Through the Eyes of a Stranger: Food

I don’t think there is another country on this planet where obesity is as pervasive as in the US. As somebody who moves between different countries on a regular basis, I see the reason for that clearly: the food in the US is bad.

As regular readers of this blog know, I spent this week in Canada. When I’m in Canada, all I do is eat. My mother wants to feed me every dish I missed while being away in the US. My sister wants to show me the new restaurants she discovered. My brother-in-law strives to show his hospitality by feeding me. Friends want to meet and catch up. And where do you go to meet friends at my age? Restaurants, of course.

On my visits to Canada, I also never manage to walk even closely as much as I do in the US. People I know in Canada miss me and want to spend time with me, so I can’t just abandon them to go on my regular daily 2-hour-long walks.

And you know what the result of this week-long eating binge and lack of exercise in Canada is for me? I lost 8 pounds.

This always happens to me whenever I go back to Canada. In the US, I eat a lot less, I don’t buy any processed foods, and cook everything from scratch. I haven’t ordered any take-out in years. I don’t remember what a pizza looks like. I eat fruits, vegetables and supposedly fresh meats and seafood. I don’t even touch milk because I know what a disaster milk is in the US. I don’t eat American bread for the same reason. And I weigh a lot more than I do in other countries. Of course, this has gotten a lot more serious since I moved to the Midwest.

I know that nobody wants to hear this but the truth is that food in this country is disastrously bad. It’s all messed with, doused with pesticides, genetically modified, injected with crap, etc.

Of course, it’s easy to dump on the obese people by labeling them all as lazy, stupid junk food lovers. But doing that does not change reality and does not make the food we eat any less dangerous.

177 thoughts on “Through the Eyes of a Stranger: Food

  1. I’ve a similar story: my sister, who is one of the effortlessly thin people and has never in her life been able to gain any weight whatsoever, gained 8kg when she spent 2 months in the US as an exchange student. And she ate the same things that she does here in Europe, cooked herself, etc. (i.e. no junk food, no take aways, nothing).

    She also brought home a package of colorfull Halloween candy, which noone could eat, because it was way too sweet, it just made us all sick. We threw it away after a few months of lingering in the bowl (for decorative purposes).

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  2. http://www.guelphmercury.com/news/local/article/559315–canadian-consumers-in-dark-about-genetically-modified-food

    From the article: “Canada is a leading international producer of genetically modified food. Today, nearly 70 per cent of the foods Canadians eat have genetically modified components.”

    Also, in the end, isn’t it about calories? I don’t understand how one can gain weight on a caloric deficit and lose weight on a caloric surplus. I’d be grateful if someone could explain that to me. Something’s missing.

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    1. May I recommend reading some of the fine works of Dr. Arya Sharma of the Canadian Obesity Network? He nicely sums up the flaws of the “calories in, calories out” myth quite nicely.
      http://www.drsharma.ca/is-exercise-more-about-calories-in-than-calories-out.html

      I would also point out that the highest rate of obesity occurs in Canada in the province of Alberta, which is the most “Americanized” of the Canadian provinces, in terms of urban planning, lifestyle, and diet. Walking around Calgary or Edmonton at night, it’s basically Dallas with mountains.

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      1. Thanks for the article!

        I don’t think it dispels the calories-in-calories-out ‘myth’ at all. The article focuses on exercise and calories burned during exercises as an inaccurate indicator of weight loss. That makes complete sense. When you exercise, you not only burn calories right there and then, but also increase your general metabolic rate throughout the day, which makes you feel good, so you don’t overeat. So, indirectly, exercise helps more in reducing the in-calories than by increasing the out-calories.

        I get that. But, fundamentally, the article still deals with calories in and calories out. Which also makes sense, because, our body is not a source (or sink) of free energy. In order to lose weight, one must maintain a caloric deficit, either by eating less, or by exercising more, or by meditation/feeling stress-free (which leads to eating less, according to this article), or some combination of these factors.

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    2. When the food is bad, your body has trouble processing and expelling it. Vital organs get damaged.

      I don’t want this thread to turn into a version of the Oprah show where people talk about counting calories. Come on, people, we are smarter than that.

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  3. Read a little more around Dr. Sharma’s website. He’s dealt with other aspects of “calories in, calories out”, and maintains that it is a myth. From another article (http://www.drsharma.ca/eating-more-calories-increases-weight-in-some-people-maybe-sometimes.html):
    “So if the obesity epidemic is not simply due to people becoming obese because they’re eating more and moving less (than thin people), then the solution is probably not in simply having them eat less and move more – which, incidentally, is probably why “eat-less-move-more” (ELMM) so seldom works.”

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    1. The conclusion he comes to just doesn’t follow from his own statements. As he explains earlier in the article, we are *all* eating more and moving less. Thin people (according to him) just get away with it. So although “the obesity epidemic is not simply due to people becoming obese because they’re eating more and moving less (than thin people)” the solution *is* probably in simply having them eat less and move more, again according to his own statements. In other words, some people just can’t handle the increased calories of modern diets. At least that would be what I would conclude from his previous assertions.

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      1. The conclusion is that the “obesity epidemic” (hate that turn of phrase) has many different causes, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to it. Some of the causes include poor urban planning and food deserts, some are greater portions with poorer nutritional value, some are car-centric culture, some are access to healthy foods, some are genetics,some are disabilities, and some are broken healthcare systems which don’t do enough to address mental health as a cause for poor physical health. But one thing that *is* certain about the “obesity epidemic” is that shaming fat people, calling them lazy, stupid, disgusting or worthless, or telling them that it’s their own fault, or promoting dangerous short-term diets and exercise plans has *not* done anything to hinder or stop it.
        I thought that was pretty self-evident from the body of his work, including that essay.

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      2. Who is shaming anyone? Everyone is eating more and exercising less, and some people can get away with it. Others can’t. No shaming there.

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  4. Okay Clarissa then how do you explain the huge difference in obesity rates on the coasts? Or the thin people even in flyover country? Are you buying from small farmers and getting organic produce and eggs? There have been some studies about HFCS leading to increasing weight, and low carb diets leading to weight loss with a similar calorie intake; but there seems to be a lot of hyperbole and generalizations based on anecdotes flying around here and a real resistance to other explanations. You are probably less stressed when visiting friends and family- stress packs on pounds also. btw China is a huge producer and consumer of genetically modified foods. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-02/12/content_9465789.htm

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    1. Isabel, it makes no sense to try to psychoanalyze people you’ve never met. Visiting my relatives is very stressful for me, let’s just leave it at that. In my life here in the US, I’m not stressed at all.

      We don’t have “organic” stores in this area. Did I mention I live in Southern Illinois?

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      1. Okay, but not to beat a dead horse, you were generalizing to the entire US. You know how sensitive I am about that. 🙂

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  5. Do you think all the heat and a/c in Central Time makes a difference? On coasts and in other countries there is less of this.

    I still think it’s the hormones and additives, the non local stuff, etc. I also think stress has a whole lot to do with it and I think reactions to it are very individual.

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  6. Americans don’t even know what real food looks like. If you don’t believe me then watch this video.

