I just have to say that after living in Europe, I feel really sorry for Americans (and for the food I will have to go home to). European food is so much tastier and healthier.
In Germany (and throughout Europe) we have basically the same food. Boxes of packaged food, freezers of frozen food, sugary sweets and salty snacks. But what’s the difference? The food here tastes better AND it’s not loaded with near as much junk. Sure there are some things that include glucose syrup and some preservatives, but they ban genetically modified foods, dangerous artificial colors and flavors and most grocery items include less than ten ingredients. And surprise surprise, all big name American food companies sell their stuff in the store here- only it’s reformulated to be more natural and does not include all the preservatives, artificial colors, flavors and most importantly GMOs. How did we let these giant corporations sneak into our grocery stores and fill the shelves with science rather than food?
Apparently it IS possible to make processed food that has less than 30 ingredients. For example, pick up any loaf of bread or frozen rolls in your grocery store (or the worst offender- tortillas) and look at the ingredient list. Then take a look at these refrigerator/freezer rolls that sell for around 1 euro a bag. Bake for 15-20 minutes and they come out crusty on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. So yummy and look at that, only a handful of ingredients.
|Ingredients: Flour, water, sourdough, yeast, rye flour, salt, sugar, barley malt extract and gluten|
Europeans eat full fat butter, delicious crème fraîche, white bread, chocolate, the best ice cream, cheese and yogurt on earth, and yet it’s very rare to see an obese European. I’ve seen one since we’ve been here (I never saw any on my three previous visits to Europe). Perhaps a stocky or stout person now and again, but obesity, type two diabetes and other diet related diseases aren’t as prevalent here as they are in the States.
I eat way more processed food and white bread than I ever have before simply because the ingredients are so much more natural and fresh than I can ever get back home (and I cannot get over the crunch of fresh bakery bread). They do still use pesticides on produce however the most dangerous chemicals used in the U.S. are banned here. There is a tiny organic store in our city and a few stores carry “bio” products (organic) however the selection is tiny and produce is not very appealing. So unfortunately we aren’t able to buy much organic produce but it is still a heck of a lot better than the choices at home. The grocery stores here don’t even refrigerate ANY of their produce, so you know it didn’t travel far to get there- and it looks so much fresher than the produce in American grocery stores. Also, there are farmers markets everywhere.
Every village has at least one bakery, ours is right across the street from the school so Ethan can stop by on his way home to pick us up fresh rolls. They have donuts (berliner’s) and some cookies and such, but the sweets here are not sweet compared to what we’re used to. They just don’t saturate things in sugar here. The donuts are basically white rolls filled with real jam and sprinkled with powdered sugar. It’s quite refreshing because you can actually taste what you’re eating rather than just binging on sugar and when I make sweets with half the sugar or using whole wheat, my boys gobble them up because they’re not used to super sweet treats.
We also have a meat truck that comes through our neighborhood twice a week selling fresh meats of all kinds. I rarely buy any meat from the commissary since it’s all USDA approved. I try to only buy local meats. Of course I can’t guarantee they are fresher or “organic”, but I think it’s pretty darn close.
Produce and dairy is pretty inexpensive here and my husband loves Aldi because you can get rolls for 13 cents each. It’s like a vending machine bakery, you push a button and warm crusty rolls pop out. They also have 1 euro jars of jam that he loves. There is no comparison to European yogurt or ice cream, it is so amazing. I refuse to buy any ice cream at the commissary because it’s just so substandard. I love the creamy melt-in-your-mouth ice cream and tangy flavors of gelato. And don’t even get me started on the chocolate!
This is my new favorite indulgence. It has better ingredients than any non-organic snack you’ll find in the states, and tastes heavenly. It is going to be so hard to leave this place!