Ronald McDonald Is No Longer My Friend


“Happy” Meals Sadden Kids?  Not for 10 Cents!

It’s like taking a candy from a kid…but in this case it’s a toy.  Well, it could be, now that the McDonald’s chain is set to charge for the toy that they put in the “Happy Meal.”  It’s not quite the company’s fault though and it does not look like this will be happening nationwide. 

The issue is that there is a law in the city of San Francisco that bans putting toys in kids’ meals that are deemed to be unhealthy (which means they have a high fat, salt and sugar content, aka the McDonald’s Happy Meals).  This law goes into effect tomorrow. 

Cleverly however, McDonald’s has a plan.  The way it is “dealing” with the issue is by charging customers for the addition of the toy (so it doesn’t break the law about being a free toy). Actually, it’s not as bad as it sounds as the charge will be pretty negligible… 10 cents!

San Francisco Making the Most of It!

Actually what is going to end up happening is that the way San Francisco is going to get around the law is to ultimately produce MORE smiley faces!  Because of the ban – and given what Scott Rodrick (owner of 10 out of the 19 franchises in the city) is doing to work within the law to enable kids to still get their toy – the money will be used to help construct a new Ronald McDonald House which will probably temporary housing for families with sick children.  This will be built at the new UCSF Hospital that is currently being erected on the Mission Bay campus.

So indeed it seems that every cloud has a silver lining.  Kids will still be thrilled with their “Happy Meals” and parents for sure won’t mind basically donating 10 cents to a really good cause so that they can get a toy as well.  It’s a win-win for everyone!

Chugging Champaign to Lose Weight?

Say Bye-Bye to Boring Greens

Apparently it seems that weight loss doesn’t have to all be about limp salads and leafy green vegetables.  This could be great news for those who wanted to enjoy their food over Thanksgiving and are hoping for the same during the upcoming Christmas season.  Most diets severely restrict drinking, but a new one is out that actually encourages it…and that’s not even just the usual talk we hear about a healthy glass of red wine or two being full of good-for-you antioxidants…we’re talking Champagne!

Champagne Diet

Yes indeed.  Next you’ll be seeing pigs fly. Well, maybe not, but a Champagne Diet has been developed which sounds absolutely perfectly appropriate for the upcoming Christmas and New Year season with parties and pub crawls galore.  Developed in New York by 31-year-old MTV employee Cara Alwill Leyba, the alcoholic diet is intended to be “two parts healthy living, one part fun.”  And it’s definitely worked for her – the diet that finally got her out of her depression on how she looked and turned her into a slimmer woman.
So how does this diet actually work, you wannabe slim drinkers are dying to know.  Well, according to Cara, since a glass of the bubbly stuff contains a mere 91 calories, you can drink and enjoy it.  But the thing is, you probably won’t be drinking all that much since the science behind it is that the bubbles get to your bloodstream real quick, which renders you unable to drink all that much.

Champagne and Lox

But it’s more than just drinking champagne.  From doing the research, it looks like Cara wanted a diet that was the envy of others – not the other way round.  Instead of sitting in a restaurant with friends not on a diet, staring at your miserable-looking plate of greens, go on Cara’s diet and really invest in yourself.  Order delicious foods that you really want to eat.  On the diet, there are no forbidden foods.  Rather, the premise is consuming delicious, nutrient-rich, high-quality foods (no more than 1,400 calories per day).  Get a bagel with lox and a glass of champagne for your lunch with the ladies and see how much more fulfilled you’ll end up being.  You won’t resent others not on this “diet” as your food will be their envy!  
Finally, Cara also feels that drinking in the bubbles actually makes women feel good about themselves.  And the better people feel, the less likely they will engage in emotional over-eating; another reason that people have to go on a diet in the first place.  Celebrate yourself every day – bring on the champagne and lox and lose weight while you’re at it!

A Dog with a Happy “Tale”

Or, that should really be, two dogs with two happy tails.  Only two eyes though – between the two dogs – since one of them relies 100 percent on the other one to be her eyes, as she doesn’t have any.  That is why when they ended up in a shelter in England as their owner was unable to take care of them.

