Have you heard? Donald Trump likes McDonald’s. Maybe you didn’t hear but somehow just knew — such is the obviousness of Trump’s idiocy. Of course he does, you thought, because he’s a huge dumbass.
Now, I’m not here to disparage McDonald’s. I’ve eaten enough of it. But if I do walk into the establishment, it’s not without some hand-wringing over what I should order that would do the least amount of damage to my gut. The, um, president, though, has no such qualms.
Thanks to a new book written by his former campaign managers, we know exactly what ol’ Donny likes to order when he goes to McDonald’s:
Two Big Macs
Two Filet-O-Fish (lol)
One Medium McCafe Chocolate Shake
All told, this order comes out to a whopping 2,672 calories. I’m not a doctor, and I can only offer anecdotal evidence of what something like this would do to a person (more on that later); but Chris Chavez, who was initially researching this for a possible Sports Illustrated story, reached out to an actual doctor to see what he thinks.
“A man weighing 236 lb [Trumps reported weight from a campaign medical exam] would need to jog 15.5 miles, or walk 31 miles, to burn off that much food,” said David Swain, professor of Exercise Science at Old Dominion University. “[But] you have to realize that most of those 2,672 calories would be used to support his daily energy expenditure.”
So, hypothetically, let’s say this is the only thing Trump would eat during the day. At least just merely existing could burn those calories, right?
“You would lose weight if I gave you fewer cheeseburgers than your daily caloric needs,” Swain said. “Nonetheless, I wouldn’t recommend the…meal you described, due to the high saturated fat content.”
So there you have it. “I wouldn’t recommend” it, as stated by a doctor.
Well, with all due respect to our doctor friend, I did not listen to him. I have decided to go to McDonald’s and order The Presidential. Two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish, and a chocolate shake will ride shotgun with me back home, where I will consume it, try to live a normal day — running included — and see how it turns out. We can consider this a “walk a mile in a man’s shoes” type of experiment.
A brief aside: I feel it necessary to establish myself as a reliable narrator, as this does feel like a somewhat TALL ORDER. Since graduating college, I have been perpetually out of “running shape,” slogging out no more than 1-2 runs every few months. Nonetheless, I have taken on a number of running challenges over the years because I like to do track with my friends. In 2013 I took a bet from a former co-worker who offered me $20 if I could run sub-2:05 for an 800m. Here’s the video. If anyone is running a beer mile, I’ll generally do it but will likely vomit. I recently ran a blue jeans mile. Here’s more proof of me doing running things for the sake of filming a video about pooping your pants. The point of all of this? Mostly just so you believe that I AM UP FOR DOING SILLY THINGS FOR THE HELL OF IT.
At roughly 2:20 PM on Wednesday, December 20th, I drove to the McDonald’s on Western Avenue in Los Angeles, about a mile from my house. I could have walked, but in keeping with presidential fashion, I chose the shittiest and most detrimental option available to me. I then waited at the busiest drive-thru in the world, mostly to save myself the embarrassment of looking someone in the face while I ordered. Unfortunately, I did have to make eye contact while paying for and receiving my food. You ordered two fish filets and two bi— yes, yes just give me the food. I could tell by the way the cashier looked at me that he thought I was an enormous piece of shit.
This is my order:
Here’s what transpired as soon as the food got home.
2:55 PM: I realize I haven’t eaten red meat in about three months. I’m not sure McDonald’s really qualifies as red meat, more like sawdust or congealed animal scraps, but you get the idea. I also have never eaten a Filet-O-Fish, and that feels like the most disgusting part. This is so stupid.
3:02 PM: The shake is actually pretty good. I haven’t worked up the courage to start eating the food yet. Baby steps.
3:08 PM: My dad called me. I told him very quickly what I was doing. He responded, “You’re nuts. Have fun.” But the way he said “have fun” sounded more like “where did I go wrong?”
