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Thread: American the sick page 2

  1. #11
    Urban Forager's Avatar
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    Tgrok, I love hearing your perspective, you are our eyes in the world. It's been a many years since I've traveled out of the US.

    Years ago, I think it was in the early 90s some of my relatives from Belgium came to visit and the were honestly perplexed by the drive through fast foods, the couldn't fathom eating and driving. My feeling is that if more people sat down and ate at a table with others it would make a big difference. I know for many their lives are too chaotic to make that a part of their day.
    But maybe it's a question of priority, if Americans have that much time to watch TV couldn't they find a little more time to eat properly?
    So did you find in your travels that Americans are working longer hours than people in other countries?
    Life is death. We all take turns. It's sacred to eat during our turn and be eaten when our turn is over. RichMahogany.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by texas.grok View Post
    Here are some things that America is #1 at
    According to Michael Pollan we're also dead last in time per day spent on food preparation. In fact the average American spends slightly more time per day watching cooking shows than cooking.

    Sometimes I think we just have the best marketers nudging us into these strange meal patterns. The guy next to me on the bus yesterday polished off a full box of Teddy Grahams over a 20 min ride.
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  3. #13
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    My family and I spent 3 months in Europe last year, and noticed a lot of the same things. Way of life was much different with the bike riding, walking, time spent conversing while eating (Not constantly checking your phone!), etc...We did notice several fast food restaurants though Burger King, Mcdonalds.

    My buddy who lives in Nice, France said that fast food restaurants/Starbucks are becoming much more prevalent than when he first moved there. I lost around 10 pounds from all of the walking and I didn't have 10 lbs to lose! I miss the outdoor markets and how everything seemed WAY less processed.

  4. #14
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    When I was in Spain some years back, the Americans in the group I was with went out of their way to avoid the local food. I recall a very stout woman with joint problems that limited her mobility, so pleased she had found giant boxes of Cheerios that she ate constantly from then on.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by picklepete View Post
    According to Michael Pollan we're also dead last in time per day spent on food preparation. In fact the average American spends slightly more time per day watching cooking shows than cooking..
    That is kind of hilarious and yet totally believable (also sad).

    Of course, we also don't get a 6 week vacation every year.

  6. #16
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    I would guess relatively cheap gas and suburban culture, if you could call it that. My kids have to take school buses or be driven to their schools. I grew up in Chicago and walked to school every day until high school, then took a city bus which did not drop me at the doorstep. My grandparents lived in Chicago also and never owned a car. They walked to shops, the bank, and local restaurants. Took a bus to work.

    It was explained to me many years ago by a Brit I worked with that European cities were more pedestrian-friendly than American ones because they were established before the advent of the automobile.

    Food prep likely has a big role also. It takes a lot of energy and organization to keep homemade meals on the table for a family when both parents (or the only parent) have been commuting and working for 10+ hours a day. If they are eating SAD, the energy won't be there to cook properly AND get the chores done AND get out for a walk, etc.
    As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again.

  7. #17
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    I dunno, there are too many variables. I lived for several years in Germany and Austria. While those countries and the US seem to have an equal share of just plain overweight and slightly obese folks, the US definitely has more of the very obese.

    Otherwise though, on the US coasts and wealthy areas people have a healthier glow than in the midwest. I'd expect Munich and Amsterdam to be more health conscious than more rural, poorer areas of Germany and the Netherlands. I don't know if wealth correlates to health in the same manner in Western Europe, I suspect not as strongly.

    But still, you can get a myopic view by travelling some place as compared to living there for an extended period. Plunking down in Munich for a few weeks could lead to some views constrained by the time and place of your visit. In much the same way, I also got frustrated with the Germans I knew who had been to San Francisco and LA and thought they knew it all about California.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffC View Post
    Otherwise though, on the US coasts and wealthy areas people have a healthier glow than in the midwest. I'd expect Munich and Amsterdam to be more health conscious than more rural, poorer areas of Germany and the Netherlands. I don't know if wealth correlates to health in the same manner in Western Europe, I suspect not as strongly.
    Ya... as a teenager I worked in a deli/supermarket in the rural midwest and the farmers seemed to have the worst habits. Waffle brunch every day then buy a cart full of generic pastries and soda on the way home. The younger ones were pretty spherical and the older ones were bloodshot and wheezing. I guess a corn/soy commodity farm doesn't exactly provide an alternative.
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  9. #19
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    Interesting........

    I was born in Montreal to Irish parents in the early 1970's. At the age of 4 1/2 we moved to Saudi Arabia to become expats where my father had a job (not in oil!!). On vacation - there were many as my fathers job was compensated for being in such an austere country - we mostly travelled to Europe. In France, my family ate fresh foods and we as children always had to try local dishes. Even in the far east - Thailand / Bangkok we were made to eat local foods. The kids with American parents in the same expat lifestyle that we were in, always sought out the fast food chains as their children would not / were not made to eat local foods.

    I recall living in the UK from the age of 10 onwards and vacationing in the States, and a few things about their eating habits shocked me - the size of supermarkets (and that you got everything under one roof and had driven there), the amount of fake foods (syrups / donuts / twinkies) but also the aray of fruit!

    I live in Vancouver now, and there is a definite west coast vibe and desire to get back to organic / local / real foods which I'm happy to support. I am a frequenter of Starbucks and other coffee stores, but not of fast food joints, however the price of a take out meal is pretty on par with the raw ingredients of a meal, and those pressed for time can afford the former. In England (at least it used to be) dinner out was a treat as it was pretty expensive, and normally it would be somewhere like the Chinese which offered dishes not easily made at home.

    The paying of governments by grain companies / grain unions / Monsanto will only keep the awful diets afloat, and the proliferation of diet pills will mean that those afflicted with the 'get well quick' syndrome will eat the donuts and take a pill to compensate. Who in all honesty doesn't like things 'in an instant', rather than working for them, unless they have a complete psychic change and a change of heart within themselves.

    My 2c's worth!
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  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urban Forager View Post
    So did you find in your travels that Americans are working longer hours than people in other countries?
    I think that overall Americans work longer hours just because they have shorter vacations than other countries. In Egypt, the normal job has about a month of vacation days with it, not counting national holidays. Also in Egypt, a shorter work week is common, 4.5 days versus 5 days.

    But the other thing that seems different in Germany and is very common in Egypt, is that people spend more time socializing and with family when they are off. They may work the same hours as someone in the USA but their time off is more social and less TV watching.
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