The French Paradox

124»

Comments

  • Reply 61 of 77
    Quote:

    Originally posted by drewprops

    I can tell you that Atlanta has an ever-increasing number of "ethnic" restaurants, our population is tremendously adventurous and are early adopters. I would venture to say that the same thing goes for most of the larger cities. The pendulum is swinging back and away from the ZOWEE factor of the 1950's atomic science and traditional deep-fried-anything.



    Interestingly there was a story I ran across on the Scotsman that put out a curry alert for you folks in the UK. Stop putting those crazy dyes in your curries Lister, you silly smeghead!*



    http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=2684584















    * Mods, this is a reference to the ever-popular television series Red Dwarf. Please do not smack, shackle, ban or spank me in any fashion due to the use of this terminology. Read a book! Get out of the house!




    Yes it is (a reference to Red Dwarf) and heaven preserve you if you fool around with that one.



    Yes I know you have a wide variety of "ethic" restaurants. I'm asking if this has translated into the type of food people buy and cook at home. For instance, typical meals I'd cook at home (and most of the people I know) might include various pasta dishes with a salad, laksas, stir fries (ie. very lightly sauted vegies perhaps with a bit of meat and served with rice). Meat and 3 veg would be a real exception to the rule. It's no longer "normal" food to me. Surely, this has happened in the States?
  • Reply 62 of 77
    glyphglyph Posts: 58member
    i used to be very active physically - until i got my first computer. it seems that i started gaining weight from that point on. i wonder how the information age is contributing to the obesity problem.



    i was in germany in the eighties. from what i recall the people there seemed to be thinner.

    i don't know about their diet, but i was impressed with how well they took care of their countryside. you'd never see garbage on the ground. they liked to take walks, and many of the city areas were pedestrian only. the fast food resturaunts all served beer and the drinking age was 15 or something like that - yet you'd never see anybody abusing it. the autobahns had no speed limits. in some respects, i think they have greater freedoms than we in america have and are therefore a little more responsible and civic minded.
  • Reply 63 of 77
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,665member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by crazychester

    Yes it is (a reference to Red Dwarf) and heaven preserve you if you fool around with that one.



    Yes I know you have a wide variety of "ethic" restaurants. I'm asking if this has translated into the type of food people buy and cook at home. For instance, typical meals I'd cook at home (and most of the people I know) might include various pasta dishes with a salad, laksas, stir fries (ie. very lightly sauted vegies perhaps with a bit of meat and served with rice). Meat and 3 veg would be a real exception to the rule. It's no longer "normal" food to me. Surely, this has happened in the States?




    I think there has to be a critical mass of an "ethinic" population to influence the EuroAmericans in the area.



    For instance, here in the Bay Area we have huge Latino and Asian populations.

    Hence, ingredients unique to these cuisines are available in most grocery stores.



    Moreover, residents of the Bay Area have a chance to sample the regional cuisines of these two large and diverse populations (i.e particular regions of Vietnam, El Salvadoran, etc.) and get an idea of some of the deliciousness that is possible beyond "Mexican" and "Chinese" food.



    As a result, most of the people I know, myself included, have a few favorite "ethnic" recipes that we first experienced at a good restaurant. After a while, certain staples like tortillas, coconut milk, bok choy, tamarind, etc. become regular parts of our diets.



    And, given the demographic drift of California, it won't be too much longer before Laotion and Guatamalan couples will be checking out that hot new "Euro" restaurant!
  • Reply 64 of 77
    gilschgilsch Posts: 1,995member
    Well, considering we're such a mixture of different backgrounds here in the US, I doubt it's a question of genes. We're just a nation of fat lazy bahstads. In fact, I read some time ago, that even our armed forces, in general, are overweight! Ok, 30 seconds later, I found a link
    Quote:

    A panel of nine medical experts commissioned by the Pentagon is expected to say that 53.9 per cent of US military personnel over the age of 20 would be classified as too fat to fight under federal obesity standards.



    Linky
  • Reply 65 of 77
    gilschgilsch Posts: 1,995member
    Addabox, speaking of ethnic foods...if you get a chance, try some "pupusas" in a Salvadorean restaurant. YUM.
  • Reply 66 of 77




    Just dance that fat away...



  • Reply 67 of 77
    I have a fascinating book, 'Genes, Peoples and Languages', by a geneticist called Luigi-Luca Cavalli Svorza. He's spent decades plotting genetic distances between distinct peoples and correlating those distances to languages and surnames. I've lent it to a friend so I can't dip into it to quote it unfortunately, but if I understand it correctly there's no such thing as 'a North American genetic type' (counting out the indigenous people) because the country's simply not old enough yet. It's a gentically diverse place (although not as genetically diverse as Africa) but if you test genetic markers you find Polish people, Irish people, African people, English people, French people, Indian people and whatnot. You don't find 'Americans'. Give it a few hundred years.



