Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Where fries and ketchup are considered vegetables

Last night I went to a seminar about childhood obesity. That made me feel so incredible thankful. Thankful for being born in a country like Sweden and thankful for the way my parents decided to raise me.

American restaurants have special menus for children. The choices consist of hamburgers with fries, grilled cheese, fried chicken tenders, and mac & cheese. That to me is so sad. Why should there even be something like a separate menu for children? Why can’t kids in America eat the same food as adults? I don’t remember ever ordering food from a kid menu. Even worse; working at an American college I know that young adults at the age of twenty still prefer the same kind of junk food as a four year old.

And then there are those brain dead ”All-you-can-eat” Buffets! Five plates full of food for $9.95. Who can resist a bargain like that? And God forbid you leave something on your plate because kids in China are starving. How about smaller portions and stop eating when you are full. I know the endless supply of unhealthy foods don’t exactly make it easy for us poor consumers and sometimes I wonder if you need a PhD in Nutrition to leave the grocery store with a healthy shopping cart. How are we supposed to know that a can of Marinara sauce contain more sugar than the chocolate syrup we put on our ice cream? By reading the label? I don’t read labels and I am far from being a health freak. But how about being something in the middle? Moderation is the key word. To quote Dr. Katz at the seminar: ”Eat food, not too much, mostly from plants”.

I am so happy that I had to walk half an hour to school and half an hour back. I am happy I didn’t have a car by the age of sixteen but instead a bicycle, rollerblades and a pair of skis. I am grateful for the waters I got to swim in and for the forests I got to run in. For the mountains I got to ski and for the trees I got to climb. I am thankful that we ate candy mostly on Saturdays and that soda rarely was seen in our fridge. Instead I am thankful for all the oatmeal, fruits, vegetables and real multigrain bread we ate. Not the kind of bread choices you have here in America, where air seems to be the main ingredient. Air and peanut butter.

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