While its décor has been overhauled to inspire good health, McDonald's menu is still larded with the same old artery-clogging animal products.

Well, of course, where else would you expect to find America's first feng shui'd fast food outlet? A McDonald's in the Los Angeles suburb of Hacienda Heights has opted to bag the golden arches' classic red, yellow, and plast-icky décor in favor of "leather seats, earth tones, bamboo plants and water trickling down glass panels." As the AP reports:
... the restaurant's owners say the designs are aimed at creating a soothing setting that will encourage diners to linger over their burgers and fries, and come back again.
One of the owners, Mark Brownstein, explained that he and his partners hope to benefit from their proximity to a renowned Buddhist temple, which is supposed to bring good luck. They're also betting that the more serene setting will attract the area's growing Asian population, as well as other customers seeking to "tap their inner Zen," as Brownstein put it.

Now, I happen to be a big fan of feng shui myself, despite having spent my whole adult life as a jaded New Yorker. Some vestige of my Valley Girl childhood compelled me to pick up a paperback called Feng Shui Tips For a Better Life a few years back. This handy little how-to persuaded me that I had nothing to lose by hanging a few strategically placed wind chimes and mirrors and painting my front door red.

When my feng shui "cures" actually started to work, I became a believer and even an amateur practitioner of sorts, advising friends on how to cope with a toilet located in their "relationship corner," or a collection of chi-crushing clutter (chi being the "life force" that gets squished under stacks of unread New Yorkers or neglected Netflix.)

The layout of our own apartment is the reason why Matt and I are so obsessed with food, according to Sarah Rossbach's "Interior Design with Feng Shui":

The placement of rooms within a home can affect residents' behavior ... For instance, the room nearest the entrance will, by the suggestive nature of its use and contents, determine residents' lifestyle at home -- particularly if it is located very close to the main door...

If the first room is a kitchen ... the household will be food oriented. The sight of the kitchen will create a Pavlovian need for food, encouraging excessive eating."
The doorway to our kitchen is barely a foot from the entrance, so food seems destined to be the center of our universe, if you buy into feng shui theory.

The Hacienda Heights McDonald's is buyin' it, but while its décor has been overhauled to inspire good health, happiness and prosperity, the menu is still larded with the same old artery-clogging, cruelty-contaminated animal products. Talk about a chi-killer! Oh, that Agribiz aftertaste.

If McDonald's really wants to create a healthier, more life-enhancing dining experience, they might want to fine tune their feedlot-flavored menu. Yeah, I know they sell salads; they just don't promote them. Consider the "dollar menu"; you can get a double cheeseburger, or a side salad. Which do you think most folks are gonna choose? Would it kill them to offer an entrée salad for a buck?

Too bad Bob Langert, McDonald's Vice President for Corporate Social Responsibility, just went on sabbatical a couple of weeks ago, or I'd ask him why McDonald's continues to come up with gluttony-glorifying, planet-polluting stuff like the Angus Third Pounder. As the experts who met at an Oxford University-sponsored health conference in Sydney last weekend just announced, obesity and other "lifestyle diseases" are killing millions more people than, say, the terrorism our government is spending billions to combat.

The Sydney conference attendees also noted that "insufficient physical exercise is a risk factor in many chronic diseases and is estimated to cause 1.9 million deaths worldwide each year," so I'm sure they'd applaud Langert's decision to take a break and work on his backhand. If only his time off would also encourage some forward thinking. Sorry, dude, but bad food will never be good feng shui.