I just ate store-bought chicken. The rotisserrie kind.

It was gross, but I ate it anyway.

I do this often. Eat first, think later. It is the first of many symptoms that prove I have a unhealthy relationship with food. (I know, I know….who doesn’t?)

The chicken meat was soft. The edges of the pieces were slippery and slimy. And the plate the chicken came on was positively swimming in grease.

By now you must be thinking, “And why, for the love of God, did you eat it!?!” That’s a great question, of course, but what intrigues me even more is “Just how does a harmless piece of chicken get to be so soft, slimy and greasy?”

Warning: Stop here if you love to eat store-bought chicken.

Did you know that the chicken you buy at the grocery store was only 6 weeks old at the time of slaughter? 6 weeks old, and already 4-5 pounds! In the early 1900’s, it took chickens about 16 weeks to reach 2 pounds. How could that be?

Well, in the 1930’s some enterprising scientists, in the name of national security (ok, not really, but it sounds good) taught the old-fashioned poultry breeders some new tricks, and they began to produce broilers (meat birds) that were bred for rapid growth, white feathers, and meaty breasts and thighs.

Soon after, the mighty chicken complex was born. You might be surprised to learn that most meat chickens aren’t raised in cages (laying hens are less fortunate). Instead, they get to live in a chicken complex. It sounds pretty fancy, but it basically means they get to share their bedroom with 20,000 other chickens, and the lucky dogs err chickens get a whole whoppin’ 0.8 square feet all to themselves.

While in the complex, they are privy to an all-you-can-eat chicken-food buffet, every day of their lives (which might make my brother-in-law a little jealous). And chicken food is oh-so-delish, usually consisting of a little bit corn and soy, a little bit rendered animal parts (chickens don’t get mad cow disease), and a little bit o’ drugs, i.e. antibiotics, to help those babies grow big, fast.

(You can read about a study performed by Consumer Reports regarding Roxarsone, one of the antibiotics used that actually contains arsenic by clicking here.)

So now I know. Now I know why my disagreeable chicken meal was so soft, slimy and greasy. I just ate an overweight, under-exercised, flabby, drugged-out baby. Shouldn’t someone call the Department of Child and Family Services or something?

If I had only thought about that before eating, I could have prevented this physical and mental indigestion. And regarding my unhealthy relationship to food? I think I may have just taken a baby-step towards a solution. No pun intended.