Weight Loss Support - Man, I have it so easy!




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runningfromfat
11-22-2010, 07:22 PM
I didn't realize how easy I had it until I went back to visit my family for Thanksgiving! I grew up in the midwest and am just shocked at what I saw at the grocery store. It was just aisles and aisles of junk food. DH and I really had to search to find products that didn't have sugar added (we can't cook at the moment because we only have a microwave since we're staying in a hotel so it's salads and microwaveable meals!).

I know it's in part a regional thing. We live in the Northeast and don't have a car so we need to walk everywhere. The stores are really small and most people just buy for a day or two at a time so the ratio of fresh produce/prepacked meals is much higher. But, wow, we really had to look to find the produce section at the grocery store.

I know it wasn't as bad when I was growing up there either. I used to work at the same grocery store (different location but it's a chain) in high school and the produce area was huge then. But things seem to have gotten so much worse. It seems like all I saw were fast food restaurants. Add into all that my mom who is the source of all my emotional eating (she even purposely fed my sister and I pop and chocolate in mass amounts so we'd be hyper and clean the house!!!) and I think if I lived there I'd be wwwwaaaayyy bigger! Even now, even though she KNOWS that I've given up sugar she keeps offering it. We went out to lunch today and she kept asking about taking us to dairy queen afterwards or wanted to know if I wanted dessert there (they did have a sugar free option but I wasn't interested and she was really disappointed). Basically my whole point of this is that I wanted to send out a big kudos to those losing close to family members that are the source of their problems (source is probably not the right words since everyone still has a choice about what food they put in their mouth but I think you can understand my point) and also in regions that are just stocked with junk food. I really wonder if I would've had the same will-power to start this journey there. Especially since I seemed small in comparison to many people I've seen so far! Where we live now I FEEL obese. I'm the biggest of my non-pregnant friends so that's some real motivation there. On the other hand, if I was the smallest... well, I can't really say what I would do! I'm glad I don't have to find out because I really need to be losing for my health too!!!!!!


sal27253
11-22-2010, 07:55 PM
I know how you feel. I live in San Diego where healthy is really the cool thing to be, however, I am from North Carolina where they fry the ham and butter the biscuit before adding the cheese and calling it a snack. I'm lucky I made it out with my arteries forget about a waist line.

HadEnough
11-22-2010, 08:13 PM
I can attest to how much it sucks here in South Dakota. We moved here a little over a year ago from Minneapolis where we had Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. The grocery stores here suck! If I want anything remotely healthy, I have to drive 45 minutes to the next large town. And then they wonder why everyone is overweight. Cuz all you can buy is crap!


runningfromfat
11-22-2010, 08:55 PM
I know how you feel. I live in San Diego where healthy is really the cool thing to be, however, I am from North Carolina where they fry the ham and butter the biscuit before adding the cheese and calling it a snack. I'm lucky I made it out with my arteries forget about a waist line.

Yes! I really wonder how I didn't end up more overweight growing up.

I can attest to how much it sucks here in South Dakota. We moved here a little over a year ago from Minneapolis where we had Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. The grocery stores here suck! If I want anything remotely healthy, I have to drive 45 minutes to the next large town. And then they wonder why everyone is overweight. Cuz all you can buy is crap!

LOL! :rofl: I was, in fact, talking about South Dakota!!!

Yep, and back home we shop almost exclusively at Whole Foods/Trader Joe's (mostly Trader Joe's)! Seriously. It's scary what options are available here.

Sunshine73
11-22-2010, 09:14 PM
I grew up and still live in central Illinois and our grocery stores are all about the high fat, highly processed, high carb comfort foods. Especially this time of year when everyone starts storing up for the winter like we're all going to go into hibernation for the next 6 months.

