The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Victoria Alwin
MSRD 

A Different Perspective

Nutrition Corner

 


My sister and I visited Ireland this past week. While we thought that the country was beautiful and the people were both gracious and friendly, we were both surprised by two things. First, there was a discussion on the BBC that many of the British surgeons wanted to make it mandatory that obese English citizens obtain a gastric banding to combat the problem. Not surprisingly, there also were many physicians who thought mandatory surgery went a bit too far too fast. I have to agree with the second opinion: surgery should be the last resort, not the first.

Considering the concern for obesity, the second surprise was the portion size of the food that was served to us in the pubs and restaurants throughout Ireland. Don’t get me wrong; the food was great. There was an uncommonly large selection of fantastic-tasting gluten free items from bread that tasted homemade to gluten free desserts that were just as good, if not better than the “normal” fare. They had gluten free sandwiches and soups that rivaled anything that I have had stateside. The prices of the foods served were reasonable, especially for the amount of food served, which brings us back to the discussion of portion sizes. Fish and chips consisted of one piece of fish which looked to weigh about 6-8 ounces (think of it as one piece of fish about the size of 3 large pieces of Long John Silver’s) with what seemed to be an equal weight of chips (what we would call cottage fries and comparable to a really SUPER SIZED serving of fries). At the farewell dinner, we had a choice of 2 cups of salad or 8-10 ounces of cream soup before getting a 10 ounce sirloin steak, about 1 ½ cups of mashed potatoes, about ¾ cup of sautéed mushrooms and the equivalent to two American-size scoops of rich vanilla ice cream for dessert. When I am hungry, I can eat more than just “sample size” of food, but these servings were bigger than what most American restaurants serve.

What made these portions surprising is that for years I have heard Europeans say that Americans eat way too much food. In the 1980s, I travelled to Germany. In my week there, I managed to lose weight, in part because their portions were half of what was served here. That seems to have changed at least in some countries. Now, however, I understand why other countries are experiencing a growing problem with obesity: they are eating as much as we do, if not more. It would be a pity if the other countries embraced the American diet, instead of learning from its consequences.

 
 

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