty consistent diet - eggs for breakfast, grilled chicken for lunch, and a can of soup or sardines for dinner. On Saturdays, I have treated myself to a nice meal - but usually, that means cooking comfort food myself or going to a restaurant for take-out. There’s been some fried chicken here and there and a single trip to Whataburger but I haven’t had any of my usual drive-thru go-to’s since March.

I’ve written in the past about my struggle with my weight. At my heaviest, I weighed almost 420 pounds. While there are many people whose weight is out of their control, my issues were all by my own hand. I would gorge myself on fast food - to the point of being sick. I would go to McDonald’s and buy four McDoubles and two orders of medium fries. I routinely ate entire large pizzas by myself, plus an order of buffalo wings or breadsticks. On more than one occasion I would order so much Chinese takeout that I would wind up puking it all up - not because I was trying to, but because I had tipped past the point of what I could put into my stomach.

I had an addiction to food and it has taken me a long time to fight past it. I currently weigh 280 pounds. I still have a lot of work to do but I can get there - as long as I treat fast food the way it was meant to be treated - like a rare treat. People were not meant to eat fast food every day of the week, just ask Morgan Spurlock. Or maybe don't. I think he's canceled.

The problem is the American people have had the cards stacked up against them. Why does it cost $15 to buy a salad at Salata, a chain of Subway style build-your-own salad casual restaurants - but you can, for the same amount of money at Taco bell, buy four crunchy tacos, four beefy five-layer burritos, two orders of cinnamon twists and have some money left over for a Pineapple Whip Freeze? Why is it so expensive to eat healthily?

Americans are fed value over quality. We are given large servings of food that is downright terrible for us at rock bottom prices. Meanwhile, the good stuff - the kind of food that is nutritious and filling - is priced at a point where it becomes difficult to afford on a regular occasion. Sure, you can cook for yourself - but there’s a reason why so many people don’t. I ate out a ton pre-COVID because I was so busy with work. I didn’t have time to cook so I let people at Burger King, Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, and Panda Express cook for me. This was the same for a lot of working adults.

Changes need to be made to the way Americans are feeding ourselves and it starts with how and what we’re being sold. This isn’t a problem that we can face right away but this period of uncertainty that we’re currently in is the best possible time for us to make some of these changes.

I am choosing to see 2020 as a restart button. We can all use this opportunity to make some serious changes to the way we were doing things pre-COVID. Maybe that means eating out less or eating healthier on a personal level - but hopefully, those in charge see this as an opportunity to help truly make this country great again. Fuck Donald Trump and his wall - if politicians want to return America to its place as a global superpower again, they’ll focus on diet reform and helping its citizens become healthier, stronger, smarter, and more ready to face the uncertainty of what comes next.

Or we can just continue to have this dipshit cosplay as the Pale Man in Guillermo Del Toro's PAN'S LABYRINTH for another four years.

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