How a healthy attitude toward food makes us healthier

Food glorious food. Food is innately communal. It has the ability to bring many different cultures together, to share each other’s ethic cuisine, and gather round the dining table of the world in a daily ritual. National dishes are consumed with the pride and history of that country, whose ingredients used are reflective of ancestral struggles and ingenuity. For instance, Northern Brazilian dishes such as Feijoada stems from a history of subjugated slaves who were denied the more refined meats, and so they were forced to be creative to use the right amount of spices and cooking method to make the tougher parts (such as Pig tail, ear, nose) magically delicious. Certain types of food are healthy and others not. In many countries, obesity has ballooned (pun intended) to become a serious issue that has led to many calls for policy changes. These include measures such as a ban on sugary drinks or additional taxes on any foods deemed unhealthy. This is supposed to reduce the damage obesity causes, in rising mortality rates or strains on the health care system. While the culprit for this can be unhealthy eating choices and easy access to junk foods, the root of the issue stems in a cultural attitude toward eating.

The diet business is a million dollar industry, fueled by people’s hopes that there is a magic bullet for weight loss. The fact is that most diets fail and could have the opposite effect. Either the dieter ditches the regimen after a few days, has sneaky nibbles here and there, or altogether relapses after they shed the weight – gaining double months after. An often destructive pattern develops with the dieter, who thinks only in calories and their regimen, whereby they binge unhealthily the weekend before their ‘diet’ is supposed to start. Once their diet has begun, if they eat minimally or exercise, they use this as justification for ‘treating themselves’ to fattening foods. Even diet coke drinkers usually consume greater calories a day because they have adopted a mindset that they can enjoy that slice of cake guilt free since they have saved 150 calories drinking diet soda. The paradox is that the cake is 600 calories that they would have skipped if they did not make this false reasoning.

Keeping fit and healthy requires a lifestyle change and a shift in the individual’s mindset. It is often said that those in Europe, particularly the French and Italians, remain slender despite their enjoyment of food – even very fattening foods such as pastries and pastas. Of course, genetics may explain why certain groups are predisposed for certain weight ranges and body types. Further, there are credible arguments that trace the switch from wheat to corn as a staple ingredient in the food industry products as contributing hormones into people’s diets and hence making them bigger. Specifically, with the American food industry, there are stories of children reaching premature puberty because of increased hormone levels in the foods they eat. However, attitude toward food is essential. The tendency of Europeans or those in other parts of the world is to eat naturally produced food, with a smaller portion in comparison to those in the US, and savour what is eaten. Rather than gobble a huge chunk of cake in a take out box, a Parisian is likely to sit with a friend at a side walk café and slowly enjoy a sliver of cake with coffee. Properly sized meals are eaten with healthy ingredient at regular set times daily. This was famous documented in Mireille Guiliano’s book ‘French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating For Pleasure’. However, the Japanese population has an even healthier mindset toward food and in fact is deemed the slenderest nation. The Japanese diet primarily consists of lean meat or fish, rice, sushi, and green tea instead of sugary soda. The non-obese mentality in Europe or Japan is also reflected in their clothing industry, with smaller sizes than in places like the US, and so becoming obese becomes a major inconvenience trying to shop for larger sizes. There are greater challenges to becoming obese for the European or Japanese rather than an accommodating culture that usually has XXL sizes available when shopping. This creates a great motivator, more than a sugar tax or ban, to watch your diet and weight.

While it is important for schools to teach children about nutrition, much of their lifestyle and attitude toward food begins in the home. A child can learn that it is important to eat their greens and limit sugar, yet if their parents feed them a junk food take out meal that is what they become accustomed to eating until they can independently buy their own meals. And by this time, perhaps the late teens, these eating practices are very well ingrained in their minds and bodies. A great way to appreciate food is to start watching cooking programs that show all the ingredients going into a dish. Learning about food in this way nurtures a greater mindset in thinking about what is being put into the body and its effect. For the foodie, there are also several mobile apps to browse recipes and even games. For example, foodies will likely enjoy online casino sites that contain many food themed slot games to savour. Slots casino such as Microgaming’s ‘Belissimo’ gives players a taste of Italy, Blueprint’s ‘El Jackpotto’ a taste of Mexico, Yggdrasil’s ‘Penguin City’ for Asian cuisine, and SunFox Game’s ‘3 Blind Mice’ a charcuterie board of cheese and meats. If that does not satisfy your hunger, the generous portion of chances for rewards of real money is sure to. The slot game are structured mostly as 5 reels, 3-4 wager rows, paylines, and numerous unique features. These slots are completely mobile formatted, allowing for gameplay during lunchbreak while holding a sandwich.

Eat to live or live to eat are not the best ways to approach food, and the solution lies somewhere in between. Meals should be enjoyable, and a healthy balance needs to be established. Those who continually worry about every bite they take are missing out on the experience of food just as much as those who mindlessly shove in their mouth huge forkfuls of junk meals. So do as the famous French phrase apparently coined by Marie Antoinette says ‘Let them eat cake’, but only a little slice a day.

29 thoughts on “How a healthy attitude toward food makes us healthier”

  1. It is often said that those in Europe, particularly the French and Italians, remain slender despite their enjoyment of food

    Perhaps I visited a different part of France this year then

  2. @Rob.

    Commercials on French TV/Radio for food and drink, or even supermarkets finish with one or more of these exhortations (translated): avoid snacking; avoid fatty, sugary, salty foods; watch how much you are drinking; exercise more.

    I am told the pester-campaign is the same in the Netherlands. So this notion it is just a British problem is not so. The EU’s fingerprints are all over the war on food. How better to control the masses than control what they may eat?

    And there are plenty of fat people of all ages mooching around in France – Germans have been fat since before ‘obesity’ became an ishoo, even more serious problem than climate change. (Gasp!)

