A great article by Cheeseslave discussing the health benefits of raw and fermented foods we rarely find in our modern western diet anymore. Fermented foods (pre-pasteurized) are very healthy for our digestion, and scientists are finding more and more how much our health relates to our gut. Traditional diets in cultures around the world (including traditional American foods) integrate fermented foods, such as cultured yogurt and kefir, sauerkraut and pickles, kimchi and chutney, salsa and sourdough bread, even beer and wine.
Many of these foods are still consumed in modern America, but most of them are now pasteurized to the point where the enzymes that make it healthy are killed off. Pickles and sauerkraut found in supermarkets are rarely made the way they used to, and thus have fewer of the health benefits. The best way to get these authentic foods at home are to make them yourself. From what I hear, they are not difficult (I shall attempt perhaps over summer vacation). Overseas, many of these healthy foods are still produced and can be typically affordable.
It can be difficult to eat healthy while traveling, but sometimes the food abroad is much healthier than the American diet. While in Russia in 2006, I made a friend and tried to convince her to visit America. She said she refused to go to America of all places because “the American diet is DANGEROUS! Their food is poison!”. Although I thought nothing of her comment at the time, thinking she was brainwashed by propaganda or something, I have since looked back on her comment and questioned its validity. Heart disease is America’s #1 killer. Cancer and diabetes rates are through the roof. We have the lowest life expectancy and highest infant mortality rate than ANY other 1st world nation. A lot of that has to do with our diet (perhaps the overprescription of drugs doesn’t help either). What do you think? Does diet play an active role in your health (for better or worse)? Do you have an easier time or more difficult time eating healthy while traveling? Do you think the western diet is killing us? Harming us? Helping us?