My husband found a very interesting article the other day, it’s about the only kind of news I like to hear:”New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to propose a far-reaching municipal ban on sales of large-size sugary beverages by restaurants, mobile food carts, movie theaters and delis, his administration said on Wednesday” (Reuters). After learning that more than 58% of New York City adults were obese, as well as 40% of New York City Public school children, Bloomberg proposed this ban. It would ban all sugary drinks exceeding 16 ounces, but not diet or dairy based drinks.
This could (and is) also be a political debate, but I’m not going to get into that aspect of it. The part I find interesting is how crazy it is that America serves drinks that are that large in the first place. If you were to go somewhere in Europe and order a large drink it would look similar to a small drink in America. You’d eat it with your smaller hamburger and much smaller fries and then walk to your next destination. Go to a coffee shop in American and ask for a cappuccino and you’ll have to decide between a 12, 16, and 24 ounce beverage, but ask for a cappuccino in Italy and you’ll be handed a 6 ounce drink of strong espresso and creamy foam. Although smaller, it will taste about a bijillion times better than the American cappuccino, and you’ll have to stand, sip and savor it while talking to the barista instead of gulping it down as you jump back in your car.
Sip and savor? There’s no need for that when you have 64 ounces of fluid to get through! Nibble on your lunch? Not when it’s been given to you in a bag and you’re trying to get it down as you dodge in and out of traffic. We just don’t enjoy our food. There’s so much of it to go around and so little quality that we don’t feel the need to savor it. That was one of the best lessons I learned when traveling last summer, I’d sit at a restaurant for a couple hours savoring the food and never missing the double size portion I was accustomed to at home. And although I was in Italy, you’ll never guess what I spent hours eating….meats and veggies with fruit as dessert. Breads and pastas were served, but not in the excessive quantities and as often as they are served here.
Eating meats, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits sounds pretty boring, but it really opens up your palate to a lot of flavors and textures that it can’t get eating bread and pasta. We need to re-evaluate our relationship with food and spend more quality time getting to know it. 🙂 And by getting to know it, I mean eating it. Changing the culture of food in our country starts in our own kitchen.
- Prepare dinner for your family–notice I didn’t say cook, maybe you’re not a good cook, then grab a rotisserie chicken from the store, some fresh veggies, a bag of salad, and fruit for dessert.
- Sit down for dinner with your family, talk, enjoy….chew.
- Eat less, eat more slowly.
- Think about how the food tastes and then how it makes you feel after you eat it.
- After dinner, put the dishes aside for a while and take a walk as a family. This is called digestion–get used to it!
We don’t need a country wide weight loss plan as much as we need a cultural change. Less is more, quality over quantity, and movement is something we are meant to do–not avoid.