    That being said there are places where you can get good food if you know where to go. When I was in Beaumont, Texas, the restaurants served processed crap but if you drove to Sabine Pass on the coast then you could get really good freshly caught seafood at an inexpensive price.

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    1. “Americans don’t even know what real food looks like.If you don’t believe me then watch this video.” I still don’t believe your generalization. I work with elementary school kids also, discussing food and plants. I’ve never known a child who thought a tomato was a potato. I’m pretty sure this is not on the east or west coast, for starters, which is no small distinction considering that that is where the bulk of the population lives. People in the US tend to mock mid-westerners for this very reason, although the situation looks even more dire judging by this video. But it is a highly edited promo piece for a highly edited TV show also, remember. Kids who gave the right answer would have been edited out. Don’t believe everything you see on TV. There are many long time programs already in place here (such as Alice Walker’s pioneering work in the schools) and school vegetable gardens are increasingly popular. But complaining in a stereotypical fashion is always fun! 🙂

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      1. Yes. But at the grocery store most of the college age checkout personnel don’t know what the fruits and vegetables are, and many college kids have never eaten anything fresh due to cost. Others are very concerned about cleanliness of anything fresh or not factory produced. Believe it or not this is true … in central time!!!

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      2. Well then, I would be a little more specific about where you are talking about! It certainly sounds bizarre to me, and I have lived a number of places on both coasts, and worked with kids on both coasts. It certainly sounds like a serious health issue.

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    2. This reminds me of shows where they interview people on the street and ask them general knowledge questions, and then edit the video to keep the most ridiculous answers.

      This is a TV show edited to provoke exactly this reaction. You, of course, did not disappoint and fell for it. Citing it as ‘proof’ that americans don’t know anything about ‘real food’ is, well, laughable.

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  7. The quality of food in Australia used to be very bad indeed. I’m talking about the early eighties, which combined the idea that anything artificial and mass produced was good, along with standard British fare in terms of what was eaten. The result was greasy, salty and bland.

    I must say, I was very surprised the first time I saw fast food outlets. As I had never seen such buildings before and didn’t know what they were for, I found them to be extremely ugly. They stood out from the mass of other buildings by being bright red or yellow, a violent assault on one’s aesthetic taste.

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    1. Well, the fully organic, fully local outlets are only open a couple of hours a week, during the day, in the next town over, and I work. I’m in a CSA deal but they don’t have everything, and some organic things are available in some stores but prices are really, really high, so I have a mix of organic, semi organic, and non organic produce / other items. These things are not as expensive in all parts of the country, but they are here. I do spend as much as I can on groceries and don’t use processed foods, but I just can’t be 100% organic and also cover my other expenses. I apologize.

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  8. Z and NG:I also call bullshit. Even in the Midwest, there are farmer’s markets, co-ops and *gasp* gardens, plus, you know, those evil grocery stores. There’s just no way that a kid could never have seen or eaten a fresh vegetable. (Unless they were chained in a basement in darkest suburbia or a ghetto.) Heck, our farmers markets even accept EBT or whatever the hell the gov is calling it now. So, yeah, Americans eat veggies. Oh, and sometimes the clerks have to ask ‘what is that?’ because some veggies look like other veggies, and some are just strange.
    I’ve heard British food is awful, but the worst food I’ve ever heard of is lutefisk, which is all sorts of nasty. Lye just can’t be good for people.

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    1. Honestly, political, I am just basing this on what my college students tell me, and to what they *tell* me about what I buy as they check me out at the grocery store. Yes, there’s CSA, organic coops, and at the regular stores fruit and vegetables from Chile, California and elsewhere, but not everybody eats these things – you have to be part of that culture. People *are right* that it is a lot more expensive to eat fresh food, and even more expensive to eat high quality fresh food. It is a lot cheaper to do that in California – whenever I visit my parents I am amazed at the low prices on good quality food. Here, on the other hand, I had a housesitter who lived on chicken, but it couldn’t be fresh chicken – had to be frozen chicken fingers, or it was too “real,” he said. I find it shocking too, but yes, these kids are from suburbia and from ghettos, and in the latter there isn’t fresh produce *available.* I’m sorry.

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  9. On our recent visit to Florida, we struggled to find pesticide-free fruits & vegetables and organic meat. We went to a number of supermarkets where the organic section was limited to a couple of sad looking tomatoes. We drove around day after day, asking people where we could buy fresh and organic food, all in vain. Finally we found a health food store, but I must say the prices were outrageous.

    Despite hot & humid weather, as well as lots of walking and swimming, we both ended up gaining weight. And if this was in Florida, I am hardly surprised that it is even tougher to eat healthy in the mid West.

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    1. One dozen cage and antibiotic free eggs here is under $3 a dozen, but actually organic ones were $5.95 and $6.25 in the store when I checked last week. This is just one example.

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      1. Exactly. I only buy produce and fresh meats and my grocery bill is outrageous as it is. We have farmer’s market in summer and I love it. But I can’t afford to buy only from there. I just can’t. And I’m comfortable financially right now. The absolute majority of Americans have a smaller income than we do. Often, they also have children, which makes money even tighter.

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  10. Isabel, Clarissa is in Illinois and I am in Lousiana and neither of us has ever hidden those facts. The United States is an extremely varied country. I am from coastal California where things are very different. I am sorry about it, but it’s not a situation I created.

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    1. Clarissa said “the food in the *US* is bad” and NG said “*Americans* don’t even know what real food looks like. ” When I disagreed you argued back but didn’t mention anything about any particular locations. 🙂

      Also, I have relatives in rural central Florida, whose closest neighbors are poor African-americans (my relatives have little money also and have struggled with unemployment issues). They get produce, eggs and organic goats milk and cheese from a Menonite farm and have many fruit trees on their land. They are not fat…

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      1. That’s where we went wrong! We should have looked for the Menonite farm and their fruit trees while on vacation. 🙂

        My husband went on a business trip to the mid West recently and told me that the best meal he had all week was at Subways… Altoughly hardly exciting, it was the only place where he managed to find something that was not deep fried, drowned in greesy sauce or distorted in another similar fashion. But Isabel, I get it now! He should have grown a window garden in his hotel window or gone looking for a farm after his 14-hour work day. Silly him!

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    1. I was referring to the research on the website being discussed above, where I left this comment. It is practically a quote, so complain to him.

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  11. Isabel :

    Okay, but not to beat a dead horse, you were generalizing to the entire US. You know how sensitive I am about that. :)

    I lived on the East Coast, too. For many years. I don’t remember any organic stores in New Haven within walking distance. In any case, on a graduate student’s stipend they would not have been possible to patronize.

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    1. I eat well on a grad student’s stipend. Every situation is different. But if you want to say that the food is terrible in the US, and I can see that you *really* want to say this, then go ahead. It’s your blog. Obviously I have no idea what I am talking about.

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  12. I think much of the problem with a conversation like this is that health is seen to be roughly equivalent to morality, even when it isn’t. I’m not so sure why this is such an age-old trope, this rough equivocation. Even in Marechera’s writing, he notes that impoverished abodes reeked of disease — a sure indication, at the level of a random observer’s visceral awareness, that evil and wrong-doing were afoot.

