Two screenshots from the McDonalds website for your consideration:

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This is an excerpt from a recent press release, on the McDonald’s nutrition page.

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This is a screen shot of McDonald’s breakfast options. Note the titillating color palate and thrilling variety of carbs you can eat between two slices of bread. And those two ‘healthy’ options with fruit at the top of the chart? The yogurt parfait has 23g of sugar and the oatmeal has 32g. Most adults should shoot for 44g in an entire day. Oh, and for the record, the 8g of whole grain in their new egg-white breakfast sandwich is pretty flimsy given the USDA recommends that adults eat 48g of whole grains daily.

Look, I’m not saying McDonald’s isn’t trying, or that you should never eat this stuff ever (OK, I’m sort of saying that), because I realize the reality is that this is what a lot of Americans on the run and on a budget are eating in the morning, and I guess some fruit is better (but like, only a tiny bit better) than no fruit. Fine. But I think its bullshit that McDonald’s is now marketing itself as healthy and nutrition minded, just because a few diced apple pieces swimming in brown sugar make a single appearance on the breakfast menu.

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Main screen at Mcdonalds.com. There are small chickens wandering the hillside in the background. Have you ever actually seen chickens wandering a hillside? No. Because that only happens in fairy tales and fast food commercials.

If they want to be a healthy food establishment, they should change their food. If they don’t want to change their food, they shouldn’t market themselves as a healthy food establishment. Is this really so much to ask?

Yes. It is too much to ask. Sorry. I take it back. It was unreasonable of me to expect that a company that is the fourth largest employer in the world, with more than 33,000 restaurants serving nearly 68 million people in more than 119 countries every day, should have to align its marketing with the services it actually provides.

More on that, and the aneurism-inducing “Meet Our Suppliers” ad campaign soon.

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What Does 200 Calories Look Like? How About 2000?

AKA breakfast at the airport vs. the Hilton continental breakfast

AKA breakfast at the airport vs. the Hilton continental

What Does 200 Calories Look Like? (photos from Wisegeek)

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What 2000 Calories Actually Looks Like (video from Buzzfeed)

These two resources have been floating around the internet recently and for those of you who haven’t stumbled across them yet, I thought it would be helpful to repost them here.

Neither tries to tackle the fact that not all calories are created equal or that the more processed food is, the more likely it is to contain harmful hidden ingredients, but they are a fun way of visualizing a day’s worth of food (give or take a couple hundred calories, depending on your age, gender, and activity level). It would be interesting to see a rough price estimate per calorie for the foods profiled as well as the number of ingredients contained in each.

Taking a moment to think about how my stomach would feel after eating any one of these foods for a whole day ended up being a pretty good indicator of the food’s overall healthfulness. I recognize that the correlation falls apart with milk and I’m not saying eating avocados or whole wheat pasta all day would be much fun, but I do think it would go over better than just eating soda or donuts.

Which reminds me of that important life lesson we all learn some time freshman year of college or during the first year we become responsible for feeding ourselves and we make the mistake of eating one thing for three meals in a row. Oh come on, we all did it at least once. I think I remember my brother learning it over a loaf of white bread, a jar of Nutella and a box of Tropicana orange juice. For a roommate, it was with slices of red velvet cake. For me, the culprit was Smartfood popcorn.

I had locked myself away to complete a final 24 hours before the deadline. The giant bag of popcorn came out sometime around lunch, made cameos appearances throughout the afternoon, was the lead at dinnertime, and guest-starred in a midnight snack. I think it was somewhere around 4:00 in the morning, as I reached into the bag only to find white cheddar dust, that it occurred to me that popcorn was an entirely inappropriate form of sustenance, and it was then that I like to think I joined the ranks of Responsible Adults Who Don’t Eat Only One Think for 24 Hours, Especially Not Popcorn at 4AM.

The Vegan Conspiracy to Destroy Fast Food, Tradition & America

Excellent article from Mark Bittman today on the future of fast food. Fingers crossed that the next ten years will bring more options and less compromises, more tempeh and less additives, more veggies and fewer calories and absolutely no more of this or this.

Keep demanding these things from food providers, and maybe we can one day live in a world where real food is affordable food and eating meals made up of ingredients you can count on your fingers is no longer a privilege predicated on wealth.

If you don’t get around to reading the article,* here’s Bittman’s conclusion:

“Good Fast Food doesn’t need to be vegan or even vegetarian; it just ought to be real, whole food. The best word to describe a wise contemporary diet is flexitarian, which is nothing more than intelligent omnivorism. There are probably millions of people who now eat this way, including me…. My advice would be to skip the service and the wine, make a limited menu with big flavors and a few treats and keep it as cheap as you can. Of course, there are huge players who could do this almost instantaneously.

But the best thing they seem able to come up with is the McWrap or the fresco menu. In the meantime, I’m throwing out a few recipes to the entire fast-food world (here, here and here) to help build a case that it’s possible to use real ingredients to create relatively inexpensive, low-calorie, meat-free, protein-dense, fast food. If anyone with the desire can produce this stuff in a home kitchen, then industry veterans financed by private equity firms should be able to produce it at scale in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the price. You think people won’t eat it? There’s a lot of evidence that suggests otherwise.”

1) Does anyone want to make some Bittman black bean burgers and mexican chocolate shakes with me?

2) Does anyone happen to know some private equity firms that would back me on a healthy, cheap, amazing fast food (ad)venture? Maybe call it Burger Bliss? Burger Queen? Any takers?

* Its ok, I won’t tell. After spending some time on the numbers (WordPress tells you how many times readers click on each link), I’ve determined that you guys need more summaries, catchy titles and barely relevant goofy photos and less reading. If I could coax you here with puppies you know I would.