Sunday, May 23, 2010

Me No Smile :(

I had a conversation the other day with one of my Russian students. After five months he remains at the elementary level and his is English is still rudimentary. In spite of that, he expressed dismay about gaining 17 pounds during his stay in the United States. He claims to be eating the same kinds of food - fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, etc. and stays away from processed foods and fast food restaurants. He goes to the gym every day for two to three hours. In other words he has not changed his habits at all since leaving Russian last January and yet he has gained weight. He blames it on the food he buys in the local supermarket.



Victor, a tall hunk of a man, loves to prepare all sorts of Russian specialties. He recently cooked a meat dish for a special occasion, exactly the same method of preparation as in his native country. His words to me were, "In Russia I make meat, very smile. In America I make meat, me no smile. Same way cook, same kind meat. In Russia, smell good. In American, no smell good. No good meat."


Something here does not jive. How can one person eat the same food, do the same exercise and not gain weight in one country and gain in another? Being curious, and wanting to find some clues to Victor's weight gain, I began searching for possibilities. The most glaring difference is that Russia is GMO free (genetically modified organism), whereas Americans are unknowingly consuming large quantities of genetically altered food. I haven't come across any correlation between weight gain and GMO but what I have found is worth passing on to you.

I was totally unaware of how prevalent the consumption of genetically altered food is in the U.S., while many other countries have banned these foods as unsafe. I'd like to share this Non-GMO Shopper's Guide with you. Of course, being intelligent people we decide for ourselves what information to accept and what to reject. But, honestly, I plan on a major overhaul of my diet.

I'd love to know what you think. Read over this shopping guide and perhaps you'd like to visit the Center for Food Safety website or Greenpeace for more information. My eyes have been opened and I am concerned, how about you?

18 comments:

Jules - Big Girl Bombshell said...

OH Thank u I will be checking these out more. I was just reading somewhere yesterday that even the Fast Food restaurants in other countries have less calories and less fat then the same ones in the US

CinciMom11 said...

Poor Victor! I can't imagine how frustrating that must be! Thank you so much for sharing this! I'm checking out the shopping guide now.

I love your posts! You are a very thoughtful writer, and you choose great topics!

Bobbie's Babbles said...

I'm really curious as to why he is gaining weight. Meanwhile, I read the list of GMO and non GMO foods and am a bit nervous. Will continue to do some research on my own.

Friend of the Bear said...

Hi Ellen. With regard to the meat - probably production methods are very different in Russia and the US. Eg the amounts of medication, vaccines, supplements that animals receive. Also the type of feed they eat and conditions they are kept in.

Different feed in particular will have a huge impact on the levels of fat in the meat and the type of fats - eg more or less omega 3.

Hormones and various other chemicals given to animals will also affect weight gain in humans.

I'm not a big meat eater myself - and virtually never beef - so I'm not hugely concerned with this personally. But if it were a major part of my diet then I would want to know what my meat had been eating during its lifetime.

One of the safest meats is probably lamb because it is usually out in the fields eating grass. As it should be.
(But I don't know if this is the case in the US of course.)

Animals which are not roaming freely are much more likely to have excess fat on their body (just like us).

Also keeping animals in stressful conditions means their bodies are releasing stress chemicals all their lives - and we all know how ill we feel under those conditions, and how that can manifest as physical illness for us. So it's no wonder the meat is not so great.

Treating animals badly to get the most "meat" for the smallest amount of money can never be a positive thing for them or us.

Bearfriend xx

Aylilth said...

Thats kinds scary when you think about. What could the cause be.

Linda Pressman said...

What a horrible gift to have given Victor! And how difficult to be learning a new language with a different alphabet, living in a different culture, and gaining weight!

Mad Woman said...

I have to agree with Victor about how frustrating it is. Actually one of the first things I noticed when I moved down here to NZ from Canada was how different the same foods were. The meat, the fruit, the veggies...all the same name, but totally different taste and smell. And I've lost weight.

Thanks for sharing those links.

Patsy said...

Thank you for sharing this - it's something I feel very strongly about.

Although the GMO-sponsored agencies try to discredit organic foods, there's really nothing better, IMHO!

Hopefully there'll come a time when good quality food that hasn't come about by dubious means is offered at an affordable price to those who want/need it.

Emilia said...

That's such a shame, it must be so confusing for him. One more reason to eat organic (not that we really need more reasons to anymore :S )!

FOODalogue said...

Another interesting post and food (pardon the pun) for thought.

♥ Kenz ♥ said...

Hmmm, interesting thoughts...

CrowNology said...

Great Post.
I haven't eaten meat for years...Poultry since New Years Day...And I do feel healthier for it. I still eat things that are GMO and I need to address that too. Thanks I will delve further into this...
I assume here in Canada it is the same as you...
xo
Andrea

Kathleen said...

This is so very interesting, something I have never thought about before. I am having a tough time trying to lose, with my back and leg pain, it is hard and painful to move. I start PT next week, and am anxious to see just what I can do.
Hugs, Kathleen

Melinda said...

I have never seen this list before so thanks for sharing. Also, I'd never considered GMO foods to have an influence on weight. Very interesting and merits further research.

Genie @ Diet of 51 said...

Ellen! That is totally fascinating and frightening. I'm printing the list and posting it on the bulletin board in my pantry.

Poor Victor, indeed! It's enough having to learn our language and culture, without having to put up with bad meat and a dismaying weight gain.

It's wonderful that you're helping him. Definitely something for him to smile about!

M said...

I completely agree. The country I'm originally from has sweeter fruits and veggies. The fish and meat are better too. All due to no growth hormones.

Nona said...

Sigh!!! And to imagine Hersey just took over British Cadbury!!!

Europeans have been fighting to keep GM food out for a long time but American corporations are persistent and they are starting to creep in.

Maybe Victor is gaining weight because of some yet unknown side affect of GM foods. After all do we really know how they chy f*** with your hormones in a way that increase fat growth. Who knows yet!!!

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