I am not overly health conscious. I should be considering my age and family health history. I do exercise regularly, practice deep breathing exercises for stress, and take a few supplements regularly, but I don’t spend a ton of energy on monitoring everything that goes in my mouth. I once took a healthy cooking class from the Seventh Day Adventists. The food was delicious. The teachers were really, really old and had been eating this way for decades (of course I didn’t check their drivers licenses. They might have been in their 40’s and just looked really old). But there was just too much emphasis on making things that aren’t meat and cheese, taste like meat and cheese. It seems to me the healthier thing to do would be to lose your taste for meat and cheese or make your peace with it and just eat it with some moderation. All this is prologue to the fact that when I turned 50 (3 years ago now), I made a decision that I really didn’t need to eat fast-food hamburgers anymore. This was not a decision based on snobbery or nutritional self-righteousness, but rather the realistic assessment that I had probably eaten enough of them for a lifetime and they really aren’t very good for you so why keep going? What was a mainstay for me years ago, has now become a very, very, occasional treat.
Enter the incident of two weeks ago. It had been a couple of years since I had visited a McDonalds but I had my young grandsons with me for the day and wanted to give them a treat they enjoyed which clearly entailed a visit to the golden arches. As they ran along to “McDonald’s Playland”, I went to the counter to order lunch for all of us. And there it happened. As I looked up at the beautiful backlit pictorial menu my eyes flashed with horror at a sight I had never encountered before: the calorie count for every item on the menu. I knew this was coming someday and somewhere with Obamacare, but I figured it would only affect places like New York City where they love to regulate everything. What I saw with the calorie count was that really almost nothing is a good or healthy choice at McDonalds. Yes, I am aware they serve water and salads. But the calorie count with the dressing isn’t a huge distance from a Big Mac sandwich. But then again, as I would ask anyone, when you say “let’s go to McDonald’s” did you mean “Let’s go get a healthy salad?” Only if you are a yoga instructor or anorexic. C’mon. McDonalds is about burgers, fries, and those oh-so-delicious fried apple pies.
As a Christian man, I do believe in the importance of truth, especially biblical truth, but all other truth as well. I guess it is only right that we all know the real truth about the calories we eat so that when we step on the bathroom scale some morning we will no longer wonder how we added those last 10 pounds to the overall count. But there is truth and such a thing as “d*mn truth” (an example of the latter is when your wife asks if their dress makes them look fat and you answer “yes” instead of “you know dear, that dress just doesn’t do your curves justice!”). There are just times when you want to have some fun and be carefree and that includes what’s on the menu for lunch that day. Having a calorie count inescapably emblazoned in front of your eyes as you order a milkshake (800 calories) seems inimical to fun and carefree. Perhaps some day in the future we will discover that hamburgers and French fries are actually good for you and what was causing heart disease and obesity all along was worrying about it in the first place, not what you were eating when you were having fun with your grandkids. For now, happy meals have grown a whole lot less happy as far as I’m concerned.
If you are curious about the reality of whence I speak visit: nutrition.mcdonalds.com/getnutrition/nutritionfacts.pdf