HORRIBLE things you ate/drank Pre-Paleo? ... even growing up.

by 18236 · July 01, 2014 at 11:52 PM

Oh my! I look back on some of things I used to eat as a child/teenager and I am dumbfounded. I cannot believe it. We grew up in the 80's on sugary cereals and low-fat ultra-pasteurized homogenized 'milk'. We used to eat bowl after bowl. I ate a whole box of Fruity Pebbles once for breakfast. I must have been 8 years old. My mom was ticked! lol. Sometimes, when we couldn't afford the liquid milk, my mom would buy the powder as a backup. Blukkkk!

Hamburger Helper - barf.

Kraft cheesy macaroni shells - have you looked at the ingredients? OMG!

A big tub of margarine was always in our fridge. I can remember one morning looking at that margarine, thinking it would taste like delicious buttery cream or something. I snuck in the kitchen and ate a big huge spoonful. Seriously almost horked. Never did that again.

We used to beg my mom for sugar. No was the answer. But when only Dad was home, one time we convinced him. So he put a cereal bowl on the table and the full canister of white sugar. I filled my bowl halfway, and started chompin. About 3 bites in, I realized why he let me do it. Problem solved. haha.

That reminds of that one Simpsons episode.

Bart: Dad, can I have a can of frosting for lunch?

Homer: Yah, sure go ahead Bart.


Let's see. Oh! I can remember stopping by 7/11 every day on the way to school in junior high and getting a big cinnamon roll donut for 99 cents (always the one with the most frosting) and a big hot chocolate with marshmallows. I can remember buying instant vanilla pudding and making a big bowl of it for myself and setting the bowl on the fridge shelf with plastic wrap over it and drawing from it over the course of 2-3 days. I used to brag about drinking 6 cans of Dr Pepper every day, when I was 12 and 13 years old. One time I got my babysitter in trouble for making me 6 PB&J sandwiches for lunch, at my request. And I was never a big kid, either. I would eat at Burger King, McDonald's, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, and all the other fast food joints, all the time. Big gulps and slurpees at 7/11. Giant bags of candy at Halloween. NOBODY told me not to do these things. Nobody.

Oh! And french toast. I was the KING of french toast. I've probably tried FT at more than 30 different restaurants and breakfast houses. And do they serve pure maple syrup (i know it's still sugar) at restaurants? Of course not. They give you artificially flavored HFCS. And boy I tell you what I used to dump at least a half cup of it all over the place.

Pretty sad, eh? I am excited to reverse this trend in my family moving forward.

What are some of the atrocious things you did Pre-Paleo? Do tell.

UPDATE: You know... it may seem like this thread is just allowing people to indulge mentally in mistakes and bad food choices of days gone by, but actually I think it's very telling to see the responses to this. It's good for us to know what the real truth is. I mean seriously... look at what people are putting. No wonder we have so many health problems in today's world. Most of the foods we were raised on was utter garbage. Somewhere along the lines, many of us (all of us?) were tricked into eating all kinds of things that should never have been marketed as food. Identifying that, and being horrified or disgusted a bit by it is probably a good thing.

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1010 · March 08, 2011 at 8:23 PM

This must be what it feels like to go to confession. (I'm Jewish; I've missed out.)

Bless me, paleohackers, for I have sinned:

In the late 1970s, whenever I'd visit my grandparents in the Catskills, Grandma would let me eat table sugar with a spoon. And they wondered why I had behavioral problems.

In the 80s, though my mother made a home-cooked meal each night, I was weak in the face of my friends' pantries and secretly dined on Twinkies, 7-Up and those hot dogs with a ribbon of "cheese" running through the center. There was a lot of cereal in my life. One time, in first grade, I went to Johnny K's house up the street and ate Ritz and Cheez Whiz until I threw up.

In the early 90s my high school friends and I lunched at Roy Rogers almost daily. (Soggy fries and mayo, baby.) In college, it was all pasta, all the time. The year I lived in Israel I ate so much falafel and ice cream I should have been deported for depleting the national supply. Once I moved out on my own, I fell in with a Chinese takeout crowd at work and developed a tenacious habit with starchy, sugary sauce. Also, the occasional McChicken extra value meal. I got pretty fat.

And then in the early 'aughts, I went (was sent) to Weight Watchers and learned how to hate my body. (Not their fault, really, but WW + obsessive-compulsive personality = disaster.) I danced on and off with an eating disorder for the next 10 years, and oscillated between eating what tasted good (even if it wasn't good for me) and requiring only that "food" keep me thin - no matter what was in it, how it tasted, or what it did to my insides. Think low-carb "wraps," fat-free "sauces," and artificially-sweetened anything. I ate almost no meat, and would not so much as sniff an avocado or entertain the idea of oil. I was plagued by digestive problems, but dammit, I weighed 102 pounds.

Now I'm a little overweight but not very, struggling not to obsess about shedding fat, enjoying a pain-free gut, and stickin' it to my anorexic self by chowing on all the things she would have deemed vile.


240 · March 08, 2011 at 7:12 PM

Two words: Fun Dip

Eating flavored sugar with a sugar stick, oh my.

3576 · March 08, 2011 at 6:12 PM

As a kid I was lucky and unlucky at the same time. Lucky because both my dad and my stepmom came from farming families and we were not having any of that vegetarian crap. Also lucky because when my dad was home (he was career Navy), we didn't have any of that low-fat milk crap in the house either. He was strictly a whole-milk guy. And nobody made any great fuss about the fat content in our animal foods either. Nobody batted an eyelash at eggs and bacon for breakfast, although food expenses dictated that we not do that every day. My parents also insisted that I eat liver in my early years and always served vegetables with our meals, which probably saved me to some extent later.

But I was unlucky because we still used margarine instead of butter. I'm not even sure it was for health reasons, it might have been because of price and my dad's taste preferences. (No, I don't get it either. Margarine is just gross now.) Also because when I was still in grade school my dad was deployed on the USS Nimitz and my stepmom started working graveyard shift so she could be home if school called during the day. That left me and my four-years-younger brother to our own devices a LOT. I was eleven when that started, so it wasn't the end of the world--I was old enough to fix simple meals. Unfortunately "simple" meant things like Hamburger Helper, mac & cheese, and frozen meals. She didn't have time to show me how to do anything else. Also, because we were not supervised, any time there was a sugary cereal or a bag of chips in the house, we made it go away and we would sometimes invent NASTY stuff like taking a piece of white bread, slathering it with margarine and then dusting it with table sugar. When I was in junior high things got even worse because my school had a student store that sold Pop-Tarts and candy in the mornings before class. It wasn't unusual for me to spend part of my lunch money on garbage like that.

I'm sure it's no coincidence that the entire household went psycho during those years. My brother and I were constantly fighting, and I don't mean normal sibling rivalry--I mean if there had been a gun in the house, one of us wouldn't be here now and the other one might still be in jail. (This was mid to late 80s.) My stepmom went off the deep end too. It was a horrible time. And I was still (I realize now) suffering the aftereffects years later. When my menses started I had a horrible time of it, really heavy and crampy and I frequently had accidents. (I have since learned that this happens when I'm short on vitamin A. Whoops.) I had bad mood swings that only seemed to improve when I was on a multivitamin/multimineral, indicating that my diet was seriously lacking. My poor dad came home on leave to all this stuff going on (though he probably didn't know about my female issues), and I'm sure he had no idea what to think. He was fed lots better on the ship than we were at home because he was a chief petty officer and the chief's mess had awesome food, even king crab legs when they could get them.

Needless to say, my dad's marriage did not survive, and to this day we're all really awkward around one another. I had depression issues that lasted for years and I still struggle with it sometimes. And I mean that colored my whole high school career (my grades started plummeting in middle school) and then my life afterward because with no college on the horizon, my other choice was the Army and I didn't do that so hot either.

And what did we get out of both parents gone so much because the money was "needed"? They're still in debt. There's this credit card that got way racked up while they were together and last I heard it was in the tens of thousands and both of them were refusing to pay it. So they didn't even make good use of the extra money that was earned. We got left alone and malnourished for nothing. I wonder if my stepmom thought she was being this great feminist example to me by having a job outside the home. I'm still a feminist, but I didn't learn the lesson she hoped I would learn.

By some miracle, I wasn't fat as a kid either. I was just mentally unbalanced, though that was worse in some ways.

