Jul 24, 2013

Something in the Water?

I got back from my Romania "roots" trip a little more than a week ago, and I have at least ten ideas circling in my brain currently as to what I will blog about in the near future. The reason for my delay in actually blogging has generally stemmed from my laziness to go through thousands of pictures from my trip to find suitable ones for posting, as well as an overall intensive schedule I am attempting to set for this summer vacation. But really, at the core, basically I have been slacking on this whole blogging thing. My bad!

So this will just be a short post until I actually get some good pictures on my computer and decide to share some interesting thoughts and things about Romania. Right now, however, what's on my mind is something that my family has been pondering about ever since we got back from Romania: why did we not feel sick after eating so much food (we ate so much it's unbelievable), and why didn't any of us gain weight.

I'm am relatively confident that anyone who, in North America, has ever been to a restaurant for more than a few days consecutively probably felt as if their stomach was about to explode (as well as other things.) The "food sweats", I suppose, is an accurate term to describe this. Go out, eat way too much, and then curl up in a ball until the sun rises and our stomach somehow manages to revive itself from the abuse it was just subjected to. That is more or less how I view things, anyway. I am also relatively sure that anyone who proceeded to do this, day in day out for two weeks at any North American restaurant chain, would gain weight. Perhaps not much, but at least some. It is kind of inevitable. The food is simply too loaded with fat, sugar, and carbs for anything else to happen.

And yet after eating out in Romania over two weeks, probably more than we had done in a few good years, nothing actually happened to us that was visible. Sure our cholesterol and blood sugar levels probably increased, but other than that nothing happened that we could tell. We never felt sick after eating out (as we often do here,) and no one gained weight. And the European concept of going on a walk after dinner could not have possibly covered the damage we thought to have been done. We ate a tonne of food, pictures of which I will be adding later because Romanian food is absolutely amazing, and there was only a day or two when we walked until we felt exhausted. Other than that it was a rather lethargic time.

Anyway, I have been puzzled ever since returning home. I know food in Europe generally contains less preservatives than North American food, and is somewhat more "real" (Pepsi for example is made with real sugar and not corn syrup), but could that make such a difference? The food in restaurants does have that "home cooking" feel to it, but would that make eating massive portions every single day for two weeks not have much of an impact? I simply do not have an answer, which is worrying to me.

What kind of "stuff" do they put into food here that is absent from European food? Europe, the place where it sometimes feels as if smoking is a continental sport, and where getting anything less than a liter of beer at a restaurant is unusual, has food that is drastically better for you than in North America? Perhaps it is an overall lowered stress level, or maybe it's the fact Europeans bike and walk more, but I still find the whole situation strange to say the least. What is the difference in our food that makes indulgence here so bad for us, while in Europe it appears to not have much effect at all?

I will be doing more reading on this, and hopefully I find something that explains it. Whatever the reason however, I think the industrialized process that almost all of our food undergoes may be harming us in ways that are not always evident. If anything, this only strengthens my opinion that trying to eat less processed food is a worthwhile goal, and that the whole "farm fresh" attitude I mentioned in my last blog post is definitely the right attitude in moving forward.

- Tom


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