Boycotting McDonalds for 10 Years :-)

A simple but healthy and delicious Indian vegetable curry. I made it at home in fifteen minutes.
A simple but healthy and delicious Indian vegetable curry. I made it at home in fifteen minutes.

I AM BOYCOTTING MCDONALDS FOR 10 YEARS.

A small, personal anniversary to celebrate.

Food, water and environment are critically important elements in our lives. Yet, most of us are either indifferent or ignorant about them. I’m talking about the two countries I’ve known all my life: USA and India. I’ve lived half of my life in each country. I’ve seen it all.

It is true that many activists in both countries are trying their best to create awareness, and challenging the Goliath corporations and media that are pushing junk food, plastic-bottled water, toxic drinks like Coke and Pepsi, and destroying the environment like crazy, by felling trees for newsprint, tissue paper and napkins, and also usurping massive amounts of public land. But these people fighting back against the giant and powerful status-quo are few and far between.

Slowly but surely, a new generation is growing up — in both India and USA — who neither know nor care to know about the slow-poisoning of our men, women, children, plants and animals to death. This is true. There is practically no awareness. These are not election issues.

Ten years ago, I quit eating at McDonalds, and I’m silently celebrating an important anniversary in my life. Since boycotting McDonalds (inspired by Super Size Me, a documentary Hollywood purposefully did not award for political reasons), I stopped eating at other chain food places such as Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell. I rarely drink plastic-bottled water, Coke or Pepsi, although I have not been able to completely stop it, mainly because in certain places and times, there is absolutely no alternative, particularly here in America. Otherwise, I would completely stop drinking them.

I decided to post a cover photo on my Facebook today — a photo my wife Mukti Banerjee (chef and instructor at Mukti’s Kitchen here in Brooklyn) took yesterday of my cooking an Indian vegetable curry from scratch — to symbolize the significance of this honest and sincere return to healthy food and drinks.

Not eating at the junk food places has drastically improved my health, and my family members, friends and colleagues noticed the happy change. I even smile these days, which almost disappeared over the past few years 🙂

A Resounding NO.
A Resounding NO.

Jokes aside, it is an uphill battle, mainly because in both countries — the two biggest “democracies” (also known as open markets monopolized by corporations actively endorsed by political powers of major political parties) — there is a tyrannical, terrorist onslaught on healthy food, drinks and lifestyle, and corporate media in both countries are actively promoting this unhealthy, often deadly, lifestyle.

If the Holy Ganges is the most polluted river on earth, here in USA, nearly 70% of food is GMO pushed by Monsanto and such corporations. If the sky is absolutely, horrendously polluted in India because of the rampant, out-of-control, concrete jungle construction (also known as promoter companies), fast food, toxic drinks and over-dependence of drugs in life are sure recipe for death here in America. Ironically, for those young, enlightened people in America who are now challenging this corporate status-quo by practicing yoga, meditation, and eating healthy, home-cooked food (sometimes Indian food, fruits and vegetables), they should know that the new, young generation in India is doing just the opposite: they’re now digging more at McDonalds and KFC and gulping down more Coke, Pepsi, and plastic-bottled water.

When the enlightened West is looking toward the sage-old East for health and environment advice, the East is slowly sinking down to the abyss of a hopeless devastation.

Again, I do not believe that a lonely fight against anything can bring about anything significantly positive, but taking advantage of the social media, blogs and also word of mouth, we can perhaps join hands together, and bring about some collective, healthy change in our lives and environment.

Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing.

Sincerely,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

###

Give them the green environment they deserve.
Give them the green environment they deserve.

8 thoughts on “Boycotting McDonalds for 10 Years :-)

  1. I have been boycotting fast food restaurants for years now. I think that your blogging about this is very important. I always think that if you help just one person, it will be worth what ever time you took to do this. Thank you, Partha!

    1. You’re welcome, Neva. We need to share our thoughts with as many people out there as possible. The food terrorism is scary, and nobody (except for a few like us) really knows how scary it is.