I've eaten dumb things since that time, most recently my decision to go vegan in 2005 that lasted all of maybe two months because I immediately got fatter and sicker. But I spent that whole year experimenting with things like homemade rice milk and quicker ways to prepare old-fashioned oats, and I occasionally went on peanut-butter sandwich binges. I wish I could say I got over 200 pounds that year on McDonald's but nope, it was all stuff the establishment deems as "healthy." Feh. That's the last time I listen to the establishment unless my experience matches up with what they're trying to sell me.

(edit) Oh and I had a wicked soda addiction that went on for over ten years. I can totally relate to the whole 2 liters a day and losing a tooth thing. Most of my teeth are in great shape (no idea how I managed that, I'm sure divine intervention was involved), but I lost the very last molar on the right side, and I have a filling in the corresponding molar on the left. I eventually kicked the sugar soda. I still occasionally have a diet soda, I know, they're horrible (at least the aspartame-sweetened ones), but I don't need to drink the stuff anymore, which is amazing. I'm terrible at giving up bad habits, but giving up this one gives me a lot of hope that I can fix the other stuff that's wrong with my diet as well.

22684 · March 19, 2011 at 1:26 AM

I ate Grains, Vegetable Oil and Fructose.

867 · March 19, 2011 at 12:45 AM

I was born in 1982, and though I love my mom -- she fed me Diet Coke in the bottle. I am the oldest child, and have a brother and sister. She tried that with my brother and with my sister, who was the youngest. I do remember chiding my mom when she tried to give my sister (as a baby) both a bottle of orange juice and a bottle of Diet Coke XD

My mom can bake/broil steak, pork chops, and chicken, and make some good homemade mashed potatoes. When I was younger and the parents were still together, she also cooked him chicken caccatoire (sp? and I didn't eat it, neither did she) and this weird beef and egg noodle stuff which I remember HATING.

She also made "Irish Spaghetti" which was basically pasta with a can of Campbell's Tomato Soup + water + paprika seasoning, and usually with browned ground beef as well. ICK. I like real spaghetti sauce now kthnx.

She also made this weird stuff called chipped beef, which as a child, I remember liking, but now I shudder XD It calls for Budding packages of sliced "beef", milk, starch, salt and probably a few other things, and put it all in a pot and warm it up.

Aside from that there were no vegetables and no fruits while growing up save for baked potatoes. For real real. It was all convenience foods from the grocery store -- lots of frozen pizzas, macaroni and cheese, Tomato Soup, Ramen, the above "dishes", and intermittent steak, pork chops, and chicken breasts.

Before I started dating for real real, I was a picky eater -- like my mom. Once I started realizing there is a whole new world of food out there (and had my own money and wheels) I was able to start cooking for myself. I remember once me and a prior boyfriend cooked up some lamb one night, and she came out of her bedroom to complain about the smell.

Yes. THE SMELL. It offended her olfactory senses. And of course she couldn't be coerced into trying it either ;)

12118 · March 10, 2011 at 2:21 AM

Disclaimer: I honestly believe that my parents were operating on what information / media messages were available at the time. Since we all at one point or another struggled with weight, and my father had hereditary heart issues looming, artificially-sweetened stuff and low-fat versions of items dominated, based on the belief that we'd lose weight and keep my dad's heart healthy that way. I think that in many ways, my parents were truly, honestly trying to do their best. Little did we know... anyway:

  • The BIRTHDAY CAKES...oh, the birthday cakes. My mom used Betty Crocker mixes and frostings to make delightful-looking cakes. Not just for us family members; she was paid to make them for families in our neighborhood, so that cake mix and frosting was frequently in our house. Imagine my horror when (as an adult) I realized that they are by and large trans fats, very high on the ingredient list!! "But guess what?" moms in my childhood and teenage years would say (more or less), "If you want to make a baked good mix healthy, you just skip the oils and/or eggs and add applesauce as a substitute!"

  • SnackWells, and other low fat desserts. Also lots of Entenmann's.

  • Fat free commercial salad dressings - which, it turns out, almost all contain high fructose corn syrup.

  • Diet sodas, by the gallon. OK, not the gallon, but we drank a lot of diet soda as a family - even as young kids and teenagers. I'd get into quarrels with my friends over what was better: diet or regular. The basis of the arguments was "Which is better - being fat or having cancer?" (Even in the '90s we knew that there was something fishy about aspartame, but kept drinking it since there wasn't OVERWHELMING {hit ya over the head with a cast iron frying pan} proof that it was worse for us than being fat. Ironically we never considered the possibility of eliminating soda from our diets altogether.)

  • Conventionally produced skim milk. Because it was good for us. Ahem.

  • Low-fat / fat-free coffee creamers. Blergh. More trans fats and corn syrup solids.

  • Pasta salads. (Dressed with fat-free Italian dressing, of course!) I never liked'em, but they were the staple of our community's pot luck events.

  • Kool-Aid, and Crystal Light, both which were of the artificially sweetened variety.

I distinctly remember my mom gathering us as a family and informing us that there were going to be some changes to our diets for the healthier, for my dad's sake, so we were going to eat less meat and more pasta-based meals. (facepalm)

4813 · March 08, 2011 at 7:48 PM

well, I am coming from a very different background (Poland under communism) so we had our own style of poisons ;-)

first - a lot of bread. often bread only with margarine, as a dessert - bread with margarine and table sugar (or salt for savory snack). bread for every meal :D when the bread rolls went stale my Mom would soak them (in pieces) in warm milk mixed with some sugar for breakfast. a lot of "kasha" which is a group name for all "corn looking" food made of grains, like barley, wheat pieces, fine/thickly grounded grains, buckle wheat etc.

caramelized sugar made into drops, hard candies a lot of beans, peas.

then later on, when everything was already available, I was still eating a lot of bread (one year in collage I lived basically on bread with mustard and ramen soups), pasta, potatoes, chips, pitas, muesli etc.

4540 · March 08, 2011 at 6:46 PM

I used to pour powdered sugar on a plate and lick it up like some sort of sugar-crack addict dog.

Another great Simpsons quote:

Homer: Butter that bacon, boy!

Bart: But my heart hurts!

Even the Simpsons succumb to conventional wisdom.

1605 · March 08, 2011 at 6:12 PM

For the most part, growing up my mom tried to steer us towards healthier, real food, except those questionable deli meats for lunches.

But outside of the house, it was another story. All the different candies one can imagine. Taking advantage of the soda free refills at Taco Bell, every day. 7-11 big gulps when I've worked up a thirst skateboarding around (in between cigarettes). I got into a habit of getting one of those 1 pint Haagen Daaz coffee ice creams almost every night. Later I switched to Ben n Jerry's Cherry Garcia.

College: more big gulps, Del Taco macho combo burritos for years. In between classes my energy snack was a Snapple and a 3 musketeer, almost every day. Then all-you-can-eat pizza at Godfather's for $5 on Wednesday nights, plus soda refills. Paradise!

When I tried to feel healthier in my choices, I'd shop more at Trader Joe's and get their Juice Squeezes instead of those nasty sodas. And Powerbars and Balance bars instead of candy bars. As if.

Oh yeah, can't forget the "Funyuns" addiciton. They went well with clove cigarettes for some reason.

221 · August 04, 2011 at 1:19 AM

The single item that stands out is a large piece of birthday cake made into a sandwich with two pop tarts as the buns. My wife still gives me hell about it 8 years later.

1954 · March 08, 2011 at 10:28 PM

Preferred kid meal: Faygo soda, Kraft macaroni & cheese (main course!), Jello pudding pops.

15120 · March 08, 2011 at 7:34 PM

ive never been one for fast food, and my hippy, food-loving mom was great about refusing to allow any processed food in the house, so aside from the usual (we ate grains, and drank pasteurized milk- nothing too scandalous) things were pretty ok growing up.

in college, it all changed.

i did a lot of drugs (you name it, i did it and a lot of it), smoked a pack a day, drank like a fish, and in an effort to starve myself down to the impossibly thin waif that was so popular in the early 90s, i ate nothing but these horrible grilled cheese sandwiches with my room mate- fat-free bread, fat-free cheese, and fat-free margerine. thats all we ate, and then drank everclear or vodka with soda water. NOTHING ELSE. yeah, i was thin. so what? thats the start of my realization that thin does not necessarily equal healthy.

and i still have no idea whats REALLY in a fat-free grilled cheese. they tasted like crap, but i was so drunk and high that i didnt care!

