Do the new McDonald’s uniforms remind you of anything? If you answered “every dystopian sci-fi movie ever,” you’re correct. To me, they invoke a very Logan’s Run future. But mandatory gray-on-gray with a dash of black is pretty much universally recognized as the standard uniform for bleakest of futures.
Ronald McDonald has had enough of Donald Trump’s bullshit, and he’s taken to McDonald’s official corporate Twitter account to let him hear it. What finally tipped Ron over the edge? Was it Trump’s second failed attempt at a Muslim ban, his proposed 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency, or maybe his…
There are a few things that you can count on every spring: your allergies will force you to Google things like "Can humans live without a nose," your ex will slowly snap out of his seasonal depression, and McDonald's will put the Shamrock Shake back on its menu. McDonald's started selling those artificially colored seasonal calories just before St. Patrick's Day 1970—it was actually known as the "St. Patrick's Day Green Milkshake" then—which means that the the company has had 47 years to learn something about Ireland. Based on this week's international McTwitter fail, though, that hasn't happened.
On Tuesday, McDonald's posted a tweet that said "When your Shamrock Chocolate Madness plays all the right chocolatey-mint notes. #ShamrockSeason." That was accompanied by a 10 second video of a bearded ginger sucking his shake through a straw while wearing a vaguely tartan-looking hat, playing the straws like a bagpipe and standing in front of Stonehenge. None of those things are Irish: tartans and bagpipes are Scottish and everyone knows that Stonehenge was built by aliens in an English field.
McDonald's has since deleted the tweet, but not before everyone on the internet noticed—especially the Irish. "No wonder Americans are dumb," one user in Ireland tweeted, while another said "Maybe the rainbow [at the end of the video] might be Irish."
McDonald's food is the pinnacle of human achievement. Calories per dollar and speed of delivery aside, the flavors might be evidence that aliens once visited us and left behind advanced burger and fry technology. I'm not even being paid to say that: These are facts. I don't care about modified ingredients or my well-being when I eat McDonald's. Big Macs taste like hugs. That's why when McDaddy announced all-day breakfast in Canada, my heart palpitated. Joy-pain shot down my left arm, and my vision blurred just thinking about Egg McMuffins and hash brown delights. I was overjoyed I could eat McDonald's breakfast at any hour in my hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan, probably just like Americans do. And so, I decided to eat McDonald's all-day breakfast for every meal for one week to find out if heaven is real.
Firstly, let's get this out of the way: Super Size Me star Morgan Spurlock and his shameful film are likely responsible for McDonald's saddest creations—everything on the "healthy" menu. If you buy kale salad at McDonald's, I assume you also enjoy telling kids Santa killed their pets. Why would you do that? Secondly, McDonald's breakfast items are relatively healthy, at least that's what I assumed when I started this journey. After all, it's mostly eggs. Eggs are good, right?
My goal was to stick to one breakfast item for each meal over seven days. For example, day one I would only eat Egg Muffins, day two would just be bagel sandwiches, and so on. That plan fell apart like a soggy pancake. This was due to both difficult McDonald's menu policies and constant bowel spasming. Turns out, with enough sausage patties, your ass becomes a piñata full of flaming snakes. What started as a simple food stunt became a heartburn odyssey of self-discovery. For each day I tallied my total consumption as well as the nutritional information provided on the McDonald's website.
Day 1: Egg McMuffins
I started by measuring my physical abilities to prove if breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day. Would all-week breakfast give me superpowers? As a benchmark, I rode a stationary bike for 12 miles as quickly as possible, clocking a time of 36:06. I did push-ups and sit-ups until I couldn't handle any more, racking up 35 push-ups and 62 sit-ups. I weighed in at 144 pounds. Then I ate Egg McMuffins. Egg McMuffins are pure and holy. The first one sat in my mouth like the words of Jesus Christ. By comparison, the side hash browns slid down like the devil's greasy tongue. As I ate my final Egg McMuffin that day, I felt like damage was already being done—to my soul.
Total consumed: Four Egg McMuffins One hashbrown One coffee
Nutritional information Calories: 1,320 Carbohydrates: 132 g Fat: 54 g Sodium: 3,400 mg Protein: 65 g
Day 2: Wolfish
This day was supposed to be McGriddle day. I got one for my first meal, swallowing my hatred of the thing. McGriddles have an egg and ham slice, but instead of bread—get this—they use French toast with maple flavoring. I got mine with sausage for texture, and it tasted like diabetes-themed tentacle porn. McGriddles are weird.
