(PS…I cannot wait to see reader feedback on this one)
When I was diagnosed with Diabetes a few months back, Mcdonalds would certainly be a place that I could not ever eat again. My days of super sizing were over. Big Macs would be a thing of the past. Years of awesome childhood memories at what has been my favorite place to eat for most of my life would replaced with thoughts “too much of a good thing is bad for you” So yes… since my diagnosis I have not been at McDonald’s.
You can imagine that when I received the invite to the Mcdonald’s / Latism Tweetup I was very skeptical and listened closely to some of the criticism that peppered my Facebook and twitter timeline. I do understand that McDonald’s as a corporation has to make amends and answer many questions to different communities about some red hot topics that affected by them. This blog post is not about McDonald’s and/or defending their business practices… this blog post is about having a conversation with all parties involved and working towards solutions.
This is extremely important because the truth is McDonald’s is a place where many of our communities look to for that meal on the go. Truth is the people in our community will continue to eat there regardless of the nutritional content of the food. The truth is that McDonald’s is a place that many people in my community got their first job… The truth is that McDonald’s is the first one that sponsors many of the social / cultural events in community churches, parks and playgrounds when I was growing up. And unfortunately, truth is… in some cases the playground in McDonald’s is the only safe playground in our communities that parents can take their kids.
So as a concerned community, wouldn’t we want there to be healthy choices at this place that has such an iconic presence in our community?
So I decided to attend this event and had the opportunity to listen to significant changes that McDonald’s has made as a result of customer feedback. I also learned much about nutrition as best-selling author and Dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD not only educated us about McDonald’s offerings but gave a crash course on how are bodies respond to carbs, sugars and how to eat healthier. Last but not least… we could not have a conversation about food, nutrition and not sample a few bites…and that did not disappoint at all. I had a Grilled Chicken Sandwich with a whole grain bun, a parfait and a diet coke (I have not had soda in weeks, so I treated myself). Best part is… when I tested my glucose levels 2 hours later there had been no significant spike. That is a big win for me… because no other fast food restaurant has been able to meet those needs for me as of yet.
As a person that is currently trying to figure out the whole living with Diabetes thing… do I really want to eat fast food? Not really. My goal is to pre plan and prepare my meals for my day to be consistent with my nutritional needs. On the other hand, the reality is that my career has me working all kinds of hours both in and out of the office. With a crazy schedule like mine, McDonald’s is one of the options that is consistently within my grasp for that quick bite. I feel better know that I know that I have options to go to McDonald’s and not feel like I am putting my health at risk, as long I make the right choices… that is my point people, at the end of the day, it is all about choice and what you choose will determine how healthy you are and whether or not McDonald’s will continue to focus on healthier options.
In addition to all the strides they have made making changes in portion sizes, local sourcing of foods that are not overly processed, The NYC Tri-State McDonald’s Owner Operators have created the “McDonald’s New York Metro Nutrition Network.”
Establishing a network of people and organizations throughout the entire New York Tri-State region that are working to promote nutrition and responsible eating choices to the communities that they serve. This network is currently offering funding for projects that promote healthier lifestyle education in our community. You can see more about this initiative by clicking here…
LATISM poses with the McDonald’s crew
If you know an organization in your community that is working to accomplish our mission, we would like to help them. An application to receive funding for projects promoting responsible eating choices can be downloaded here. Deadline for applications has been extended to June 15.
In closing, I hope that you will continue to question companies that do not have the communities best interests at heart and that you vote for what YOU want using your wallet. Understand that many companies do not listen to their customers but McDonalds has. Let’s help them shape what the future looks like from a health perspective.
Estamos?George Torres The Urban Jibaro Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter… @UrbanJibaro
Special thanks to LATISM-NY for extending this invite and continuing to bring the conversation to the people… follow the #LATISM hastag for thought provoking dialog in our community.Disclaimer – This blog post is my personal opinion based on what I experienced and I have received no monetary compensation for this from McDonalds. I did however get a free meal at the event and a nice little notebook w/ a matching pen. I am currently reaching out to community organizations I work with to encourage them to apply for this funding.