13583 · March 08, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Taco Bell gave me lots of crap for my buck.

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12362 · March 08, 2011 at 6:27 PM

I am so suprised that there is no mention of Kool-Aid. I practically lived on the stuff as a kid. That and the neon coloured freezies. Mmmm....nothing better than a rainbow coloured tongue.

9796 · March 08, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Once I got my first car, I went wild. I'd skip history class and get Burger King, go back to school, and get Taco Bell on the way home. I probably at fast food 6 or 7 times a week. I've always loved cooking, but I loved my fast food too! A couple years ago, before I did Weight Watchers, I would microwave a Totino's Party Pizza, fold it in half and call it a pizza taco. Or I'd roll it up and call it a pizza burrito. When I was doing Weight Watchers, I was snacking on their tiny cakes, and several times a week, my dinner would be a bowl of tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich made with lo-cal bread, low fat "american cheese," and fake butter spray. I may as well have eaten a piece of plastic for dinner. We've come a long way, babies!

1246 · March 08, 2011 at 6:10 PM

All of the above. But what sticks out most is that in first grade, my mom would only pack me one ho-ho for lunch (all the other kids got a whole 2-pack for lunch). I whined "but Mooo-ooommmmm, Stacie Johnson's mom lets her have FOUR ho-hos for lunch!" And she replied "well, Stacie Johnson's gonna be real fat someday."

I met Stacie Johnson again as a junior in high school. She's morbidly obese. Just about the fattest person I've ever seen in real life. Couldn't get around without a walker. So while my lunch was typically a fluffer-nutter sandwich, low-fat "cheese" and a "juice" box, at least I only got one Little Debbie snack per day, right?

5216 · March 08, 2011 at 5:25 PM

I was probably on a five a day Dr. Pepper spree in high school and could eat a 1lb of sour patch kids in a day. My diet was mainly tacos, pizza, cereal, and canned soup.

Edit: I was trying to think of what I ate for lunch as a kid but couldn't recall. And then it came to me: hot pockets, bagel bites and microwavable mac and cheese. If someone says they eat pizza everyday, the immediate assumption is that they're unhealthy. But as long as you vary your carbs + cheese, no one will question you.

253 · March 08, 2011 at 5:15 PM

Tons of soda. I was addicted to Coca Cola. I used to drink 2-3 liters each night. Cost me a tooth.

813 · January 18, 2013 at 5:47 PM

low carb wheat bread with low fa peanut butter and sugar free jelly with a triple grande upside down non fat, sugar free caramel macchiatto from Starbucks, in my early college days. And I wonder why I always struggled losing weight.

2483 · January 18, 2013 at 4:55 PM

Diet Coke and M&Ms for breakfast. I was so bad!!


1230 · January 18, 2013 at 10:00 AM

I used to eat ice tea mix in powder form (Lipton, Nestea, or sometimes other stuff like Tang). And finish the whole can in a few days (and these were the largest ones available in the supermarket).

I used to drink two liter sodas throughout the day instead of water. I did this for at least a full year.

When I first tried to quit sugar "cold turkey" after watching Dr. Lustig's "Sugar, the Bitter Truth", I found I was a sugar addict and couldn't. And my body immediately rebelled in opposition; I would go on zombie-like hour-long binges of cookies, cakes, meats, various sugar waters, ice cream - I could binge on anything.

From kindergarten through 8th grade, I'd typically eat several chocolate bars in the morning, plus bubble gum and sometimes a load of ice cream sandwiches in the afternoon.

In high school, would eat two or three ice cream bars/sandwiches at lunch plus a soda. This is not counting other stuff in the morning before school and later in afternoon.

My parents thought that it was a sign of a healthy, growing boy who ate heaps of everything. My situation was especially bad because my parents gave us a large allowance, much of which I spent on sugar.

Surprise, the age of 16, family doctor told me I tested pre-diabetic. Have tried to clean up since then. Unsuccessful until I found Paleo. Mixed results since...

100 · January 18, 2013 at 8:12 AM

1) Reese's peanut butter cup 10-pack.

2) 2-liter of mountain dew or Dr. Pepper

3) Sit in front of computer from 7pm-3am playing RPGs.

280 · January 18, 2013 at 5:18 AM

What a fun question lol! I had Eggo waffles or Hot Pockets every morning for many years. I could eat a family size bag of potato chips all by myself. Even when I was a vegetarian I would just eat crap. like microwaveable burritos. Oh boy did I love those microwave foods. Last confession, I polished off a box of cookies every week, usually Oreos. It wasn't all bad though. My parents always left a bowl of fresh fruit out for us kids. We rarely ate fast food and my mom cooked dinner which always included lean meats. We stopped buying white bread too.

1230 · January 18, 2013 at 3:18 AM

I would take a full pack of strawberry muffin mix from the cabinet, combine it with milk in a glass and drink it like a smoothie.

1012 · January 18, 2013 at 2:55 AM

Surge... pretty sure that sugar content goes in the record books.

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2314 · April 05, 2012 at 1:18 AM

soft pretzels dipped in melted cheese

865 · April 04, 2012 at 7:50 PM

I was a "health junk" JUNKIE. I probably ate the equivalent of a bowl of Splenda a day. Walden Farms no-calorie products. Bags and bags of Soy Crisps. I-can't-believe-it's-not-butter spray on EVERYTHING. Crystal Light and diet soda. Vanilla Soymilk. Vitatops. South Beach Diet bars. Low carb tortilla wraps. Sugar Free maple syrup. Low carb, artificially sweetened yogurt. Fat free, sugar free cool whip.

On so many levels, YIKES.

90 · April 04, 2012 at 7:30 PM

Like most people, I ate all the normal SAD junk. (Hamburger Helper, pasta salads, margarine, sugary snacks, etc.) I used to drink 2-3 cans of Mountain Dew a day.

Here's the really unhealthy/weird thing: I would put Crisco in a bowl, add some brown sugar and white sugar, and mash it up until I had little sugar-coated hydrogenated-vegetable-oil balls about the size of grains of rice. Then eat it.

Luckily I've never had a weight problem; I've actually been underweight my whole life. But I feel better now that I eat better!

1086 · April 04, 2012 at 7:11 PM

Diet Coke and Wheat Thins were my kryptonite in college. I would go through a 12 pack of DC in 2 days and a box of Wheat Thins whenever I cracked the seal.

303 · April 04, 2012 at 7:07 PM

A lot of horrible crap that was probably directly responsible for my acne, and asthma (cured asthma going paleo by the way). Plenty of fast food. In middle school, I'd eat breakfast at school a lot, stuff like coco krispies or a big cinnamon roll. Lunch was pizza or chicken nuggets, fries, and a Snickers ice cream bar. Before sports practices I'd scarf pop and a candy bar. High school was more of the same, Burger King was a favorite lunch spot, as was 7-11. Slurpees, grape Nerds, more pizza and fries. DISGUSTING! I was skinny, so I ate with impunity. I still am thin, although I can't eat quite like that anymore, nor would I want to, but it can be kind of a in, "I'll have this cheat because my weight is fine." Boy, it's interesting to look back on all the crap we ate, isn't it? Kind of horrifying.

364 · April 04, 2012 at 5:58 PM

From around age 8 to 16, my typical weekends looked like this:

Friday night: eating 6-10 slices of New Yorker-style Pizza Hut pizza, washed down with a 2-liter of Coke or Sprite. Later that night, I would eat a sleeve or two of Saltine crackers.

Saturday night: Eat an entire bag or two of Cool Ranch Doritos or Combos, with a pound of imitation crab meet, and Sprite. This would usually end in vomiting. I eventually graduated to Sun Chips and Gatorade, so much better, y'know?

Gotta love grandparents enabling fat kids. No wonder I got to 310 lbs by my 18th birthday. (21 now, down to 205)

I also used to love the BLT Chicken Bread Bowl at Perkins: a large bowl made of bread, with iceberg lettuce, bacon, chicken, slathered in 1000 island dressing. When I got down to the lettuce, I would dump it out and eat the bowl.

Also, my grandpa used to fry tortilla shells in vegetable oil. Yummy.

