UNITED STATES—As Americans, it is common knowledge that many of us eat out way too much. I don’t think it has anything to do with not wanting to cook, it’s just after a long day of school, work or whatever stressor you have in life, you just don’t have the energy to slave in a kitchen. With that being said, I want you to understand my tale of caution and why it’s so important.

When we visit these local fast-food chains, or eateries, you have no idea who is preparing your food most of the time. Yes, you have places like Subway and Chipotle where you can see your food being prepared as you get ready to receive it, but you don’t know what transpired before the food reached that buffet of sorts. I had a terrible encounter at a fast-food chain this week that just left me horrid and disgusted. I hadn’t eaten most of the day because I was busy doing this or that, and could not wait to get a bite to eat.

I get home and get ready to eat, to only find the chicken that I purchased is raw, I mean the chicken is red, it’s not done. I did not realize that until after taking the first bite, but I was so livid and it literally threw me for a loop. I thought most fast-food places had timers to alert workers when the food is done. How was this ignored America? I don’t know, but I launched a massive complaint at the fast-food chain and have vowed to never eat there again.

Why? I know from that small piece of chicken I ate that was raw led to me getting significantly ill. I mean to the point where I could not get out of bed, my body ached for close to a week, I was vomiting or using the bathroom nonstop it was just a horrible experience. It’s almost like when you endure something that brings you pain or discomfort, you want to say as far away from it as possible. That is how I felt this week, and I cannot ignore the fact that I need to keep myself away from fast-food joints. This also includes those casual restaurants that we don’t always consider fast-food.

We want to believe there is absolute cleanliness at these establishments, but we don’t know it because we’re not examining the ins and outs of each of these places. How clean are the countertops? Are workers washing their hands? Is the food properly cared for, is it being stored carefully? Those are questions that one should be thinking about before handing over their hard-earned cash for someone else to prepare them a meal versus using that money to cook their own meal at home. Yes, that is exactly what my focus has become. I’m going to limit my fast-food consumption as much as possible, and focus solely on cooking at home. Why? I know the food is healthier?

I know who is preparing it and I can ensure it is properly cooked and not undercooked. The icing on the cake is that I’m going to significantly save a lot more money than eating out several times a week instead of cooking meals at home that are actually healthy and satiate my hunger and not tease it.

Written By Zoe Mitchell