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March 02, 2006

Comments

Brian

Everything you eat is bad for you. Your body does what it can to get rid of the toxic waste and its very good at it. Just be smart and don't eat fast food often. meats, eggs, fruits, milk etc can even be "bad". You have to eat to survive. Get some exercise and dont eat a whole bag of potato chips and you will be fine.

amy h.

Okay...I just had to add this comment: Did anyone see the McDonald's ad during the last half-hour of the Academy Awards? It showed a little boy sitting on a bench in the snow with a statue of Ronald McDonald. The boy looks up lovingly at the statue and then decides that Ronald is cold and needs his scarf. Now, this awards show is directed towards adults and the timing of the commercial was long after kids' bedtimes. So, I must conclude that McDonalds is trying to persuade us adults that they care about our kids. Hmm.

Karin

Nothing deep to add here. Good old common sense dictates where we eat. If we've been eating healthy at home, I allow a splurge at McD's. But I'm not fooling myself thinking it's healthy. Maybe good for my sanity some days, though...

northridgmom

My two daughters (ages 2.5 and 4.5) love Mickey Dee's! The see those Golden Arches from miles away and rarely fail to poin them out. Fortunately, we only eat there two, maybe three, times a year. Usually when we go, I feed the kids at home then take them there for a cookie and to expend their energy at Playland. To them it seems cruel, because they don't always get the "toy" from the Happy Meals.

Most recently, when of my eldest offspring asked for dinner from Mickey Dee's, I informed her that the food was junk and bad for her body. She paused to think and responded, "Ewe, I don't want to eat junk food.... But, I'd sure like the toy!"

It's a heck of a marketing gig they've got going on over there! And it doesn't help that they are a major sponsor of PBS!

Damon

I think it is important to us as parents to guide our kids into
the eating of proper healthy foods
to help the children develope healthy future habits as they grow older. This could help prevent obesity, diabetes, and
many other diseases created by
eating the fatty fast foods sold by companies who really do not care about our health.

christina

FAITH IN CORPORATIONS: Sadly, I have no faith that corporations, governmental institutions, almost all politicians, many organized religions, and the media have, my, let alone my childrens’, interests in mind when they make decisions. There is overwhelming evidence that they are not trustworthy entities. Unfortunately, the framers of our political system did not predict the emergence of corporations when the constitution was formed, so industries have been able to develop with almost no effective controls or protection for the citizens (well, now we’re called consumers) on which they prey. That said, corporations exist to serve their shareholders and they faithfully act to maximize their profit. They predictably bend and break laws to achieve their goals. Corruption in government and religious institutions is more insidious and troubling to me.

It was so much easier to navigate this society when I just had myself to worry about. Since conceiving our first child, I’ve had to put all the brainpower I can muster into making the “best” choices for my kids. What I’ve learned since becoming a parent has obliterated my trust in so many institutions - even medical institutions (especially medical institutions?). Since my research led me to a non-traditional choice (homebirth) I’ve been unable to turn of my critical questioning of traditional choices in all other areas of my life. Sometimes I wish I could give it a rest and trust again, but every day information like that you described supports my skepticism.

IMPACT OF McD REVELATIONS ON FOOD CHOICES: As Kimberly wrote, “It's fast food. It sort of goes without saying that it's a nutritional cesspool, doesn't it?” I love that. Read “Fast Food Nation” to learn just how horrible fast food is, the infiltration of corporations into public schools, and the impact of fast food industry business practices on workers and on the global environment. Read “Fat Land” by Greg Critser to learn how political and institutional policy decisions shape our nutritional landscape. Read “Mad Cowboy” by Glen Merzer & Howard Lyman to frighten yourself silly about 99% of the beef sold in America. Of course reading these books might make you just as cynical, frustrated, and disheartened as I sometimes am.