Nola Celeste
11-22-2010, 09:39 PM
In New Orleans, we have a lot of very healthy options. Local produce is fairly cheap, plentiful, and delicious (right now the satsumas are everywhere, yum!). The bigger problem is that in order to find the "skinny" food, you have to pass by some of the best chow in the country--po'boy shops here, pralines at checkout counters there, and the ineluctable allure of beignets. I mean, who goes to the French Quarter and does NOT go to Cafe du Monde!? :D

I'm convinced that some parts of the country have it much tougher when it comes to weight loss and/or eating more healthful foods.

kathrynk
11-22-2010, 09:44 PM
I'm in Nebraska and they're building a Trader Joe's and I'm SO EXCITED! But on the whole, selections are not great here. We have a very small co-op health food store but the prices are ridiculous. It's tough to eat healthy on a budget!

TapasLover
11-22-2010, 10:21 PM
Ha! Sal27453: I'm also from North Carolina and couldn't imagine a weekend without a stop (or two) at Bojangles. Add that to the ever-present temptation of BBQ AND the Southern custom that it is ALWAYS rude to refuse food when it is offered...SIGH.
Moving to LA, and then to NYC has been eye opening. So many different food choices-- some of the same, terrible ones, but so many healthier ways to live also.
Its amazing how tastes and the definition of "normal" grocery shopping, eating out, etc change from place to place!

Sunday
11-23-2010, 12:17 AM
I feel like I have it a lot easier living in Oz! We don't have superstores like Whole Foods or Trader Joes, but I really feel like on the whole, Australia isn't too bad with food. That's been my experience at least.

The worst thing available at my schools was Coke in secondary college. The only foods available for lunches in the early 90s were salad boxes, sandwiches, and occasionally pastries. But the pastries were minis and it was unheard of to order more than two. We also had a limit on icypoles and you were only allowed a small.

I think the supermarkets are pretty good here, too. There's a lot of packaged and processed food, but I don't think our versions are as bad as they could be.

With my tendency toward addiction to very fatty, salty, sugared, processed food... I think I would have a lot of problems if I'd lived in parts of the States and had access to them.

This is pieced together from TV and my American friends, though. Are processed/addictive foods as much of an issue as I'm told?

RoseRodent
11-23-2010, 06:06 AM
One of my biggest friends told me about a website in the UK that imports all the junk foods from the US that are not available here. My lord you have some stuff there! About 6 flavours of M&Ms, fifteen flavours of Pop Tarts (think we have 2, maybe 3) a giant jar of marshmallow to spread on toast... it's an eye-opener for sure. We have some junk, but not as much as that.

I think poor areas have it tougher here, though. Before our new grocery store opened down the road all we had locally was a grotty little supermarket that sold a couple of sad looking apples and carrots then an array of "shove in the micro and scoff" meals of appalling content due to low pricing, and an alcohol section that would take your breath away! Typical shopping basket: bags of chips, candy, microwave pizza, six-pack of beer, bottle of wine, packet of ciggies, jar of baby food and bumper pack of diapers. Then you pick up a bag of chips (in this case fries, but thick, soggy and greasy!) from the "chippy" to have with your micro pizza. The new store has 6 different choices just of apples, but it's still a bus ride away from the poorest people, and the bus is 1.20 per adult and 60p per child each way and you can only take home what you can carry, so everyone carries on going to the other shop.

They do have some projects, though, all kids 5-7 in state (public) schools in Scotland get free fruit every day and the poorest get free milk. There is a charitable shop where you can go and buy the fruit and veg that the big supermarkets rejected (because it's an inconsistent size and shape, not because there's anything wrong) and you can buy a giant box of it for about 2, but you get what you get in it, the idea being you try to use whatever is in there even if it's unfamiliar. Those stores are in the actual tenements where most of the poorest people live, just wish more people took advantage. Most of their advertising is in newspapers and few who would benefit most choose to read even if they can do so.

This big friend of ours also rarely shops for anything to eat at home, he thinks it's completely normal to eat out from a different fast food place every night. Believe me that is VERY not normal in the UK, once a week is more average in Scotland, North-West, parts of North-East and Essex, far less often in other parts. It's not cheap here to do this, not at all, I empathise with parts of the US where a drive-thru is cheaper than home cooking, but he spends at least 5 each night on his dinner and complains (get this!) that he is not paid enough because it doesn't cover his dinners. He doesn't work, he gets unemployment allowance, and apparently it's not acceptable that it should not pay for him to eat out 7 nights a week. Hmmmm.

