Hippies in the Drive Thru

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Look at that happy contentment on her face. Burgers do that for me, too. MMMmmmm.

Of the 154 of you who have graciously clicked the “follow” button on my blog (BTW – thank you.  You’ll never know how absurdly happy it makes me when I log on and see that little orange plus sign in the corner that means there’s a new follower.) I’m guessing about 150 of you never read my original post

The original is important because it explains the “lazy” in LazyHippieMama.

You see, “lazy” isn’t about the desire to lay on the couch all day, watching Netflix and eating bonbons.  Although that does sound lovely, come to think of it.  “Lazy” is about not having the energy or motivation to raise my own grass-fed dairy cows in order to get reasonably priced healthy, organic, raw milk.  Lazy means that eco-friendly needs to be approximately as convenient (and similarly priced) as the other stuff.

I’ve been blogging for about 5 months now, and I’ve learned that the goal of being a good hippie whilst remaining lazy is possible. 

Sort of.

Sometimes.

A great deal of it comes down to awareness. 

For example, if there are two packages of butter available, for approximately the same price and one is in a plastic tub and the other is in a recycled cardboard tub, choose the 2nd. 

If, despite your best efforts, you end up with a plastic butter tub, don’t throw it away!  Save it.  Find a use for it.  If you simply can’t find anything to do with it, don’t throw it away!  Offer it on freecycle.org or, at the very least, recycle it.

That’s not so very difficult, right?

I’ve come to learn that my friendly neighborhood Meijer store offers a fabulous selection of organic and natural products at about the same price as the “other” stuff.  So I make the choice to shop there as much as possible.

I’ve done a great deal of trading this summer… home-made biodegradable laundry soap and deodorant in exchange for organic produce from the gardens of my neighbors.

So far so good, right?

But here’s where it all falls apart in the Hippie Household…

We are fast-food freaks. 

The whole family lights up with joy at the sight of greasy french fries in a little paper cup.

Even the baby.

But, oh….. the guilt!

What is in those fries?!? 

Were the potatoes grown in a bed of green ooze in a laboratory built on a sacred burial ground?

Was that paper cup made from the last remaining 1,000 year old tree, providing shelter to a tiny village in the Amazon? 

Will my children grow up to slur their speech and have a perpetual twitch under their left eye because we let them drink pasteurized chocolate milk through a PLASTIC straw?

Well….    a tad bit of research has made me feel a teeny bit better. 

I’ve learned that, again, awareness is a major factor in being kind to our dear planet.

I have to start with Chipotle.  I’ve never eaten there.  But I will!

Nearly EVERY site I went to had nothing but good things to say about Chipotle.  Apparently, they go out of their way to use organic beans, natural meats, hormone-free chicken and other “real” foods.  They also use biodegradable tableware and incorporate many environmentally friendly options into their buildings. 

There’s no guilt, eating at Chipotle!

Well… there are lots of beans on the menu, so you may produce some methane, which is a greenhouse gas, but… you know…. magical fruit and all that.

The second most mentioned place did not come as a big surprise to me. 

Subway offers some very nice choices including whole-grain breads and several tasty vegetarian options.  (Also, no beans.  hehehe.) 

They also offer the choice to decline the plastic bag that holds all your food, meaning that everything is packaged in 100% recycled paper.  Well done, Subway! 

Starbucks does pretty well.  They let you use your own cup, which is huge.  They also offer fair trade products and organics.  Of course, we’re not talking about a $.50 cup of coffee here, but still… if you’re in a rush (or just being lazy) feel free to enjoy your Starbucks relatively guilt free. 

Then I learned something that put a twinkle in my Christmas star…. a bow on my pretty present… an extra pretty sugar flower on my lovely frosted cake….

MCDONALD’S IS ECO-FRIENDLY!

Knock me over with a feather and call me stunned.