I’ve been interested in nutrition for decades, so I learned to avoid fast food long ago. I feed my kids organic fruits & veggies, and safe proteins: organic beans, raw whole milk, grass-fed beef from a local rancher (www.morrisgrassfed.com), organic, free range chicken, but I’m still looking for a supply of pastured chicken eggs and fryers. I strive to maintain this diet 90% of the time and then try not to fret about the 10% of the time that where it would be exceedingly impolite to turn down certain food (birthday parties, when my mom “treats” the kids to some sugary thing).

CHOOSING FAST FOOD: We try to avoid situations where fast food is our only option for the kids. I pack meals and snacks if we travel over 20 minutes. We avoid commitments that would keep us away from the house for breakfast and dinner. The desire to avoid fast and junk foods has influenced our choice of schools, activities with friends, and the decision for me to stay at home. Read “Your Money Or Your Life” by Joe Dominguez & Vicki Robin to illuminate the true cost of life choices and how to redirect your life to your base values. That book changed my life years before I had kids and enabled me to accumulate the nest egg that supports my choice to stay home.

I must admit, though… when my husband and I were building a house a couple of years ago, we were sometimes seen at the In-and-out Burger next to the lumber yard. Studies described in Fast Food Nation indicate that if you must choose fast food, go to In-and-Out. But we didn’t let the kids see us! Hypocritical, I know.

LUCK AND JUSTICE: As I reflect on my food choices, I realize how lucky we are to live in an area where fresh fruits and vegetables are available. I recall a study of urban areas showing that most neighborhoods (especially poorer ones) lack local supermarkets – the only food available was from convenience stores and fast food. So while I can ignore fast food for my family, it is still a huge issue in the health of our society at large.

Okay, I’ll shut up now.

christina

FAITH IN CORPORATIONS: Sadly, I have no faith that corporations, governmental institutions, almost all politicians, many organized religions, and the media have, my, let alone my childrens’, interests in mind when they make decisions. There is overwhelming evidence that they are not trustworthy entities. Unfortunately, the framers of our political system did not predict the emergence of corporations when the constitution was formed, so industries have been able to develop with almost no effective controls or protection for the citizens (well, now we’re called consumers) on which they prey. That said, corporations exist to serve their shareholders and they faithfully act to maximize their profit. They predictably bend and break laws to achieve their goals. Corruption in government and religious institutions is more insidious and troubling to me.

It was so much easier to navigate this society when I just had myself to worry about. Since conceiving our first child, I’ve had to put all the brainpower I can muster into making the “best” choices for my kids. What I’ve learned since becoming a parent has obliterated my trust in so many institutions - even medical institutions (especially medical institutions?). Since my research led me to a non-traditional choice (homebirth) I’ve been unable to turn of my critical questioning of traditional choices in all other areas of my life. Sometimes I wish I could give it a rest and trust again, but every day information like that you described supports my skepticism.

IMPACT OF McD REVELATIONS ON FOOD CHOICES: As Kimberly wrote, “It's fast food. It sort of goes without saying that it's a nutritional cesspool, doesn't it?” I love that. Read “Fast Food Nation” to learn just how horrible fast food is, the infiltration of corporations into public schools, and the impact of fast food industry business practices on workers and on the global environment. Read “Fat Land” by Greg Critser to learn how political and institutional policy decisions shape our nutritional landscape. Read “Mad Cowboy” by Glen Merzer & Howard Lyman to frighten yourself silly about 99% of the beef sold in America. Of course reading these books might make you just as cynical, frustrated, and disheartened as I sometimes am.

I’ve been interested in nutrition for decades, so I learned to avoid fast food long ago. I feed my kids organic fruits & veggies, and safe proteins: organic beans, raw whole milk, grass-fed beef from a local rancher (www.morrisgrassfed.com), organic, free range chicken, but I’m still looking for a supply of pastured chicken eggs and fryers. I strive to maintain this diet 90% of the time and then try not to fret about the 10% of the time that where it would be exceedingly impolite to turn down certain food (birthday parties, when my mom “treats” the kids to some sugary thing).

