Paula Deen has type 2 diabetes.
I’m shocked. Shocked I say.
But I’m not going to go all Anthony Bourdain on her ass. Let’s face it. She’s not the only person in America who is overweight.
Why is that? Probably because we eat too much of the wrong kinds of food.
Part of the problem is that most Americans don’t value their food as part of a cultural experience. That and we just tend to want more food for less money.
A recent article by Cliff Kuang on Fast Company, an award-winning magazine, crunches the data to show that while Americans don’t eat that many more calories than Europeans, they spend much less for the food they consume.
We don’t eat that much more than Europeans. But their obesity rates stand at 15 percent, while ours are double that, at 34 percent.
. . . Americans only spend 6.9 percent of their income on food. Compare that to a country such as Italy, which has a far lower rate of obesity. Italians eat only 100 fewer calories per day than we do — but they spend more than twice the income on food.
I agree part of the problem is that most Americans don’t value their food as part of a cultural experience. That and we just tend to want more food for less money. Hence the rise of fast food and cheap processed and packaged foods at the grocery store. After all, America invented Hot Pockets, for crying out loud. That’s a meal?
And while it’s obvious that we eat a lot of unhealthy food and cook less fresh, locally sourced meals than other nations, I think even good restaurants offering healthy foods are also part of the obesity problem in this country.
Can we talk portion control for a minute?
When I was a young working gal I loved to go out to restaurants. But I could only afford a glass of wine and an appetizer. Now, I can afford a full meal but I never order one. When dining with Dad or friends we always wind up splitting an entrée. Why?
Have you seen the size of entrées served at some restaurants around town? I mean, take a chicken fried steak. My sister ordered one when she was last here at Armadillo Palace and it was the size of a Volkswagen. And it came with a mountain of mashed potatoes and some greens. Who can eat that much food?
Well, apparently a lot of people can.
But should they?
Luckily, you can split a meal when dining out at most places. The chicken and chips at Blanco’s Bar & Grill, even when split on to two plates, resembles a full entrée for two. Even then it’s really more fried chicken, fries and a boat load of gravy than you probably need. But as an occasional treat it’s very tasty.
Burger King will now deliver that fatty fast food right to your door so you don’t even have to walk those 10 steps to the car to drive to the drive-thru window.
Oh, and here’s a pet peeve. Dear restaurants: Please don’t expect me to pay $3 or $4 just to split an entrée. If that’s the case we’ll just order one for both of us and I’ll put whatever I want on my bread plate.
But kudos to those eateries that offer half portions on the menu. Maria Selma Restaurant offers a lunch portion of the poblano enchiladas that is more than a meal and I love that Giacomo’s Cibo e Vino offers half portions of many of their favorite entrées like the tortelli di bietola and the pollo guido.
And a lot times, even if half portions are not listed on the menu, they’ll serve you one if you ask for it. Can’t handle all the fish and chips at Red Lion Pub? I learned a long time ago that if you ask they will serve you a half portion. And that goes for a lot of Houston restaurants.
And let’s not get started on all-you-can-eat buffets. How many times have you been to Sunday brunch and watched people get back in line two, three, four times? (Wait, was that you I saw doing that this Sunday?) Why is it that we think we need to get as much as we can for what we are paying? Why can’t we just accept that we need to pay a little more for quality food and not stuff ourselves to death?
So I say let’s redo our budgets so that we pay for what we need, not all we can eat whether it’s healthy food or not.
Face it. It all comes down to this: Eat less, move more. Which is why this really scares me. Yep, that’s right. Burger King will now deliver that fatty fast food right to your door so you don’t even have to walk those 10 steps to the car to drive to the drive-thru window.
What the heck is this country coming to?
Oh wait, I know the answer to that. A nation of overweight and unhealthy people. At least with all that fork lifting we’re getting some exercise.