    This way of thinking makes it almost impossible to separate out facts relating to material existence from facts relating to morality. People really seem driven to make weight loss into a directly moral issue, rather than seeing it in material terms. Or, they can sometimes go completely in the opposite direction as if to insist that there need be no ethical consideration involved as to what people consume. That is wrong, too. The manufacturers and others are responsible for putting the poor quality stuff on the market. This is a broad ethical issue that ought to be addressed as such.

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  13. “The manufacturers and others are responsible for putting the poor quality stuff on the market.”

    Yes. And in a lot of places, this is the only stuff available, or available at anything like an accessible price. Sure, organic goat cheese is made not far from my house, but the price. Yes, I could have 100% organic food at a decent price but to gather it up I would need a housewife who would burn a lot of gasoline getting it all together.

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  14. Giving up a single inexpensive article of clothing, restaurant meal or other night out, bottle of alcohol, or other small sacrifice per month will completely make up the difference. Or perhaps some political action in your area is warranted? Organizing a co-op? Growing some of your own food? Have you tried any of these things? Like educating yourself about which products should be purchased organic, and when it isn’t necessary? How will things change if you don’t? Suddenly everyone seems to agree that blaming outside forces is the way to go. I gave that up long ago.

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    1. Well that’s the thing right there. It’s not about apportioning moral blame or about avoiding moral blame (the two sides of the Western duality, often represented by right and left respectively). It ought to be about ethics.

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    2. Great point, Isabel. I don’t think that eating only organic food can keep you healthy.

      The state of fastfood and pre-made food in american is dismal, and that’s because of corn subsidies, the powerful food lobby, etc. Also, vegetables are not caloric dense so you need to eat a lot of them to fulfill your caloric requirements, which is not cheap. That’s why obesity is correlated with poverty in america; with an extremely limited budget you have no choice but to eat cheap fast food.

      To say that one will remain unhealthy by consuming regular grocery vegetables and fruit is quite an exaggeration.

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      1. Ai. Hyperbole for dramatic effect, didn’t you get it?
        There *is* a big difference between the industrialized
        version of this stuff and others.

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    3. Well Isabel, I’m 50, have always eaten well, am already educated about what’s important to eat organically and what isn’t, don’t have health problems, am not fat, hate gardening, don’t have a housewife, am part of a CSA scheme, work up to 100 hours at my regular job and my political work the last 20 years is around the prison industrial complex not food volunteering, etc., etc. etc.

      I apologize. I have food I am satisfied with and I have other priorities for political work and life. Again, I see how important this is to you and I am sorry. But I don’t understand why you are so self righteous about food, why you assume such ignorance on the part of others, or why you like so many other current people claim that looking at sources of problems is “blame.”

      Differences in food prices and the cost of eating high quality food is *much* higher here than the cost of “one inexpensive item of clothing” and remember, you have to burn a lot of fuel to drive out to the farms etc.

      My point (and this is where Stringer disagrees) is that there *are* great differences between industrial style produce/dairy/etc. and more organic/local/etc. – and this is not an original point. My related points are that it’s a particularly big issue for the poor/those without own transportation, and even for those who aren’t poor but are busy – in places where farmer’s markets have odd hours and are far away.

      Stringer seems to be concerned about losing weight, but I don’t have weight problems and I am more interested in food quality. I can show you the price differences here if you visit – high quality food is just not accessible to the degree that it is in, say, California.

      I apologize for it, I guess – you seem not to want to believe such things could be true; but I have lived in this state 22 years and I am very familiar with it, have really investigated, know every option there is; I am very familiar with the rural and semi-rural Midwest as well.

      The reason we can’t have more farmer’s markets and more hours at them is sparse population. Believe me, people work on this. Sellers have to consider time spent selling which is time away from growing, etc., etc., and so the organic sellers have the hours they have. Again, I am really sorry we haven’t been able to work up to your standards yet, but I am betting people have been working on it longer and harder than you have been alive; and your belligerent and condescending tone is disgusting.

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      1. I don’t think I have much to add after this comment.

        All I can say is that this discussion and the one on pharmaceutical companies peddling their junk through really disgusting methods made me realize that people are very emotionally attached to huge corporations and veritably see and hear no evil when it comes to their actions.

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      2. “Differences in food prices and the cost of eating high quality food is *much* higher here than”

        Which is where? The entire US? It’s a big country.

        “high quality food is just not accessible to the degree that it is in, say, California. ”

        Which is where? Oh, right, in the US!

        And do you think that happened magically? Not because of the activism and hard work of real people? I am not denying the problems you talk about and never did anywhere in this thread. I said that they are not the same everywhere in the US, they are changing dramatically in recent years in many places, yes in small towns as well, and people are becoming enlightened everywhere except the places you complain about and that you claim represent the entire country, full-stop. It is irritating how it immediately became another US bashing thread, how the people “there” are so ignorant they don’t know what a tomato is.

        “at them is sparse population.”

        Right, but it represents the entire US population. And you can’t grow food, why? More helplessness I guess. Your helpless tone is disgusting, as is the hyperbolic tone of the OP. I mean, what about Trader Joes? learning to garden? As has been pointed in previous threads, a square meter, even a window box can go really far.

        You have no idea how much know about this subject.

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        1. “And you can’t grow food, why? More helplessness I guess.”

          -I also can’t build airplanes, repair roads, drill my own teeth, assemble computers, build houses, etc. This isn’t called helplessness. This is called the division of labor, which is one of the greatest inventions of humanity.

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  15. I don’t think that people are emotionally attached to corporations, but a lot of people do benefit from their existence. It’s nice to have a grocery store that is *open* when the co-ops close or the farmer’s markets shut down for the season, and a savvy shopper can often find fruits and vegetables on sale. It’s nice not to be crippled by depression or spend half the day staring out the window and missing important things because you’re lost in a daydream. Oops, I forgot, depression and ADD must be things I made up, according to the commentariat.

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  16. No argument there about on average poor food quality in the U.S.. Better quality food is more expensive. One way to economize is to buy in-season produce and skip exotics. Another way, one followed by my family when we lived in the country in a house with a well-insulated and relatively deep basement (aka “storm cellar”), was to stock winter vegetables, roots, apples in the 50 degree basement

    Mexico is rapidly reaching U.S. levels of obesity and exceeds U.S. levels of diabetes. Part of the Mexican phenomenon is that the genetic sensitivity to diabetes is distributed widely among the population. Part of the Mexican phenomenon is the spotty quality of water and the very wide availability of cane sugar-containing sodas, leading to use of soda as the default beverage. (OK, what do I know, I am just repeating basic epidemiology. I haven’t been to Mexico myself.)

    The U.S. population is by and large quite sedentary.

