Why are Europeans not as fat as Americans are when Europeans eat white bread, pasta, and butter all the time?
I worked in Europe for a while, and I learned so much from observing how people eat there. It’s like night and day. They eat real, whole food. I fell in love with Irish yogurt. The first time I tasted it, it was so fresh and creamy, unlike American yogurt, which has that weird aftertaste from all the artificial ingredients in it. No low-fat, low-cal, low-carb types. And the size of the container was a perfect portion.
Portion sizes were so much smaller than ours. A typical American meal from a restaurant could easily make 2–3 meals over there. Rarely did I see people walking around with food in their hands, shoveling it in their mouths as they walked. Meals are an experience. Dinner could easily take 2–3 hours to finish. People savored their food. Put their forks down between bites and seemed a lot more relaxed, which I’m sure helps with digestion.
Where I worked, everyone walked more. Petrol is so expensive over there that more people chose to walk or take the transit to get around. People often shop to buy fresh ingredients for their meals daily. Fresh bread meats are produced. There are far fewer fast food places over there than here.
Fitness was viewed differently. It seemed like most people kept themselves active throughout the day instead of hitting the gym. At the hotel I stayed in, I was shocked to hear there wasn’t a fitness room. I asked where I could buy a protein bar when I first got there, and the concierge had no clue what protein bars even were.
I didn’t notice a lot of snacking, especially at the workplace. No one kept bowls of candy at their desks. I didn’t see any junk food in the break room. When there were treats, it was usually fresh fruit or macrons from the local bakery. I think the difference in portion sizes is the biggest difference between cultures. All you can eat is rare over there.