Well, I tried?

Take a break from the hustle and bustle. Turn off your brain. This is what I told myself yesterday morning…

It was a simple day, a beautiful summery day. A trip to the flea market. A few scoops of fruity gelato. An afternoon nap. Spring cleaning. A parsnip-salsify-red pepper-curry tofu-quinoa creation for dinner.

I broke my (non-religious) Lenten fast. ^Intentionally, with the gelato^. Then I thought about the Belgian waffles I ate in Luxembourg without thinking about the sugar content. And the random snack offered to me at a party that turned out to me exceedingly sweet. Otherwise I’ve been surprisingly successful at avoiding the chosen forbidden items. Amazing how much junk we throw in our mouths when we don’t pay attention…though it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.

Transition to yesterday’s barbecue: I was being rather spy-like, flying under the radar among some Germans I had never met before, when about an hour into the dinner conversation I switched to English while talking about some friends back home. Immediately to my right, a guy exclaimed, Wieso redest du plötzlich auf Englisch?! (Why are you speaking in English all of a sudden?!) and I answered, “Because I’m American!” He replied, Aber du bist nicht dick…(But you’re not fat…). I was a little surprised to hear that come out of his mouth in a clearly only half-joking tone. I was quick to retort with the fact that, compared to other European countries, Germany has the highest number of overweight people. (The United Kingdom has the highest number of obese people…hang on a sec, that’s my English-Scottish-German heritage in a nutshell…damn).

In any case, it made me do a little reading on the obesity rate relative to the United States, and apparently Germany is considered to be at the same level as the American population. Must be all the beer, bread, cheese and sausages…and Döner. Take that, skinny barbecue hater dude!

There is, however, a noticeably higher level of “general health awareness” in everyday German life. Following suit in a classically direct fashion, friends and family let each other know if they’ve put on or lost a few kilos, whereas as far as I can tell, Americans generally avoid commenting on weight unless someone’s lost it. Organic/locally-grown food sources and alternative health practitioners (osteopaths, homeopaths and the like) are to be found even in smaller towns. It probably helps that spring comes sooner here than in Wisconsin, but the number of people exercising in- and outdoors seems consistently higher overall…

Help me out here, all you statesiders! It makes me grimace that fat is still the first thing people think of when they think of Americans — followed closely by ignorant, to be sure, though I could write a nicely sized blogpost about the ignorance of Europeans as well. Do me a favor and just think about every single you put in your mouth for one entire day. Ask where is it coming from, who produced it, how was it produced and how far it was transported before you bought it, and what on earth it actually is that you’re noshing on! Food consciousness. Just for a day. Plz?

And if it’s not too hard, try for two…maybe you’ll do a better job than I did with Lent 😉

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One thought on “Well, I tried?

  1. That is such an insanely rude comment. Maybe I’ve been living in the US for too long, but honestly… that kind of comment can really not even be excused by German directness/straightforwardness. That’s just plain rude and ignorant.

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