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  • Post Europe-holiday depression

    Warning: Rant/whingeing ahead:

    I've been away from MDA for a while.. Last 6 weeks I was lucky enough to travel around Europe and the UK. Before I left I kinda thought to myself, if some really yummy food presented itself on my holidays, coated in grains/sugar/processed/legumes - would I eat it? And I made the conscious decision that yes I would, I'm on holiday, I WANT to taste some macaroons and pastries and eat spanish rice. I want to eat traditional foods! So I admit, I was bad during my holiday - VERY BAD from a primal perspective. I indulged in homemade bread and pretzels, gelato icecream, and cakes. I'm sorry Primal Lord for I have sinned :P

    So this little trip was the first time I have not eaten primal since joining MDA (or fell of the primal wagon?). I thought I'd come back home, and start giving up grains/sugars again, back to how I was. not so easy. You see, while overseas, I couldn't help but notice how people in Europe are all bloody slim!!! No one is fat! (London is a different story, being a westernised country with conventional wisdom and all). I noticed Europeans are active, they walk and bike everywhere, their food produce is from local farms and fresh, and I think their wine is organic... how can all these Europeans be so fit and active and happy and despite eating bread with lunch and dinner, rich cakes and pastries for breakfast and dessert, pancake slices in their soups, and pasta?

    So my problem, (besides post-holiday-depression), is trying to rationalise that yes primal is the best way to live by, even after witnessing people in foreign countries getting by fine with eating grains. I'm having a hard time going back to primal I've been regularly eating white rice, chocolate bars since being back home. One night I even ate lollies, pancakes for breakfast at friends, and some crackers and turkish bread with cheese at a party (I already do dairy). Its not like I'm eating bread daily, I think I'm more pissed off that my weakness for convenient chocolate bars has resurfaced, and in social gatherings I'll have a nibble of crackers loaded with gluten/wheat. And if rice presents itself, I end up having some rather than saying no like I used to! dammit! I've also been eating lots of potatoes- I never used to!

    I just had a flip through the before and after photos thread to try to re-vamp my love of primal and to remind myself what I love about primal.
    My primal journal
    25yo female, height 5'7"
    goal weight: 60kg / 155lb
    goal fat%: 20%

    current weight: 70kg / 154lb

    “The fact that a great many people believe something is no guarantee of its truth.”
    ― W. Somerset Maugham

  • #2
    The Europe you described is not the Europe I know. Granted, we walk more because our towns are not as generously spaced as yours, so many things are within walking distance. Also, public transport networks in Europe tend to be good, reliable and affordable. And fuels are ridiculously expensive because of taxation.

    Many people buy processed food at supermarkets. Those who buy fresh food from local sources are a minority. A steadily growing minority, it seems, but still. Cooking is a lost art in many European households. And it's not like everyone is slim: Battling the Couch Potatoes: Hungary Introduces 'Fat Tax' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

    To sum up, you may be far ahead in obesity and horrible eating, but we've been catching up.

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    • #3
      What Farfalla said. I lived in the Netherlands for 10 years and believe me, the term "fresh local food" just isn't happening. The Dutch invented factory farming and the country is too small to grow enough veg to feed everyone there. At the markets you see in all over, most veg comes from the same places as what you get in the supermarkets. I tried in vain to find a good health food store when I was living there and just couldn't. And interestingly, in the time I lived there people started getting fatter. When I first moved over it was rare to see anyone, especially young people, that were even a little pudgy. Right before I left I was seeing muffin-tops galore. And very few people there cook from scratch. I think it's gotten a bit better, but "home made" meant buying a boxed meal and assembling it yourself. Granted, finding full fat dairy products was no problem, there was a great selection of sausages, pates, cheeses and raw hams that I really miss. I liked the old school butcher shops, cheese shops and bakeries, but most people don't procure all their food from these shops.

      In the traveling I've done some countries seem to have fewer overweight people than others, but a lot of it is based on how wealthy those countries are and how much they bike or walk. When you're on holiday you tend to see the place through rose colored glasses. I used to drive with my ex-husband so we were seeing life outside of the bigger cities, and we knew people in many of the countries so would get an insiders view, often staying in their homes. It's not always as it seems or how they often present themselves to outsiders.
      Buy house, Demolish house, Build house.

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      • #4
        Just remember the heart disease and cancer rates in Europe.
        The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.
        (Lily Tomlin)

        I take life easier than almost anyone I know, but when I exercise I do it as though my life depends on it (which it does).
        (Arthur De Vany)

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        • #5
          I live in the UK and when I've been here or in Europe (Germany, France, Italy, Austria etc) I've seen a load of fat people. OK< so some are slim. They could well be the ones who don't "do" grains, processed food etc.

          Also, it is still easy to get natural, minimally processed food and cook from scratch. Organic, free range meat, farmers markets, vegetable markets - all sell good food.

          But just today I went to a Tesco and when I see the aisles packed full of massively processed food (it hardly even RESEMBLES food) and see the stuff in people's baskets -I can see why they are the shape they are.

          I'd love to know which bits of Europe you've been to, to go back home with such rosy - tinted spectacled views of our skinny locals!

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          • #6
            Well, the Europeans tend to visit NY, LA, and San Francisco when they come here, so they don't get the full picture of Americans either. Go to Texas or most anywhere in the midwest and you'll see a huge # of really very, very unhealthy people, and the statistics show that the US is far fatter than Europe. Also, our processed food tends to contain much more sugar than yours, major products are reformulated such that the US version always contains lots more sugar.