Shmead
11-23-2010, 06:56 AM
This is pieced together from TV and my American friends, though. Are processed/addictive foods as much of an issue as I'm told?

It's not just that there are so many of them, it's that they are so cheap. From what I've pieced together talking to people, staples are about the same price or even a little cheaper overseas, but junk food is much, much cheaper. I can buy a box of jumbo pastries (Little Debbies. Do you all have them?) that has 8000 calories in it for $2.50 (a tad more in Australian dollars). This is part of the reason obesity has become associated with poverty: if your entertainment budget is $10/week, you can go see one movie, or you can eat something really delicious every single night.

shannonmb
11-23-2010, 07:18 AM
In New Orleans, we have a lot of very healthy options. Local produce is fairly cheap, plentiful, and delicious (right now the satsumas are everywhere, yum!). The bigger problem is that in order to find the "skinny" food, you have to pass by some of the best chow in the country--po'boy shops here, pralines at checkout counters there, and the ineluctable allure of beignets. I mean, who goes to the French Quarter and does NOT go to Cafe du Monde!? :D

I'm convinced that some parts of the country have it much tougher when it comes to weight loss and/or eating more healthful foods.

My uncle was a zookeeper at the Audubon Zoo for several years before Katrina, and I visited him there many times. It was an all-out food fest! Your fair city is one of my favorite places on Earth, but I would actually be afraid to go there right now! Strolling the Quarter with a 3 ft tall margarita, a roast beef po' boy with gravy AND mayo, then a plate of hot beignets to top it off. :o I give you a lot of credit! ;)

Sunday
11-23-2010, 08:52 AM
That was interesting (and sad), thanks Rose & Shmead. :)

vatkins22
11-23-2010, 09:04 AM
just a random side note- i was watching some show on the food network and Cafe du Monde was on there... and, man, did it look AMAZING!

SouthLake
11-23-2010, 10:47 AM
I'm from California where fresh produce is king, but my mom's entire family is from the midwest. When we go back to visit I undestand exactly why no one in my family circle likes vegetables- they're all cooked to death out there! I ordered a salad and forgot to ask for dressing on the side. Big mistake. I couldn't see my lettuce. The waitress's response? "let me know if you need more dressing!" Really? My grandmother had never eaten a cantaloupe until she visited my mom in CA when I was born. Talk about missing out!

Eliana
11-23-2010, 11:04 AM
One of my biggest friends told me about a website in the UK that imports all the junk foods from the US that are not available here. My lord you have some stuff there! About 6 flavours of M&Ms, fifteen flavours of Pop Tarts (think we have 2, maybe 3) a giant jar of marshmallow to spread on toast... it's an eye-opener for sure. We have some junk, but not as much as that.

I like Aldi for this reason. There are FEWER choices! They have wonderful seasonal produce, their meat is just fine and they have healthy alternatives for almost everything. They certainly offer crap too, but just because of the size of the store it's a whole lot less.

I'm in Ohio and there's crap in abundance. ;) But there's good stuff too, including some great farmer's markets. We are in farm country, after all.

My biggest irk here is about transportation. A car is a must throughout most of Ohio, unless you're lucky to live in a historic type downtown area, like I did growing up. Where I am now we're landlocked and have no sidewalks. If we walk out of our small neighborhood we're suddenly on a street too busy for pedestrians. I think that's an absolute crime. It makes me angry, actually! If they would just put in a sidewalk I could walk to two grocery stores and every shopping area you could name! It's right there, all of it within a two mile strip, but it's too dangerous to get there by foot. I can't even walk to the walking path across the street from my neighborhood!! I can't cross that road. So I have to DRIVE to a WALKING path .1 miles from my house. That's POINT ONE miles.