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  17. In Israel we have a fruit & vegetable shop near and a market with the same fruits & vegetables. Imo they should be (and near my home probably are) not much worse, if at all, than from so called organic shops. Definitely good enough for me. Telling people to plant their own garden / vegetables, as Isabel advised, isn’t a solution even for one simple reason that it isn’t feasible on a large scale. In Israel because of huge land costs and water costs, and in US too in many cities there isn’t enough land and probably not the best climate. Besides, even with land nearby, people have few free time as it is with children, 9 to 5 jobs 5 days a week, etc. They work in specialized jobs, which aren’t in agriculture and shouldn’t be expected to take this agricultural job in addition. Also, human society left the stage of most people working on land. F.e. in Israel

    More than half of the land area is desert, and the climate and lack of water resources do not favor of farming. Only 20% of the land area is naturally arable. Today agriculture represents 2.5% of total GDP and 3.6% of exports. While agricultural workers make up only 3.7% of the work force, Israel produces 95% of its own food requirements, supplementing this with imports of grain, oil seeds, meat, coffee, cocoa and sugar

    See this “only 3.7% of the work force”? And it’s not only enough to feed all Israeli citizens, but to export too. I see having a vegetable plot (“ogorod” in Russian) as something developed nations’ve left behind. We should look to future, not try to return to past, in our search for solutions. Thus I can’t see “Growing some of your own food” as one, but developing ways to mass produce better food is a good idea. Organic costs too much and, as I’ve read, there isn’t enough land to feed everybody organic anyway.

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    1. I agree that the “solution” to grow one’s own food makes no sense. Most people are not gifted agriculturally, have no land of their own and no energy to develop a second career in food growing.

      What next? If the electricity company stops doing its job the way it should, we will start discussing how everybody should build their own power generator? Customers are entitled to demand good service for their money. That won’t happen, though, until people stop convincing themselves that the food in the US is acceptable. The junk that is being sold to us right now in supermarkets is horrible. It’s bad, it’s dangerous to our health. The adult thing to do here is not to waste time driving around in search of farms or leave a fortune at “organic” stores. It’s to wake up and start pressuring businesses to stop selling us garbage.

      It’s shocking to me that Americans, of all people, have forgotten how to fight for consumer rights. This entire thread (with a few exceptions) could have been written by Soviet people. And that makes me sad.

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      1. “The adult thing to do here is not to waste time driving around in search of farms or leave a fortune at “organic” stores. It’s to wake up and start pressuring businesses to stop selling us garbage.”

        So what are YOU going to do about it, Clarissa? You seem to be only complaining. And denying the incredible changes that have occured over the last few decades because people HAVE stood up to agribusiness. And you will certainly go to your grave before the entire system is changed. Your attitude on this thread is intriguingly opposite your usual attitude. You should get around more. The midwest is not the US. Growing your own food is no “gift”, a child could do it, and it is only one source to supplement; you have a Trader Joes where you will save dramatically on staples so that you can purchase a few organics, but still, you see no way out. Very sad.

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        1. I’m trying to raise awareness on the issue by discussing it on my popular blog.

          As for how easy it is to grow food, I’m sure tons of things that I find super easy will be next to impossible for you. And vice versa. What’s the point of telling people how you easy you find something they obviously don’t?

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      2. “I’m trying to raise awareness on the issue by discussing it on my popular blog. ”

        So how does this hyperbolic, simplistic, condescending and ultra-generalised whining post that completely ignores all the activism and dramatic change that already exists, in fact declares it non-existent, going to lead to anything? Sounds like delusions of grandeur to me. Yes, that’s going to help. So what now, protests? By who exactly? No one here has time.

        People *are* protesting and making changes already in numerous and creative ways all over the country. This post will accomplish nothing, but it was fun for all the posters who love to complain about the stupid Americans. Meanwhile, I will continue to enjoy my excellent, hard earned, tasty and nutritious diet. 🙂

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        1. And for the second time I see people react with completely unwarranted aggression to the subject of food.

          Obviously, I have no interest in engaging in a discussion conducted in this tone.

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    2. Haha, yeah, all the problems in world re food will be solved on a mass scale. No potential problems there. There’s your answer. Thanks for all the enlightenment, US population experts and bashers. Let me guess, over 50% of the Israeli population even know what a tomato is, lol.

      Nobody said you could grow *all* your food, that is ridiculous. It cuts costs. There is not “one” magic solution. And I don’t think I am the one emotionally attached to their ideas on this thread!

      Yeah, I’m so attached to corporations, haha.

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      1. I don’t want to grow anything, to be honest. Even my cactus died a horrible, painful death. This is why I pay to have others perform this service for me. As a paying customer, I have the right to complain about the quality of the product I receive.

        If I start doing my job horribly, will people suggest to my students that they should stop being helpless and just go teach themselves?

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      2. //Let me guess, over 50% of the Israeli population even know what a tomato is, lol.

        I haven’t understood your point well, but as an Israeli citizen wanted to say that Israel is a very small country, unlike US, and I believe with no (big, at least) food deserts.

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  18. “Obviously, I have no interest in engaging in a discussion conducted in this tone.”

    Yes, you prefer condescension. “Hey Americans you may not have noticed it but your food sucks! Thankfully I am here to tell you lazy people, who have forgotten that political action even exists! Now do something about it please, and do not contradict one word I say on this matter! Additives in your produce are making you gain 8 lbs a week, no action or changes are occurring already, and anyone who claims otherwise supports agribusiness(?!), and that’s that!” is a *much more* positive and less hostile tone.

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      1. Actually they are practically direct quotes from this thread. I guess you agree about their outlandishness though.

        And where has there been one word of acknowledgment from you that anyone else might have a point? You know, like people who have lived here their whole lives and to whom these are familiar issues? And who are aware of dramatic changes that have already transpired, and who have been part of those changes? You just keep repeating yourself and your unsubstantiated idea that it is all about additives, and that a little pressure on agribusiness to not add these additives will fix the situation. If you understood the problem, and listened to other people you would understand why that will not happen, definitely not in your lifetime, and that there are many, many other things you can do, and that millions of Americans are already doing (some of which indirectly put pressure on agribusiness).

        Like

        1. “Actually they are practically direct quotes from this thread. I guess you agree about their outlandishness though.”

          – No, Isabel, these are not quotes from anybody. These are statements you made up in order to feel outraged. Nobody here (except you) said anything even remotely similar. If ypu can’t address what was actually said and need to resort to inventing words for your opponents, this show that your position is extremely weak.

          ‘You just keep repeating yourself and your unsubstantiated idea that it is all about additives”

          -What is “it” in this sentence?

          “and that a little pressure on agribusiness to not add these additives will fix the situation”

          -Surely, you must realize that I never said anything of the kind, right?

          ” that there are many, many other things you can do, and that millions of Americans are already doing ”

          -If those other things include growing vegetables in a window box, this has been discussed at length already. People in other countries somehow manage to avoid growing tomatoes at home. Why is it that Americans have to be the only people to have to do that on top of working full-time?

          Like

  19. At lunch I was complaining about how chicken was shockingly expensive at WholeFoods (since I usually buy beef, and I assumed chicken would be cheaper than beef.) And so my co workers were telling me about a great special the regular supermarket had on chicken… Oh, sorry, no thanks, that’s not the kind of chicken I want?

