Editor’s Note: A Fresh Look at Junk Food

A busy Saturday leads to a surprisingly complicated lunch for Reader's Digest editor Liz Vaccariello and her young daughters.

Liz Vaccariello
Photograph by Steve Vaccariello; Wardrobe Stylist: Elysha Lenkin

I was a bad mom this weekend: On Saturday, my daughters and I ate lunch at McDonald’s.

I try. I really do. I take pride in eating as close to “nature” as possible.

I do it for myself and for my girls and to set a good example for my readers. I wash and cut fresh fruit daily. I tote snacks of carrots, string cheese, and nuts, and I make a pot of veggie-based soup most Sundays. I have the motivation (and the means) to eat well. Even so, I sometimes fall back on processed convenience food. And then I suffer the guilt.

That’s why I couldn’t put down David Freedman’s essay “How Junk Food Can End Obesity,” in the Atlantic. Freedman questions whether fast food is as evil as the “wholesome foods” movement makes it out to be. He asks whether local farms can ever really supply enough healthy foods, at a realistic price, for the entire population. Maybe, just maybe, Big Food is better positioned to make a dent in the nation’s obesity crisis.

These days, the response to a story becomes part of the story itself. Freedman’s article sparked such outrage from whole-foods advocates that we decided to curate the responses, both pro and con, that appeared in its wake. I’m proud that RD can bring both sides of this issue to you. I hope our package makes you feel like part of the national conversation, no matter what your opinion on the subject.

As for me? Freedman’s perspective was more than provocative. It brought me a sense of validation and relief. At McDonald’s, my girls and I shared the fries, and we ordered yogurt parfaits for dessert. I wasn’t a bad mom this weekend. I was just a busy one.

—Liz, @LizVacc, [email protected]

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Funny Jokes

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

Funny Jokes

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

Funny Jokes

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


Funny Jokes

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.