2013-04-17

There Is No Such Thing As A "Western Diet"

A website called "Science World Report" reports that eating a western diet could make you die early:
The latest study, published in The American Journal of Medicine, states that a western style diet, which includes fried and sweet food, processed and red meat, high fat dairy products and refined grains leads to a greater risk of premature death.

What might be the alternative to a "western diet?" Perhaps an "eastern diet?" Or, maybe a "European diet?" An "African diet?" A "northern diet?"


Note carefully that the diet that has been determined to kill you early is one that "includes" fried and sweet food, processed and red meat, high fat dairy products and refined grains. Therefore, if your diet includes any of these things, you must be consuming a western diet. But is this true?

Could there be a more traditional Italian dinner than spaghetti bolognese served with eggplant Parmesan and perhaps a piece of panettone for dessert? Congratulations, if you eat one of the most classic European dishes conceived, you are eating a "western diet." So perhaps we can cross "European diet" off the list of alternatives. I suppose Italy has been included in the phrase "the western world" for some time now, anyway.

What if you travel to Japan and find yourself eating beef sashimi, tampura vegetables, and red bean ice cream? Sorry, friends. That, too, is a western diet. As is a plateful of vegetable pakora, lamb curry, and golub jamon. Looks like "eastern diets" are also "western diets."

Of course, you could always venture north and dine on caribou and bannock with the Inuit, but in that case you'd be eating a "western diet," even if you did so in Greenland. A rich Congolese goat curry and fufu is also - yep, you guessed it - western.

Thus, it appears that no matter where you are in the world, you are eating a western diet, because you will be including red meat, fried food, sweet food, refined grains, and/or high fat dairy products. It's inevitable. The "western diet" has invaded every culture's cuisine - even that cuisine that is totally traditional, locally developed, and created in complete isolation from western culture.

Strange, isn't it?

Of course, there are real alternatives to what I've described above. You could try having boiled lobster with a baked potato. Or maybe you'd rather eat blackened catfish and butternut squash? Bay scallops or clams with tomatoes and lima beans? Roasted turkey with unsweetened cranberry sauce? How about grilling up a pheasant breast and serving it with sweet potatoes and blueberries?

Maybe then you'll finally be rid of that hateful western diet.