    Like

  20. Isabel :
    You just keep repeating yourself and your unsubstantiated idea that it is all about additives, and that a little pressure on agribusiness to not add these additives will fix the situation. If you understood the problem, and listened to other people you would understand why that will not happen, definitely not in your lifetime, and that there are many, many other things you can do, and that millions of Americans are already doing (some of which indirectly put pressure on agribusiness).

    That’s another weird idea that Westerners seem to have in general — that if someone notices a problem then, automatically, that same person thinks that others can easily fix the problem.

    Maybe some problems are hard to fix?

    Like

  21. bloggerclarissa :
    And for the second time I see people react with completely unwarranted aggression to the subject of food.
    Obviously, I have no interest in engaging in a discussion conducted in this tone.

    It seems you ignored “all the activism and dramatic change that already exists”.

    My interpretation of this interpretation: “Even though Americans seem to be immoral and blind to their own faults, they are actually repenting and trying to account for their sins — and it is very cruel of you not to notice this repentance and to give it credit.”

    Like

    1. Hahaha. Wow.

      How did you get “cruel” from pointlessly rude and ineffective? Who is even talking about morality except you? Or faults of “Americans”?

      “Maybe some problems are hard to fix?”

      This is exactly what I have been saying!! Jeez! You cannot just rise up and complain to agribusiness; to attack this problem, that Americans are well aware of and have been for ages, takes a multi-faceted approach that involves taking some responsibility. And not just expecting technology to deliver pure untainted food to your doorstep. That is not how agribusiness works. Plus, the agricultural lobby is HUGE. It is the totally illogical subsidies that are granted by the government, despite all kinds of demands and pressure from citizens, that cause much of this problem.

      Wow, where do you people get all this shit?

      Like

      1. Isabel, could you please forego all the hahahas and endless wows? They add nothing to the discussion and have gotten extremely boring. I have no idea what this most recent comment of yours even means. Who wants food delivered to their doorstep? What does technology have to do with this magical food delivery? Have we moved to discussing teleportation in this thread? Who should take responsibility for what? Who suggested that anybody “rise up and complain to agribusiness” (except you, once again)?

        Who are you arguing with and what is the point you are trying to make?

        Like

      2. You have stated that you do not want to drive all over finding healthy food, nor grow it yourself, nor make any sacrifices to pay more for healthier alternatives. You want to raise awareness by insisting that people will gain weight because of “additives” and have stated that you are disappointed in Americans. Yet you refuse to concede that you are not the first person to notice these things.

        I am positive that if the situation were reversed, and a fairly new American resident made sweeping proclamations on a blog about the country they were living in based on the small region they lived in, on a topic that knew nothing about, and declared that they were disappointed in the citizens of the country who they said were not behaving as adults; and then stubbornly ignored all arguments to the contrary, they would be seen as Ugly Americans and their behavior dismissed as boorish and ignorant. (which would be correct, just as it is when it happens here).

        You said:

        “The adult thing to do here is not to waste time driving around in search of farms or leave a fortune at “organic” stores. It’s to wake up and start pressuring businesses to stop selling us garbage.It’s shocking to me that Americans, of all people, have forgotten how to fight for consumer rights. ”

        This is ignorant. But it is controversial! What fun! The psychoanalysis that should be going on by those here who insist on psychoanalyzing, should be focused on the intense jealousy non-Americans have toward Americans, and the subsequent enjoyment derived from constant criticisms of Americans.

        Of course Americans are victimized by agribusiness! This is common knowledge, Clarissa, especially in circles that read blogs. They know this and are fighting for their consumer rights, and have been for decades over this issue, which you are completely ignorant about except for some hocus pocus you dredged up on the internet about additives. Sure hormones are not cool-and look at all the hormone free products now available! Food is just not able to be produced cheaply. Did you know that people in Europe pay a much higher percentage of their income for food? Which is as it should be. HFCS might lead to weight gain, and again, this is a direct result of the corn subsidies, that are also responsible for driving small farmers out of business. People have been fighting these subsidies for decades also.

        See, we know about this stuff, Clarissa! Consumers have transformed the food industry already, in multiple directions, with much work needed to be done. With no thanks to you, and believe me, your blog will have little effect on the situation.

        Like

  22. Isabel :
    Hahaha. Wow.
    How did you get “cruel” from pointlessly rude and ineffective? Who is even talking about morality except you? Or faults of “Americans”?
    “Maybe some problems are hard to fix?”
    This is exactly what I have been saying!! Jeez! You cannot just rise up and complain to agribusiness; to attack this problem, that Americans are well aware of and have been for ages, takes a multi-faceted approach that involves taking some responsibility. And not just expecting technology to deliver pure untainted food to your doorstep. That is not how agribusiness works. Plus, the agricultural lobby is HUGE. It is the totally illogical subsidies that are granted by the government, despite all kinds of demands and pressure from citizens, that cause much of this problem.
    Wow, where do you people get all this shit?

    Ok, “pointlessly rude and ineffective” it is. My mistake. Mea Culpa.

    Like

  23. OK so summing up:

    1. Clarissa says food in US is bad.
    2. Stringer says industrialized produce isn’t more fattening than organic produce.
    3. Isabel says if you think the food is bad, grow your own, stop “blaming.”
    4. NancyP points out that now with NAFTA, Mexican obesity rate is approaching US rate and diabetes rate exceeds it.

    I add: NancyP’s point strengthens Clarissa’s original one.

    Like

  24. Isabel :
    “Differences in food prices and the cost of eating high quality food is *much* higher here than”
    Which is where? The entire US? It’s a big country.
    “high quality food is just not accessible to the degree that it is in, say, California. ”
    Which is where? Oh, right, in the US!
    And do you think that happened magically? Not because of the activism and hard work of real people? I am not denying the problems you talk about and never did anywhere in this thread. I said that they are not the same everywhere in the US, they are changing dramatically in recent years in many places, yes in small towns as well, and people are becoming enlightened everywhere except the places you complain about and that you claim represent the entire country, full-stop. It is irritating how it immediately became another US bashing thread, how the people “there” are so ignorant they don’t know what a tomato is.
    “at them is sparse population.”
    Right, but it represents the entire US population. And you can’t grow food, why? More helplessness I guess. Your helpless tone is disgusting, as is the hyperbolic tone of the OP. I mean, what about Trader Joes? learning to garden? As has been pointed in previous threads, a square meter, even a window box can go really far.
    You have no idea how much know about this subject.

    Huge parts of the country don’t have easy access to high quality food. Including many in urban and suburban parts of your beloved coasts. It’s just a fact. I, have access to more than most and all I need – I’m not sure where you got the “helplessness” idea. And, you call Trader Joe’s quality food / non corporate / fresh / etc.??? You’ve got to be kidding – that stuff is (a) processed and (b) stale !!!