600 · April 04, 2012 at 4:11 PM

I had a pretty colorful mix of the wonderful and the terrible food-wise growing up. My parents divorced when I was 6 and they had very different opinions on food and nutrition, so it was an interesting bucket of conflict to try and navigate as a child:

THE TERRIBLE (DAD) -With a new wife and four teenage boys in the house, buying food was all about VOLUME. We were all very active in competitive sports and I remember the days when being on a carb rollercoaster and seemingly unable to burn fat for energy, I literally could not get enough food. I felt like I was starving or something. One of my older brothers would come home and make himself a slurry using 3 boxing of KD with that horrible fake orange cheese, a stick of margarine, half a liter of skim milk and half a can of cheese whiz.

-My stepmom worked at DAWN FOODS, and she would get buckets of horrible synthetic test tube food to try, and in the name of thrift my dad would insist that we eat it. I literally mean that there were tubs of neon colored goo in the fridge, in "flavors" like "purple" and "green". This is food I am convinced contained no actual food product. The good thing coming out of this is that since them I have been unable to stand artificially flavored anything.

-My stepmom probably had a few eating issues of her own and was rail skinny. She would make giant pans of brownies, cakes and pies and not eat a single bite. She went running every day and if she missed her run she wouldn't eat anything at all.

-My dad developed weight issues during these years (surprise!) and despite my insistence that I was trying to eat healthy because I was an athlete, he would make extremely rich dinners and desserts that he would watch us eat and not eat himself. It was really weird. I later on developed some messed up food patterns of my own, but it seems like that's par for the course for most teenage girls these days.

THE GOOD (DAD) -For weekday dinners neither parent was home in time to cook anything, so my household chores included cooking for the family from age 8 up. This gave me a lot more control over at least some of the menu (though it would be a long time before I understood what to even do with it, once I had it) and I always had to make sure there was a meat, a starch and a vegetable on the table. Corn and potatoes did not count as vegetables so at least I was doing something right. I also learned how to cook and love cooking to this day, which a lot of people my age are just learning(or failing to) now.

-Because there were so many ravenous kids in the house, we rarely got 'junk' food (different in my mind then just poor quality crap food, junk food is designed to be unhealthy, and it's usually semi-expensive). Shopping day was on monday, and by tuesday morning the frosted flakes were gone because someone had sat down and eaten the whole box the night before.

-Going out to dinner was extremely rare and usually involved “all you can eat meat” somewhere, because these were the kind of kids that would probably eat 3 or 4 hamburgers at a fast food restaurant.


-My mom believed all the press about fat and cholesterol and salt, ect. She really tried hard to make sure that we ate properly, but this involved things like buying the 'whole wheat' croissants instead of regular (to be fair, I begged for them) and screaming at me for putting butter on my eggs. (I ate buttered eggs for breakfast this morning, enjoying them with the kind of vengeful relish that characterizes teen angst.)

-Mom believed the press about eating many small meals throughout the day, which pretty much led to me constantly snacking and never eating proper meals. Being used to chewing on something all the time has set me up with weird issues where I have a super hard time skipping meals, when I get hungry I get HUNGRY NOW DAMMNIT. I am still trying to fix this today.

-Low fat version of everything. Skim milk, fat free cream cheese, fat free cookies, the works. All fat free really means is extra sugar, of course...

THE GOOD (Mom) -No margarine, artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners allowed. Fast food does not count as food (still to this day I have never eaten at McDonald's or anything, it doesn't even seem like food to me) Ever. In soviet Russia, food nourishes YOU.


-I used to love nerds (basically colored sugar pebbles) and a drink called all-sport which was basically extra sugary gatorade??? that I was convinced was good for me.

-I have a weakness for the plastic gas station nickle candy that persists TO THIS DAY. Why???? Especially the pink/red marshmallow 'strawberries' when they're just stale enough to be crispy on the outside. It's sick.

-My sister and I were obsessed with cookie dough anything. This culminated in one fateful day when we bought a cylinder of raw pillsbury cookie dough from the refrigerator section on the grocery store and ate it on the way home from school. Five blocks later we threw up on the church lawn.

-When I was in charge as a babysitter at 12 or 13 my sister and I would go get KFC wraps. I hate mayonnaise and always have but I liked whatever the white saucy goop was in the wraps, so I am pretty sure it is some other-substance and not actually mayonnaise.

-I used to mix up graham cracker crust, a spoonful of butter and honey and melt it in the microwave. I still do this with peanut butter and honey.

Maybe a little lengthier than you ever cared to read, but I had fun with this one. Good question.

1061 · April 04, 2012 at 4:11 PM

I am very lucky in the sense that I banished junk food from my life at a very early age - I have been eating only natural, mostly-organic foods since August of 2009, when I was 15.

However, before that I was very much your typical healthy-food-is-for-losers kid who ate very disgusting things, and even after that I was eating a low-fat diet heavy with grains and plant protein because I thought that was what was the best for me. I'm not going to list all of my mistakes, because it's a long list, but here are some that were a common theme:

  • I had a diet soda addiction, and I can recall a time where it was normal for me to only drink diet soda for days at a time.
  • I live within walking distance of a grocery store called Safeway, which sells storebrand cake, which they sell out of the "bakery" (where they receive cakes from the factory and slice it, I assume). Their white cake was the bomb, and they sold it by the slice - which were about 4 servings worth per slice. My sister and I were so obsessed with it; we would beg my parents to get us some as a "special treat" at least once a week, and when they wouldn't we would walk to the store and buy it ourselves. Those walks, along with those for which we would buy cookie dough, soda, margarita mix, cookies, crackers, discounted bulk candy, et cetera, counted as just about our only exercise.
  • Kraft Easy-Mac with lemon juice and black pepper added to it was my idea of gourmet.
  • I once ate an entire Mrs. Smith's frozen carrot cake (the one that comes in that rectangular box). I calculated how much I ingested in that half-hour sitting, and it was about 14 tablespoons of sugar, 1800 calories, and 96 grams of very unhealthy fats... it makes me sick thinking about it.
  • When I lost my hearing (long story) in 2005 at age 11, I was thriving on a lot of pity and you-can-have-anything-you-want-you-poor-deaf-child sentiments, so my grandparents, who were staying at our house to help out, drove to a nearby Wendy's every day for three months to get me a double cheeseburger with jumbo fries and their large Coke.
  • My sister taught me when I was 3 how to eat Minute Maid pink lemonade mix (they apparently don't make it anymore, but it was akin to Kool Aid mix and you combined pink, flavored sugar with water to make lemonade) by either licking your fingers and sticking it into the container, or just taking a spoon and shoving a pile of it in our mouths to slowly suck on.
  • For my 14th birthday I received 4 pounds of Skittles and I ate them all. A few months later I bought an 8 or 10 pound bag of Haribo gummy bears, and I promised to share half with my sister but I didn't, opting to hide them under my bed and eat them by the handful whenever I passed by.

That's just the tip of the iceberg, but I'm too grossed out right now to continue.

6218 · April 04, 2012 at 3:03 PM

The list could be very long ...Now just for kicks I'll read an old label and look in horror at what I used to think was food ...

Lucky Charms and other artificial colored cereals, Frosted Flakes - any version of frosted flakes/shredded wheat

Pasteurized juices/smoothies - Treetop, Minute Maid, Tropicana, Odawalla, etc.

Soda (regular and diet)

Fake Soy (burgers, hot dogs, crumbles etc.)

fake protein powders (whey/soy)

whole and refined grain products, Mac and Cheese, Ramen, low-carb grain products

low-fat/non-fat dairy (milk/cheese/ice cream/yogurt), salad dressings

Egg whites, "Smart" Balance (fake butter)

Snackwells, Little Debbie/Hostess products, Doritos and other chip products, Sara Lee Pound Cake (and other frozen cakes) Fun-Yuns onion rings, Jello, Puddings

Taco Hell, Godfather's/Ci-Ci's Pizza, Pizza Inn/Hut, Del Taco, McDonald's/BK, Long John Silver's, Jack in the Box

Candy - Milk Duds, Twiks, Starburst, M & Ms, Skittles, "Smarties," Snickers, Dove, Kit Kat etc.

Granola Bars - Clif, Larabars, etc.

