A Trip to Europe Made Me Realize I Was Doing it Wrong


Sometimes we don’t realize there is a problem until we get out of the bad situation. For me, that time occurred when I went to Europe and spent two weeks indulging in their traditional foods. Not only did I feel better the whole time I was there, I came home with a skeptical eye about what was readily available to me.

milk

Milk

It all started at home with milk. I’m not a big milk drinker, but when I do, I like my milk to be as close to natural as possible. That means it comes from a cow, has all of the fat that it started with, and doesn’t contain added hormones and preservatives. Apparently I am odd, because America doesn’t seem to have a problem with rBGH, although the rest of the world does. So when I went to my local grocery store, searching for a non-hormone added variety of milk. The freezer clerk laughed at me and said “You must not be from around here..” He then handed me a carton of milk with a frozen fly stuck to its side.

I am not making this up.

Milk is just one of 10 things everyone else knows is bad … according to Dr Mercola. Interestingly enough, I drank no milk while in Europe. I don’t even remember seeing any.

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Chocolate

I did see a lot of chocolate however. Probably because the majority of my time was spent in Belgium, and Belgium people love their chocolate… and their beer. Being the American that I am, I was reluctant to indulge in both at first.

Chocolate is a treat, and beer is alcohol- why in the world would I pollute my body with such trash…
But once again, I was misinformed by an American ideal of nutrition. We believe that chocolate and beer is bad because of the effects we have from eating it.. instead of considering that the quality of the ingredients as well as the presence of dangerous additives (corn syrup in chocolate??) might be doing the trick.

Instead we need medical studies to prove that chocolate is good for us and beer makes you smarter and prevents Type 2 diabetes … those crazy, not-fat Europeans.

 

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Fast Food

Even my concept of fast food was thrown off its axis, after sampling a McDonald’s in Europe. Besides being rather empty in a hugely popular tourist city, my hashbrown and sausage patty was without it’s noticeable five-napkin serving of grease. I grabbed my food, grabbed my napkins, blotted, and stared at the dry napkin in shock.

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This was not McDonalds.
Am I suggesting that fast food can be non-toxic? Well, I won’t go that far, but I am definitely open to the possibility. I mean, I’m a nibbler.. Throughout my two weeks I indulged in the following Belgium fast food fare:

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  • Fries (we’d call them French Fries) so perfect you don’t want to add ketchup.
  • Midnight fast food spaghetti that didn’t make me nauseous
  •  Waffles so huge Waffle House would go out of business, covered with actual strawberries and actual whipped cream.

And then there were the bucket of mussels…. The glorious buckets of mussels… Thinking about those mussels make a bucket of KFC seem barbaric.

The Point?

I’m not writing this post as a culinary review of my tasty time in Europe.. which strangely enough included a regular supply of beer and wine and not a drop of soda. .. I am writing it to introduce the idea that the American diet is substantially flawed. With all of our restrictive rules about what we can and can’t eat, low-fat; high-fiber;whole-grain….  we continue to indulge in things that kill us while shirking the ones that could benefit us.

In food and in life, moderation is key, and everything has its purpose. It’s only when we start screwing with nature, in order to make it convenient or profitable, that we start to screw with ourselves.

Do you agree, or do I just have a love affair with chocolate, mussels and fries?

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2 thoughts on “A Trip to Europe Made Me Realize I Was Doing it Wrong

  1. Not sure I quite understand your point here. But if your suggestion is to consume moderate amounts of beer, chocolate and mussels while avoiding fast-food, then it sounds fine. Don’t forget to eat your veggies 😉

    • Thanks for the comment- I was trying to suggest that I didn’t realize the problems in my American diet until I was exposed to the diet of another culture. I was pointing out that there are foods and eating rituals we’d call foolish or unhealthy, that are common in other parts of the world- and that, perhaps, we should be a little more critical about what we believe good health is.

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