Something bad happened at lunchtime: The restaurant I was at said it didn't have McGriddles. Not wanting to break my vow of eating themed foods each day, I ordered pancakes and a McMuffin to construct my own McGriddle. I ordered enough to do the same at supper time. I ate my homemade lunch sandwich at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum while looking at a stuffed-wolf exhibit. A plaque near the area said that a wolf's cunning doesn't "always guarantee success and survival." My gut growled as I swallowed my improvised McGriddle.
Total consumed: Sausage, Egg, & Cheese McGriddle Three Bacon 'n Egg McMuffins Three pancakes Two hash browns One coffee
Nutritional information Calories: 2,400 Carbohydrates: 257 g Fat: 186 g Sodium: 4,780 mg Protein: 78 g
Day 3: Date Night
So far, I had to face all-day breakfast alone. My wife, Jill, was out of town. She wasn't happy about my new diet, but she supported me. On the third day, I set out to eat McDonald's bagel sandwiches for every meal because Jill likes bagels. After she spent a long day on the road, I thought a bagel-themed date night would be equal to renewing our vows. However, tragedy struck at lunchtime. It turns out McDonald's all-day breakfast does not include the entire breakfast menu lineup. You can only order McMuffins, pancakes, and hash browns after 11 AM. The McGriddle fiasco from the previous day wasn't due to a shortage of supplies; it was caused by McDonald's dictatorial rules over breakfast. My wife said she was fine with her McMuffin meal. But I could tell, as I gazed across our candle-lit table into the eyes I fell in love with so many years ago, I let her down. My stomach turned with sorrow.
Total consumed: One Egg LT Bagel Two Sausage McMuffins One coffee
Nutritional information Calories: 1,380 Carbohydrates: 124 g Fat: 70 g Sodium: 2,510 mg Protein: 60 g
Day 4: The Breakfast Wolf Howls
The next day, the sorrow in my gut had morphed into rage and aggressive diarrhea. McDonald's wouldn't push me around with the "select" all-day breakfast menu. I needed answers and several antacid tablets. For strength, I ordered a Sausage & Hash Brown More-Ning McWrap for my first meal. Stuffed with two sausage patties, hash brown loaves, and too many eggs, this thing weighs as much as a toddler. Not a nice toddler, either. One of those shitty ones. For lunch and supper, I made my own McWrap using the contents of Sausage McMuffins combined with hash browns inside a pancake roll. Ever cunning, I became the wolf.
Feeling bold, I emailed McDonald's headquarters to ask why it would limit the breakfast selection. I have yet to receive an official respond. During lunch, I asked an insider at one restaurant about the limited all-day breakfast options. The clerk said, "It's because of the way the food comes. We can't." A manager yelled from the back ordering the clearly shaken clerk to stop chatting and get back to work. What are you hiding McDonald's? All-day breakfast? More like all-day lies. I stood outside of the McDonald's holding up a sign that said "all-day lies" to raise awareness. I almost shit myself in traffic on the way home. Probably from stress.
Total consumed: One Sausage & Hash Brown More-Ning McWrap Two Sausage McMuffins Three pancakes Two hash browns One coffee
Nutritional information Calories: 2,920 Carbohydrates: 287 g Fat: 153 g Sodium: 5,310 mg Protein: 168 g
Day 5: Cheat Day
These breakfast politics were getting intense; I needed a break. On cheat day, I got to pick any one non-McDonald's meal I wanted. During the noon hour, I went to Mr. Breakfast, an independent all-day breakfast restaurant in Regina. Family run by Stan and George Perentes, it has been around since 1989. I ordered a Denver sandwich with hash browns, and they were ecstasy. After my meal, I asked co-owner Stan Perentes what he thought of McDonald's all-day breakfast coming to Canada. Perentes said, "They are a bit behind the game of giving people breakfast all day, every day. They should stick with what they're good at. When it comes to breakfast, it's a different ballgame." Mr. Breakfast has spoken.
One Mr Breakfast Denver sandwich and hash browns Four Egg McMuffins One coffee
Nutritional information Calories: 1,790 Carbohydrates: 178 g Fat: 79 g Sodium: 4,360 mg Protein: 83 g
Day 6: Ruined Brunch
I woke up to the scent of bacon. My wife thought it would be funny to make a homemade brunch with traditional Belgian liège waffles topped with a fried egg and fresh fruit on the side. I, of course, couldn't eat any of it. Jill's mischievous eyes glittered like caramelized pearl sugar. As I sulked off to McDonald's for my daily dose of watery eggs, I was reminded of my bachelor years. Sitting in the drive thru, I realized my car, littered with spent McDonald's wrappers, had begun to smell like oily sadness.