Canned Soup, Frozen Meals, Chef Boyardee, Hamburger/Tuna Helper

3500 · August 04, 2011 at 12:07 AM

Kool-Aid is the single biggest standout of paleo-disgusting stuff I used to eat as a kid. Keep in mind, I developed metabolic syndrome symptoms and obesity somewhere between ages 5 and 10, and I drank gallons of Kool-Aid all throughout childhood, so I think it was a serious contributing factor. I know I became desensitized to sweetness, too, because at some point I had to bump up the sugar content from 3/4 cup to 1 cup in every 2-quart pitcher. In my teenage years I felt it was my God-given right to drink a can of pop every day if I so desired; usually it was a component of my after-school snack.

I was also on the sugar cereal bandwagon for a while as a child. Fortunately, I rarely ate breakfast after a certain point in life -- I preferred sleeping in and my metabolism wouldn't kick in for a few hours after waking anyway. I ate a lot of toaster waffles before that point, though. Dark Karo syrup is actually pretty awesome as a waffle topping. Later I figured out my egg allergy, still later paleo, so waffles are right out.

I still loved drinking milk, though. When I was young, we would buy only 2% milk. Later on it was 1%. All throughout this time my mother only drank skim milk and only in her coffee. My parents to this day still only get 1% (or less) milk. I was getting whole milk at my last job for tea and refreshment, but I now would only get something less fatty than heavy cream if I needed it for a recipe.

My parents believe to this day that every meal needs a starch component. Worse, they don't really stratify on quality. Though we made heavy use of potatoes and sweet potatoes, also used to eat those Lipton noodle dishes out of bags, or Rice-a-Roni, or Hamburger Helper. Some days dinner would be sandwiches. Some days it would be pizza.

When I had the opening shift at my high school job (6 or 6:30am depending on the time of year), I would vacuum all the floors and then recoup my energy with a pint cup of Coke. We had free fountain soft drinks all day, and so I had as much as I could drink of Coke, cherry soda, plain tonic water (surprisingly refreshing), ginger ale, etc... There was also an employee meal service in the kitchen twice a day, and it was always low-quality food, buttressed with potatoes or rice.

And then, the baked goods. Cookies were a fixture in the house, mostly home made, but still there. Ice cream, the occasional leftover pie or tart, loose chocolate chips, I would eat anything that was sweet, bonus if it was fatty. I used to melt butter into sugar (not even whipping it into frosting), maybe add some vanilla or peanut butter, and eat it with a spoon.

It doesn't stop there, though. I went off to college on a scholarship that covered room and board, but I always kept around ramen noodles, Kraft macaroni and cheese, soba with some brown sauce, Oreo cookies, etc. And I ate tons of what I thought at the time were "safe" foods, i.e. foods least likely to cause food poisoning. That means I ate a lot of mac & cheese from the dining hall, grilled cheese sandwiches, meatball subs, stir fried noodles, Cap'n Crunch, a piece of sheet cake 1-2 times a day... and I could never seem to figure out what caused food comas after lunch (yes, I'm rolling my eyes right now).

688 · August 03, 2011 at 11:58 PM

I grew up with a single mom who worked 2 jobs. She cooked when she could but for the most part we ate mainly Taco Bell, McDonalds, and Pizza. I drank coke by the 2 liter and had fruit pies almost everyday.

While pregnant I worked at 7-11 and ate nachos, hot dogs, and slurpees for most meals.

Those were dark times...

209 · August 03, 2011 at 11:29 PM

I used to eat a pizza every weekend, slice of cheese cake/ cookies EVERY day for like 6 months, non-fat milk, and Nutella(chocolate nut spread) with bread pretty often. I was majorly addicted to sugar, and even now I still have a huge sweet tooth! I still love chocolate too!(I eat Trader Joe's sugar-less chocolate at least once a week. I know it's not so good) On this diet I did fine until I was about 13, then I gained weight and my lower abdomen was distended big time. So I started LC, then found paleo.

392 · August 03, 2011 at 9:17 PM

Sorry to jump in so late, but I have to share.

In middle school, I got $1 to buy lunch. Instead of getting pizza from the lunch line, I went to the vending machines. Most days, I bought a package of Twix and a can of Hawaiian Punch. Massive binges after school, on whatever I could find. In the evenings, my mom would always make a 7-11 run for her Diet Dr. Pepper addiction. I got a Slurpee and a package of circus peanuts. In high school, I moved onto MASSIVE amounts of Mountain Dew. College and grad school weren't much better.

I'm just grateful I was active enough to stay fit, and that I found a way to get off the sugar rollercoaster before it destroyed my body.

2689 · March 10, 2011 at 6:10 PM

I've never really liked bread, surprisingly. Sandwiches were always too soggy for me. After learning about paleo, I'm inclined to believe it was some internal marker telling me my body didn't want it. My mom would pack me sandwiches for lunch and I would refuse to eat them; I also refused the nasty school lunches. I eventually got so skinny she was scared and started packing me things like soups and salads. The soup was from a can and the salad was smothered with ranch dressing, but I like to believe this was a step up from sandwiches.

Growing up, my vices were

  • Potato chips
  • Candy
  • Potato chips
  • Anything with sugar

College/early marriage years vices

  • Potato chips
  • Boxed dinners (hamburger helper, rice-a-roni)
  • Potato chips
  • Fast food

I've just recently broken the boxed dinners habit. Fast food occasionally gets me in the form of a salad or wrap from Chick-Fil-A or a burger/fries sans bun from Five Guys.

MMMMMMM, potato chips. I currently do not keep chips in my house as I will still eat an entire bag of them in one sitting.

40 · March 09, 2011 at 5:02 PM

One good thing about my food history is that my family never ate at fast food joints. However, as a kid growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, I did consume:

  • sugar cereals
  • bagels
  • donuts
  • frozen waffles with fake syrup
  • margarine
  • candy bars
  • oreos (lots)
  • ice cream sundaes
  • instant pudding
  • sugared juice
  • soda

By some miracle, I managed not to become overweight, but I did have a mouth full of cavities. I also suffered from many health issues I've been working toward resolving since going paleo. Many of those health issues emerged, prevailed, or worsened during my vegetarian/vegan years (late teens through 20s).

My perspective on food and what I consume has completely changed now. I've had to learn through time and experience that what I ingest actually has consequences on my body and mind.

206 · March 09, 2011 at 5:05 AM

Super extra -large Chocolate Milkshakes, they where at a minimum a quart! I really refer to those days like this. In those days my Pancreas would ejaculate insulin!!! Sorry for the graphic term, but when you think about it. Injecting copious amounts of insulin into my bloodstream just doesn't have the intended hard hitting effect.

1146 · March 09, 2011 at 12:17 AM

My sins:

  • ate a whole pizza on weekends
  • my breakfast consisted of about 4 servings of any cereal with a couple of spoonfuls of sugar and chopped bananas and strawberries.
  • before bed, I would eat 4 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with 2 large glasses of milk.
  • when I was really hungry I would go down to walgreens and buy 3 recess bars and a bag of chips and eat it.
  • most of the stuff we ate at home was fried in canola oil at very high heats.
  • cookies lots and lots of cookies, peanut butter gauchos
  • my parents cooked everything they gave us with those highly processed beef boulion cubes
  • I ate a ton of margarine on my pancakes
  • would eat whole cheesecakes with milk
  • 10-12 glasses of juice a day

I was never able to gain weight on this diet.

7300 · March 08, 2011 at 10:49 PM

Chocolate milk. Holy god, I went through several gallons a week. I also liked dunking cookies in it :).

Then mac and cheese, pasta, those awful taco kits that don't even taste good, and pizza were dinner staples because my mom can't cook. She still can't, I do it all. All this with a side of chocolate milk (lowfat of course) and I was good to go.

The funny thing was, I was super skinny and very athletic. I played tennis on a national level, aau basketball 2 age groups up, and my soccer team was first in the state. I wonder how good I would've been eating healthy...

