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I Ate Nothing but McDonald's Breakfast for a Week to Test the Human Spirit

What started as a simple food stunt became a heartburn odyssey of self-discovery.

This post originally appeared on VICE Canada.

McDonald's food is the pinnacle of human achievement. Calories per dollar and speed of delivery aside, the flavors might be evidence that aliens once visited us and left behind advanced burger and fry technology. I'm not even being paid to say that: These are facts. I don't care about modified ingredients or my well-being when I eat McDonald's. Big Macs taste like hugs. That's why when McDaddy announced all-day breakfast in Canada, my heart palpitated. Joy-pain shot down my left arm, and my vision blurred just thinking about Egg McMuffins and hash brown delights. I was overjoyed I could eat McDonald's breakfast at any hour in my hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan, probably just like Americans do. And so, I decided to eat McDonald's all-day breakfast for every meal for one week to find out if heaven is real.

Firstly, let's get this out of the way: Super Size Me star Morgan Spurlock and his shameful film are likely responsible for McDonald's saddest creations—everything on the "healthy" menu. If you buy kale salad at McDonald's, I assume you also enjoy telling kids Santa killed their pets. Why would you do that? Secondly, McDonald's breakfast items are relatively healthy, at least that's what I assumed when I started this journey. After all, it's mostly eggs. Eggs are good, right?

My goal was to stick to one breakfast item for each meal over seven days. For example, day one I would only eat Egg Muffins, day two would just be bagel sandwiches, and so on. That plan fell apart like a soggy pancake. This was due to both difficult McDonald's menu policies and constant bowel spasming. Turns out, with enough sausage patties, your ass becomes a piñata full of flaming snakes. What started as a simple food stunt became a heartburn odyssey of self-discovery. For each day I tallied my total consumption as well as the nutritional information provided on the McDonald's website.

Day 1: Egg McMuffins

I started by measuring my physical abilities to prove if breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day. Would all-week breakfast give me superpowers? As a benchmark, I rode a stationary bike for 12 miles as quickly as possible, clocking a time of 36:06. I did push-ups and sit-ups until I couldn't handle any more, racking up 35 push-ups and 62 sit-ups. I weighed in at 144 pounds. Then I ate Egg McMuffins. Egg McMuffins are pure and holy. The first one sat in my mouth like the words of Jesus Christ. By comparison, the side hash browns slid down like the devil's greasy tongue. As I ate my final Egg McMuffin that day, I felt like damage was already being done—to my soul.

Total consumed:
Four Egg McMuffins
One hashbrown
One coffee

Nutritional information
Calories: 1,320
Carbohydrates: 132 g
Fat: 54 g
Sodium: 3,400 mg
Protein: 65 g

Day 2: Wolfish

This day was supposed to be McGriddle day. I got one for my first meal, swallowing my hatred of the thing. McGriddles have an egg and ham slice, but instead of bread—get this—they use French toast with maple flavoring. I got mine with sausage for texture, and it tasted like diabetes-themed tentacle porn. McGriddles are weird.

Something bad happened at lunchtime: The restaurant I was at said it didn't have McGriddles. Not wanting to break my vow of eating themed foods each day, I ordered pancakes and a McMuffin to construct my own McGriddle. I ordered enough to do the same at dinnertime. I ate my homemade lunch sandwich at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum while looking at a stuffed-wolf exhibit. A plaque near the area said that a wolf's cunning doesn't "always guarantee success and survival." My gut growled as I swallowed my improvised McGriddle.

Total consumed:
Sausage, Egg, & Cheese McGriddle
Three Bacon 'n' Egg McMuffins
Three pancakes
Two hash browns
One coffee

Nutritional information
Calories: 2,400
Carbohydrates: 257 g
Fat: 186 g
Sodium: 4,780 mg
Protein: 78 g

Day 3: Date Night

So far, I had to face all-day breakfast alone. My wife, Jill, was out of town. She wasn't happy about my new diet, but she supported me. On the third day, I set out to eat McDonald's bagel sandwiches for every meal because Jill likes bagels. After she spent a long day on the road, I thought a bagel-themed date night would be equal to renewing our vows. However, tragedy struck at lunchtime. It turns out McDonald's all-day breakfast does not include the entire breakfast menu lineup. You can only order McMuffins, pancakes, and hash browns after 11 AM. The McGriddle fiasco from the previous day wasn't due to a shortage of supplies; it was caused by McDonald's dictatorial rules over breakfast. My wife said she was fine with her McMuffin meal. But I could tell, as I gazed across our candle-lit table into the eyes I fell in love with so many years ago, I let her down. My stomach turned with sorrow.

