A Taco Too Far: How Four Days of Taco Bell Made Me Feel

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By Matthew Goodman | gargoyle@flagler.edu

Taco Bell’s new breakfast menu was supposed to change my life. I would never have to go anywhere but my favorite restaurant for food ever again. I joked with my friends about how I could now literally sit and eat at Taco Bell for every meal of the day. My choice to actually go forward with that plan turned out to be one of the most unfortunate decisions of my life.

It was a simple goal. All I had to do was eat nothing but Taco Bell for an entire week. The final objective would be to race the 1500 at the University of Tampa at the end of the week and see how my time and place compared to the past week’s race and regular diet.

Things started out fine – great even. I love Taco Bell so much that I was basically in a relationship with a fast food establishment. I usually ate there at least once a week, but never so much as every single meal. Things started going wrong on Tuesday. I woke up and really didn’t feel great. I didn’t want to go get Taco Bell. It was an unusual feeling considering I always want Taco Bell. I went through with it and ate a steak quesadilla. I felt a little uncomfortable the rest of the day and I worried about how the speed workout at practice was going to be.

Halfway through the workout, things were difficult but my times were okay. I felt absolutely disgusting but I was trudging through it. By the last part of the workout, my heart felt like a blender on high speed with a bunch of marbles caught in it. I finished the workout, gasping for air and grabbing my knees. My vision distorted and the world seemed to bend around me like a scene in the Matrix. My coach asked if I was alright. I snapped out of it and forced my heart to calm down and my vision to return to normal. I made the executive decision that one more effort like that would probably result in the end of my taco-filled life, so I stopped eating the delicious morsels.

It was too late.

That evening I spent more time in the restroom than anyone would ever care to. I went to sleep hoping the worst of it had passed through me, but I was nowhere near getting off this ride. The next six days were filled with the most unimaginable misery my insides could ever create. It seemed like my body was so irate that it was trying to expel absolutely everything from inside of it, including my soul.

The doctors weren’t sure what to think of it. It acted like a stomach virus but lasted nearly twice as long. It was either a terrible virus or the most ridiculous food poisoning most of them had ever seen. After being unable to eat or keep down fluid or medication for 48 hours, my friend took me to the hospital to get IV fluid.

I spent my days lying in bed, jamming my head into a waste bin and sitting in a bathroom wishing my organs would actually fall out so I wouldn’t have to deal with it anymore. I didn’t die, luckily, I guess, but I did have plenty of time to think.

Before I decided to eat all the Taco Bell a person should consume in two lifetimes, I had been posed the choice of eating healthy for a week as an alternative. I thought eating Taco Bell would be the easy and fun route. Being the lean, shredded, invincible speed machine that I am as a Division II cross country athlete, I thought I could put anything into my body and turn it into the fuel I needed to destroy my competition and set new personal bests.

My season was now ruined. A week of not being able to train and draining my body of all the nutrients it needs to compete at the highest level completely wasted all the work I had put into the spring thus far. I missed two races and when I finally was in shape to finish a 5k again, I ran my slowest time of the season.

I don’t even blame Taco Bell. They never told me to eat it as often as I did. I’m sure they enjoyed the $50 I spent there over the course of four days, but they never wanted me to explode from it. Heck, if it was a virus, it’s not even guaranteed that I got it from Taco Bell. I don’t blame them and I certainly still think their food is delicious and amazing, but I don’t know if I’ll ever eat there again as long as I am a collegiate athlete.

I want to make the right choices so I can be as fast as possible. It’s not enough to work hard in practice and in the weight room. Running is about the total package. I regret not realizing this sooner, not because this was the worst week ever, but because I haven’t been working to be as fast as I can be. Maybe I’ll eat Taco Bell after I graduate, but I hope to be wearing a NCAA nationals jacket while I do, and to do that, I’ll have to let go of the tacos.

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