1560 · March 08, 2011 at 10:43 PM

My mother(who was overweight)would take us to buy the marked down candy after holidays.There were always chips,sweets,sodas ect in the house.When I was about 12,my parents decided to "get healthy".Being the early 90s,this meant fat free versions of everything we were eating before(those horrible Snackwell cookies stand out the most).My best friend and I both had serious eating disorders.We'd make contests out of who could eat the least during the week,but,on the weekends when left to ourselves,we'd order pizzas and breadsticks,then clean out the kitchen.In my 20s it was taco bell,pizzas, Chinese take out, French toast made with heavy cream,butter,and eggs, deep fried burritos,beer,sodas.Became a vegetarian for a few years,lost the weight I'd put on from all that crap,but felt like hell and suddenly got very fat in a matter of a months.Celiac disease killed the veggie lifestyle,but I was still pounding cane sugar and starches from rice and potatoes.Lost weight,still felt like hell.Finally said enough is enough and stopped. The single most disgusting,death food I've cooked, ever was something dubbed"An Early Grave".Bascially a deep fried soft taco loaded with cheese,wrapped up inside a pizza and the whole thing is deep fried, then served with Marie's super chunky blue cheese dressing for dipping.Yes, it's still $%^& delicious.

3914 · March 08, 2011 at 10:30 PM

I used to eat Saltines by the sleeve (4 sleeves in a box). That may not be as horrible as some of the things mentioned, but the quantity makes it worse. I probably craved the salt, and didn't have the sense to just eat some by itself.

Growing up on a farm, we ate better than most kids of the era (70s and 80s), but far from perfect. On the plus side, we had our own meat and most of our own vegetables and fruit, and my mom cooked everything from scratch. No mixes, and they still don't have a microwave. We ate a lot of eggs, and fried things in homemade lard. Home-grown potatoes were a daily staple. We only got soda on birthdays, and didn't get sugar-coated cereals, just stuff like Wheaties and Cheerios (upon which we were allowed one spoonful of sugar per bowl). If we went into town for something like a doctor's appointment, we might get to split a package of Neccos when we stopped for groceries. Sounds pretty good, at least compared to what most kids were eating. A much lower sugar load, and a lot of good animal fats and proteins.

But when it came to the things we didn't grow ourselves, we tended to buy cheap (like most rural folks I've known). So margarine instead of butter, corn oil for anything calling for a liquid oil, processed cheese spread instead of cheese, the cheapest sandwich bread on the shelf, etc. We ate plenty of homemade baked goods, made with white flour, white sugar, and margarine or corn oil, plus plenty of cheap bread and pasta. Pancakes every Sunday, with corn syrup or jam. We made jellies and jams that are a marvel of culinary engineering -- how do you get two cups of sugar into a half-pint of jam? Sweet pickles were another sugar bomb: 8 cups of sugar in 5 quarts of pickles.

So we ate a lot of sugar (at least it wasn't HFCS) and refined carbs and vegetable oils, but still probably not as much as the average kid, and it was balanced by a lot of good stuff. We were pretty healthy kids -- maybe a little chunky at times, but not bad -- until we moved out on our own and dived into the soda and junk food we'd been missing all those years, and plumped up fast.

24012 · March 08, 2011 at 9:39 PM

Hilarious thread. Quite a walk down memory lane.

The only other thing I'd add it Hawaiian Punch. We always had cans of that in the fridge. Sends a chill down my spine to even think about it now.

Oh and can't forge the box of Ayds appetite-suppressant candy that was always in the "goody drawer". This stuff was big in the 70's. Nice fudgy little candy squares supposed to knock your hunger out. It did...after I ate half a box of them.

883 · March 08, 2011 at 8:03 PM

I still love clove cigarettes, If my friends are smoking them around me I will just chill and enjoy the smell, but i wont let one touch my lips, I just want to smell them haha. Regular tobacco cigs however, i hate the smell so if someone lights up around me i will get up and walk FAR away.

childhood: Whatchamacallit (candy bars), Laffy Taffy (watermelon flavor only), and Kool aid.

I do admit though, If I can find the watermelon laffy taffy with the seeds in it today I would buy the whole box, I miss those things.

376 · March 08, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Taco Bell. 7-11 hot dogs. What DIDN'T I eat?

655 · March 08, 2011 at 6:47 PM

Ah, memories...

Instead of being fat, I was always thin and sickly, prone to asthma and recurring colds and flus. As a kid I was rich on a quarter allowance a week (showing my age), and store-bought candy was an occasional treat mostly acquired with my own money. Homemade desserts were relatively infrequent, ranging from homemade Toll House cookies to instant pudding, and the worst offenders like Grandma's fudge were confined to holiday family get-togethers. But the more time I spent in school, the more miserable I became, and the more I turned to abusing drugs of all kinds in a desperate attempt to numb the emotional and psychological pain.

It wasn't until the last few years that I realized in hindsight just what I was doing to myself back then, and why I was doing it, and why it created a self-perpetuating vicious circle that only made things worse. Emily Deans at Evolutionary Psychiatry has been a wonderful source of info, but even closer to home there's my n=1 of anger outbursts coinciding with increasing fruit consumption (since dialed back). That recent experience gave me new insight into all those traumatic adolescent memories. I'd come home from another horrible day at school, or from drinking and smoking myself into a stupor with "friends", then sit down and go through at least half a loaf of toast slathered with butter (at least it was real butter!) and a heavy sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. On top of that, maybe half a box of high-sugar cereal, one bowl at a time, even after the first had already shredded the roof of my mouth. But my favorite, and the reason for this post, was a concoction of my own devising that involved half a glass of instant hot chocolate mix, topped with the same amount of powdered non-dairy creamer, with just enough hot water added to turn it into a half-mixed sludge that I would then shovel down with a spoon.

All this was at its worst in junior high and high school, but after I left that toxic environment and started to enjoy life, I was abusing junk (of all kinds) much less and eating more variety of meat and veggies (thank you Indian cuisine). Still, it wasn’t until I hit 40 and went paleo that my moods have truly stabilized. I get angry less often, when I do it’s far quicker to pass, and I no longer feel as though I’m constantly trying and failing to climb out of a pit of low-grade chronic despair.

4039 · March 08, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Candy necklace with saliva goo sticking in the folds of my neck. I ate that, oh yes. Ding dongs/Ho Hos/Twinkies/Hostess Fruit Pies. Idaho Spud candy bar(WTF was that thing, anyway?), Sugar Daddy at the movies, Sugar Babies, Pay Day candy bar- loved those things, especially with all the rat hair.

545 · March 08, 2011 at 5:40 PM

One word- Halloween.

4073 · March 08, 2011 at 5:40 PM

mmmm I used to dip cheetos in chocolate pudding snack packs. So gross but so good too then. And when I got to junior high and did not have to eat cafeteria food anymore I would eat a bag of BBQ chips with a grape soda every single day of school. The summer afterward I was so chubby, I went on a diet of nothing but saltines and oranges/apples. I did lose the weight, but omg how unhealthy! And I thought I was doing a good job!

3747 · March 08, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Oh man. I ate SO MUCH JUNK. Every week I got $1.00 for my allowance when I was a kid. The first thing I would do is ride my bike to the nearest gas station and buy as much candy as I could. That normally meant a $.60 candy bar, and whatever I could get for $.40. My parents were busy people, so that meant that I had a Tombstone pizza a couple times a week. Blech. We also ate a lot of Ramen Noodles.

3861 · March 08, 2011 at 5:16 PM

As a child and teenager: Hostess cupcakes (they were made with beef fat then ;-) ), Doritos, Chips Ahoy, white bread, McDonalds, pixie sticks, Dr. Pepper, greasy cheese pizza, Matt's Cookies, margarine, corn oil, M&Ms, Crisco .... bleh!

In my 20s through my mid to late 30s: Donuts, Dr. Pepper, McDonalds, chicken fried rice, too many pizzas to count, Burger King, chocolate chip granola bars, I can't believe it's not butter, Clif Bars, Powerbars .... It's no wonder my metabolism went haywire at the age of 38.

2231 · March 08, 2011 at 4:57 PM

There was a time when I was very proud of myself for making homemade granola bars. I got really fat during that time period. When my children were young I was really into following the RDA of grains and limiting our fat, even using margarine...OMG, horrible thoughts. :(

0 · May 07, 2014 at 3:06 PM

My mother grew up in a family that focused primarily on convenience foods. I don't think she ever ate anything growing up that didn't come from a box of some kind.

So, through no fault of her own really, that's what she prepared when I was a kid. She worked long hours, so most of what I ate fell into the "food groups" mentioned above: cereal, hamburger helper, margarine, low fat snackwells, boxed pastas and canned sauces. I drank a lot of "juice" (Sunny-D and the like) when I was a kid in an effort to be healthy.

