Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Paleo Choices at McDonald's

An email from a reader:
“During the week, I have to pick up lunch at McDonald's. There is literally nowhere else I can go that is as quick and affordable. It's the only place within a 15 minute drive from my office where I can eat for under $5 and I only get 30 min. lunch breaks at work. My question is: What should I order if I want to eat Paleo? I usually have a Big Mac but with no sauce and I remove the buns. Thanks.”
Answer: Water. And possibly the coffee, assuming you take it black and with no sweeteners. Maybe the salads, if you get it without the dressing, “cheese,” and fried pieces of “chicken.”

But COME ON. Are you really asking me this question? Did you really think I'd answer by saying something like: "Get the McNuggets, but scrape off all the breading with your fingernails"? I recognize McDonald’s is dirt-cheap and ubiquitous, but so is bird shit.

Look -- I’m not saying that you can’t live on fast food. With Fat Head, Tom Naughton punched Mayor McCheese-sized holes in Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me, showing that you’re unlikely to vomit and die from eating at McDonald’s. You can probably eat low-carb and stave off obesity (but not systemic inflammation) for a good long while by avoiding the sugary beverages and refined carbs at fast food joints. If you live in Asia, you can get gluten-free buns at McDonald’s -- they’re made of rice. And even if you’re stuck with regular old Mickey D’s buns, you can devour 25,000 Big Macs over the course of 39 years and live to tell the tale.

But why go to the trouble of driving to McDonald’s when you can eat real food? Believe it or not, YOU CAN PACK YOUR OWN LUNCH FOR UNDER FIVE DOLLARS. True story!

Buy some eggs, unprocessed deli meat, avocados, salad greens and tomatoes. Hard-boil the eggs. Throw together a bunch of big-ass salads with everything you bought. Bring your salads to work. Don’t forget to pack a fork. You’ll save: (1) time, (2) gas money, (3) me from having to answer questions like “What Paleo foods can I order at McDonald’s?”

Because seriously, if you’re going to break down and make a trip to McDonald’s, don't go all half-assed. Get their tasty, tasty fries. And if you’re in Japan, order a Double Mega Tomago Burger. ‘Cause you only live once.