The two Great Danes – 7-year-old Maddison (who has both eyes) and 6-year-old Lily (who is eye-less), ended up in Telford, UK, at the Shrewsbury Dogs Trust Care.  The shelter thereafter sent out a request looking for a good home for both of these dogs, figuring it would be pretty bad to separate them, especially as Lily’s handicap had rendered her totally dependent on Maddison.  But the shelter was somewhat concerned about finding a good home, as taking care of such a dog without eyes would not be an easy feat. 

The shelter was thus shocked and delighted that the response was so incredibly overwhelming!  Indeed, thousands of individuals made contact with the shelter, asking to take on both of the dogs.  Much research and investigative work was carried out and Len and Anne Williams were chosen for the task. The couple intends to take the dogs on long walks and even on their vacations to France!

Macy’s 85th Thanksgiving Day Parade

Macy’s 85th Thanksgiving Day Parade was one of the most successful in New York’s history, drawing an enormous crowd and entertaining more than 50 million TV viewers. The windless weather and relatively warm temperatures made it a perfect day for a parade.

Though police would not release a crowd estimate, a Macy’s spokesperson said: “We expected 3.5 million people at the parade and I’d say we were north of that.”

Some of the beloved characters featured in this year’s parade were Snoopy, SpongeBob SquarePants and Hello Kitty, while some offbeat new additions included “Julius,” Paul Frank’s sock monkey and Tim Burton’s “B.,” the creepy boy made from discarded birthday balloons.

According to Macy’s spokesperson Orlando Veras, there were 8,000 people in the parade, which included 11 marching bands, 800 clowns, 1,600 cheerleaders, dancers and singers, 27 floats, 15 enormous balloons and 44 medium ones.

“We had a great parade today. I’ve done this for 11 years and these were the biggest crowds I have seen,” he said.

British Women Need to Lose Weight

It seems that heaviness is becoming quite a weighty issue in Great Britain.  According to a recent EU report, a staggering 23.9 percent of British women are obese – the highest amount of all 19 countries that took part in the study.  As well, British men need to get off their proverbial couches too.  They’re not exactly doing all that well either, with more than 22 percent of them being in the same category – only Malta was slightly above them.

The study looked at the 2008-9 period and found that the entire European adult population was extremely overweight, with women ranging from 8 to 23.9 percent and men from 7.6 to 24.7 percent. There was no major finding of obesity between men and women – in some countries men were heavier and in others, women.  It was only in Greece where the men and women were just as obese.  Romania had what to be proud of though – with only 8 percent of its adult population tipping the scales into obesity.

It seems that as people get older, the obesity issue gets worse (and this is even more true with the female population).  But in the UK, it seems that the younger generation is battling the bulge more, with over 16 percent of the 18 to 24 age group being put into the obese category.

Addicts Getting Their Lives Back

The Tale of Annie Akavak

It’s no wonder Annie Akavak was an addict most of her life. She pretty much went through every type of abuse throughout her distraught childhood…and then some, giving birth to the first of her four children at the tender age of 14.  Bustled around from one foster home to another, she eventually ended up on the streets.  It’s taken a long time, and there have been many setbacks, but right now, she is ever so slowly – one step at a time – on the long road to recovery thanks to some incredible help and support from an amazing Canadian organization.

Jean Tweed Centre

Situated in the west end of Toronto, it was the Jean Tweed Centre and all its programs which really gave Akavak the first sniff of hope of a normal life.  A decade ago, the Pathways to Healthy Families outreach program began to give pregnant women and mothers help with their kids from birth ‘til 6-years-old.  They offered substance abuse counseling, assistance in finding housing and prenatal care, and more.  Thereafter the Moms and Kids Too program (MK2) was established which also helped Akavak get her life back on track.

It’s definitely been a long road for Akavak and there’s still a lot of work to be done, but the Jean Tweed Centre has really given her the tools she needs to at least start.  When her daughter was taken from her she was determined to get her back.  Turning to the programs run through the Centre, was what saved her. “I stopped relapsing and started learning some coping skills,” she said. Ultimately she won the custody battle and got her daughter back.  “Jean Tweed taught me how to be a better mother and a healthy mother.”  In a sense, her story is a rags to riches tale, in the sense of how well she lives emotionally these days.  Her dream is to have her own home.  In time, there’s a good chance this will happen.