CHOOSING FAST FOOD: We try to avoid situations where fast food is our only option for the kids. I pack meals and snacks if we travel over 20 minutes. We avoid commitments that would keep us away from the house for breakfast and dinner. The desire to avoid fast and junk foods has influenced our choice of schools, activities with friends, and the decision for me to stay at home. Read “Your Money Or Your Life” by Joe Dominguez & Vicki Robin to illuminate the true cost of life choices and how to redirect your life to your base values. That book changed my life years before I had kids and enabled me to accumulate the nest egg that supports my choice to stay home.

I must admit, though… when my husband and I were building a house a couple of years ago, we were sometimes seen at the In-and-out Burger next to the lumber yard. Studies described in Fast Food Nation indicate that if you must choose fast food, go to In-and-Out. But we didn’t let the kids see us! Hypocritical, I know.

LUCK AND JUSTICE: As I reflect on my food choices, I realize how lucky we are to live in an area where fresh fruits and vegetables are available. I recall a study of urban areas showing that most neighborhoods (especially poorer ones) lack local supermarkets – the only food available was from convenience stores and fast food. So while I can ignore fast food for my family, it is still a huge issue in the health of our society at large.

Okay, I’ll shut up now.

Robin P

Hi Kris!
As you know,my eating days at McD's is pretty limited lately.Although my nutritionist did say that in a pinch,I could eat a child size burger...NO FRIES!

I have never ever ever believed that anything McD's has produced has been even remotely "healthy"! I think they've come a long way since deep frying their apple pies!!!! Although those greasy,unhealthy pies were so much better than what they have now....lol.

I think it's a crime though if a company or restaurant claims their product does not contain something that is clearly a health issue for many people.They need to be held accountable! What will it take,the death of an innocent child?

This has to be stopped. It's not just that they serve greasy and unhealthy food...we already knew that. They can't serve DANGEROUS foods that will kill people. That's just absurd!!!!

noell

I work really hard at home to cook most of our meals from whole foods to avoid all the junk that goes into manufactured foods. I HATE the idea of buying fast food, but with three children and an active family, it is impossible to avoid. We frequent fast food drive-thru's a lot, although we avoid McDonalds.

My dream is for someone to open up some healthy,fast food drive-thru's. While there are some healthy deli's that are relatively fast, they don't have drive thru's.

There is a long list of foods that could be served fresh and fast through drive-thru's. Is there not a market for this? Are there not enough busy, busy moms who want something fast but healthy?

Kimberly

You know what? I just don't freakin care. I suppose it's the luxury of having allergyfree children, but I've never read the nutritional information at a fastfood restaurant and seriously doubt I ever will. It's fast food. It sort of goes without saying that it's a nutritional cesspool, doesn't it?

I imagine part of the reason behind the lack of full disclosure (and not saying that an ingredient is present is different from vehemently denying it's there, btw) falls under not wanting to reveal corporate secrets. God only knows what the Colonel does to that chicken, afterall.

I 100% agree with the commenter who pointed out that it's not McDonalds responsiblity to be concerned about your toddler's healthy diet. As a responsible parent, it's yours.

Kris

Nicole: I was dead serious, but I get your point. :)

I don't take my kids out for fast food so they can have tofu and veggie sticks. It's a treat, for sure.

But I don't expect a mega corporation that has standardized analyzed every aspect of its food to tell me their fries are dairy and gluten free for YEARS when they are not. That's playing fast and loose with children's health.

Also, have you seen a Happy Meal bag recently? They work hard to make it SEEM like a healthy meal. It's part of McDonald's marketing game now: look, we're offering juice and milk and apples and chicken! We give pedometers to moms who order salads! Bob Green's our spokesman!

