JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Like most other countries, America is culturally defined in part by its food. While the cheeseburger and apple pie are both ubiquitous with American culture, the nation itself is increasingly defined by another uniquely American cuisine: fast food.
Fast food, convenient, cheap, and rarely the kind of thing that comes recommended by doctors or medical professionals, is everywhere. Rep. Ron Hicks, R-St. Charles, is no stranger to the fast food business. Like a few of his colleagues — including Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau— Hicks operates a fast-food chain in his district.
Hicks and his wife, Katie, are owners and operators of a local KFC restaurant. Katie Hicks, who works in the business daily, recently became a certified health coach, lost weight, and says she’s cured her sons asthma and ADHD with a new allergy-conscious diet.
It’s the part about losing weight and curing her son while working at a KFC that tends to catch people off-guard.
“It’s not like on Biggest Loser where you work out 18 hours a day and have professionals serve you some exquisite meal,” Katie Hicks said. “I work at a KFC, I get it, I smell it everyday. You have to make practical, smart decisions.”
Katie Hicks wasn’t feeling well a few months ago. It was nothing specific, except simple exhaustion. She was tired all the time. She was tired for a mother. She was tired for someone who shouldn’t have been tired.
Katie Hicks took up a simple goal to drop 20 pounds, a goal which soon ended up changing her life, and her family’s lives. After working with a health coach, Katie Hicks made the move to get certified in the field herself. Soon, Katie Hicks took her son for every allergy panel test imaginable, ultimately turning out a newly regime for him.
In just a few weeks she eliminated bananas, gluten, almonds, eggs, and dairy. In 45 days, he no longer needed medication for his asthma or ADHD.
“The functional medicine doctors really specialize in root causes,” Katie Hicks said. “They specialize in focusing on why things are happening, not just ‘let me fix that feeling for you.’”
Hicks says the most challenging part of staying for healthy for anyone stems from either money or time, admitting it was expensive initially testing her son for so many allergens.
“Only people who can afford to do this can afford to do it,” Katie Hicks said. “And that’s a problem for a lot of people.”
Katie Hicks says her husband has lost weight thanks to the new food in the house as well, and he’s not even on a regimen. Temptation and price make staying healthy very difficult, especially for working parents or lawmakers who keep strange hours.
Although, if you have to eat out, then there are still options, she says. She even knows the healthiest thing on the KFC menu.
“Two piece grilled white meat chicken dinner with green beans and corn,” Katie Hicks said. “And lots of water, a ton.”
Collin Reischman was the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.