            To the OP: There is a message there, which is that portion sizes do matter, daily slow movement matters (Euros walk a LOT more), and that it's not all about evil carbs but a combination of things which includes the amount we eat and when we eat it.
            If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

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            • #7
              Oh yeah, I'd forgotten to mention portion size, but that's also a big one. Eating in a restaurant in the states is always funny with Europeans. The first time my ex's daughter was over we went to dinner and she ordered a club sandwich. She freaked out when they brought it out. "This is all for me??? What?" And the appetizers the size of a meal as well.

              Heh, and my parents took us to one of those all you can eat glutton-fests. Playing shock the European is fun, but to be honest, after not living in the states for years it freaks me out as well.
              Last edited by Blackcatbone; 10-18-2011, 07:51 AM. Reason: addition
              Buy house, Demolish house, Build house.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Blackcatbone View Post
                Oh yeah, I'd forgotten to mention portion size, but that's also a big one.
                And not only for food. I think I have never seen free soft drink refills anywhere in Europe. I believe that many of the additional calories that Americans consume compared to us are liquid calories.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Farfalla View Post
                  And not only for food. I think I have never seen free soft drink refills anywhere in Europe. I believe that many of the additional calories that Americans consume compared to us are liquid calories.
                  Oh, yeah - a 32 oz soda (large) contains 310 calories of pure HFCS according to fitday. That's quite the punch to the liver, and many, many americans do that more than once per day. I would guess / estimate that lots of Amerians are eating 1,000 calories / day just from processed sugar and Europeans just simply don't do that in my experience.
                  If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Farfalla View Post
                    And not only for food. I think I have never seen free soft drink refills anywhere in Europe. I believe that many of the additional calories that Americans consume compared to us are liquid calories.
                    True, true. I believe that soft drinks are mostly made with HFCS there as well, but most will have a normal sized glass once, maybe twice a day, if that. Young people drink a lot of energy drinks, which is pretty bad, but the giganta-drinks don't exist.
                    Buy house, Demolish house, Build house.

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                    • #11
                      Hi Isis, I recently visited Lithuania and to be honest we were shocked at how slim everyone appeared. Especially the young people. We also sampled some nightlife and noticed that all the young guys were ripped and all the girls, very slim. No overweight youngsters at all. Unlike British night clubs !!

                      The hotel we stayed in was serving fruit, salad, cold meats, boiled eggs & yoghurt as well as some bread for breakfast. There was also some kind of cooked veggie mish mash that looked pretty grim. When one of our party asked if she could have her bread toasted, they looked at her like she was some kind of freak! At the time it seemed strange to see people tucking into salad & cold meat for breakfast when all we wanted was cereals & toast!

                      I have to say that the majority of our party, (about 15) were mostly overweight, some extremely so, and it was kind of embarrassing walking around among all those healthy looking slim people! Lithuania is supposed to be one of the emerging European countries after suffering years of oppression so I don't know if they were slim because they were poor or because they are better at diet control than most. Can't say that the majority of people that I saw looked poor though!
                      http://www.richardlongart.co.uk/

                      http://www.primalish.net/


                      “You have to know the past to understand the present.”
                      ― Carl Sagan

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                      • #12
                        I spent some of my time in Germany with some Aussie friends who work there, and went to a couple of dinners with their work colleagues. I was amazed at how everyone at their workplace appeared slim! From people in their 20s to their 50s- they all seemed fit and healthy and active. One expat I know who works in Austria eats everyday at lunch a rich slice of Viennese cake! And he's really active, into rockclimbing, wind surfing etc.
                        It seems biking/walking everywhere may be the trick too.
                        And night life in Austria and Spain - all young locals are very slim. As soon as I was sitting on the tube train in London, the amount of overweight people from all different backgrounds overwhelmed me. Then coming back home, I realised for the first time how many overweight people were in our own trains, buses, and shopping malls etc. I think after seeing a whole of slim Europeans in one city, made me realise how much overweight individuals stand out! its such a shame that this is the modern society we live in.
                        My primal journal
                        25yo female, height 5'7"
                        goal weight: 60kg / 155lb
                        goal fat%: 20%

                        current weight: 70kg / 154lb

                        “The fact that a great many people believe something is no guarantee of its truth.”
                        ― W. Somerset Maugham

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                        • #13
                          I spent three weeks in Italy and the surround countries recently. Plenty and I mean plenty of overweight to obese people in that part of the world.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mikebike View Post
                            I spent three weeks in Italy and the surround countries recently. Plenty and I mean plenty of overweight to obese people in that part of the world.
                            I agree - I was stunned at the obesity rate in Italy. There is a significant obesity problem in China and India....many, many other countries. The fact is that nearly every culture than can afford to eat more than they need will develop obesity eventually. In the US this is sped up by corn and grain subsidies making HFCS and crap food cheaper than it should be as well as the industrialization of food. Home-cooked foods will almost always have less crap in them than the store/restaurant counterparts.
                            Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

                            http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

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                            • #15
                              Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday!

                              I think it is the same the world over; there are people who will choose to live on processed, packaged, and fast food and drive everywhere. And there are people who will choose to eat whole, natural, fresh foods and exercise daily. Either way, body size alone is not a good indication of health. These skinny Europeans who eat poorly could still be setting themselves up for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc later in life when their food choices catch up to them.

                              My BF is 6' and 158lbs.. skinny as a rail and eats like I've never seen (a half dozen pastries for breakfast with 2 cups of sugary tea and still hungry). But the men in his family are all like that, then middle-age spread begins around 40 for them. (Luckily he is now following my lead and letting me help him transition to eating primally!)

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