  2. I guess I am one of those typical Asian Indian moms who robbed my sons childhood by not giving them HappyMeals from McDonald’s. I never felt the urge for them to have that, don’t know why; though I let them experience other little bits of Americana as part of their growing up. Never was I too tired to cook after a hectic, long day at work, so I never just handed out a TV dinner.
    I’m not here to blow my own horn. I strongly agree with you to boycott these fast food chains and the soft drink industries not only for their malicious ingredients in the food but for environmental/bioterrorism and human rights issues. Honestly, we do eat at Chipotle, Panera and drink bottled water… not for any trends or fashion statement. Bottle water is an absolutely must when traveling.
    Your FB post and blog couldn’t have a more perfect timing Partha da.

    It is “National Farmworker Awareness Week” (March 24-31) and it concludes on Cesar Chavez Day, as you may know as a Union Leader, Partha da, commemorates the legacy of one of the most influential activists in American history. In the United States, more than 2 million men and women work on farms, providing the fruit, vegetables, and other crops that feed consumers around the world. Unfortunately, those same consumers often overlook farmworkers and their contributions. As a Mexican-American migrant worker, Cesar Chavez spent his career empowering his fellow farmworkers.
    The 2014 documentary Food Chains (must watch) offers an inside look at the hurdles facing a group of Florida farmworkers as they take on the US $4 trillion global supermarket industry. The short film Pesticide Lake reveals the tragic consequences of toxic pesticide use on those working in fields.

    Organizations like Farmworker Justice, the Farmworker Advocacy Network, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee work to further Chavez’s vision. Not only do these groups combat issues facing farmworkers, but they provide ways for consumers to take action and encourage fair treatment of those whose toil brings food from the field to the kitchen.

    Environmental and human rights activists, holding plastic “torches” and “pitchforks,” formed human barricades at both entrances to the Nestlé Waters bottling plant in Sacramento at 5:00 a.m. on Friday, March 20, effectively shutting down the company’s operations for the day.

    Members of the “Crunch Nestlé Alliance” shouted out a number of chants, including ”We got to fight for our right to water,” “Nestlé, Stop It, Water Not For Profit,” and “¿Agua Para Quien? Para Nuestra Gente.” The protesters stayed until about 1 pm, and one good thing there were no arrests.

    Representatives of the alliance said the company is draining up to 80 million gallons of water a year from Sacramento aquifers during a record drought. They claim Sacramento City Hall has made it possible through a “corporate welfare giveaway.”
    Food and Water Watch and other organizations blasted Nestlé’s “Human Rights Impact Assessment,” released at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in December 2013, as a “public relations stunt.”
    Nestlé is currently the leading supplier of the world’s bottled water. It has has 7,500 employees and 29 bottled water facilities across the U.S. and Canada, and annual revenues were $4.0 billion in 2012.
    In November 2013, Colombian trade unionist Oscar Lopez Trivino became the fifteenth Nestlé worker to be assassinated by a paramilitary organization while many of his fellow workers were in the midst of a hunger strike protesting the corporation’s refusal to hear their grievances, according to the groups.
    They’re a despicable company with death built into their business plan and that’s not it they have audacity to campaign wrongfully.
    Taking the water from aquifers throughout the world and the deaths of workers protesting Nestlé policies are not the only violation of human rights that activists charge the corporation with. Groups including the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) and Save the Children claim that the promotion of Nestlé infant formula over breastfeeding has led to health problems and deaths among infants in less economically developed countries.
    http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/pressreleases/organizations-denounce-nestles-new-human-rights-impact-assessment-as-a-public-relations-stunt-us-version/

  3. Thanks! So well written as always enjoyed reading it! Heading to new york soon on way back to India… Has been a learning experience of what happens to closest family ties in America and agree to the Buddhist thought accept that pain is always there and live compassionately and mindfully! Costa Rica remains etched deep and the beauty of the rainforests! Much love anita.

    >

  4. I guess I am one of those typical Asian Indian moms who robbed my sons childhood by not giving them HappyMeals from McDonald’s. I never felt the urge for them to have that, don’t know why; though I let them experience other Americana s as part of their growing up. And never was I too tired to cook after a hectic, long day at work, so I never just handed out a TV dinner.
    I’m not here to blow my own horn. I strongly agree with you to boycott these fast food chains and the soft drink industries not only for their malicious ingredients in the food but for environmental/bioterrorism and human rights issues. Honestly, we do eat at Chipotle, Panera and drink bottled water… not for any trends or fashion statement. Bottle water is an absolutely must when traveling.
    Your FB post and blog couldn’t have a more perfect timing Partha da.