Total consumed:
One Egg LT Bagel
Two Sausage McMuffins
One coffee

Nutritional information
Calories: 1,380
Carbohydrates: 124 g
Fat: 70 g
Sodium: 2,510 mg
Protein: 60 g

Day 4: The Breakfast Wolf Howls

The next day, the sorrow in my gut had morphed into rage and aggressive diarrhea. McDonald's wouldn't push me around with the "select" all-day breakfast menu. I needed answers and several antacid tablets. For strength, I ordered a Sausage & Hash Brown More-Ning McWrap for my first meal. Stuffed with two sausage patties, hash brown loaves, and too many eggs, this thing weighs as much as a toddler. Not a nice toddler, either. One of those shitty ones. For lunch and dinner, I made my own McWrap using the contents of Sausage McMuffins combined with hash browns inside a pancake roll. Ever cunning, I became the wolf.

Feeling bold, I emailed McDonald's headquarters to ask why it would limit the breakfast selection. I have yet to receive an official respond. During lunch, I asked an insider at one restaurant about the limited all-day breakfast options. The clerk said, "It's because of the way the food comes. We can't." A manager yelled from the back ordering the clearly shaken clerk to stop chatting and get back to work. What are you hiding McDonald's? All-day breakfast? More like all-day lies. I stood outside of the McDonald's holding up a sign that said "all-day lies" to raise awareness. I almost shit myself in traffic on the way home. Probably from stress.

Total consumed:
One Sausage & Hash Brown More-Ning McWrap
Two Sausage McMuffins
Three pancakes
Two hash browns
One coffee

Nutritional information
Calories: 2,920
Carbohydrates: 287 g
Fat: 153 g
Sodium: 5,310 mg
Protein: 168 g

Day 5: Cheat Day

These breakfast politics were getting intense; I needed a break. On cheat day, I got to pick any one non-McDonald's meal I wanted. During the noon hour, I went to Mr. Breakfast, an independent all-day breakfast restaurant in Regina. Family run by Stan and George Perentes, it has been around since 1989. I ordered a Denver sandwich with hash browns, and they were ecstasy. After my meal, I asked co-owner Stan Perentes what he thought of McDonald's all-day breakfast coming to Canada. Perentes said, "They are a bit behind the game of giving people breakfast all day, every day. They should stick with what they're good at. When it comes to breakfast, it's a different ball game." Mr. Breakfast has spoken.

Total consumed:

One Mr. Breakfast Denver sandwich and hash browns
Four Egg McMuffins
One coffee

Nutritional information
Calories: 1,790
Carbohydrates: 178 g
Fat: 79 g
Sodium: 4,360 mg
Protein: 83 g

Day 6: Ruined Brunch

I woke up to the scent of bacon. My wife thought it would be funny to make a homemade brunch with traditional Belgian liège waffles topped with a fried egg and fresh fruit on the side. I, of course, couldn't eat any of it. Jill's mischievous eyes glittered like caramelized pearl sugar. As I sulked off to McDonald's for my daily dose of watery eggs, I was reminded of my bachelor years. Sitting in the drive thru, I realized my car, littered with spent McDonald's wrappers, had begun to smell like oily sadness.

Total consumed:
Five Egg McMuffins
One hash brown
One coffee

Nutritional information
Calories: 1,610
Carbohydrates: 161 g
Fat: 65 g
Sodium: 4,160 mg
Protein: 81 g

Day 7: The Brunch Mac

On the final day, I thought my transition off breakfast food might be too much of a shock. Using my newfound McDonald's food-hacking skills, I invented the Brunch Mac. Basically, you deconstruct a Big Mac and swap the bread sections with pancakes. The result is a delicious way to replace emotions with cholesterol. To finish this breakfast marathon, I tested my physical abilities again. I improved my bike time by 1:34, completed ten more push-ups, three more sit-ups, and unleashed approximately 8,000 farts. For my final weight, I lost three pounds. This new diet not only gave me a new body, it taught me the value of determination. While McDonald's limited breakfast menu left my appetite wanting at times, I learned how to nourish my spirit. Sometimes you just have to crack a few eggs.

Total consumed:
Two Brunch Macs
One Egg McMuffin
One coffee

Nutritional information
Calories: 1,850 kcal
Carbohydrates: 241 g
Fat: 55 g
Sodium: 2,580 mg
Protein: 64 g

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Lead image by Aiden Morgan