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Why I’m never eating at Fogo de Chao again…

November 3, 2011

Fogo de Chao is a Brazilian churrascaria steakhouse chain. For $50 you can eat your weight in meat. The food is great and the service is good. It was Mecca to me. So why am I swearing to never eat there again?

I went to Fogo de Chao in May to celebrate my husband’s birthday. It was our special occasion restaurant. We were both tremendously excited to be there and when the various meats on a stick started coming we were over the moon! We couldn’t wait to stuff our faces! And then more kept coming… And more… And more… I was not done with the meat I was currently chewing before the next one came along and pretty soon my plate was piled high with half-eaten delectable, greasy pieces.

As I was chewing I started to feel sick to my stomach. I was eating too much and wasting so much more. I felt out of control. I was starting to get a headache (a meat headache?). My husband and I grew quiet during the meal… No longer so effusive… No longer feeling great… Staring at the carnage in front of us. I pushed my plate away. I flipped over my circle card to the red side to indicate that I was done. And boy was I done. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

Why did that great meal make me feel so terrible? Perhaps because it was gluttony at its best. I was almost embarrassed at the ostentatious amount of food that kept coming and the amount of food that was left behind on my plate. Everyone was chowing down and since it was “all-you-can-eat” it didn’t matter whether or not you finished what was on your plate. You could just get more! Yay!

But the way I was thinking about food was changing. I was acutely aware of food – How it’s made… Where it comes from… How it’s prepared… I recently learned of livestock production’s hefty carbon footprint. (And why can’t meat processing plants be more open about their operations?!?) I just never really thought about it. But here we were at this fancy shmancy restaurant not even bothering to eat our plates clean! Ack!

At the end, I just didn’t feel good… about any of it.

No, I am not giving up meat any time soon but I can make better decisions as far as where my food comes from. I can eat less of it. And I can start demanding better for the environment.

And, yes, I realize that plenty of restaurants are not concerned with sustainable foods or locally grown produce. So I’m not necessarily targeting Fogo de Chao… It just happened to be the place that finally pushed me over the edge.

So tell me… What pushed you over the edge?

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From → Mind, Nutrition

16 Comments
  1. Matthew Giambusso permalink

    I agree with you. I love meat, but I’m trying to not take it for granted as I used to. I would rather eat a smaller quantity of responsibly raised (and therefore more expensive) meat than a larger quantity of cheap stuff raised who-knows-how.

    We’re probably going to hamburger this planet to oblivion anyway, so maybe it doesn’t matter.

    • Hamburger this planet to oblivion? HA! Classic. Scary but classic!

      We haven’t purchased meat at our local farmer’s market but I think that’s the next step. But man is it expensive!

      P.S. You should have seen Warren’s face after dinner. He was totally having meat sweats. πŸ™‚

  2. The gluttony would bother me as well. It’s hard to enjoy when it begins to make you queasy.

    We are careful too. I’m a former vegan and vegetarian. My oldest son flip flops between vegetarian and eating birds. I rarely eat cow meat, no pork and a little bird. So, mostly vegetarian and vegan meals.

    Whatever we choose, we try to make the best decisions: locally, organically grown, etc. Eventually, I would like to return to vegetarianism because I think it is the most sustainable and least harming to the earth and my body.

    • My husband pointed out that his dilemma with places like Fogo is that you fail to appreciate what you are eating. You’re getting it down so fast and so quickly that it results in all around queasiness. All the time.

      It’s so great that your family is as aware as you are! I’ve always believed that good parents = good children = good citizens of the planet. πŸ™‚

      I grew up in the Philippines where my grandmother used to drag us to the local market and when I mean market I don’t mean the fancy farmer’s markets here in the U.S. I mean markets where everything is so fresh they’re still moving around on the table! I always hated going but now realize that “frozen” was never part of my diet growing up. That we always bought our stuff from the very people who grew, raised or caught the food that they were selling. You know… I really took that for granted.

  3. LOL this post made me giggle a bit. Considering the fact that i am brazilian and churrascarias are the norm in my culture, you would think i’d sit here trying to maintain the integrity of the restaurant. but to be honest i have no idea how i am going to go back to brazil being a vegetarian… the culture is very much obsessed with meat and its almost kinda sad…

    • I think you’ll be fine as long as you don’t suggest that they eat fake meat instead! Because I bet that would really piss off a lot of people! πŸ™‚

      If I ever get to go to Brazil, I will eat whatever meat they had to offer me. So maybe if you just take me with you it will be okay!

  4. My husband and I used to frequent chain restaurants such as Applebee’s and Chili’s about every other week, but then one evening I met up with a friend at Houlihan’s, ordered what looked and tasted like a somewhat healthy dish (Asian noodles, veggies, and tofu), and experienced some of the WORST flatulence of my life! (<— yes, I just posted about my farting.) It grossed me out so much that from that day on I swore off those types of restaurants if I could help it. Once in a blue moon my friends will meet for drinks or something like that, but if we eat out, it's somewhere local or a health-conscious chain such as Seasons 52 (one of my favorite restaurants!).

    My husband had a similar over-the-edge (and toilet bowl) experience at Old Country Buffet. ::shudders:: Never, ever again.

    • Man, I used to really love Houlihan’s. They had this blue cocktail that comes with a toy whale attached to it. Anyway, we no longer go to those chains because my husband (the house cook) is offended by their food. All their food is waaaay to greasy! And now that we know how good food can taste without all the oil, butter and salt we’re never going back.

      If there was an award for comments that include flatulence in it, you’d win. And there really should be…

  5. Meat processing plants can’t be more open about their operations because when people see what actually happens in those plants they are appropriately horrified. That’s why the meat processing industry hires lobbyists to influence lawmakers to make it a crime to covertly record videos of the standard operating procedures in such places: the truth on display is bad for business. Understanding the karmic implications of eating meat is what pushed me over the edge.

    • It makes me feel incredibly hopeless/helpless when I think about how powerful the meat processing industry is. It’s one of those things where I feel like it’s up to us to make our voices heard. When I choose grass fed meat, I am making a statement. I might have to change the title on this post to “Why I’m only allowed to eat at certain restaurants.” πŸ™‚

  6. Bob Cobb permalink

    You’re quite a goofball. Nobody told you to eat until you got sick. At Fogo, you turn your card to red whenever you want to take a pause to eat what you have, and turn it back to green when you want more. Of course you’re not targeting the restaurant – target yourself for your poor eating manners. Where meat comes from, sustainability, etc. etc. is a completely different issue than stuffing yourself silly.

    • You’re right, no one told me to overeat. But what I was trying to convey was the evolution of my thought process as far as food is concerned. A thought process that more Americans can afford to go through as well. It’s never as simple as “poor eating manners.”

  7. I am Brazilian and never want to go to a churrascaria, It is insane! I do not like feeling bloated when I leave the place.

  8. Did you see the comment that Thais left up above? πŸ™‚

    I am definitely careful about over-eating. But fortunately at regular restaurants I can always take my leftovers home – not so at Fogo or at buffets. I also found out over the holiday that I can no longer indulge in rich foods for days at a time. I lose my appreciation for good food and then I lament at the waste!

    Thanks for the comment, Megan, and welcome to the YIOM community.

  9. billy bobs permalink

    u just gotta take it easy at fogo and not stuff up. i eat there every week as the lunch special is cheap for what you get. as far as organic / grass fed beef it does not taste as good as prime, but i have noticed its way cheaper to buy organic at the regular grocery store that carries it than going to the specialty store that charges more for the same thing. ie: 17/pound at ralphs for organic filet mignon, whole foods is 28/lb

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