runningfromfat
11-23-2010, 04:08 PM
My biggest irk here is about transportation. A car is a must throughout most of Ohio, unless you're lucky to live in a historic type downtown area, like I did growing up. Where I am now we're landlocked and have no sidewalks. If we walk out of our small neighborhood we're suddenly on a street too busy for pedestrians. I think that's an absolute crime. It makes me angry, actually! If they would just put in a sidewalk I could walk to two grocery stores and every shopping area you could name! It's right there, all of it within a two mile strip, but it's too dangerous to get there by foot. I can't even walk to the walking path across the street from my neighborhood!! I can't cross that road. So I have to DRIVE to a WALKING path .1 miles from my house. That's POINT ONE miles.

I feel your pain! Where my family lives they do have sidewalks (most of the time) but it's so freaking cold here that walking is pretty unrealistic at the moment. However, I remember growing up that we did walk places and to friend's houses but I just see that less and less around here and it really makes me sad.

At the moment DH and I don't even have a car and it's really nice. Sure, it'd be great to have one for weekend trips and the such but it's really a big hassle once you have to pay for insurance and upkeep!

saef
11-23-2010, 05:20 PM
Yes, I feel lucky in my location, as well.

When I visit my mother in Upstate NY, I do a lot of cooking at home. The grocery stores are good, and at least one of them, Wegman's, is excellent & has to be one of the best chains in the Northeast.

But oh, the restaurants. That is another story.

While there are some good & ambitious ones, the majority simply do not compare to all the healthy choices one can make, nearly effortlessly, when eating out in Manhattan, Westchester and Fairfield County, Connecticut.

And if you leave the vicinity of larger cities, like Rochester and Syracuse, or even a smaller college town, like Ithaca, the restaurant scene is difficult to navigate.

Can you say "home cooking"? Or the most hidebound, traditional red-sauce Italian-American stuff, where they put too much sugar in the sauce?

What I dread is shopping excursions with my mother. She rejoices with me in the clothes that I can fit into. But when it comes time for lunch, while we're out, the choices seem designed to sabotage my ability to wear those clothes.

saef
11-23-2010, 05:29 PM
As for walking, I'm spoiled on that count, too, and I just won't go into it, because it would be too cruel.

It's very possible to live here & live well without a car.

In the apartment where I lived before buying my own place, the parking situation was so annoying that I avoided using my car, particularly in winter, when snow piled up and the already heated competition for spaces became cut throat. I discovered that it was easy to go three straight days without driving, while still going to a small fine arts cinema, getting my hair cut quite decently, going grocery shopping, visiting the laundromat & the dry cleaners, eating out at six or seven nice restaurants, getting to the ATM at my bank and going to the post office.

To be in a walkable neighborhood, you have to look for an old neighborhood, by which I mean one built before World War II. The rate of car ownership was much lower then and most families just had one, if they had one at all. Often the husband drove it to work & the wife had to run the household without it. That means stores & services in easy walking distance from homes.

usam
11-23-2010, 05:37 PM
Wow, I know how you feel. We moved to Ohio about a year ago and I am suffering big time. I am a vegetarian and cook all our meals from scratch. In NY we went to the farmers markets and bought the freshest fruit and vegetables, here the are no framers markets! The closest Whole Foods or Trader Joe's is about 50 min away.
To add to my frustration I cannot eat any packaged salads because I have IBS and something in it kills me. I have to eat frozen veggies for the most part. I have put all my veggie recipes away and pray for the day we can move away for here!
It is hard for people to eat healthy here because its cheaper and easier to just go to a drive through. I think they promote fast food so much that people forget to cook and don't care.
It makes me very sad to see such a lack of interest in fresh fruit and vegetables. But what can we do?

Eliana
11-23-2010, 05:41 PM
To be in a walkable neighborhood, you have to look for an old neighborhood, by which I mean one built before World War II. The rate of car ownership was much lower then and most families just had one, if they had one at all. Often the husband drove it to work & the wife had to run the household without it. That means stores & services in easy walking distance from homes.