    The notion that the French eat ‘sensibly’ is dispelled after a few visits to a supermarket looking at what people have in their trolleys.

  3. The absence of food certainly doesn’t improve long term health. Otherwise, normal bollocks.
    However, I can assure you, feijoada – even when cooked by a genuine descendent of those subjugated slaves – can get fucking tedious. Or maybe I’m nor subjugating my slave correctly. Any hints?

  4. Not long ago you were complaining that Google was ‘censoring’ you. Not surprising when despite advice from several commentators here you persist in carrying on with these link placements. You are selling your credit as a source of genuine content to advertise “online casino sites”.

  5. I believe that Tim is trying to uprank this sie by way of writing a piece with many links to ‘reliable’ sources.
    (Reliable in this case equating to left wing twats of which Google approves)

  6. “The notion that the French eat ‘sensibly’ is dispelled after a few visits to a supermarket looking at what people have in their trolleys.”

    In France it’s usually their frickin’ dogs.

  7. Dennis, He Who Is Unpublished

    Tim, have you been letting Newmania write articles again?

    That’s a bit harsh.

    All the above post lacks it a bit of the Worstall sarcastic bite…

    Whereas Newmania lacks intellectual rigor, grammar, syntax and basic punctuation.

  8. Dennis, Man of Substance and Girth

    After a particularly annoying nag from the wife about my consistently panda bear-ish shape, I drove her by a local cemetery and asked her to point out which were the fat ones.

  9. Dennis, He Who Has Sensitivity Out The Blow Hole

    They don’t call me Mr. Romance for nothing, you know.

    And by they, I mean nobody.

  10. In the meantime, on another universe, a review of the latest Bill Bryson Book, on the Daily Mail of last Friday, notes that 5 out of 6 smokers do not die of cancer.

    That I think is more important news.

  11. @ Jollygreenman
    Doubtless someone will tell us that the other causes from which they die are due to smoking – forty years ago we were told that smoking increases the risk of heart attacks (although it reduces obesity which is a major cause of heart attacks).

  12. Even those numbers can’t be trusted, Jollygreen.

    The United States of America says:

    ‘Exposure to secondhand smoke causes an estimated 41,000 deaths each year among adults in the United States:1

    Secondhand smoke causes 7,333 annual deaths from lung cancer.1
    Secondhand smoke causes 33,951 annual deaths from heart disease.1’

    Stupid liars. Secondhand smoke kills no one.

    The government can’t be trusted.

    ‘Overall mortality among both male and female smokers in the United States is about three times higher than that among similar people who never smoked.1’

    Don’t smoke and you will live for fvcking ever.

    Mortality amongst Americans is 100%. We’re all gonna die (!) in spite of what our government tells us.

  13. “Stupid liars. Secondhand smoke kills no one.”
    It may not be killing me, but it is certainly a negative impact on my quality of life. I’ve had multiple nasal and throat polyps removed such as my surgeon tells me he’s not see in a non-smoker. I spent my childhood in a household with two heavy smokers. The stench of smokers on buses forces me to get off at the next stop to avoid throwing up.

  14. that 5 out of 6 smokers do not die of cancer

    Maybe so. My old man didn’t die of cancer either but his later years were blighted by emphysema and strokes caused by his smoking.

  15. No disrespect MC but while the lung trouble might well be valid strokes are not. My Mam never smoked or drank her entire life but she is still just as dead as those that did. She also died from strokes–that had nothing to do with cigs.

    Gamecock–the “Overall mortality” bit is a gambit to pass a subconscious message that you will live forever if you don’t smoke. A cheap cheesy ploy.

    Old time insurance co’s used to have the slogan “Death–and Life Insurance is the answer” trying to put over the same message–get insurance =live forever. Rationally we know its nonsense but it might just have some impact in the emotional and non-rational unconscious mind.

  16. Nice try with the pathos, jgh, but get real. If you’re the same generation of most of us, there’s a good chance you grew up with an open fire in the house. Cigarette smoking would have been trivial compared with the shite those used to eject into the household air. Or a kitchen stove burning the old, coal derived, town gas. When I was a nipper the London smogs were so thick you lost sight of your feet. By rights my entire generation should have died in its early 40s.
    You got a woman about the house? She got the usual female fetish for candles? You ever put a cold plate over the flame of a candle? The amount of evil carcinogenic particulates those buggers pump out dwarfs a packet of Marlboro tipped. But the very same people have hysterics over second hand cigarette smoke will fill their houses with scented candles & incense sticks. And don’t even go there on barbecues or chip fryers.

  17. @ dearieme
    There are several ways of which the two most common are
    1. fatty deposits clogging up the arteries so that an attempt by the heart to pump blood faster is 90% blocked when the blood cannot flow fast enough through the restricted tube and the heart has a seizure
    2. the excessive weight puts too much of a strain on the heart muscles especially when running uphill or walking up a steep flight of steps so the effort strains a small part of the muscle the first time, then a bigger part the second time as the heart muscle has already been reduced to, say, 97% and progressively worse until it fails to function
    Minor ways include the disinclination to take exercise because it feels tiring so the muscles (including the heart muscles) gradually atrophy through disuse or under-use so when the obese person tries to perform a task that he/she/xe previously considered feasible like running to catch a train the muscle fails because it is no longer big and strong enough.
    Thrombosis due to fatty deposits blocking arteries is a serious worry in long-haul air transport, hence there is now a major business in selling pressure “hose” to middle-aged and elderly passengers. [“hose” includes stockings and long socks]

  18. Dear Mr Worstall

    TL;DR*

    No food is unhealthy.

    No food is unhealthy is unhealthiest of all.

    DP

    * had to look it up a while back. First time I’ve used it. Yay!

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