3:15 PM: The first Big Mac is finished. It wasn’t bad. This is the first Big Mac I’ve eaten in what I can honestly say is years, and it’s fine. It’s a fine sandwich.
About 1/2 the shake is down the hatch as well.
I feel okay.
3:22 PM: I’ve been staring at the Filet-O-Fish for a while now. The bun looks unnaturally springy, definitely not bread-like, which is a quality I like to see in my bread. To test, I grabbed a quarter and dropped it on the bun from about a foot high. No joke, it hit the bun and jumped six inches, landing in some dark, dusty part of my kitchen.
3:26 PM: Most of the Filet-O-Fish is gone. To be honest, it wasn’t horrible. Have you ever been to a fish fry? Maybe it’s just a Midwest thing, but the smell brought me back and I muscled through most of the sandwich using nostalgia as a kind of numbing agent. My biggest issue with it was the texture. It looks like it should be light, crispy, flaky even. But what you bite into is nothing short of fish flavored marshmallow fluff. Also, why is there a slice of putrid yellow cheese on a fish sandwich? We’ll never know. Hopefully, this is my first and last experience with McDonald’s fish.
3:34 PM: My heart rate has noticeably risen.
3:49 PM: I’m diving into the second Big Mac now. It’s been about an hour since I ordered this bad boy and heck if it’s not cold as ice and hard as a rock. The lettuce is wilting and brown. This food has to be laced with something, though, because I feel oddly euphoric. It won’t last.
3:53 PM I’m halfway through the sandwich but I’m having a bit of a meltdown. Even if you’re someone who eats fast food regularly, you have to admit this is a lot of food. And that’s all I can really think about. Reading through all of these articles about what saturated fat is likely doing to Donald Trump’s brain isn’t helping, and I find myself at some sort of crossroads — to finish and probably die, or to quit and drink a gallon of cayenne pepper and lemon water.
I texted my friend Carl Stones, who is currently in physical therapy school at the University of Indianapolis. I brief him on what I was doing and asked him to break down what was currently happening inside my body.
“Well, Ryan, you’ll have consumed a little over 2,500 calories, 190% of your recommended daily fat, and almost 90% of your recommended daily intake of carbs, ” he said.
“Yeah, but will it kill me?”
“In all honesty, with an acute bout of eating like this, you’ll eventually just shit out excess fat rather than hanging on to it. Your blood pressure is probably pretty high right now. Obviously, it’s not great but you’re fine if you’re doing it acutely.”
That’s really all I need to hear, I guess.
3:58 PM: It can’t be normal, but I’ve developed tunnel vision accompanied by butterflies in my stomach. I’ve looked it up on WebMD and they’re suggesting I’m in the midst of a panic attack, but that can’t be true because after the last Big Mac I started to feel rather tranquil. The hardest part of that second one was definitely the Secret Sauce. The stuff is mostly mayonnaise, right? Well, there’s nothing worse than room temperature mayonnaise.
This is probably a good point to stop. I’ve eaten most of two Big Macs, an entire Filet-O-Fish, and all of a chocolate shake, minus the whipped cream. How do I feel? Hmm. Have you ever eaten too much food at Thanksgiving? Well, it’s kind of like that, except now my back hurts, my resting heart rate, which is generally around 44bpm, is thumping along at 65bpm, and I can feel a severe case of cystic acne on my horizon. The physical side effects are completely aside from the emotional effects. Emotionally I feel high as a bird despite knowing that my body is probably in panic mode trying to ensure my organs don’t fail.
Earlier in the year, I had a physical. My doctor told me that I had “perfect cholesterol.” To prove this wasn’t hyperbole, she showed me a little chart and indeed my cholesterol was in the 99th percentile. I can say with certainty that my cholesterol has spiked, and it’s liable to never come down. I am not sure I will wake up in the morning.
Despite all of this, I’ve agreed to run with a friend later tonight at about 7 PM. This gives me roughly 3 hours to digest while I try to move as little as possible out of fear that the rustling might awaken some demon that I know I consumed over the course of this almost hour-long eating excursion.