Yes! This is the type of neighborhood I grew up in! It was wonderful! We walked absolutely everywhere and there wasn't anything I couldn't walk to at the ripe old age of EIGHT! The park, post office, school playground, junior high, high school, stadium, river levy, fountains, diner, candy shop, shoe store, JCPenny's, craft stores, etc. It was amazing. I miss it tremendously. Of course my brother still lives there and doesn't walk anywhere. :( I would!

callie999
11-23-2010, 06:11 PM
I'm from CA too, but live in the midwest now for grad school. I'm actually completely shocked at how much better the food situation is than I expected - The Walmart less than a mile away has a huge produce section! The freshness is decent. Other food items are also significantly cheaper in no small part to the 7% sales tax. (CA is up to what? 10% now? I don't miss that.) Another good grocery store here is Marsh, they have a good meat counter (I get lamb chops when I can afford them!)

I'll also jump on the complaining bandwagon because where I live is extremely pedestrian unfriendly. Yes, the Walmart is less than a mile away, but it's inaccessible by foot. The Marsh is walking distance as well, but you have to cross a busy state highway to get to it and other shopping centers. I do it sometimes anyway and just run like heck!

The proliferation of drive-thrus here is also amazing to me. 24hr grocery stores are neat but 24hr drive thrus? Of every fast food restaurant known to man? If only there was a 24hr liquor store and they'd sell wine to me on Sundays. Sigh.

Hopeful8
11-23-2010, 06:55 PM
Being from Northeastern Pennsylvania the Eastern European influence stands out in the food. Everything is fried and buttered.

I'm quite lucky to be living in Colorado now, healthy living is very important out here.

Paloma
11-23-2010, 07:21 PM
I live in the midwest and we don't seem to have that problem here. We have several Clovers whole foods markets, a thriving farmer's market, a new Co-op, Schnucks and Hyvees. Of course I also live in a liberal leaning college town which probably makes my experience different from most midwesterners. However, Hyvee is a midwestern brand that started in Iowa and they have a great health foods section and awesome produce. If you want good produce you go to Hyvee. Has anyone from the northwest been to one, does it stack up? Maybe I just don't know any better and Hyvee is totally subpar...

krampus
11-23-2010, 09:45 PM
Suburban upstate NY (Albany/Schenectady) native here. We don't have Trader Joes or Whole Foods, but our big chain grocery stores - Price Chopper, Hannaford etc - have lots of healthy options and big produce sections. What saef said about the restaurant scene upstate is 100% true for where I grew up, sadly. Few options aside from Ye Olde Chain Restaurant (TGI Fridays, Chili's, Cheesecake Factory), Chinese buffets, Italian-American style places and diners.

They must hate walkers too. Aside from busy main roads, sidewalks are rare as rubies. The subdivision type neighborhoods are great for leisure walking but as far as actually walking to stores and things as a means of transportation, you have to really trust the drivers.

I love my hometown but I think I'm going to end up wanting to move to a real city.

***

In Japan, I live in a car-centric small town. I opted not to buy a bicycle or a car and I walk everywhere: to work, to the train station, to the supermarket, to bars. My town was a coal mining boom town 40 years ago and is supposedly one of the most run-down and dangerous areas of the prefecture, but the sidewalk situation is far better than back home. I call this my "Parisian life" because I buy my groceries fresh a few times a week and rely on my feet to get me from Point A to Point B. I don't want to have to give it up when I move back to America, and I'm really terrified.

Eliana
11-23-2010, 09:51 PM
***

In Japan, I live in a car-centric small town. I opted not to buy a bicycle or a car and I walk everywhere: to work, to the train station, to the supermarket, to bars. My town was a coal mining boom town 40 years ago and is supposedly one of the most run-down and dangerous areas of the prefecture, but the sidewalk situation is far better than back home. I call this my "Parisian life" because I buy my groceries fresh a few times a week and rely on my feet to get me from Point A to Point B. I don't want to have to give it up when I move back to America, and I'm really terrified.