My mom disliked most vegetables, so on the rare occasion that a "vegetable" accompanied dinner, it was canned lima beans or cream corn. A typical dinner in my household was Kraft Mac and Cheese (made with margarine and skim milk, of course) and spam, hot dogs, or a corn dog. Occasionally, when we could afford it--we were quite poor, we would have pork chops, but always coated in shake and bake crumbs. For my lunch, it was a great treat to get a Lunchable instead of the normal PB&J on white bread and bag of potato chips.

In high school and college I ate even worse than that. I adopted my mother's full-sugar Pepsi a day (often more) habit and ate fast food (with the lettuce and tomato excluded from every burger or Taco Bell chalupa) several times a week. There was a period of time in college where I would have dinner in the cafeteria and then meet friends at Arby's after their evening classes for a "snack" (often an entire breaded chicken sandwich and curly fries, plus a large soda).

Then I hit my highest weight (not huge--I was still under 150 on my 5'8" frame--but uncomfortable) and I started following CW. I went low calorie and ate frozen LeanCuisine meals and at one point even started drinking an obscene amount of Slim Fast (another habit picked up from my mother). I added in high-fiber breads and plenty of black bean everything, but of course the weight barely moved.

When I think about all of that, I marvel at how I managed to stay in decent health and at a mostly low weight for so much of my life.

0 · May 07, 2014 at 1:52 PM

What a fun thread!

During childhood, I was totally unrestricted. My parents would take me to the store and never batted an eye at anything I threw in the cart. Sugary cereals, I could easily eat a box a day with skim milk or vanilla soy milk. I ate tons of breakfast foods all day-- Pop Tarts, Toaster Strudels,frozen waffles with HFCS. I loved Oreos, ice cream, peanut butter and jelly on white bread, cans of icing, those frozen pizza bagel things.

Then I hit puberty and gained 40 lbs in one year, so I started the dieting cycle. Low fat everything. Lean Cuisines. Sugar free cookies. Sugar free/fat free yogurts. When I was feeling really healthy, I'd dump fat free Hidden Value on iceberg lettuce and maybe some bagged croutons.

In college, I went back to being unrestricted. One thanksgiving, there was a left Marie Calendars apple pie. My then boyfriend and I threw the entire thing in the blender with a carton of ice cream and polished it off in one sitting. We had a deep fryer, so we tossed cookies, Snicker bars, anything sugary in there. Tons of Ramen, Easy Mac, fast food. Oh my gosh, it was literally every day we went to Taco Bell, Arby's, McDonalds, Burger King. At BK I could eat a triple with bacon and cheese, onion rings, and a huge Coke. Surprisingly, I didn't get huge. Stayed around 5' 8" 150 lbs. Since going Paleo and learning how to really eat, I am under 110 lbs.

Oh, and sheet cakes. I used to go down to the grocery store, make them write "Happy Birthday (insert random name)" so the workers wouldn't know I was going to eat it all myself and make them think this was for a party. I'd finish the thing within 2-3 days with ice cream.

0 · May 06, 2014 at 5:18 AM

Something that stands out in my mind is taking a white flour tortilla, throwing it on the oven burner (no pan or anything), waiting for it to heat up, taking it off and filling it with a ton of sugar and honey. And then eating it. And I would do this at night, when my parents weren't up. Like a crack addict.

2036 · January 24, 2013 at 2:32 PM

My family still doesn't "get" real food and proper nutrition. I grew up on:

Sugar cereals with more sugar ladled on top.

White bread.

Country Crock.

Unholy amalgam of white bread, margarine, sugar, and cinnamon.

Pitchers of tea sweetened with two CUPS sugar

Miracle whip

Little Debbie cakes

Convenient store powdered donuts

Vienna sausages

Frozen fish sticks and corn dogs

American cheese slices

Canned biscuits

Frozen, breaded chicken patties

Canned soup

Saltine crackers

McDonalds or Burger King (anything else was "too expensive" for a family of five, unless it was Dominos or a buffet)

Animal crackers and goldfish crackers

Reduced fat peanut butter spread

Jello and pudding snacks

Green vegetables were limited to canned green beans and iceberg lettuce. Mom had a serious aversion to frozen veggies and never knew how to prepare fresh. Never tasted spinach, asparagus, or zucchini until college.

Mom didn't buy a lot of snack food, but what we ate as meals were pretty junky. We only got coke when we were having a party, were on vacation, or out of the house. When we did drink coke, it was with COMPLETE ABANDON since we rarely had it at home.

952 · January 24, 2013 at 4:22 AM

Oh man. I was in elementary school in the early 90s, and boy do I remember lunches. I was ALWAYS a chubby kid, but I got my peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day, packed with a hostess snack (zebra cakes were my favorite!), a pudding cup, and if I got lucky my mom would put a Reese's cup in with it. If I was REALLY lucky, I might even get a pizza Lunchable.

Breakfast was always cereal, and always the worst kinds. Reese's Puffs, Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes and Cocoa Pebbles were my favorite. We never ate eggs (too much cholesterol) and we used Imperial margarine out of the tub.

We always had some sort of meat at dinner, but veggies were limited to potatoes, carrots, peas, corn and green beans. (All from a can.)As a side dish, it was either hamburger helper, pasta-roni or rice-a-roni. During summer my mom would make 'salads' with iceberg lettuce and tomatoes, which we would smother in Hidden Valley ranch dressing.

We always had pizza night on Fridays, and there was a Burger King just down the street that we'd eat at once a week. We even celebrated our birthdays there!

Both my sister and I have horribly crowded teeth and needed braces, but my parents could never afford them. Wonder why? ;) While my sister was always underweight and sick, I was overweight with food allergies, and uncontrollable ADHD that "required" medication.

I know my parents just didn't know any better, but I wish things would have been different. Would I be a different person had my childhood nutrition been better? My mom is 5'9", my dad was over 6'. I'm 5'3" and my sister barely tops 5'. I'm sure our genes wanted us to be taller.

2316 · January 24, 2013 at 2:30 AM

Whole large pizzas, whole boxes of macaroni & cheese, shredded cheese by the handful, up to five big bowls of cereal a day.

Funny thing is I was never fat. I only lost 10 lbs on paleo.

5 · January 18, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Pre-drivers license:

Some common ones:

  • lots of highly nutritious breakfast cereals from the fine minds at Post and General Mills
  • sour patch kids
  • wax bottles (i would leave a trail of chewed wax on my way home from Thrift Drug)
  • double stuffed oreos (my dad would eat these with peanut butter and/or margerine. everytime he complains about "how much he's given up", these are the first things to come to mind)
  • orange heads (these are a bitch to find)
  • candy cigarretes ($.15/pack, meant far too many) (if you're looking to revisit these, im convinced they changed the ingredients because they now taste like tapioca paste. either that or it took me 20 years to realize they always tasted like shit)
  • fizzers in ginger ale (exciting and thirst quenching)
  • orbitz (why, i still dont know)
  • mcdonalds sausage biscuits WITH egg, although i preferred just the plain egg biscuits we could convince them to make. "yeah, no, i just want the yellow egg and the biscuit" this was often confused with the "white egg" somehow and enraged me beyond belief
  • Rax (before Arby's moved in)
  • Little ceasars (pizza pizza)
  • pizza hut triple decker pizza's (virtually no one rememebers these)
  • Mcdonald's shamrock shakes (oh yes)
  • Mancini's italian bread (gotta love my grandmother)
  • mostly anything colorful and exciting nickelodeon would advertise was edible

Post-drivers license:

  • taco bell in various forms, mostly grande soft tacos (got free food if we went shortly before they closed at 12am)
  • krispy creme following a taco bell meal (this choice still brings me chills)
  • whole double turkey subs from subway (and those blasted amazing cookies they make)
  • arby's wraps and jamocha shakes
  • Chilli's beer battered fried chicken
  • The Original Hot Dog french fries (its a Pittsburgh thing)
  • powerbars
  • pretzels with helluva good dip
  • jose ole frozen tacos with sour cream

And the grand finale --- 9 scrabled eggs with 1/4 cup of vegetable oil (almost paleo!), accompanied by a wine cooler. That was a very rough day in class (college). For future reference, I would highly recommend not taking Ex-lax immediately followed by Immodium, regardless of how disturbing and "unpleasant" your meal just was, it will only get worse from there.