I’m going to go brush my teeth.
5:32 PM: I’m sitting on the couch watching the Thunder dismantle the Jazz. It’s a nice distraction from the severe case of heartburn I’ve developed. Outside it’s raining, a rare occurrence in Los Angeles. I can’t help but think it’s the work of Satan, who has tricked me into gluttony and is now tempting me with sloth.
“Don’t exercise today,” said Lucifer. “Stay inside and get fat and then rot with me in hell.”
Supposing I liked Big Macs and sitting on the couch, hell doesn’t sound so bad.
7:00 PM: My friend canceled exercise plans on account of the rain, so I’m doing this solo. When is the last time I went on a solo run for the sole purpose of exercise? A long ass time ago. The last time I ran at all was two weeks ago in Sacramento when Scott Olberding tricked me into running for 45 minutes. I’m not unconvinced he was trying to kill me.
I stepped outside into the wet Los Angeles night. I definitely felt like I had to poop, but also I’m fairly confident that I am now constipated. I have a headache that I will absolutely attribute to the McDonalds.
7:28 PM: I ran 3.65 miles. It was fine. Nothing out of the ordinary. No stopping to find a bathroom. No vomiting. If anything I felt pretty good. Energy wise, it’s probably due to the amount of sugar I had in my system to burn, which I guess is a short-term win.
Emotionally I feel better. Knowing that I did something to shed myself of the extra fat, sodium, and carbs coursing through my body calmed any sort of fear I had of having a heart attack.
Here’s where things get a little freaky.
I hadn’t checked my phone since my friend texted me he was no longer down to exercise. That was at 6:38 PM, I left for my run at 7 PM and got home at 7:30 PM. That’s almost an hour. Due to the popularity of a Citius Mag tweet that had my Twitter handle in it, I came home to about 70 Twitter notifications.
Sweaty, tired, and full, I laid down on my couch and wrapped myself in a blanket of retweets, likes, and internet comments. In my dimly lit apartment, reeking of McDonald’s, I felt a stupid satisfaction with what I had just done. Eating and saying some dumb shit on the internet had gotten a reaction out of a bunch of strangers, and it was…fun?
Is this the appeal for Donald Trump? Someone clearly far less rooted in reality than me just likes to get hopped up on McDonald’s and see what kind of fuss he can cause on the internet? He does it with such regularity and with such a blase hand, that I can’t imagine any sort of thought goes into it at this point, other than “it might be nice to get some Twitter notifications.”
I floated this by my friend Carl.
“I read a study that says it makes you a lot dumber,” he said. “Super high-fat content is not good for your brain.”
I thought about this.
There’s a 70-year old man in the White House, who has spent all of his life eating Dominoes, KFC, and McDonald’s, well-done steak and potatoes, Cobb salads (likely the least salad-like of the salads, with an astronomical fat count), drinking Diet Cokes, going bankrupt, quibbling over which Bentley he should drive for the day, employing discriminatory housing practices, sexually assaulting multiple women, swindling students out of their money with a fake university, being an asshole on live TV, making bigotry the law of the land, taking away an equal internet, and overhauling our tax code so that he and his dumbass friends can slowly, almost imperceptibly, take away any power the majority still holds. All of this while he slips closer and closer to a saturated fat-induced dementia.
Ultimately, I suppose this is kind of the reason I decided to go through with eating an ungodly amount of McDonald’s. No, I didn’t want to see if it would make me understand the man’s politics at all — those are truly beyond me. But I wanted to see what it must feel like physically every day to have that amount of food resting at the bottom of my gut, how that might effect my world view.
The answer is BAD. It made me feel bad in my body and in my brain, but Twitter made me feel better. Getting a rise out of the internet made it feel kind of worth it and if I were a weaker person, I could understand the appeal of doing it every day, nuclear holocaust be damned. But I’m not, and I won’t be eating McDonald’s again for a long, long time.