Weight Control Lessons from Ireland
Hi there. I just returned from a nutrition conference in Dublin, Ireland. It was my first time to The Emerald Isle and the food was not what I expected. I think when we Americans think of Irish food the stereotypical corned beef and cabbage, hearty stews, and potatoes galore come to mind. But I found a wide variety of fresh, all natural cuisine.
Here are a few photos of some of my meals. The first is mixed vegetables, cooked whole grains and lentils and the second veggies over a roasted red pepper pure topped with crumbled tofu accompanied by a potato. The other pics are from food markets I visited, which carried beautifully displayed produce and whole grains.
The food was terrific and in my 6 days in and around Dublin I saw very few people I would estimate as overweight or obese. When I looked up the stats I found that the rates are quite different. According to the World Health Organization among women 30-100 years old in the United States the estimated prevalence of obesity (a BMI of 30 or more) is 54.8%, compared to 14.6% in Ireland (click here to learn more).
In my short time there I saw some key weight control lessons in action. Probably the most important: eat real food and take your time. I did see some fast food establishments but they weren't busy and everywhere I went the menus included homemade meals. I also learned that the Irish tend to eat three meals a day, which include plenty of veggies, and sit down to dinner meals as a family. I never saw one person eating while walking, talking on a cell phone or driving, and there are some great, active "real food" organizations such as:
GIY – Grow It Yourself – devoted to inspiring people to grow their own food
Slow Food - an organization dedicated to, "…counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people's dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world."
While I'm happy to be back in NYC I'm already missing Ireland. And I'm feeling very inspired to cook dinner from scratch tonight.
What countries have you visited that have helped you see food or our American habits in a new way? Please share your thoughts!