Now I have to go listen to Alan Watts for an hour and convince myself I am still a worthy part of humanity.

15 · January 18, 2013 at 6:26 AM

In high school, "Chili fiesta sticks" from the school cafeteria with some weird "cheese" sauce. Dear God, I still don't know what they were exactly.

In college, I ate nothing but the grilled What a chicken sandwiches with american cheese (which I've called fake cheese ever since I was little) and jalepenos with the biggest orange soda I could get and their fries. Thinking about it now makes me want to puke.

Up until a year ago? Jack in the box tacos. I don't even know what the hell is in those. "Meat" paste? I don't know and I don't know why I ate them. Disgusting.

Too much mystery "meat" in my pre-paleo diet. I'm convinced its the same stuff that's in cheap dog food. Saw dust and hair. Ew.

5584 · January 18, 2013 at 4:50 AM

lots of tostinos pizzas and pizza rolls, hamburger helper, tuna patties, tuna casserole, ramen noodles, frozen dinners. i'm sure it contributed to all of my gut problems. i do blame my parents for this but they didn't know any better.

198 · January 18, 2013 at 2:40 AM

Mashed potato sandwiches.

Leftover mashed potatoes between two slices of butter toast (white bread) with leftover gravy as the sauce.

Oh, and EVERY DAY for lunch sophomore year of high school I had a double scoop of soft serve ice cream, a package of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and a package of Nutter Butter bars. Washed down with a Dr. Pepper.

993 · January 18, 2013 at 2:00 AM

Growing up, my favorite breakfast was two pieces of sourdough toast, one piece slathered with butter, the other slathered with margarine, plus extra for the crust. Sure, it was tasty, sure, I LOVED it, and sure, I was underweight, but I now look back on it with disgust

440 · April 04, 2012 at 5:55 PM

One of my favorite snacks when I was little was french bread soaked in (full fat) milk with sugar sprinkled on top. Kind of like cereal, but not.

Knowing what I know now that makes me sad. :(

Also, I loved Ellio's frozen pizza, mashing ice cream up with Orange Juice to make a sort of "float"...

70 · April 04, 2012 at 5:55 PM

I grew up in a Mexican household and so all our food dishes were for the most part absolutely drenched in "Mazola" corn oil. Nasty, I know, but we didn't know any better.

My mom would make homemade flour tortillas almost every day and use them to make fried burritos (corn oil). Same with a lot of other foods.

Our desserts were usually mexican pastries (flour and tons of sugar).

Interestingly enough, we were a fairly active family and prone to be on the thin side, so we were never overweight.

Still, when I went to college a gained 60 lbs (yeah, really!) by eating out all the time and having crazy no sleep nights studying and working in the architecture studio.

Now that I've become Paleo and a crossfitter I've lost a ton of weight, so my parents have been impressed and started to modify their own food choices.

While they aren't paleo, they have virtually eliminated vegetable oils (replacing them with Lard) and relegated the home made flour tortillas to only special occasions.

They've also upped their intake of vegetables considerably.

1026 · April 04, 2012 at 5:35 PM

Some of my awesome meals :

  • 2-3 bags of potato chips and peanuts
  • A whole french bread with lots of chocolate on it
  • Nutella straight from the jar
  • 1kg candy every day (talking bout empty nutrition ...), this gave me a double chin while remaining skinny

But the most annoying thing of all is the soya milk I drank when I was a baby. I had lactose intolerance, but don't have it now. If only I could go back in time :(

1296 · April 04, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Ugh, when I was my heaviest in high school, I used to eat hamburgers/chicken patty sandwiches and french fries EVERY DAY for lunch. Oh, and then for an afternoon snack, I would stop by the cafeteria and pick up a package of cinnamon and brown sugar pop tarts. Disgusting.

Medium avatar
1012 · April 04, 2012 at 4:25 PM

quisp and captain crunch cereal

95 · April 04, 2012 at 3:30 PM

My boyfriend and i gained about 30lbs each after we moved from upstate NY to Tennessee. There is such an overwhelming amount of fast food joints down here, so we felt the need to try them all-yuck. Not to mention all of the fried foods, biscuits, sweet tea, cooking vegetables in brown sugar(brussel sprouts, collards, etc). After about 2 years of immersing ourselves in "southern culture, " we got sick of the way we felt and how lazy we got. Although its only been a few months, going paleo has put us in the right direction to getting healthy again.

593 · August 04, 2011 at 1:15 AM

For breakfast I would have one chocolate ENTEMANN's DONUT, nuked in the microwave.

For lunch I would have LUNCHABLES, or some kind of CROISSANTWICH, POTATO CHIPS, and CHEWY CHIPS AHOY

My mom would let me eat as many CHEWY CHIPS AHOY's as I wanted!!!!

Dinner was often frozen BREADED CHICKEN PATTIES


at school we binged on CUP'O'NOODLE, CHOCOTACO, CHEEZITS and whatever other disgusting things they sold

1660 · August 03, 2011 at 9:44 PM

When I was six or so I used to make white-bread sandwiches with margarine and white table sugar as filling. Can it get any worse?

20222 · April 19, 2011 at 1:10 PM

For three years in Jr. High, I had 2 afternoon paper routes that I did by bicycle. I always stopped for a big Snickers bar and Dr. Pepper or Coke when I was done, and then went home for dinner.

Always had a big appetite, nicknamed "Hoover" in college. Margarine growing up, lots of bologna or PBJ sammies and fritos for lunch. Jr. High was school lunch - oh my gosh, what a disaster - after eating pizza/mystery meat/burger/hot dog and fries, I always had 2 chocolate milks and 1 or 2 of those glazed, half moon apple pie patries.

Always had ice cream in the house and no limits on eating whatever we wanted. There was always desert (jello was a side dish). But we did eat a lot of meat and potatoes...

106 · March 09, 2011 at 6:47 AM

I ate 2 1/2 pounds of store bought apple strudel in one sitting last week. That was the whole package, I would have eaten more... I have been fairly strict paleo for a few months, had my wisdom teeth out and binged on strawberry hagen daaz for a week, havent stopped the sugar slide since. Im currently third day clean again, stuffing my face with grass fed ground beef...3lbs each day for the past two, but i sprainked my ankle at muay thai monday and im out of beef!!!! tonight=hell

3591 · March 09, 2011 at 4:12 AM

Living in DC we have something called Jumbo Slice. We also have kickball leagues that focus mostly on Miller Lite consumption. Prior to Paleo I participated in both these phenomenon.

At one time after a particularly successful binge on Miller Lite I became know as Double Slice Dolan. That was about 50 lbs ago.

I could go on...

1852 · March 08, 2011 at 11:45 PM

Because of a financial squeeze one summer, I subsisted for about a month on nothing--literally nothing--but salted white rice and cupcakes. I was pretty proud of myself for learning to "eat" so thriftily.

428 · March 08, 2011 at 7:37 PM

I never ate toooooo much junk food until i started working and bought my own car at 16. then it was fast food probably 5 times a week. lunch at convenience stores almost every day. and on the weekend i would party with friends. toke up and order 555 from dominos pizza. i'd sit there in the middle of the night and eat a whole medium deep dish pizza, finish it off with some beer or jager, and for dessert i usually had oreos dipped in duncan hines icing haha. those were the days. never gained a pound, but felt like shit.

17816 · March 08, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Whole grains. If you are going to eat grains, eat the white stuff. It tastes better and is less irritating.

0 · March 08, 2011 at 5:31 PM

My mom loved to bake and make sweets when I was a kid. A lot of times for breakfast, I would eat a big bowl of Cap'n Crunch or Fruity Pebbles and then have a big piece of cake in the colored cereal milk. My dad almost always had a can of Coke Classic for breakfast. I started having one myself when I was 12 or 13 - every day. All the fast food, all the candy, all the pizza...... No wonder I always felt tired and lacked energy!

12048 · March 08, 2011 at 5:26 PM

me and my brother were talking on sunday and i think i can chalk up my early insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome to the fact that my dad used to buy 2-3 gallons of "juice" a week. it basically was hfcs, food coloring and flavor. being that my mom was a stay at home mother, i ate very healthy all the time. but that juice definitely did me no favors.

edit: can't forget about the "now or laters" and starburst.

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