OK.  The food quality (in terms of being natural) can be abysmal.  Although… their artisan salads, all white meat chicken and some of their breakfast offerings are showing that they’re making an effort to move beyond the days of pink slime.

But McDonald’s gets high rankings (2 out of 4 leaves) from greenopia.com for filing a federal sustainability report, excellent building design (sorry, funnygurl.  I know how you feel about their new buildings), and good recycling practices. 

Compare McDonald’s to the rankings received by Arbys, Burger King, Dominos, Dunkin Donuts, Jack-in-the-Box, Pizza Hut, Sonic, Taco Bell and Wendy’s and McD’s comes out head and shoulders above.  It would seem that poor Ronald gets a bad rap!

MMmmm.   I love McDonald’s!

Honors for “trying hard” go to KFC.  In the past, they’ve offered very unhealthy food, wrapped in plastic and foam and served in baby seal skin bags. 

OK.  I made that last part up.  They weren’t quite THAT bad. But bad enough.

HOWEVER, KFC is making a great effort to reduce their use of styrofoam considerably and is the first fast-food chain to look into using reusable packaging for their food (based on the concept of the reusable shopping bags, made from recycled plastic shopping bags).

Five Guys gets kudos for using fresh potatoes to make fresh french fries, meaning there are no chemicals involved and also no processing or freezing so energy costs are reduced.  This isn’t even comparable to Wendy’s “natural cut” fries where the only part of nature involved seems to be the fact that they did actually come from a real potato at some point in their history.

BK is the only drive-thru place I found that offers a veggie burger.  That said, not a single site I came across had very nice things to say about their veggie burger except, “it seems healthier than a Whopper.”  Hmmm… not terribly inspiring.  I don’t think I’ll be dashing out for that any time soon.

So, you see, there are some choices out there that, while perhaps not perfect (except maybe Chipotle…. hmmm… tacos for lunch does sound good), are better than others. 

Something to keep an eye out for:  2 former McDonald’s executives and Oprah’s personal chef are opening up “LYFE Kitchen” in the coming months.  This will be a fast food chain specifically designed to be kind to the environment and offer healthy, non-fried, foods with lots of vegan, gluten free and dairy free choices, all under 600 calories.  Critics are going nuts over the taste and quality of these foods.

No big surprise, their first store will be in California, but they have big plans for expansion, and they could potentially change the whole industry! 

In the meantime, support those places that are making an effort and be aware…

Don’t take more napkins (straws, ketchup packets, etc) than you need.

Ask them to skip some of the packaging if possible.

Recycle what you can.

Everybody doing a little will mean a lot in the long run!

 

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8 responses »

  1. I never even knew that fast food restaurants were ranked for their eco-ness. Doesn’t McDonald’s though use crazy factory-raised beef that produce pollution? I read Fast Food Nation and that book totally ripped apart McDonald’s and other big-name restaurants namely for their use in big agri-business farms.

    My fast food of choice is In n Out but I understand not every state has this?

    • Yes, there are a few different sites that rank them, but http://www.greenopia.com is the biggest. McDonald’s got terrible ratings for the quality of their beef, but their chicken selects, black angus burgers, and salads were all… well… not great. But not horrible either. But, apparently, the new McCafe buildings are very environmentally friendly and they have great recycling practices within the business. They’ve replaced almost all of their plastic and foam with recycled paper. They also comply with a lot of voluntary federal reporting and such that other restaurants don’t do. So, it’s true, they have work to do, but they are better than many.
      We don’t have in-and-out around here, but I hear it’s fabulous!

  2. Okay, I don’t mind you defiling the fast food industry….they need it. I do need to say however, that real hippies don’t have much to say, live in communes, practice free sex, and smoke left-handed cigarettes. In addition, their clothes never fit, their children don’t have clothes, and they are well endowed with body hair. Oh,….and they don’t eat at McDonalds!! Now, you ask, “How do you know this..??” Well, because I am one of course!! 🙂
    Love your work!
    Howard

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