You Are What You Eat (McDonald’s vs Chipotle)

English: This is the picture of the original R...

English: This is the picture of the original Ronald McDonald. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have no idea why anyone ever wants to eat at McDonald’s unless it is the last place on Earth, or you are desperate for a latte and stuck in rural North Carolina. (McDonald’s was the ONLY place and I just HAD TO.) But perhaps this comparison will make you turn away from the golden arches and, if you are in a bind and need something quick, straight into the loving arms of Chipotle.

Yes, Chipotle used to be under McDonald’s wing, but if you click the link to the Business Insider article below, you will see how the Chipotle founder Steve Ellis couldn’t hang with McDonald’s for long. The reason is because of long-standing practices by McDonald’s that don’t align with Ellis’ vision. Taken directly from Chipotle’s website, take a look at their Food With Integrity mission statement:

It means serving the very best sustainably raised food possible with an eye to great taste, great nutrition and great value. It means that we support and sustain family farmers who respect the land and the animals in their care. It means that whenever possible we use meat from animals raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones. And it means that we source organic and local produce when practical. And that we use dairy from cows raised without the use of synthetic hormones. Food With Integrity is a journey that started more than a decade ago and one that will never end.

Now I will grant you that McDonald’s website does have a blurb about how they are trying to do some good in the world. Here is their blurb:

Values in Action

From the start, we’ve been committed to doing the right thing. And we’ve got the policies, programs and practices in place that allow us to use our size and scope to help make a difference. Because what’s good for us, is good for us all.


To do this, we collaborate in ways that some might find surprising: such as fostering sustainable agriculture and fisheries with the help of Conservation International; or working with Greenpeace to develop and maintain a moratorium on soybean production in the Amazon. Learn more in our 2012 Sustainability Highlights.

The Road to Sustainability

We’re striving toward a sustainable tomorrow.

Learn about our efforts

Animal Welfare

We’re committed to improving standards and practices.

Find out more

So perhaps they are now taking a step in the right direction. If you click the sustainability link, it takes you to a series of YouTube videos where it shows what McDonald’s is trying to do around the world and how they are participating in sustainable agriculture, beef, fisheries, and coffee production. If it is true, I applaud McDonald’s because they have always seemed to me to be what is wrong with the American diet and food production.

But these practices aside, it is also true that you are what you eat. And if you eat at McDonald’s do you really know  what you are eating? Take a look. The first link below takes you to Chipotle’s website where they explain their ingredients. None of their ingredient lists are more than six or so ingredients that are are natural and simple and from everything I can tell, relatively good and healthy for your diet.

The second link is not from McDonald’s website but searchable on the internet. That is suspicious enough for me, but truly, there are so many artifical ingredients I can understand why McDonald’s does not want it on their shiny red website. If you look at the majority of their foods it is a horror story of preservatives, fillers, and the like. Plus, it is a 33 page tome. 33 pages.

So if you need a push in one or the other direction, take a long look at Chipotle, who should be applauded as one of the only fast food restaurants to strive toward true sustainability and keeping their product natural and organic. It is quite a feat. I truly cannot say the same for McDonald’s, although I am glad to see them moving in a more sustainable direction. Do I buy it? Not really, and I certainly never want to eat somewhere with foods with ingredients I can hardly pronounce. So would I buy it? Definitely not. If I am what I eat, I certainly don’t want to be a McDonald’s ingredient list.


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