On the topic of obesity in America, here are a few observations from an outsider from the East. I am shocked at the size of your portions which are way too large. Even half of a half sandwich is so big, I can’t finish it and have to throw the rest away. I ate a sandwich from Big Town Hero yesterday. I ordered the half sandwich (8″), which was no less than twelve inches. There was the full-sized sandwich listed as twelve inches – how big is that one in reality, eighteen inches? I couldn’t finish the “half” sized eight inch item. Sure, I could have taken the remains home and stored them in the refrigerator; but how appetizing is a day-old sandwich with soggy bread and limp lettuce? I felt forced to throw the rest away.
At a restaurant, even when I think food is a small portion on the menu, it comes as SO MUCH. Why don’t they print quantities on the menus here like in Belarus where the menus specify weight or volume of items? But it’s not just the quantity of food that seem problematic. Besides portions being too big here, the content of the food is not nutritious, there are too many modified ingredients, too much corn syrup, and too many chemicals. This is the difference between obesity in Eastern Europe and obesity in the West – in Belarus, people who eat too much are eating too much real and natural food so in spite of their large appearance, they still look somewhat healthy, unlike the obese population here which eats too much junk and has health problems way beyond just obesity (if that’s not enough of a problem on its own).
Though there is a larger diversity of foods here which look more visually appealing, their ripeness is questionable. Why is it common here to use nitrogen gas to artificially accelerate ripening when nature has that process refined to perfection already? As a result of artificial ripening which doesn’t allow sugars and other compounds to form properly the taste is flat and the nutritional content questionable. In a related example, the meat looks SUPER red (I’ve never seen meat so red) but when you open the package, inside the meat is grey and lifeless. What’s that about?
Where you Americans have useless lawns, Belorussians have gardens in which they grow their own staples (potatoes, carrots, beets, cabbage, etc) on their property if they live outside the city. For city dwellers there are rent-free plots available outside the city which are serviced by buses provided at no charge. Here, there is a farmer’s market one day here, another day there, but in the East there’s an open-style market in every micro-district, open everyday, and the inventory is in large part generated by the overages of common folk’s gardens.
We walk to the market in Belarus, we do it everyday or every other day. It’s healthy to take a short walk each day for fresh food. In America, the markets are centralized and so far apart, so I’m forced to buy food for a week which will sit in a refrigerator slowly losing flavor and freshness (decomposing) until consumed. And getting that week’s amount of food is difficult, especially without a car. The bus isn’t an attractive option since it creeps along, stopping at every block. This may be a factor in why people are so overweight since no one walks more than one block here. I heard that the regional transportation standard specifies a bus stop every 300 feet or something ridiculous like that.
I think you Americans should wake up and realize that the food you depend on is out of your control – a situation that is killing you.