    Obesity seems to cut across genes, and not just in America, although if your immediate ancestors were hunters and gatherers and you now find yourself eating tons of processed crap and sugary drinks, you have a much greater chance of becoming obese and suffering early-onset diabetes.



    Obesity is on the increase in India, too, as well as in France and Italy (the British are already shagged on this score), and no-one really contests that it's down to diet. Regional cooking (which is a far bigger deal in Europe than many American people realise, I think, especially in the Mediterranean!) is replaced by processed shite and burgers and sandwiches and whatnot.



    It's genetic as far as some people are predisposed to obesity, but you genes don't affect what you buy to eat.



    And I'm not banned any more. Woo-hoo.
  • Reply 68 of 77
    Oh yeah, on the subject of race: if you take a man or a woman from the Australian outback and another from the Arctic Circle, they'll almost certainly be more similar, genetically speaking, than two gorillas from different sides of the same mountain in the Congo.



    Human beings are incredibly similar in genetic terms. There's no such thing as race in a scientific sense, which can only mean that any serious differences between us are cultural. I'm talking about 'laziness' (read 'blackness') here.



    While it's true that some populations, like West Africans, are lactose intolerant and many Europeans from the far North can't metabolise grain, that just means that the herders and farmers in your family tree far are recent; your ancestors didn't need that adaptation to climate and diet, didn't develop it, and now you can't eat cheese without feeling sick.



    What you eat now, that's cultural - and as African people are the most genetically diverse of all of us (as you'd expect seeing as our species spent the first 70,000 years of its short history in Africa) you can't really say that 'black people' are predisposed to anything genetically. The best you can say is that many people of East African descent are resistant to malaria and many people of West African descent are prone to sickle-cell anemia.



    But, er, there ain't no such thing as race and there ain't, strictly speaking, even any such thing as 'black people', not in genetic terms anyway.
  • Reply 69 of 77
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    I think we're going to be all-right with the fatness. Science and time made us fat and science and time will fix us.
  • Reply 70 of 77
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,665member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Gilsch

    Addabox, speaking of ethnic foods...if you get a chance, try some "pupusas" in a Salvadorean restaurant. YUM.



    Oh man, you are so right... There's this place out on International Blvd. that makes me weep for joy. It's called CoCo or something like that.



    I think it's amazing that ingredients so similar to "Mexican" food can have such a different flavor.
  • Reply 71 of 77
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Well, given that I've been abroad, and I've been broad as well (I've lost about 35 pounds since last July) I have a few observations on the subject:



    American food is bland. Hot spices, rich textures and strong flavors allow less food to be more satisfying. You don't get any of these from potatoes, commercial meat, Kraft cheese, Budweiser, Wonder bread or Hershey's. Even the general American attempts at spices - table pepper and mustard - don't taste like much. Some of this is due to the impetus to mass-manufacture food and sell to the largest number of people, which means tweaking food to be less perishable and to be non-offensive (food that some people really like, others really don't, so the larger the market, the blander the product).



    Also, America was until very recently (in historical terms) a peasant culture. The classic steak-and-eggs breakfast, with lots of butter and preserves slathered on toast, makes a lot of sense if it's being served to people who've already been out working for two hours, and who are refueling for the rest of the day's work. Fat and red meat are tremendous reservoirs of energy, and therefore the logical choice for small farmers and other people whose lives require a lot of hard labor. On the other hand, if you just woke up and you're about to hop in your car and go to your desk job, you hardly need more than an apple (my current breakfast, along with a cup of strong coffee).



    I think this also accounts, to some extent, for the American fascination for TEH BIGGAR. It was not so long ago that we were laboring to can what we couldn't salt, and salt what we couldn't smoke, so that we had the reserves to get through a winter, or a drought.



    Stress and depression can be factors. Fat and sugar are reward foods, which makes them dangerous when they're the only rewarding thing about your life. The more we structure our economy to increase the number of people working too many hours for too little money, the more junk people will eat.



    I think the removal of exercize from any area outside of fitness centers has hurt tremendously. Exercize controls appetite (as I've noticed myself) in addition to burning calories, and if you can buy or make savory food, that controls appetite even more. Unfortunately, it's hard to find that kind of food, and since it's not made in vast quantities (and it's often imported) it's too expensive for most people. Then it gets class associations, and some people won't consider it because that's not what they eat.



    There's been a tremendous improvement in the food situation here in Iowa City in the last few years, fortunately. The portions are still too big, but the amount of fresh, locally produced ingredients and real spices, and the number of meals that are not built around a large slab of meat, have increased tremendously. But then, this is an exceptional town in many ways.
  • Reply 72 of 77
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,665member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Amorph

    Well, given that I've been abroad, and I've been broad as well (I've lost about 35 pounds since last July) I have a few observations on the subject:



    American food is bland. Hot spices, rich textures and strong flavors allow less food to be more satisfying. You don't get any of these from potatoes, commercial meat, Kraft cheese, Budweiser, Wonder bread or Hershey's. Even the general American attempts at spices - table pepper and mustard - don't taste like much. Some of this is due to the impetus to mass-manufacture food and sell to the largest number of people, which means tweaking food to be less perishable and to be non-offensive (food that some people really like, others really don't, so the larger the market, the blander the product).



