In July, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that Mexico is now the world’s most obese nation, just edging out the United States. Obesity is a problem around the world; global rates have doubled since 1980 (FAO). This increase in obesity has been attributed to the widespread availability of low-cost, low-nutrient foods that are high in fat, sugar, salt, and calories. The food and health problems that are debilitating America, unfortunately, are also debilitating many other nations.
I recently returned from France and Belgium and my favorite international activity is visiting local groceries, markets, and farms. I love to learn about other cultures’ cuisines. While passing through a Parisian street market selling fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses, and fresh baked breads, I realized that Europeans shop in a very different manner than Americans. Most whom I observed shopped for a day or two days’ worth of groceries, but no more, at the local farm stand, butcher, and baker. This way of living suggests a healthier lifestyle; fresh food is always served and fewer processed foods make it to the table. So simple! If each of us consumes more fresh foods, especially more fruits and vegetables, we should naturally see a decrease in health problems associated with processed foods. Bon appétit!