    Like

    1. I don’t buy produce there, but many of the products are excellent, and way cheaper than Whole Foods. I did not say t was non-corporate or fresh- I even said on the other thread that I don’t buy their fresh products. Please don’t put words in my mouth. I use a multifaceted approach. Not everything needs to be organic-it matters little for most foods. I buy organic almonds at trader joes. Also rice, cheese and wine and dried fruit with no preservatives. Honestly, this conversation is retarded. Go ahead and suffer, complain but don’t do anything about it because it is too hard. I am healthy and well-fed, and have also done my part to promote greenbelts and community gardens in inner cities and development of school gardens.

      “Huge parts of the country don’t have easy access to high quality food. Including many in urban and suburban parts of your beloved coasts.”

      My beloved posts? Whatever. Yeah, I have never heard of that shit Z! Thanks for enlightening me! I mean, I totally thought everyone in the country had easy access to cheap nutritious food!! Okay now I will go back to worshiping agribusiness and growing my own (gee, which is it??)

      Like

  25. Isabel :

    This is ignorant. But it is controversial! What fun! The psychoanalysis that should be going on by those here who insist on psychoanalyzing, should be focused on the intense jealousy non-Americans have toward Americans, and the subsequent enjoyment derived from constant criticisms of Americans.

    There was one misogynist Internet troll who insisted on labeling me as someone who was jealous of Americans, namely because I found the misogynist trollery that originated from US addresses to be immature.

    It seems a common myth that any criticism that any random person in America receives is down to jealousy. This seems a convenient way of avoiding having to address the content of the criticism by attacking the character of the non-American who makes discomforting observations.

    Like

    1. “It seems a common myth that any criticism that any random person in America receives is down to jealousy.”

      Are you even reading my posts? Having to address the content raised? Did you get that it is well known “content” and has been addressed for decades? And I don’t think any random person was mentioned- Americans *as a group* were criticized on this thread a number of times. I don’t think any specific people were criticized. And being forced to eat unhealthy food and not doing enough about it for your liking is now being compared to being a misogynist internet troll?

      Like

  26. Isabel :

    You have stated that you do not want to drive all over finding healthy food,

    From the very first statement of this long comment, you begin transforming what I actually said into something completely different. Please try to find what I did say about driving. Hint: the word “want” does not apply.

    It is impossible to have a reasonable discussion when ever the simplest statements I make get perverted to the point of becoming unrecognizable.

    Like

    1. Your husband drives, you said. Nice way to dismiss my comment by picking apart a small detail. Anyway, don’t worry; someone will grow up and protest; big business will reform under citizen pressure, and help will soon be on its way!

      Like

      1. But I never said that I don’t want to drive, right? And I also never said that anybody can gain 8 pounds in a week. And Z never talked of your beloved posts. And nobody suggested that food should be delivered to one’s doorstep. Nobody says they want “help to be on its way” either.

        All of these things were invented by you in this thread. And these are not small details. You turn every statement around until it sounds completely weird and then get rightfully appalled by it.

        Like

      2. Okay, you supposedly LOST 8 lbs in a week in Canada, and your sister and you *both gained* weight during a vacation in Florida. “posts” was a typo as you know….and so on.

        Funny how sensitive you are about valid criticisms about immigrants on your blog, but you feel very comfortable making sweeping generalizations about Americans, even on subjects about which you are completely ignorant, such as Americans’ activism regarding agribusiness.

        No I’m not emotional, I enjoy a good argument from time to time, and this is a subject that irritates me- to have to always listen to shit that would be unacceptable for me to reciprocate.

        Like

        1. Once again, you are not reading carefully. I never went on vacation in Florida with my sister. Her experience is her own and has nothing to do with me since I wasn’t in the same area even approximately when she was there.

          And what valid criticisms about immigrants am I sensitive about? Is there a chance that you read that “sensitivity” as carefully as you did this posts and the subsequent comments?

          Like

    1. It is obvious from the enjoyment everyone gets from piling on “Americans”. You yourself irrationally blamed Americans as a group for their lack of consumer activism with no evidence, and said they were not acting like adults. As no other group can be so openly criticized in this way by completely ignorant people who then cheer each other on, jealousy comes to mind as the only explanation. Do you have another explanation for this asymmetrical situation? I don’t mind the criticism when it is thoughtful; then it is interesting to mull over. But this sort of ignorant piling on has an ugly, almost vengeful flavor and is furthermore completely useless.

      Like

      1. Have you read my posts on Ukrainians? And on Russians? If not, then please do. You will see that what I have to say about my own people is about ten times harsher than what I ever said about Americans. So whom exactly does this asymmetry favor?

        Like

      2. Oh dear. Let me explain asymmetry. Everybody can criticise Americans at any time, for any reason, as ignorantly as they choose, and it is fine and dandy. Americans could never get away with doing the same in another country. Really ever. It would be seen as supremely offensive.

        Like

        1. Gosh, it sounds like you never met any expat Americans. let me tell you, you’d be surprised. 🙂

          It’s normal for people to have opinions about different cultures they get exposed to. Sometimes, those opinions are not complimentary. I’m not about to start some sort of PC censorship on my own blog for fear of annoying the worshippers of political correctness.

          Like

      3. And I’m sure the locals think they are assholes when they pontificate about subjects they know nothing about.

        For the hundredth time, I am not saying that there is not a problem; I am saying we all know this and yes, Americans have fought politically about it and made enormous strides. It is silly to think the answer will come from agribusiness, that ship sailed long ago. It will never happen. Try researching the subject sometime.

        Like

  27. Isabel :

    Honestly, this conversation is retarded. Go ahead and suffer, complain but don’t do anything about it because it is too hard. I am healthy and well-fed, and have also done my part to promote greenbelts and community gardens in inner cities and development of school gardens.

    My beloved posts? Whatever. Yeah, I have never heard of that shit Z! Thanks for enlightening me! I mean, I totally thought everyone in the country had easy access to cheap nutritious food!! Okay now I will go back to worshiping agribusiness and growing my own (gee, which is it??)

    Maybe it’s best to read comments before responding to them, especially if you need to respond in such an unreasonably emotional manner. You keep confusing coasts with posts, weight loss with weight gain, not being able to drive with not wanting to drive, etc., and then offer unwarranted outbursts to things that nobody except you even said.

    Like

  28. Isabel :
    “It seems a common myth that any criticism that any random person in America receives is down to jealousy.”
    Are you even reading my posts? Having to address the content raised? Did you get that it is well known “content” and has been addressed for decades? And I don’t think any random person was mentioned- Americans *as a group* were criticized on this thread a number of times. I don’t think any specific people were criticized. And being forced to eat unhealthy food and not doing enough about it for your liking is now being compared to being a misogynist internet troll?

    I’m saying there is a very reflexive reaction that many Americans have that others are necessarily jealous of them, or else they (the Americans) would be beyond being observed, especially in any negative ways.

    Like

    1. I’d still like to hear what it is that Americans are to be envied for. Surely, it isn’t the high quality of their food. Then what?

      It’s really like the hilarious “they envy us our freedoms” spiel. People always look very perplexed when I ask them, “freedoms from what?”

      Like

        1. I don’t think that looking for the definition of envy is an appropriate topic for this particular thread.

          Once again, there is no asymmetry because things I have been saying about Ukrainians are a lot harsher.

