Fast food: yes vs. no


Story by Courtney Kueppers and Nick Erickson


In 2013 McDonald’s generated $28.11 billion in sales/revenue. Of that revenue, I contributed $1 one night when I was freezing in a Chicago train station and gave my dollar to the fast food monster in exchange for a hot cup of (horrible) coffee.

I hate fast food. With the exception of a rare trip to Chipotle, I do not eat at fast food restaurants. Maybe it’s because I am a distance runner and as result I am very conscious of what I put into my body; maybe it’s because I grew up with a mother who works in cardiac rehab and has seen too many people have heart attacks far too young; but mostly it comes down to the fact that I am downright repulsed by the concept of eating fast food.

While I most certainly understand that eating healthy is a luxury, which not everyone can afford, and I also acknowledge that we all have our vices, I think we need to wake up to the fact that fast food has long-term repercussions for our health.

We live in a world where weight loss gimmicks are a dime a dozen and chatter about increased obesity rates and heart disease diagnoses are commonplace. I truly believe, when it comes down to it, these hiked rates can in part be attributed to the fact that we don’t eat real food anymore.

When we want to snack we head for McDonalds when our grandparents head for home-grown treats. While I am not perfect and certainly eat junk food alongside my peers, I think we can all make a more conscious effort to eat real food.

Eat food in which you know where it came from. Eat a hamburger with the beef from one cow, not 1,000. Eat vegetables from your garden, not from across the count

When you’re in a bind on the road and are in search of a quick snack, look for a local supermarket instead of the closest McDonald’s, then check the produce section: grab an apple, some grapes and a bag of carrots, and you’re all set for a snack on the road.

Luckily the local food movement is picking up steam, and Eau Claire is on board. Eat local, eat organic, eat real food. Your body will thank you later and you can avoid going to see my mother in cardiac rehab.

– Courtney Kueppers, Managing Editor



I’m going to give you all two words that I can almost guarantee your mothers, fathers or guardians have told you at least once in your life: time and place.

I am certainly not oblivious to the fact that eating fast food for every meal of the day for your entire life will take a toll on your health. It takes one viewing of “Supersize Me” to understand that. There are healthier options out there, and fast food certainly isn’t a way of life. I get that, because my mother didn’t raise me a fool.

 Here comes that time and place thing. I am 22 years old. I am 6-feet-3 inches tall, weigh about 170 pounds depending on the day, work three jobs and still remain pretty active. This is the time in my life when I can get away with choosing fast food as a main entree.

There are three elements to a meal (good taste, convenience and health), but I’ve come to find you can really only have two of those things.

I don’t have a lot of free time on my hands, so convenience comes in at number one for me. And because I am a person who takes things with a day-by-day approach, good taste often comes in at number two.

When I have an hour between one of my classes and one of my jobs, I don’t want to go home and prepare a meal for myself, because by the time it’s done, I might have five minutes to try to eat it.

 Also, college is a time when we literally have to claw our way to every penny we can, as tuition, rent and other expenses far outweigh the cost of living for our young selves. So yes, at this stage in my life, three $1 burgers from McDonald’s sounds more appealing than spending much of my paycheck at Gordy’s buying fresh food.

When I have a more stable time schedule and more security in my pocket, of course I am going to be more conscious of what I eat. I think any reasonable person understands fast food isn’t a long term solution.

But to get me through the day with the energy I need, I would much rather fill myself up with a McDouble than nothing at all.


As I finish this sentence, I have about an hour to get to one of my jobs. The golden arches from heaven will probably wave me to my temporary home.

– Nick Erickson, Editor in Chief