    Also, America was until very recently (in historical terms) a peasant culture. The classic steak-and-eggs breakfast, with lots of butter and preserves slathered on toast, makes a lot of sense if it's being served to people who've already been out working for two hours, and who are refueling for the rest of the day's work. Fat and red meat are tremendous reservoirs of energy, and therefore the logical choice for small farmers and other people whose lives require a lot of hard labor. On the other hand, if you just woke up and you're about to hop in your car and go to your desk job, you hardly need more than an apple (my current breakfast, along with a cup of strong coffee).



    I think this also accounts, to some extent, for the American fascination for TEH BIGGAR. It was not so long ago that we were laboring to can what we couldn't salt, and salt what we couldn't smoke, so that we had the reserves to get through a winter, or a drought.



    Stress and depression can be factors. Fat and sugar are reward foods, which makes them dangerous when they're the only rewarding thing about your life. The more we structure our economy to increase the number of people working too many hours for too little money, the more junk people will eat.



    I think the removal of exercize from any area outside of fitness centers has hurt tremendously. Exercize controls appetite (as I've noticed myself) in addition to burning calories, and if you can buy or make savory food, that controls appetite even more. Unfortunately, it's hard to find that kind of food, and since it's not made in vast quantities (and it's often imported) it's too expensive for most people. Then it gets class associations, and some people won't consider it because that's not what they eat.



    There's been a tremendous improvement in the food situation here in Iowa City in the last few years, fortunately. The portions are still too big, but the amount of fresh, locally produced ingredients and real spices, and the number of meals that are not built around a large slab of meat, have increased tremendously. But then, this is an exceptional town in many ways.




    Good points, Amorph.



    Particularly the economic roots of bad diet.



    I was talking to a woman from Argentina who described her countrymen's feelings about "North Americans". She said they viewed us as uber-hyper maniacs, and saw such things as drinking coffee in a car as semi-demented.



    She was very clear that food was to be lingered over, especially the large and elaborate afternoon meal that could go two hours or more. Since it's part of the culture, work schedules are arranged accordingly.



    I have some hope that the influx of hispanic peoples (especially in California) will have a moderating effect on our efficiency mad habits.
  • Reply 73 of 77
    janmcijanmci Posts: 10member
    Well, speaking from an Irish perspective, I would say that obesity is not just confined to the USA. Health experts here are starting to panic about expanding waistlines. The situation isn't nearly as bad as the US, but it could be a problem in the future. In Ireland, McDonalds have been forced to rethink their menus - they have a 'healthy option' now, where they have salads, or grilled chicken on flat bread etc. They also are getting rid of the supersize option.



    Personally, I think the problem has a lot to do with all the diet or low fat versions of food. People think that because something is low fat, they can eat 3 times the normal amount. There is so much convenience food. That and the rise of TV and video games, and also cars mean that people are a lot more sedentary than they were 40 years ago. Extra food, less exercise equates to fatter people.
  • Reply 74 of 77
    gspottergspotter Posts: 342member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by glyph

    [Bi was in germany in the eighties. from what i recall the people there seemed to be thinner.[/B]



    One factor I didn't see mentioned yet: The time of day when you eat. In Germany, traditionally lunch is the main meal of the day. Breakfast and dinner are mostly based on bread. The calories you eat in the evening without having a chance to burn them before going to bed are those which end up on your hips. A friend once made a diet by just not eating after 7pm. He quickly lost a considerable amount of weight.



    When I was visiting the US, I had the impression that US citizens are more 'extreme'. Here, I see many people that might be a bit too heavy (e.g. I'm currently about 5 pounds above my ideal weight). In the US, it seemed people (at least those I saw) were either really fat or did probably a 10 mile run instead of lunchtime as a daily routine.
  • Reply 75 of 77
    janmcijanmci Posts: 10member
    actually, that time of day point is very interesting. traditionally in ireland the main meal was eaten at lunchtime, because having done physical work all morning, people were hungry. now everyone seems to work in offices and have just a sandwich for lunch, so the main meal is in the evening, around 7.



    on a small personal note -when i was living in the USA for 4 months, i came home 8lbs heavier without any obvious change to my lifestyle/eating habits. i still don't know why the weight then fell off when i came home. (8lbs is a good bit heavier to a petite female)
  • Reply 76 of 77
    gilschgilsch Posts: 1,995member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by addabox

    Oh man, you are so right... There's this place out on International Blvd. that makes me weep for joy. It's called CoCo or something like that.



    I think it's amazing that ingredients so similar to "Mexican" food can have such a different flavor.




    Very true. Hey, don't overdo it man. We don't want you looking like that fat kid in Artman's movie.
Sign In or Register to comment.