          Like

        1. This is getting very confusing. Of course, I can only discuss what I’m saying on this blog. Whose statements would you like me to discuss? You suggested that I criticize Americans more than I do other groups of people. I just proved that this is not true. What else is there to discuss on this subject?

          Like

    2. Reflexive? It was not my first reaction, but it is certainly true that people seem to delight in criticizing Americans, as if they are not just regular people doing their best from day to day, just like everybody else. As has been discussed before on this blog, people do it right to our faces. So, okay then, what is your explanation for this asymmetrical situation? You seem to be the expert here on psychoanalysis.

      Like

    1. Oh please. It is not about my sensitivity. Give it up already. I was annoyed with the generalization of the midwest to the whole US, the complete refusal to look at all the trends in a positive direction by people who pontificate freely about the US with no knowledge of what they are talking about. It never ends, and if an American ever speaks up against it in irritation, they are attacked. And there was indeed criticism of Americans. Saying they need to be adults, they don’t know what a tomato even is, etc. is certainly criticism. I have encountered this attitude before it annoys me. Funny how bent out of shape Clarissa got when a few people commented (and quite mildly) about immigrants, and now I am being to sensitive. Right.

      Like

  29. That’s where we went wrong! We should have looked for the Menonite farm and their fruit trees while on vacation.

    My husband went on a business trip to the mid West recently and told me that the best meal he had all week was at Subways… Altoughly hardly exciting, it was the only place where he managed to find something that was not deep fried, drowned in greesy sauce or distorted in another similar fashion. But Isabel, I get it now! He should have grown a window garden in his hotel window or gone looking for a farm after his 14-hour work day. Silly him!

    Like

  30. Interesting. Where in the mid-west did he go?

    And. thanks Z, for a perfectly accurate summary of my point. That regular grocery store produce, no matter how inferior, will not make you fat.

    Like

      1. Better than convincing myself that my body is capable of cold fusion. But then my homeopathic doctor told me that basic laws of physics such as conservation of energy do not apply to the human body, at least not in the US, so you may have a point.

        Like

        1. This is probably the weirdest comment I got in a while. What homeopathic doctor? What cold fusion? What laws of physics?

          I had no idea this would turn into such a profoundly painful topic for people.

          Like

  31. We’ve got some old textile mill photos of our family, like this one:

    And those people fried EVERYTHING and ate nasty thick gravy made from pork fat. Every day! They made cakes from PET MILK forgodsake, w/tons of butter and sugar. They drank buttermilk even. Fried meats at virtually every meal, bacon, biscuits slathered in high-calories molasses, everything they tell you makes you fat. Now, LOOK AT THEM. They are thin!

    They busted ass, is why. They worked 6-day weeks, 10-12 hrs a day.

    I think obesity is all about how sedentary we have become, driving, etc. It is unlikely that those folks had cars (“mill village” meant you could walk or bike to work) since they were very poor. That’s also why they fried everything, it ADDED calories cheaply, and they needed those calories.

    But now that we don’t need them, we still like to fry our taters and everything else.

    Like

    1. This is getting too frustrating. Do I need o repeat yet again that I don’t drive? I also don’t have a car and don’t watch television. And I don’t fry anything.

      Will people finally start reading posts they respond to?

      The difference between your relatives and us is that they didn’t eat GM, garbage-injected crap. That’s the real difference.

      Like

      1. Where is the reference that GM foods make you fat? What GM foods are you eating? Why? And I thought you sat around reading and watching movies for research? And all that time blogging….the story keeps changing.

        btw great photo Daisy!

        Like

  32. Stringer Bell :
    Better than convincing myself that my body is capable of cold fusion. But then my homeopathic doctor told me that basic laws of physics such as conservation of energy do not apply to the human body, at least not in the US, so you may have a point.

    If you criticise the quality of food in the US, you must be an airhead who doesn’t believe in basic science? Interesting.

    Like

    1. If you believe you are spending more calories than you’re consuming (i.e. maintaining a caloric deficit) and still gaining weight, you’re essentially arguing against the law of conservation of energy.

      Like

  33. Stringer Bell :
    If you believe you are spending more calories than you’re consuming (i.e. maintaining a caloric deficit) and still gaining weight, you’re essentially arguing against the law of conservation of energy.

    I guess you would be — if human bodies were simple mechanical devices rather than complex, organic systems.

    Like

    1. So complex organic systems do not have to be constrained by laws of physics? I see.

      There’s a difference between ‘complex’ and ‘magical’, you know.

      Like

  34. Stringer Bell :
    So complex organic systems do not have to be constrained by laws of physics? I see.
    There’s a difference between ‘complex’ and ‘magical’, you know.

    I just don’t follow your train of reasoning that something either follows the simple rules of Newtonian physics or it is “magical”. There are all sorts of reasons the body might process calories inefficiently or store calories. Even if the issue of people carrying extra weight could be reduced to the simple principle of energy intake and expenditure, the fact that the human body processes nutrients in complex ways makes the simple equation from physics seem to lose its relevance.

    Like

    1. The law of conservation of energy is not ‘newtonian physics’.

      And yes, either something follows the law of conservation of energy or it is magical. You finally got it right. There is NO in-between.

      Like

  35. ‘There are all sorts of reasons the body might process calories inefficiently or store calories.”

    -Especially if one’s internal organs are compromised by additives in foods or GM products. But it’s useless to try to explain that to the lovers of the Oprah show who have learned to count calories and believe that this is the pinnacle of wisdom about the human body.

    Like

    1. Right. Anyone who doesn’t believe they are fat because of additives or GM products thinks Oprah is the pinnacle of wisdom. LOL!

      Like

  36. bloggerclarissa :
    ‘There are all sorts of reasons the body might process calories inefficiently or store calories.”
    -Especially if one’s internal organs are compromised by additives in foods or GM products. But it’s useless to try to explain that to the lovers of the Oprah show who have learned to count calories and believe that this is the pinnacle of wisdom about the human body.

    Energy in, energy out is a simple formula that even some of the most abject morons can understand. Human biology actually takes many years of study to understand properly.

    Like

    1. I know! This is why it’s being delivered pompously to the consumers of shows for housewives while the viewers nod sagely in agreement.

      I just didn’t expect to engage in this type of discussion on my blog.

      Like

    2. I wouldn’t go that far. Clearly, you and Clarissa don’t understand it and I would never call either of you an abject moron.

      Like

      1. Haha. Where is this evidence that additives and GM foods cause weight gain? I do agree that low carb diets make a difference in calories burned (they work) and HFCS may have a detrimental effect because of the high fructose to gucose ratio – this is still pretty controversial. But Clarissa doesn’t consume anything that contains HFCS of course and she eats meat it sounds like….I guess it is just these mysterious compounds compromising her organs like she says. I will go with that, as the only alternative is to see Oprah as the pinnacle of wisdom!

        Like

  37. “I had no idea this would turn into such a profoundly painful topic for people.”

