Fast food, fast friends and Facebook.
We need not leave our couch today to be glamorous in 2017. Our virtual reality can affirm much of our everyday behavior. Social media is by far the tech savvy American’s number one go to for receiving conflicting messages about health and wellness. “I just need the deluxe burger and sundae to chisel the edge off my rough workday,” has become the structure of our mental framework in our networking systems. It's a good way of justifying a good time following life’s trials. Offering cascading support, our family, friends and co-workers can publicly reinforce your choices are justified with a mere click of a button.
With every illuminated notification, flashing postal letter icon and even the correlated incoming jingle, dopamine is released in our bodies. Concurrently the burger and Sundae you just enjoyed also sends a rush of glutamate via additives such as MSG, a mind-altering substance, surging through your neurological system. Together, these ingredients spell a recipe for catastrophe as our friends are liking it and our brain is loving it. Our bodies scream “more” with alterations in hunger and fullness hormones. These alterations don’t likely correspond to our actual physiological need, as we may well be amid an aggressive couch-out.
Historically, obtaining mind-altering sustenance’s was typically reserved for rave seekers and radicals; limited to a segregated portion of the population we could easily pinpoint for rehabilitation into the “real world.” Addiction was traditionally used to term behaviors like alcoholism, gambling, smoking and ... I’m sure you can name a few others. The choice for a burger and Sundae that initially may have had led to second thoughts is now potentially amplified and reinforced 100x over (depending on your friend pool).
The messages connecting food and fun are everywhere. The grab and go bag of Doritos screams at you “say yes to summer!” indicating that the key to a good time lies in the 500 calories, 24 grams of fat, and nearly 600 grams of sodium comprised within its container. Our “feel good” affirmation is confirmed with a “potential to win big prizes” slogan stamped on the back, a flood of hydrogenated oils and good old MSG and sodium to entice our neurotransmitters.
Traditionally goodies and good times typically involved face to face festivities with friends. Our endorphins were typically triggered by events rather than morsels put into our mouth. Relationships and affirmation took time. And rarely was the topic of a burger after work so heavily reinforced. We just did it. We just… ate the burger. And we may have grabbed a friend to tag along. Our friend’s construction of a sentence also likely took longer to articulate than a half second click of affirmation. I encourage you to analyze the choices you choose not by promotion and popularity, but rather by taking it back to its composition! Fast food might make friends fast, but quality is where it counts.
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