cooking healthy vegetable dishes
leek and lettuce on a chopping board

A couple of months ago my niece Jen asked me, how is it that people in other countries seem healthier than people here. She wondered if large food portions, sugary drinks, and lack of walking were to blame.

Indeed USA is ahead of many developed countries in obesity, osteoporosis, cancer, and diabetes. Large servings, liquid calories, and sedentary activities are obvious culprits. In fact as countries like Japan adopt a meat, cheese, soft drink, and car diet, the statistics show rising diabetes and cancer trends similar to here. When Japanese move to this country, in less than one generation, obesity starts to show. The same happens to others who emigrate from primarily plant eating countries.

It is easy to eat more when fast food is cheap and everywhere.

Eating in excess is a big problem. But I hear people caught between the anesthetizing comfort of some foods and the guilt of eating it. They worry, feel powerless, try one diet after another in cycles without end. Does eating present such a dilemma in other countries?

Perhaps the delight of eating good food, which is present in other cultures, protects them from the excess of eating bad food all day and everywhere in this country. We eat, drink, and snack, as we walk or drive, during meetings, at the movies, while shopping, while working, watching TV, and in bed.

Pondering Jen’s question I was amused as I pictured folks trying not to make noise eating out of a bag during Sunday services. Surely that is not about to happen, is it?