During the month of February, The Bridge Chiropractic and Wellness Center is celebrating a birthday — that of a 2-year-old McDonald's Happy Meal.
The no-so-happy Happy Meal has been on display in the office at 1213 Golden Gate Drive, since Andrew Rivera, director of the practice, purchased it two years ago.
“We have it on a glass platter so everyone can see it,” Rivera said. “It's been exposed to the air, and it's still intact. There are so many preservatives in these processed foods that it will never mold.”
The purpose of displaying the meal is to show people the importance of nutrition.
“People are great visual learners, so let's let them see what it really looks like,” he said. “They're stunned.”
All parts of the meal are intact, from the bag of fries to the burger's cheese, ketchup and pickle.
“It's a fun thing for them to see,” Rivera said. “Health starts from the inside out. It's what you put into your body.”
A spokeswoman for the national fast food chain said, "McDonald's serves real, quality food. This display only confirms basic science: that real food exposed to air can dry out. That's one of the reasons why people wrap foods in plastic, foil, or containers. To help keep moisture in, so that food doesn't dry out. It's that simple."
As a way to celebrate the Happy Meal's second birthday, Rivera is inviting members of his practice and the community to participate in a fast-food fast during the month of February.
If a restaurant has a drive-through, Rivera counts it as fast food.
“Everyone's looking for loopholes,” Rivera said. “In their heart of hearts, they know what fast food is. It's hard because it's cold out, and it's convenient to drive through and pick up dinner.”
So far, more than 70 individuals are participating in the challenge.
“They're going to make the sacrifice,” Rivera said. “It's all to create a healthier Papillion — that's our whole mission.”
Those interested in participating can make it a self-challenge and push themselves to skip the drive-through this month.
But for those who need accountability and support to complete the challenge, Rivera said he is happy to guide them.
The best way to reach Rivera is by calling the office at 402-934-9200 or by visiting thebridgechiro.com.
At the end of the challenge, Rivera will give out gold medals to participants who successfully avoided fast food.
The challenge also coincides with the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
Olympic athletes work on their own time to push boundaries and break records, Rivera said. The Bridge Chiropractic is pushing people to eat healthy food.
“People want to do exercise and eat right, but it's very hard,” Rivera said. “You can exercise, exercise, exercise, but, if you don't put the right nutrition into your body, you're wasting your time. Nutrition is hard to get right.”
The Bridge Chiropractic tries to promote healthy lifestyle changes rather than quick fixes.
This is done through free community events such as exercise opportunities at Walnut Creek Recreation Area and healthy cooking nights.
More information on The Bridge Chiropractic's community events can be found at thebridgechiro.com or on Facebook.
Meanwhile, the Happy Meal won't be leaving the office any time soon.
“It'll be in the office until I die,” Rivera said. “We'll celebrate the birthday every year.”