They have… We have

For this week’s post, a more entertaining approach was taken; one that hopefully encourages us to think twice about what we put in our bodies. Please keep in mind that the following comparisons are made in good fun and not to be taken too seriously. Instead, think of it as a kindly reminder that our habits may have gone a little astray.

There is much to learn from other cultures that have had a healthy relationship with food for years. Europe is often a good example but no doubt there are others as well. Just how different are their habits from ours?

They have…


Whether it’s morning or afternoon, these costly machines serve non-stop espresso and espresso based drinks like cappuccinos and lattes, providing Europeans with their daily dose of caffeine.

We have…


Free refills for everyone! Coke, Pepsi, Sprite… you name it. This self-serve fountain machine supplies us caffeine and sugar to no end.

They have…


This flakey piece of heaven might be loaded with butter but a croissant is primarily all-natural goodness, a satisfying way many Europeans start their day. Other than natural sugars in the milk, there is only a small quantity of added sugar, just enough to activate the yeast.

We have…


This sinful monster wreaks havoc on your insulin levels. These eye-popping donuts send signals straight to your brain and later to your fat cells, saying “this guy wants to store some fat”; not to mention the hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and processed white flour. DO-NUT make these a habit!

They have…


Gelato is typically made with milk (some with water) which differs from cream based North American ice cream. With less sugar and up to four and a half times less fat, Gelato is the healthier version of ice cream. Try it and you will be pleasantly surprised how the fruit and berry flavours hit your palate.

We have…


When young and old consumers demand more fat and sugar concentrated flavours, this ice cream delivers. A ½ cup contains 22 grams of carbs (18 from sugar), and 9 grams total fat (6 saturated). You better not even think of finishing this tub in one sitting. At least put it back in the freezer for after your next meal.

They have…


This latte is actually on the larger side of most coffees served in Italy or France, while many opt for an itsy bitsy cup of espresso. If the espresso beans are delicately roasted, ground on the spot to the perfect consistency, nicely dosed, carefully groomed, tamped with the correct amount of pressure, evenly extracted under just the right temperature (using ice-cold filtered water), then crema-laden espresso will ooze out from your portafilter rewarding you with a sweet slightly acidic espresso, to which there is no need to add any sugar or milk. How’s that for getting your caffeine fix with virtually no extra calories?

We have…


Sure, we North Americans think we have a little slice of Italy now that Starbucks has taken over. However, there is something disturbing about the fact we can’t say no when they offer to smother our coffee with a mountain of wiped cream. If you order it hot, it’s up to 20 oz’s, but if you opt for a cold drink, surprise, you can have a whopping 30 oz cardboard goblet. This is great for you moms, because when you are done with it, your kids can cut out a door and windows and play house.

They have…


Wine is the perfect accompaniment to your meal. Swish your wonderfully aged wine of choice around your tongue coating your palette. You taste a bouquet of undergrowth, cherry pit and soft spices. The mouth, graced with ripe red fruit and woody notes, features great freshness and solid tannins. It can go perfectly with duck and mushroom ravioli or thyme rack of lamb.* Wine is the lifeblood of Europeans; cut them and they will bleed grape juices.

We have…


What is the beverage of choice to accompany a typical North American meal? It would have to be a soft drink! It’s perfect for cleansing the palate after fried chicken, a greasy hamburger or deep-fried french fries. A 44 oz Super Big Gulp is everyone’s ticket to high blood sugar and lifelong diabetes. Still thirsty? No worries, ask for his big brother the Double Gulp; he will grace you with a full 64 oz insulin spike. Good to know they also offer discounted refills!

They have…


The veil has been lifted on misconceptions about healthy fats. Finally olive oil is getting the recognition it truly deserves. Should not the fact that Europeans have been using it for thousands of years been a clue that it’s not all that bad for us? If any food could be labelled as a jack-of-all-trades, it would be olive oil. Cook, bake, fry, sprinkle, or pour it on many European inspired dishes to bring out wonderful rich flavours. In their kitchens, the back of restaurants and on their terrace tables, olive oil is a staple.

We have…


That’s right; it’s stocked in our cupboards, sitting in the refrigerator door, and at close reach in many restaurants. Our own jack-of-all-trades is good old Heinz Ketchup. This can be spooned, plopped, hit out from the bottom of an old-school glass bottle, squeezed and squirted onto almost any North American food. Thank goodness they make it in travel size to-go packets, because how would one ever go without. Deep-fried food just wouldn’t taste the same without it!

