How does the rest of the world eat compared to you?

messages Sep 22, 2009

The other night at dinner Tiffany and I were talking about the foods we buy, cook and eat, and wondering how we compare to the average American or average human in the global community.  

Tiffany met with a naturopath a couple of days ago to get some guidance on trying to clear up some health issues using food and herbs.  While we think we eat pretty far over to the side of healthy by eating the majority of our food from organic and local producers, (we get our weekly share of organic vegetables from a CSA, get our meat from a certified organic farmer, and buy organic while we can.) Tiffany realized the extent to which her naturopath wants her to go is even further than what we currently do.  Sprinkling kelp (that stuff really stinks) on her food, eating at least 2 cups of cruciferous veggies each day, cutting back/eliminating alcohol, and a few other things.

It got us to wondering how the "average American shops and eats" as well as how people in other countries shop and eat.  Well, all I have to do is pose a question to my in-house Cliff Claven, and low and behold there will always be some website links in my in-box the next day.  

Wanna know how you stack up?  This is an article on MSN called "What The World Eats" that shows you what a week's worth of groceries looks like for families that live in such places as the United States, France, Japan, China, India, Mexico, Ecuador, Mali and Turkey.  Click through the slide show and prepare to be blown away.  

Both photos courtesy

When you go through the slide show, look at the amount of processed food vs. fresh fruit, vegetables and grains!  Especially in Ecuador, Mali and Turkey.  If you want to get the dollar and category breakdown for each family you can find it on this NPR link.  

Any wonder highly developed nations have a higher incidence of "affluent" afflictions like heart disease, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes and obesity?  If you look at the family in the United States there's very little fiber, wholes grains or fresh fruit/veg, and lots and lots of processed grains and high fructose corn syrup.  Most everything is in a can, bottle or plastic bag!  Not only is bad for your body, it's also bad for the environment.  Holy carbon footprint!

So what's a person to do?  Something.  Start small.  

1.  Cook one meal each week.  "Cook" meaning not heating something up in the microwave or taking something out of a package and putting it in the oven.  There are lots of recipe sites on the web that provide tons of different types of recipes and will even condense them into a shopping list for you.

2.  Have a snack that doesn't come pre-packaged.  Grab a piece of fruit.  Have a handful of cut up vegetables or nuts.  

3.  Decrease the amount of meat you eat.  Maybe go one meatless meal per week?  Or per day?  I'm seeing a lot of research coming out about the link between meat and cancer and other diseases.  It also takes up a huge amount of water, land and other natural resources.  I was convinced I couldn't live without meat, but I'm slowly cutting back and I'm just fine!

4.  Watch the added beverages.  What's wrong with drinking water?  Not only can sugared beverages add to your waistline, they really add to the landfills.  

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