When in reality, the fries couldn't possibly have more trans and saturated fat; the chicken -- why can't it be baked instead of deep fried in hydrogentated oil?; the apples -- a healthy fruit made unhealthy with a high fructose dipping sauce (of which my kids lick up every last drop, lol).

My main point was, what other ingredients did they neglect to mention? What's worse: giving no nutrition information or giving incorrect nutrition information, lulling parents of children into a false sense of security? I certainly think the latter is the more egregious offense, and I haven't heard one reasonable explanation from McDonald's as to why this happened.

If you look into it, you will see that McDonald's has misled the public more than once about the ingredients in its products. That, not a fast food meal of a burger, soda and fries, is what bothers me.

Nicole

Is that a trick question (How much does McD care about your kids health?) Did you actually think at one point that they did? I think mass producing greasy fries, hamburgers, and soda was done to fulfil the craving for bad food that everyone gets every once in awhile, not to produce healthful meals for toddlers. I think that the people who take them to task for not producing healthy food are quite ballsy. Its fast food- what did you expect?

amy h.

I loved the title for your piece! Great! As for McDonald's, I worked at one for two years in high school, and I wouldn't say that I have many good things to say about them as a corporation. We have been known to stop through on vacation for some scrambled eggs or a yogurt parfait, but as an ovo-lacto vegetarian family we tend to stay away from fast food for the most part...and I just tell my kids that they really don't have anything for us to eat there. However, I have been known to drive through just to get a toy; damn those promotional tie-in's.

CityslickerMama

I gave up fries at the beginning of this year, that was one of my resolutions. They are soooo terrible for you, even cancer-causing, i believe, because of all the trans fat. No matter how good they might look, I can always look away when i envision myself possibly having cancer because of them!

Kristin

As a mom of a daughter with severe food allergies, this was a big blow for us. We don't eat it often, but if we are on the road, a happy meal was often the safer choice than a random restaurant where we didn't know anything about the ingredients. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network has issued a statement saying that anyone with dairy or wheat/gluten allergies should avoid the fries. McDonalds is now back pedaling a bit and saying they are just extracts/flavorings and not proteins, but FAAN is still recommending avoidance.

The hard part is that I know despite a lot of bad press, McDonalds is under the most scrutiny of anyone... so that leads me to ask what all the other restaurants fail to tell us. Food labeling is getting better, but until we have 100% transparency with all additives, etc., we are at risk.

It was SO hard to break it to my daughter that we couldn't have the fries anymore. So we will be avoiding them completely until/unless they make some changes.

Michelle

I don't eat McDonald's - for a couple reasons. They have a location near Dachau and people reported seeing food wrappers on the grounds of the memorial. Even though the restaurant is about a mile from the camp, it makes me ill that they're there. Secondly, they have in the past done some evil stuff towards employees wanting to unionize in Canada (read Fast Food Nation). Lastly, I just don't trust them, I can't really say why, I just don't. I also don't really want my kids playing in those play areas. I'm not a germophobe, really, but I've read that there's tons of fecal germs in those ball pits and I'll bet they never clean them out.

I guess I didn't really comment much on their food, which is really crappy. For fast food, I like In N Out out here in CA. They treat their workers well and they make everything fresh. I've been known to indulge in a Carl's before but I'd really prefer to cut all that stuff out of my diet and not introduce my kids to it, if I can help it. I know when they're older and have friends and go to parties and such the issue will come up, but hopefully by then I'll have an answer for that.

Maria

The only thing McDonalds is interested in is making money - and I guess that doesn't really bother me. They're a big corporation who sells fast food - they market to kids. It's my job to impose limits on the junk my kids get. Saying that doesn't mean I'm perfect at it - and once t-ball and soccer season are upon us we'll see a lot more of that drive through - BUT - I refuse to blame McDonalds if I'm buying too much junk food. It's my responsibility to try to come up w/healthy alternatives, resort to McDs as little as possible and teach my kids that it's a treat not a food group.

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