Total consumed: Five Egg McMuffins One hash brown One coffee
Nutritional information Calories: 1,610 Carbohydrates: 161 g Fat: 65 g Sodium: 4,160 mg Protein: 81 g
Day 7: The Brunch Mac
On the final day, I thought my transition off breakfast food might be too much of a shock. Using my newfound McDonald's food hacking skills, I invented the Brunch Mac. Basically, you deconstruct a Big Mac and swap the bread sections with pancakes. The result is a delicious way to replace emotions with cholesterol. To finish this breakfast marathon, I tested my physical abilities again. I improved my bike time by 1:34, completed ten more push-ups, three more sit-ups, and unleashed approximately 8,000 farts. For my final weight, I lost three pounds. This new diet not only gave me a new body, it taught me the value of determination. While McDonald's limited breakfast menu left my appetite wanting at times, I learned how to nourish my spirit. Sometimes you just have to crack a few eggs.
Total consumed: Two Brunch Macs One Egg McMuffin One coffee
Nutritional information Calories: 1,850 kcal Carbohydrates: 241 g Fat: 55 g Sodium: 2,580 mg Protein: 64 g
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I am VICE's resident healthy person. As the editor in chief of the health vertical Tonic, I am on the receiving end of sheepish looks from my smoking coworkers (good lord why haven't you quit yet?) and sent questions about oral herpes (it's probably just a pimple but if it's actual herpes, chill—everyone has it). I have a healthy relationship with what I eat. I love food, and it loves me. Rarely a day goes by that I don't grace my digestive system with things green and fibrous, omega-3-rich, lousy with phytonutrients. My friends have labeled my proclivities "monastic." So when some of my coworkers cooked up the evil little idea that someone should eat like Donald Trump for a whole work week, I was the obvious person for the job.
So what does Trump eat? Mainly, he loves fast food chains because, he says, they can be counted on for their cleanliness. They have to hold themselves to "a certain standard," as he once told CNN. He's mentioned loving Burger King, KFC, and McDonald's. He also likes Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits, which I enjoy so much I served it at my wedding. So there was at least one thing we could agree on.
Every story about Trump's food intake indicates that he doesn't much care what he eats. "It's always whatever he is craving, which is more often than not McDonald's," is how one of his aides phrased it when talking to the New York Times. He loves the Filet of Fish, which he calls the "Fish Delight." Big Macs. Quarter pounders with cheese. He loves their fries. There is some dispute over whether or not he removes the buns from his burgers. When he eats pizza, he scrapes the toppings off and doesn't eat the dough, believing this saves him precious calories. Would you still call that "eating pizza"?
I was going to spend five days walking in the shoes—walking with the stomach?—of the new president, learning what makes him burp, and maybe why he looks like that. I'd get to eat all the junk food I wanted, in the name of journalism. This was going to be fun. It was going to be the greatest, most incredible diet I had ever been on. Yuge. I was going to be yuge.
Channeling Trump's distaste for breakfast and dislike of planned meals, I spring for a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips from the office kitchen. They're fucking delicious; why had I not eaten these for breakfast before?
Lunch, Day One. A fried chicken sandwich.
Since the Brooklyn VICE office is in a fast-food desert and I don't want to pay $47.50 for Postmates to deliver a $7 Popeye's meal, I Seamless a fried chicken sandwich from tried and true Williamsburg comfort food staple Pies n' Thighs. My cursor hovers over the side salad option, a little bit longingly, before I remember myself and click on the side of fries. I select "hold the bacon" and then unselect when I remember I should probably eat the bacon too. To reach the delivery minimum I add in an order of hush puppies; I'm vague on what those are but I figure channeling Trump means grabbing this diet by the puppy, so I order them.
Once the food arrives I scarf it down alongside a cold Diet Pepsi (the office kitchen is out of Diet Cokes and I figure the Pepsi will have the same ill effects on my metabolism and gut bacteria anyway, so cool). I'm shocked by how horrendous fake sugar tastes after years of not touching the stuff. I'm lightheaded almost instantly. Is this what power feels like?
For dinner, Day One, a meat pile.
My friends, who are at my apartment for dinner, convince me that the sausage and pork-belly choucroute, a pile of meat that my husband made, is Trumpy as hell. So I agree to skip the trip to Taco Bell, with poor meal planning and impulsivity as my spirit animals.