Depending how you came across this post, you can either submit your own comparisons by way of the “Leave a Response” link at the top of this post or “Submit a Comment” below. Come up with an amusing comparison of your own, and I just might add it to this post.

Help put our unhealthy stereotypes behind us. Eat better starting now!

*Quote provided by SAQ

1. “Espresso Machine” photo provided by Rancilio

2. “Fountain Machine” photo provided by Lancer

3. “Croissant” photo provided by Flickr user: alicehou

4. “Donut” photo provided by Flickr user: simon seljeflot

5. “Gelato” photo provided by Flickr user: su-lin

6. “Rolo Ice Cream” photo provided by Nestlé Canada

7. “Latte” photo provided by Flickr user: Kyle Johnson

8. “Starbucks” photo provided by Cake & Carrots

9. “Wine” photo provided by TripAdvisor

10. “Big Gulp” photo provided by Flickr user: Katrina Lou Samsin

11. “Olive Oil” photo provided by Health

12. “Heinz Ketchup” photo provided by Global Package Gallery


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14 Responses

  1. This is great! It exemplifies why the Mediterranean’s have much lower incidences of heart disease. The red wine has a lot of data behind it for improving cholesterol.

    I am lowering my head to be guilty of some of the American “poisons” (but rarely!)

    • Yeah, it’s funny how many Mediterranean habits build-up, and many of our habits teardown. Even a simple necessity like rest is taken almost religiously… but we almost feel guilty for taking a break, as if it’s a luxury or something.

      As I’m sure you know… the odd American “poison” here and there can’t hurt! 😉 Here is to balance, ciao.

  2. Such a wonderful illustration of how messed up our society is when it comes to food. The word moderation has become lost to our culture. It is truly a sad thing to see.

    • Very true!

      I’m not sure if it’s because our food has gradually changed for the worse, but more and more are finally getting the point. Although at times, it seems too big of a problem to correct. People can’t just assume that their food is safe to eat… I’m not too sure the food industry has our best interests at heart.

      I want to thank you again for your participation on my blog, glad you liked the post. All the best.

  3. Very interesting Stewy… In fact if you go back in history and check what the scholars at Alexandria University ate, you will be surprised. They survived on a handful of pulses, wheat and nuts (almonds & others). It’s just not North America, in India-my home country… this trend of super size eating of junk has already caught on and is reaching it’s peak, people here believe it is stylish to say, “we had dinner at Mc Donald’s” and “had a Can of Coke with my meal”… it’s very unfortunate that they are heading this way. Whereas here in India, the climate supports cultivation of all kinds of vegetables and fruits. We can just hope the “Coke-maniacs” realise before it’s too late.

    • Interesting background information… Thanks also for shedding light on the growing “fad” in India. I’m really enjoying these comments from various backgrounds and nationalities, it definitely adds some diversity to these subjects. Your comments confirm that it is not just a North American problem, but is spreading quickly. I am willing to bet it goes hand and hand with increased media based advertisements. Thanks for your support.

  4. Great post…so true! Traveling to Europe is a real eye opener. They eat smaller portions, have never heard of ‘super sizing’ your food or drink, and just don’t get the idea of overindulgence. We, as Americans, could (and should!) learn from them! 🙂

    • You’re right on the money! Enough said… 😉

  5. you’re brilliant…The pics you added really gave a visual punch to your post 🙂 And when you put it the way you do, the food in Europe is a whole lot more enticing..of course 🙂

    • Oh stop… brilliant? you’re too kind! I’m happy you enjoyed the visuals… after all we are very visual creatures. That post really makes me hungry, especially the croissant! I kept picturing, getting my hands on it and pulling apart those flakey layers… so much love goes into their food! Thanks for reading, Ciao.

  6. Very true comparisons you’ve made today. Exactly what you describe of what “they” have, is exactly true of what we have.
    You will never see anyone here where I live with a donut for breakfast and we don’t have Starbuks here where we are. Our coffee shops do have big cups but you can order the small cup if you choose to.

    • Great to hear you confirm my ideas! Others might argue that it’s a huge generalization… but I can’t help relating what I observe. 😉

  7. Hey, I love this post. I’m from the UK, though my mother is Canadian, and my father is Italian – I always feel like I had the best of cultures to pick from growing up, and a healthy attitude – everything you want, so long as it’s all balanced. You can only imagine how much pasta was a part of our diet . . . Anyway. I love the North American/European comparison. Great work!

    AP.

    • I’m glad you liked the comparisons! I completely agree balance is everything. Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts.

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