Saturday, December 30, 2006

Answering A Critic, Educating The Public

One of the pitfalls of blogging that I've noticed since I started doing this nearly two years ago is the fact that there are brand new readers who find out about you for the very first time each and every day. Quite literally, tens of thousands of new readers stumble upon and read the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog each month and I am extremely grateful for that.

But what inevitably happens is someone will read a single column that I have written without knowing who this Jimmy Moore fella is and the context of the more than 1,400 blog posts I have written since April 2005. Many of these critics wonder how I came up with my opinions and sometimes misunderstand what I have written. It happens ALL THE TIME and I've really come to expect it.

Generally I kindly reply back to the person who e-mailed me providing links to other blog posts I have previously written as well as clearly explaining where I am coming from. Do I HAVE to do this? Of course not. Yet in the context of sharing ideas and attempting to educate people on my perspective, I cheerfully do it.

Today I received another one of these kind of e-mails from a man who is obviously a brand new reader since he said he "spotted" my blog post from Thursday about a McDonald's restaurant closing down because of competition from the neighborhood farmers' market. To answer this critic and help educate the public, I will individually respond to each of his criticisms about my column much in the same way I would in a typical e-mail reply.

"I don't know you but I am having difficulty understanding why you seem to have so much hostility toward McDonald's."

Hello and THANK YOU for sharing your feedback with me. I enjoy reading comments from people who come across my blog for the very first time. Welcome to the debate of ideas about diet, health, nutrition, weight loss, and, of course, low-carb. Please feel free to navigate around my blog and read the more than 1,400 blog posts that have come before the one you cited.

Regarding your assertion that I have "hostility toward McDonald's," nothing could be further from the truth. My regular readers will tell you that I am all for letting a business do what it has to do to turn a profit. That's the American way and NOBODY should force a business to do anything that would stand in the way of their economic success.

I believe in the power of a democratic society without the use of strong-arm tactics like unnecessary government-forced rules and regulations. For example, I was opposed to the recent ban of trans fats in New York City. Does this mean I approve of the use of trans fats in the food served at places like McDonald's? Not hardly. Instead, I am a strong proponent of personal responsibility for weight and health problems rather than blaming it on a disease or making it the fault of fast food companies.

"I read that you lost a lot of weight. Congratulations on that accomplishment but the rancor in your article gives me the impression you blame McDonald's for being overweight."

THANK YOU for your compliments about my low-carb weight loss success which I chronicled in my 2005 debut book release Livin' La Vida Low-Carb. However, where was the "rancor" in my article? If you have read any of my previous blog posts then you will quickly discover that I generally write in a very direct manner fueled by the personal experiences I have encountered as part of my miraculous weight loss experience. My intense passion should not be mistaken for opposition.

I make no apologies for my writing style and can't be held responsible for your misinterpretation of what I wrote. With that said, I can without a shadow of a doubt tell you that I don't blame McDonald's for my obesity or anybody else's. Again, it goes back to my philosophy that the individual has the power to change.

When there was a move earlier this year for McDonald's and other restaurants to cut back on their portion sizes and calories in their menu items, I stood up for them against such a movement. Additionally, when they voluntarily decided to put the nutritional information on the packaging, I applauded their efforts. I'm not anti-McDonald's from a business standpoint and believe they could be a good company for people living a healthy lifestyle. All it would take is for them to provide better and healthier choices for their prospective customer base.

"The last time I visited McDonald's there were salads, fruit, low fat yogurt, grilled chicken, orange juice and milk. So, what is your real problem with the brand?"

LOL! Now that's funny! Do you think all of that makes McDonald's a "healthy" place to eat? Okay, I'll give you the plain salads and grilled chicken (although, even THAT is suspect!), but clearly the rest of their so-called "healthy" menu is loaded with too much sugar and carbohydrates to be deemed good for you.

Fruit? Oh, do you mean those little apple slices that come with a container of caramel dipping sauce just LOADED with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)? Oh yeah, that's REALLY healthy! Many of the salads at McDonald's have sugar in them, too, which make them decided unhealthy for people who are livin' la vida low-carb.

Low-fat yogurt? You've got to be kidding, right? OJ? Milk? Have you looked at the carb counts in these lately? It's not a pretty picture. I provided McDonald's with a few examples of some excellent low-carb menu offerings in this recent blog post. We'll see if they take me up on my suggestions.

"I can't believe I am actually writing to you about this but in your glee over the closure, you overlook the 27 employees that are being 'displaced.' You seem elated about this and I can't understand why. I suspect these employees are 'local town folk' too as are the truck drivers, repair people and other vendors that support any restaurant."

I'm really glad you did write to me because you allow me the opportunity to address your concerns directly. Again, I wouldn't say I have "glee" over this McDonald's closing down, but rather it's not surprising considering the economic dynamics of the area.

As for the employees who worked at that store, the article I quoted very clearly said they would be offered positions at the nearby Plymouth McDonald's location if they want it. Don't be so smug and crass to think I'm "elated" over anyone losing their job. I went through that a few months back and wouldn't wish it on anyone.

But you move on with your life. You find something else to do to make a living and support your family. That's the way it works in a free society economy, especially in the high-turnover restaurant industry. Many of the people employed at the McDonald's that shut down would have moved on in the next six months or so anyway and they can do so much better for themselves than Mickey D's. This very well may give them the impetus to get out there and find an even better job with higher pay and benefits.

Yes, it's sad when a job is lost, but it's not the end of the world. Perhaps these ex-McDonald's employees could look into working at the Tavistock Farmers' Market? If they put forth enough initiative and energy into selling fresh produce and meats like they did Big Macs and French fries, then I have no doubt they will be successful. But they shouldn't expect a job to come running to them. Work is there for the taking with low unemployment rates around 4% right now.

"You could also check this out with experts but I suspect the chances of getting a food borne illness is probably greater buying food at a local farmers market from some unknown source (not all of the items are organic as many believe) than from a national chain since the chains require their suppliers to meet certain national standards for food safety."

Oh yeah, that's worked out real well, hasn't it? Try telling that to Taco Bell or Olive Garden, hmmm? There's not one shred of evidence to back your claim that food sold at a farmers' market will make you sick. Now who's showing "hostility" and "rancor?" Are you sure you're not on the board of directors for McDonald's? Hey, I gotta ask!

"I do not expect you to reply but I hope I have given you some points to consider. Happy New Year!"

Well, that's where you are wrong, my friend. You not only got a reply from me, but I even devoted an entire blog post to your e-mail. Don't you feel so special? :)

I appreciate the feedback and the attempt to share your thoughts and opinions with me about this subject. Hopefully this blog post can serve as a springboard for looking closer at the issues both you and I have raised. This is the kind of synergy that is needed to help further the education of the public. THANK YOU for sharing and feel free to write to me again anytime.

Comments and feedback are highly encouraged at my blog. Please e-mail me at

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