Fuzzy Skies August 7 2014

A nutritional meal at McDonalds? A quick meal that’s low fat is hard for me to buy. I’ve needed crowns after chewy snack bars. I avoid oil soaked snacks or sandwiches with too much bread. I’m too slow-moving in the morning to pack a lunch.

Surprisingly I found a tasty, filling snack at McDonald’s after risking a visit because fast food companies are searching for ways to serve consumers searching for nutritious meals. Hold your dubious thoughts.

Promoting healthy foods is risky because the McLean Deluxe failure caused McDonald’s first ever quarterly loss. It was promoted as a healthy meal. Consumers assumed it couldn’t be delicious.

The drive-through menu promoted the Premium McWrap™ in three options: Chicken and ranch, Sweet chili chicken and Chicken and Bacon. I succumbed to the Chicken and Bacon with 460 calories, but my next McWrap™ will be the Sweet Chili Chicken at 360 calories. The McWrap™  ad doesn’t mention the word healthy.

It was tasty and as filling as I remember a Quarter Pounder at 600 calories before I’d smother each bite in ketchup at 19 calories per tablespoon.

McDonald’s website lists ingredients as grilled chicken breast, apple-wood smoked bacon, two half slices of tomato, spring greens (fresh cucumbers), shredded lettuce, cheddar jack cheese, creamy garlic sauce and a warm flour tortilla.

It is as high in sodium as a Quarter Pounder, but the sweet chili Premium McWrap has one-third less.

McDonald’s nutritional strategy is driven by Executive Chef Dan Coudreaut, who is responsible for every food item worldwide. McDonald’s promises to include produce or low-fat dairy in each Happy Meal, reduce sodium 15 percent overall across McDonald’s national food menu by 2015 and serve favorites that are less than 400 calories each.

Fast food companies are offering healthy snacks amidst the junk.

Doubts About Living on the Dry Side. Never? We moved to the dry side of the Cascades because I wanted to retire under clear skies. There’s a shadow hanging over that clear plan: smoke.

Two years ago I fled wildfire smoke a couple of times to protect my lungs and heart. I cope by using smoke as an excuse not to walk the dog, wear a mask, keep house windows closed, change our furnace filters weekly and recycle air in my air conditioned car. I’m no quitter.

But an email from my daughter-in-law, Sheri Russell, unsettled me. She’s a dry-side devotee forced to move with her husband and children to Bellingham’s chilling drizzles. Karen and I admire her cheerful sacrifice.

Recently she emailed us about how scary the smoke must be from the Carlton Complex fire, the largest in State history and not yet contained.

“Ever since leaving Idaho in 2003,” she said, “I had missed the dry mountain climate I had become so accustomed to and fond of. Then last September Keith and I went to Bend, OR, which was an incredibly dry 98 degree tinder box of pine needle-covered land, and my true appreciation for Bellingham finally settled in.”

I feel abandoned.

Smoke is not my only worry. My eye doctor said high-desert climates dry eyes and damage vision, so I constantly add eye drops. My skin cracks all winter even when slathered with hand creams. Smog hides the sun during winter, which I used to escape by skiing Mission Ridge. Now my A-fib keeps me off the slopes because blood thinners make a head injury potentially fatal.

Maybe I wouldn’t miss the dry side. The thought of abandoning many friends and community builders in this exquisite landscape is unthinkable. Or, at least, was unthinkable.

About Russellsclearskies

Writing to poke fun at a retired klutz like me who's curiously exploring the absurdities and complexities of the good life. .
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3 Responses to Fuzzy Skies August 7 2014

  1. William Brock says:


    I wrote to your email account and it was refused. Guess I need the correct address. Used james.s.russell@verizon.net


    Your latest blog hit home as I am planning my FIRST visit to Oregon in early September.

    My plan is to go to Portland after visiting my grandkids in Boulder CO. I’ll stay in Portland for two days, then to Cannon Beach for two days. I will drive to Hood River, then to Mt. Hood, Then Bend and back to Portland for my return flight. Susan has a nephew in Vancouver, WA who we will visit also.

    Any suggestions…….or horrors from smoke that we will encounter? What to do and what to avoid would be very helpful. Unfortunately we won’t be near your dear Wenatchee.



  2. Rich Dickson says:

    Just got back from Bellingham and although not as it is smokey. Don”t leave. Hard to find tennis players who play with as much enthusiasm and integrity as you.

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