A sobering obesity report

An ordinary cheese shop in a small town in Holland

Beauty on a plate

Last week it hit all the news wires that obesity in children and adults has not only not abated, but grown ever bigger, greater, huger, wider. 

Childhood obesity has tripled since 1980 and most schools don't meet the local FDA requirements for planned menus. 23 states have increased in obesity with Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and West Virginia topping the list. Colorado and Vermont are our thinnest states, the year-round active outdoor culture sighted as a major reason.

But I have another thought why people in this country are fat beside the usual culprits -- stress, status, poverty, availability of food, super-sizing, processing and illiteracy. It first came to me while in Europe and I am reminded every time I return: Food there has so much more flavor. In Holland, for instance, tomatoes drip down your arm with their sweetness and even the lowly brussels sprout comes packed with layers of chewy deliciousness. Largely across Western Europe food is grown in richer, less fallow soil, on farms only miles from where it is then sold, only days or minutes after it is picked. Freshness is a flavor all its own. Farming is a prideful occupation and the higher price of food funds higher quality growing conditions.  

I say that if our food had more flavor, we'd be satisfied with less. We could put down our forks when we should, and feel fed. Think about it. If what you ate was flavorful, delicious, nutritious and wholesome, granted, if that was a rare treat you might over eat, but if that was the character of most of your meals, I believe you'd reach your level of satisfaction and feel satiated with smaller portions. In contrast here in America, I believe an unspoken reason why a great majority of people overeat is because, like on a treasure hunt they are foraging for flavor which never comes. And, there's a hope that if they keep eating, eventually taste and satisfaction will arrive. 

Whether it's two thin slices of tangy cheese on a that-morning-baked yummy crunchy seeded roll or a light as air soul-satisfying four-forkful sliver of pastry ordered for the table or peas shot through pod to pod with green, earthy deliciousness, less food on your plate is actually much more satisfying when it actually has taste. Food as nature intended.

Copyright ©riva greenberg 2007. All rights reserved.