The World Health Organization’s prediction for the explosion of obesity into the year 2030 puts Ireland at the top of the obesity epidemic charts. Why? Largely due to the adoption of the obese-fueling Western diet America knows so well.
As obesity rates soar throughout the world, there are a few clear culprits catching the eyes of experts and the general public. Among the most ominous of these is the fact that the West has pushed highly palatable, but toxic and genetically engineered foods on the rest of the world. These products are created to be cheap and marketable (by force if necessary). And unfortunately, this ‘food’ doesn’t contain much nutrition for developing and developed nations.
Aside from these foods being engineered to become like crack in a package, that is, highly processed, extremely convenient ‘stuff’ put in a plastic wrapper to be consumed to satiate, food companies spend billions to take a popular product created for an American market, and send it all over the world. Coca-Cola isn’t the only company that has made rotting teeth and a bulging waist-line the norm in countries as diverse as India, Mexico, and China, as well as Europe.
As an example, the WHO’s presentation on obesity presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Prague, Czech Republic during May 2001 revealed figures for Ireland that will huge implications for the seriously financially-squeezed Irish health system.
Here is what is expected if some serious changes aren’t made to the food system:
- For women in the Irish Republic, obesity rates will soar from 23% to 57%.
- The proportion of obese Irish men is expected to increase from 26% to 48%.
- The figure for those either overweight or obese rises from 74% to 89%.
What is causing these spikes? As mentioned, the Western diet. The Western diet is usually comprised of ‘high intakes of red meat, sugary desserts, high-fat foods, and refined grains. It also typically contains high-fat dairy products, high-sugar drinks, and higher intakes of processed meat.’
But even ‘good’ restaurants in Dublin provide very little nutrition on the menus, so even fast food chains can’t be left with all the blame. One Irish writer noticed that at least 80% of the clientele were overweight and about 20% were grossly overweight in a recent restaurant visit.
Are finer dining establishments taking their cues from the US? Some ‘high-end’ fast food chains can have up to 2000 calories or more in a single meal, and many chains use sub-par ingredients instead of locally-sourced, organic fruits and vegetables, or grass-fed, organic, non-GM fed meat.
It’s a good thing there are alternatives to this mayhem. Amy’s Kitchen has started a vegetarian drive-through, and many cities are serving up fresh-grown food grown right on site in organic and community gardens. Even luxury hotels are getting in on the organic-food craze, growing healthy food on-site.
Chatham Bars Inn, in Cape Cod, Massachusetts bought an organic farm just 15 kilometers away and today supplies its restaurants with fresh produce grown just down the road. The Shanti Maurice in, Mauritius just introduced a new service in their organic vegetable garden, giving guests the chance to eat home-grown produce directly in the hotel’s herb garden.
The west may have started the junk-food revolution, but we also have the power to start an entirely different trend.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.