Today’s blog is dedicated to blog reader, Rose. Rose wanted to know my experience with American culture especially the food. I am more than happy to share:
When I moved to America at 17, I ate very little (which is bad) because I lived in the dorms (cafeteria food at my first college was HORRIBLE),so I will get maybe some grilled cheese sandwich, a handful of grapes and milk. On my way to and from class however, I always bought hot chocolate (similar to milo). I ate a lot of packaged foods like ramen (indomie), crackers, cereal. I ate “healthy” stuff like salad and I drank lots of orange juice. But by the end of my freshman year I had gained a lot of weight.
Nutrition is extremely important because it also affects your mental health. I noticed my thought process was generally negative. I went through depression and even had serious hormonal changes.
So what did I learn and how did I change my relationship with American food?
- I LEARNED
I learned what kind of foods my body needs. Foods that I may not like but are good for my body. I learned that in America orange juice has a lot of sugar and just because it’s a “fruit juice”, doesn’t mean you can drink all of it in one sitting. I also learned that just because the front of the carton says ‘orange juice’ or because it looks like orange juice, doesn’t mean it is orange juice. Unless the nutritional label on the back says 100% juice, most orange juices are flavoring and water mixed with TONS of sugar. I learned not to take any food (really anything) for face value. Unfortunately in America you can’t trust what you see, you have to do some further digging ( e.g reading food labels).
Left: freshman 2009/2010. Right: December 2016
By reading food labels I also realized that most cereals have their second ingredient as sugar. You may say what is wrong with that? Well, the first 3-5 ingredients show what the food is primarily made out of. If the second ingredient is sugar, why will I want to eat that? that’s like chewing sugar!
Secondly, the lies. So they may advertise something and say “it has 0 sugar” while it may not say the words ‘sugar’ on the nutritional label, It may say glucose. Anything ending in “-ose” is a form of sugar. Be careful!
A salad may or may not be healthy. A healthy salad depends on the type of vegetables used and things added to it like salad dressing. Iceberg lettuce is the cheapest kind of lettuce used to make salads found in fast food restaurants. What you need to understand is that iceberg lettuce has very little nutrients, it is mostly water. It is like chewing water. My advice for a good salad is to start with either romaine lettuce, spinach or fresh kale. You also want to be careful pouring a lot of salad dressing on your salad. While salad dressing can give flavor to your salad, it can also be unhealthy. Check the ingredients and use in moderation.
Don’t let me even get started on the Hormones in the food!
To be continued next week… please let me know if you found this helpful!!