    It is “National Farmworker Awareness Week” (March 24-31) and it concludes on Cesar Chavez Day, as you may know as a Union Leader, Partha da, commemorates the legacy of one of the most influential activists in American history. In the United States, more than 2 million men and women work on farms, providing the fruit, vegetables, and other crops that feed consumers around the world. Unfortunately, those same consumers often overlook farmworkers and their contributions. As a Mexican-American migrant worker, Cesar Chavez spent his career empowering his fellow farmworkers.
    The 2014 documentary Food Chains (must watch) offers an inside look at the hurdles facing a group of Florida farmworkers as they take on the US $4 trillion global supermarket industry. The short film Pesticide Lake reveals the tragic consequences of toxic pesticide use on those working in fields.
    Organizations like Farmworker Justice, the Farmworker Advocacy Network, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee work to further Chavez’s vision. Not only do these groups combat issues facing farmworkers, but they provide ways for consumers to take action and encourage fair treatment of those whose toil brings food from the field to the kitchen.

    Environmental and human rights activists, holding plastic “torches” and “pitchforks,” formed human barricades at both entrances to the Nestlé Waters bottling plant in Sacramento at 5:00 a.m. on Friday, March 20, effectively shutting down the company’s operations for the day.

    Members of the “Crunch Nestlé Alliance” shouted out a number of chants, including ”We got to fight for our right to water,” “Nestlé, Stop It, Water Not For Profit,” and “¿Agua Para Quien? Para Nuestra Gente.” The protesters stayed until about 1 pm, and one good thing there were no arrests.

    Representatives of the alliance said the company is draining up to 80 million gallons of water a year from Sacramento aquifers during a record drought. They claim Sacramento City Hall has made it possible through a “corporate welfare giveaway.”
    Food and Water Watch and other organizations blasted Nestlé’s “Human Rights Impact Assessment,” released at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in December 2013, as a “public relations stunt.”
    Nestlé is currently the leading supplier of the world’s bottled water. It has has 7,500 employees and 29 bottled water facilities across the U.S. and Canada, and annual revenues were $4.0 billion in 2012.
    In November 2013, Colombian trade unionist Oscar Lopez Trivino became the fifteenth Nestlé worker to be assassinated by a paramilitary organization while many of his fellow workers were in the midst of a hunger strike protesting the corporation’s refusal to hear their grievances, according to the groups.
    They’re a despicable company with death built into their business plan and that’s not it they have audacity to campaign wrongfully.
    Taking the water from aquifers throughout the world and the deaths of workers protesting Nestlé policies are not the only violation of human rights that activists charge the corporation with. Groups including the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) and Save the Children claim that the promotion of Nestlé infant formula over breastfeeding has led to health problems and deaths among infants in less economically developed countries.
    http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/pressreleases/organizations-denounce-nestles-new-human-rights-impact-assessment-as-a-public-relations-stunt-us-version/

    But most importantly, please dive into at least one (maybe all!) of the pieces below, and share the links — and the ideas they spark — with your online community, friends and family.
    Farmworkers and their families are clearly on the front lines of chemical-dependent agriculture year round. That’s why we work with farmworker advocates to press for new, stronger national rules protecting workers from pesticides on the job. And that’s also why we’re a founding member of the Equitable Food Initiative.

    http://www.bamco.com/timeline/tedxfruitvale-harvesting-change-conference/

    http://www.panna.org/blog/cesar-chavez-parent-pesticide-activist

    http://saf-unite.org/content/about-us

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful writing, Luna. But really, think about it: who cares? Just yesterday, Randi Weingarten, the well-known teacher’s union leader here in NYC brokered a deal with Coca Cola, breaking their own boycott that lasted for four months only. Hillary Clinton is a spokesperson for Wal-Mart. Do they really care what you and I do or think?

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