    For someone who routinely scolds people for trying to psychoanalyze her, it is surprising to see you resort to the same tactics. I’m having a great time arguing against you on this topic and I respectfully ask you not to taint this discussion with baseless assumptions about my psychological state.

    Like

    1. If you think that this statement I made has anything to do with psychoanalysis, you might need to learn more about what it actually is.

      As for tainting the discussion, I think homeopaths and Mennonites have done that already. 🙂

      Like

      1. What is your problem with Mennonites anyway? What is so weird about going to a local organic farm and purchasing basic foodstuffs on a regular basis? Honestly, you are being kind of an asshole about this. You said there was no good food in Florida and I explained how my relatives bought excellent products from a local farm. What exactly is so laughable about that? I wasn’t suggesting it as a global solution, I was countering your assertion about the state of Florida having no edible food.

        Like

        1. Isabel :

          What is your problem with Mennonites anyway? What is so weird about going to a local organic farm and purchasing basic foodstuffs on a regular basis? Honestly, you are being kind of an asshole about this. You said there was no good food in Florida and I explained how my relatives bought excellent products from a local farm. What exactly is so laughable about that? I wasn’t suggesting it as a global solution, I was countering your assertion about the state of Florida having no edible food.

          Isabel, I have been very patient and respectful with you on this thread. You, however, have been throwing around one offensive term after another, even though I did not direct a single offensive term at you in this discussion. Now my patience has run thin. One more outburst like this one and you are out of here. If you can’t participate in a discussion without calling people ignorant, whining, assholes, etc., I don’t need you here.

          Like

      2. Your comments were just as disrespectful so who cares if you ban me. I can’t stand this kind of double standard (again with the double standards!) – what kind of conversation is that? When you are criticized back you make threats. No surprise there. You said the idea of my relatives was buying inexpensive, organic and delicious products from a Mennonite farm, in a state that you insisted had no edible, healthy food, was flaky; and you and your sister proceeded to mock the idea, and now you get all huffy? Face it, this whole thread has been about the fact that you live in the midwest and don’t drive. Which you are blaming on lazy, childish Americans who have forgotten their consumer rights. No, that’s not disrespectful at all. Go ahead and ban me. I don’t respond well to threats anyway.

        Like

  38. Stringer Bell :
    “I had no idea this would turn into such a profoundly painful topic for people.”
    For someone who routinely scolds people for trying to psychoanalyze her, it is surprising to see you resort to the same tactics. I’m having a great time arguing against you on this topic and I respectfully ask you not to taint this discussion with baseless assumptions about my psychological state.

    This is off topic, and I’m not pointing any fingers here. One of the most astounding insights of my life is that people who reason in an over-simplistic either-or fashion (where the representation of any of the positions is not really all that viable) actually don’t have any feeling that their psychological states are messed up at all. Sure, this tactic of arguing was able to make me feel very confused about the contents of my positions in the past, but it did not seem to upset the other person arguing in this way.

    I think this has much to do with the efficacy of infantile projection. One gets rid of a negative emotion quite effectively by projecting it into another. Thereafter, one feels that all the problems of the world lie outside of one, rather than inside. I suspect this leads to perfect peace of mind.

    Like

  39. Stringer Bell :
    I wouldn’t go that far. Clearly, you and Clarissa don’t understand it and I would never call either of you an abject moron.

    My words were intended to critique populist “thinking”. Clearly there are a lot of things I don’t understand. I have learned that much of wisdom involves realizing where the limits of one’s knowledge are, so that one doesn’t overestimate their reach.

    Like

  40. Stringer Bell :
    If you believe you are spending more calories than you’re consuming (i.e. maintaining a caloric deficit) and still gaining weight, you’re essentially arguing against the law of conservation of energy.

    Are there people who believe this? I suspect that many who have a weight problem just feel like their food isn’t really giving them the energy to do what they need to do, so they eat more and more.

    Like

      1. Dieters are people who believe in this pseudo-scientific junk about calories. And all diets always fail, of course. So you can’t have a successful dieter. That’s an oxymoron.

        As we say in my culture, permanent dieters are people who fuck with the scales for the lack of an actual sex partner.

        Like

  41. Stringer Bell :
    I’m sure there are millions of failed dieters who believe this.

    I always get confused talking to Americans, as I’m not sure what their points are. For instance, if I’m trying to understand the link between obesity and population demographic, somehow the issue of failed dieting is entered into the equation.

    Like

    1. You said: “Are there people who believe this? I suspect that many who have a weight problem just feel like their food isn’t really giving them the energy to do what they need to do, so they eat more and more.”

      And then claim that you’re trying to understand the link between population demographic and obesity. How does your above sentence relate to population demographic? Oh, and I’m not American. You must be a generally confused person.

      Like

  42. Stringer Bell :
    You said: “Are there people who believe this? I suspect that many who have a weight problem just feel like their food isn’t really giving them the energy to do what they need to do, so they eat more and more.”
    And then claim that you’re trying to understand the link between population demographic and obesity. How does your above sentence relate to population demographic? Oh, and I’m not American. You must be a generally confused person.

    Sorry, but what you said has confused me.

    Would you explain to me why it is important to raise the fact that many people who have failed at dieting would think in the terms I was using? To be clear, I am inclined to give a certain amount of credence to Clarissa’s views that GM foods do something to the biology, thus making people overweight. My own finessing of these views was that perhaps people felt that the food they were eating wasn’t giving them enough energy, so they had to eat more. The population demographics that would be affected by this kind of feeling would be those that had the highest supply of GM foods.

    So why would it be logical to state that many people who had failed in dieting had this form of reasoning? Have they all been reading Clarissa’s blog?

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    1. Let us retrace this conversation. I originally said: If you believe you are spending more calories than you’re consuming (i.e. maintaining a caloric deficit) and still gaining weight, you’re essentially arguing against the law of conservation of energy.

      After which you asked: Are there people who believe this?

      I replied to that question. Yes, I think there are people who think they are eating fewer calories than they spend, and still gaining weight. I gave the example of failed dieters as a class of people who believe this because they don’t want to feel personally responsible for their diets failing and find it easier to blame something else.

      I have nothing to say about your statement about people feeling they’re not getting enough calories. It’s your opinion and I find no reason to believe or disbelieve it.

      Like

  43. Stringer Bell :
    Let us retrace this conversation. I originally said: If you believe you are spending more calories than you’re consuming (i.e. maintaining a caloric deficit) and still gaining weight, you’re essentially arguing against the law of conservation of energy.
    After which you asked: Are there people who believe this?
    I replied to that question. Yes, I think there are people who think they are eating fewer calories than they spend, and still gaining weight. I gave the example of failed dieters as a class of people who believe this because they don’t want to feel personally responsible for their diets failing and find it easier to blame something else.
    I have nothing to say about your statement about people feeling they’re not getting enough calories. It’s your opinion and I find no reason to believe or disbelieve it.

    Ok, I guess I wasn’t focusing sufficiently on this conversation. I didn’t think anybody would be arguing against the law of the conservation of energy. So, I was surprised that you suggested that there were people who would argue in that way and this was my point. I should have made that much clearer, but I wasn’t very clearly focused, admittedly.

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