UNITED STATES─I am so proud of myself. For the past week I did something that I have not done in months. What is that? I cooked a hearty meal EVERY single day of the week and if you want me to be honest, it was a stellar feeling. I loved the notion of being able to eat a hearty meal and get full and not blow a ton of money purchasing items that I did not need or want.

I mean I prioritized the week based on what I wanted to cook. I mean crafting the dishes were easy because I had all the ingredients to purchase what I wanted. So it wasn’t a situation where I wanted to cook a dish, but couldn’t do it because I didn’t have the items needed to prepare that dish. That is a wonderful feeling because I cannot tell you how many times I’ve wanted to make a dish, but couldn’t because I was missing one or two ingredients.

I had food, the ability to eat leftovers that is always a great feeling, especially when a dish you made was so good that you’re hoping to have some for next day. When it comes to leftovers, sometimes they are better the second day around then the first day. I think that holds true for those dishes that just warm your bones and stomach like a nice bowl of chili or spaghetti, or how about some chicken parmesan. Yeah, that last one takes a bit longer to craft, but it is still damn tasty if you ask me.

The most illuminating thing was realizing how much money I saved in the previous week. I mean I probably saved over a $100 and considering that I barely spent that much at the grocery store, placed the biggest smile on my face America. Who doesn’t like the idea of saving money? And food is perhaps the most expensive thing when it comes to everyday or monthly expenses. Americans spend far more money on food than anything else, but the problem is we do not realize it.

What is worst is that we tend to eat out 4-5 days a week and when that transpires, we are still hungry after paying for fast food or anything we haven’t actually cooked. Now tell me how smart is that? Not that smart, but I think that is the lure of fast food; it satisfies a temporary craving. In another hour or two you are hungry again, even though you just loaded your belly with hundreds of carbs or calories that your body absolutely does not need. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

I’m going to say that is a bad thing America and you should not feel ashamed to make that be known not just to yourself, but those around you. Health wise, it’s always a benefit as well, because you can treat yourself once or twice a week, but not every single day. In doing so you balance eating good with spoiling yourself, but I’ve learned the most important rule of them all: you will never get fully satiated from a fast-food dish over one that requires you to prepare the dish in your own kitchen or home.

Written By Zoe Mitchell