1. I love breakfast.  You can have all the good foods in the world for breakfast: eggs, bacon, bagels, potatoes, sausage, pancakes, bacon, cheese, oatmeal, bacon, fruit, and even more bacon.

    My daily happiness is dependent upon the number and variety of these delicious foods I eat in the morning.  Oatmeal with berries?  Awesome.  Scrambled eggs and bacon?  Awesome.  Biscuits and gravy with hash browns?  Awesome.  A bagel with bacon, egg, and cheese?  Quadruple awesome.

    I didn’t have time for my usual epic oatmeal-with-blueberries-and-crancherries this morning, so I got a Bacon, Egg & Cheese Bagel from the McDonalds drive-through instead.

    An image of a McDonalds bacon, egg, and cheese bagel

    Image from McDonalds.com.

    I’m not a weirdo food or health nut. I do enjoy cooking and like to eat food as close to its natural form as possible, but I don’t hate on fast food, either.  I’ll eat it every few weeks when I’m feeling lazy.

    But when I looked up the nutrition information for the Bacon, Egg & Cheese Bagel, it did give me pause.  It wasn’t the sodium content (about 50% of my normal daily intake) or the number of calories from fat (240).

    It was the ingredients for the folded egg.

    Folded egg

    Pasteurized whole eggs, food starch-modified, soybean oil, natural flavors (botanical source), sodium acid pyrophosphate, carrageenan, flavor enhancer [salt, maltodextrin, natural flavor (plant source), spices, herb, turmeric (color)], monosodium phosphate, citric acid, soy lecithin (release agent). Prepared with Liquid Margarine: Liquid soybean oil, water, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, hydrogenated cottonseed oil, soy lecithin, mono-and diglycerides, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), artificial flavor, citric acid, vitamin A palmitate, beta carotene (color).

    That’s a lot of multisyllabic words for something I expected to contain, you know, “egg.”

    While we’re at it, let’s look at what’s in the bagel.

    Bagel

    Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, brown sugar, sugar, contains 2% or less of the following: salt, yeast, rice flour, oat fiber, propylene glycol, inactive yeast, monocalcium phosphate, food starch-modified, corn starch, sodium alginate, dough conditioners (ascorbic acid, mono-and diglycerides, enzymes, calcium and potassium iodate, azodicarbonamide), solubilized wheat gluten, modified tapioca starch, wheat gluten, polysorbate 60, soy lecithin, calcium propionate (preservative), sodium metabisulfite, soy flour.

    Actually, if you get past all the weird little particulars, the bagel’s not that bad.  It’s basically Funky Flour, water, sugar, salt, and yeast, which you’ll find in any bread product.  Plus, um, propylene glycol.  Which you might also find in anti-freeze, smoke machines, and deodorant.  (Don’t worry!  It’s non-toxic!)

    We all know fast food isn’t good for you.  In fact, of all the fast food out there, I’d say McDonalds is my favorite for their attempts at including healthy menu items such as fruit, oatmeal, and apple slices instead of french fries in Happy Meals.

    But if you’d like to reduce the number of chemicals in your life, you can quickly make your own bacon, egg, and cheese bagel with a somewhat shorter ingredient list.  (Although not with quite the same ease as rolling through a drive-through window in your car.)

    1. Toast a bagel.  You can even be ambitious and bake your own bagels in advance!  I recommend whole wheat flour.  And maybe topping it with oats.  Mmm.
    2. Spread a nummy mix of mayo and mustard on half of your bagel.
    Pan fry a couple slices of delicious bacon.
    3. Crack an egg in a small bowl or Tupperware.  Beat it with a fork and microwave for 20 seconds, then throw it on the bottom half of your delicious bagel.
    4. While the egg is still hot, top it with a slice of your favorite cheese.
    5. Mush the top of the bagel on and eat that sucka!

      Depending on how you prepare it, the ingredient list for this complete and vaguely balanced breakfast is shorter than the ingredient list for the folded egg alone!

      Homemade Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Bagel

      Flour, yeast, sugar, salt, egg, vinegar, mustard seed, bacon, olive oil, milk, cheese starter, and rennet

      I even broke down the big ingredients (cheese and mayo, for instance) into their individual components!  Just to be fair.

      Meanwhile, I think I’ll go back to my oatmeal with fruit tomorrow. My tongue feels funny from all the salt in the #10.

      (Source: mcdonalds.com)

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