This sounds like my college life, except I was in a perfectly safe environment. We weren't allowed a car and it took as long to wait for a bus as to just walk there so I walked everywhere. The dining hall I preferred was at least a 3/4 mile walk, so I had that walk twice a day, at least. (I was into skipping breakfast in those days, or I'd do a Slim Fast or apple). If I wanted to go to Walmart, literally the only shopping center in the town, it was a two mile hike. I had to make that trip for necessities not provided in the dining hall. ;) You know, like deodorant!

I miss that.

krampus
11-23-2010, 09:58 PM
It's really nice. All that walking time means thinking time and relaxing time too. And Japan as a whole is pretty darn safe to be honest, the men aren't into harassing women on the streets like back home and I feel safe walking alone at any time of night.

RoseRodent
11-24-2010, 04:16 AM
The no sidewalk situation is alarming to me as a Brit. The only roads without sidewalks here are ones you aren't allowed to walk on anyway, like motorways (freeways) and large A roads (state highway). Everything else in towns and cities has a sidewalk (except we call them pavements), everything! It's simply illegal to build without, if someone wants to build houses then they must put in a road to the houses and a sidewalk meeting criteria about the expected amount of foot traffic and safe crossing points designated by the speed and width of the road. There are some rural roads without, but in general you can just walk along the roadside on those and people will have their eyes peeled for walkers, hikers, cycles and horses. There are very few places it would be truly impossible to walk if you wanted to walk, and many town and city centres are walking only.

I find it so odd that we are not culturally accepting of obesity yet are very accepting of all the things that cause it. You don't have to put on a big hat and go out under cover of darkness to the drive-thru, it's perfectly acceptable, just don't get fat doing it. I think of the other cultures I have known and what helped them. When my dad was young it was the height of rudeness to eat outdoors, or indeed outside of a designated eating and drinking area. You've never eat at your desk, at a bus stop, in your car, in the street, it was completely unacceptable. When I was a child snacking was frowned upon as you'd "spoil your appetite" for your meals, yet now there is an ad running on UK TV showing a special snack for kids who come home from school hungry and cannot wait all the way till dinner time before eating!

Media acceptability has created new thought processes: Mum is tired of being pushed around all week so she bought a KFC bargain bucket. There is no revenue gain in saying mum is tired of being pushed around all week so dad cooked. I think we could do some good things with ads for healthy food being shown as being delicious, but it's always shown as specially for diets and getting thin, advertised by a tiny woman in a swimsuit.

Schools have started nutrition education, but IMHO it's rubbish. The kids learn that chocolate and fries are "bad" and fruit and veg are "good" and it stops there. Nothing about reading a nutrition label, substitutions, nothing at all about the role of all foods in between - dairy, meat, nuts, indeed anything at all that might make up a person's majority diet. They also don't learn that "good for you" changes with time, that semi-skimmed milk is jolly good for young children, not so great for older children. Youngsters benefit from cheese, older kids should try to get their calcium from elsewhere. No, fries bad/fruit good, that is the nutrition message in total.

In Europe not only do people have more healthy traditional diets, but there is a wholly different attitude to food and meals. In the UK and US there is food woven in everywhere, because it's a revenue generator. Food in the gas station, food in the cinema, food in the drugstore, food in the office, food in the gym (!), food in the swimming baths... in France this is much, much less so. Gas stations sell gas and only gas. Cinemas are places you go to see a movie, not places you go to shovel nachos and popcorn in while you happen to be in front of a movie. Food is served in food service places, nowhere else. People stop and sit down to a planned lunch then they go back to work where it is almost entirely devoid of food. The vending machine market in France is growing but still virtually non-existent compared to the UK. I've never seen someone eat on a bus in France, not ever. Not to mention they simply will not tolerate bad food just to make it cheaper, even the grottiest of truckstops has a proper sit-down meal cooked on the premises and eaten with metal cutlery, but that cultural thing of keeping food in restaurants and cafes and grocery stores and not letting it spill over into every place we ever go is huge.

theox
07-01-2011, 03:25 AM
^Bump.