OK so for some reason I feel intensely hungover this morning even though my friends drank last night and I abstained, true to Trump's ways. I'm queasy, and my brain feels like it's been slammed into submission by a meat tenderizer.
For breakfast, Day Two, hush puppies
At work, I know I'm not supposed to have coffee but the brain fog is too much to bear. Cutting one little corner feels kind of right, kind of Donaldesque. When my coworker points out my cheat I tell him he's a nasty person.
Also: Hush puppies, leftover from yesterday, appear to be some kind of fried cornmeal that are great with coffee, even though the coffee turns out to do nothing for my fucked up meat-hangover brain. If Trump were to eat breakfast he would definitely eat hush puppies. He also wouldn't eat anything for the rest of the work day, because they sink like rocks.
The first couple bites of my Popeye's dinner are tasty, redolent of Americana, something that seemed innocent enough only a few months ago. But then I hit some kind of wall and can't keep eating. I go to bed with the sweats, starting to doubt my hardiness.
I wake up from a dream in which I'm eating the most tantalizingly fragrant, juicy pear, to face the reality of another meaty day in Trump hell. I'm sluggish and spacey, and leave the house having forgotten to brush my teeth for the first time in my adult life. I get winded climbing the stairs to the subway. I hate life. I am loping and irritable. The fruit in the office kitchen is taunting me.
The friend I'm supposed to have lunch with flatly refuses to join me at McDonald's, so I go bougie-junk again and order chicken and waffles at a local restaurant, figuring Trump would do this, take a picture of himself with it, and then claim to love black people. I'm not hungry at all; it's as though all the meat and grease have permanently stolen my appetite. So I grimace through the meal and practically cry over my lunch date's arugula salad, which looks so crisp and refreshing.
I plan to go to the gym after work, since the rules didn't mention exercise, but instead I collapse on the couch, floored by my exhaustion. I rant at my husband, who is gleefully serving me leftover sausages from the other night. Mid-speech I realize this is precisely how Trump gets exercise—emphatic speaking is a workout, he feels—and now, schvitzing from the exertion, I understand that if you subsist on the Trump Diet, it is.
Every time I burp I get a mayonnaise-y Whopper taste and worry my coworkers can smell it. The words on my laptop screen have no meaning. I read and reread a story about psychedelic integration three times before giving up and sending some half-assed notes to the writer. I save all my emails as unread because I don't have the will to reply to any of them. I muddle my way through two meetings, barely keeping up with what we're talking about. The only thing I really have the mental strength for is social media, so I tap out a few work-related Tweets and call it a day. Huh.
A burger cooked to Trump's liking, so well done "it rocks on the plate."
For dinner, at a Manhattan restaurant with friends who laugh off my Trump Grille suggestion, I order a burger well-done since there's no taco bowl on the menu. I can hardly gag the dry bites down my sad esophagus, and I don't hear much of the conversation over my furious internal monologue, which is mostly about whether the Trumpish authenticity of cheating would be canceled out by the inauthenticity of drinking a beer on the Trump Diet.
Fuck this. Fuck fucking Trump. My husband delights in snapping photos as I barfily nibble at a McDonald's hash brown and an Egg McMuffin. We're on our way to my mom's in Massachusetts for Christmas, and all I want to do is cheat and then lie about it. I impulsively grab a grapefruit out of my husband's bag and sink my teeth into it like a feral animal (what? That's how you peel it). He raises an eyebrow at my transgression and I call him crooked. I spend the rest of the afternoon breaking the rules. "I heard you were on the Trump diet," my mom's partner says as I snack on a banana.
"That is a tremendous lie," I reply, explaining that there's a global conspiracy out to get me. "I never, ever said that."
Holiday dinner, Trump style.
Over dinner, which is vegetable soup for everyone but me, I tell my family I'm seriously considering going vegetarian in 2017. As I chew my last bites of Fish Filet (gotta say, that bun is delightfully pillowy), I get some exercise (by pontificating, obvs): Sure, I've been put up to this, but my five days of Trump have served as an excuse for skipping the gym, my reason for being snippy, my justification for availing myself of irresponsibly raised meat. I can't resist the larger analogy: Trump had been an excuse for all my basest behaviors, just as his approaching presidency has inspired America's grossest recent acts of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia.
I now have the most visceral sense of this dark force, and also know that the sheen we often see on his orange brow is the fucking meat sweats. These five days have given me a focused taste of Trump—and of the next four years, and it makes me want to puke.
Everything you need to know about the world this morning, curated by VICE.
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