This is a really interesting thread. I think you really hit the nail on the head regarding revenue and foodish substances, RoseRodent.

I live in Southeast. Good produce can be gotten in-season from orchards, farmer's markets and roadside stands. Upscale grocery stores and "healthy" stores like EarthFare usually have decent stuff too, although it can be expensive. Some people keep vegetable gardens, of course, so those can be good sources of produce. Most grocery stores don't have a good selection of fresh produce and the selection at Wal-Mart just tends to be depressing.

Sidewalks are relatively rare here, too. I live near the center of the largest city in the state, so I'm good here. I actually picked my current neighborhood because it allows me to walk to work, class, the closest of the grocery stores I frequent, the pharmacy, the gym - almost everywhere I go on a regular basis. I think it's one of the most walkable places in the city (and all I have to do for it is pay my rent and put up with the drunk undergrads who frequent the area ;)). When I lived at the coast only the tourist area had sidewalks. My hometown only has sidewalks for a few blocks in the more commercial areas and in the mill villages and other older, still intact neighborhoods. I can't walk from my parents' house to anywhere - everything's either too unsafe or too far away. City planning here often doesn't seem to account for the needs of pedestrians (or the fact that long, narrow roads through areas zoned for commerce will, almost inevitably, lead to serious traffic congestion and pollution). A lot of towns have historic squares or pedestrian-friendly downtown (or just "town" ;)) areas, but it seems like most of them are either so small that there's nowhere to go, or were allowed to move from rural straight to urban (or what passes for urban here) without consideration for the health of the community or the sustainability of the city's design. Cycling is a possibility, but isn't very popular and is (IMO) usually more risky than it's worth. That said, there are organic farms and proponents of the slow food movement. There are cyclists and advocates of sidewalks and bike lanes. These people are bringing about change, and it seems like more people are getting interested every year. Progress is being made, albeit slowly.

This state has so much historical baggage and so many problems it needs to address. There's not much that fresh vegetables and sidewalks can do about the former, but I do think that better city planning and using the government and non-profit groups as tools to improve the food choices available to people and give people knowledge about how to live better could help decrease the economic and creative poverty that affect so many people here.

tuende
07-01-2011, 01:43 PM
This is so interesting to hear all of the regional differences! We all feel horrible about having gotten so fat, but look at what we are surrounded with! Look at what food our culture has started to look at as "normal"! I feel like I've got it pretty good living in Seattle. We have the big chains (Whole Foods, TJ's), food coops, farmer's markets, everything you could want.

A few of you have talked about living abroad (outside the US). I noticed such a huge difference in the "food culture" when I lived in Nairobi. Seriously, the only people who were overweight (they were very rare) were the rich people who could afford to buy processed/fast food. Anything processed, any kind of fast food was SO expensive there- we didn't have a ton on money, so we'd eat the local food that was cheap (and delicious). This included a lot of beans, sukuma wiki (like kale), ugali (cooked maize meal) and occasionally meat. Also, my Kenyan brother-in-law would not stand for "silly mzungu suffs" (mzungu=white person). To put it into perspective, I could go to a small restaurant and buy a huge meal of beans, sukuma, cabbage, chapati (kind of like tortillas) and chai for about the same amount I could spend on a small candy bar or a sugary juice. It was normal to eat real food, abnormal to eat processed garbage. It's terrifying that this is becoming so rare in the world as US fast food/processed food spreads around the world.

gsb126
07-01-2011, 04:00 PM
I'm in the Austin, Texas area, headquarters of Whole Foods. I'm very fortunate that I can purchase healthy stuff, and it's definitely promoted here.

My mom is from Alabama, and I grew up on everything fried in bacon grease. There was also either potatoes or rice at every meal, and gravy, also made with bacon grease. She even added a bit of bacon grease to cooked vegetables. Much to her dismay, I've never been much of a gravy fan. The first change I had to make when I got out on my own was to use canola oil for frying. Second change was to quit frying! That didn't happen until about 2 years ago. :D Takes time to change a lifetime of bad habits.