When we were in New York, we went to this cafe Rice and Riches that specialises in rice puddings with loads of different flavours and toppings. They have a slightly tongue in cheek anti-diet branding concept that has lots of these cartoons like in the picture. I’m sure some one of them I’ve seen shared on facebook before (I’m thinking of the one of the doctor that goes “doctor says: three square meals a day only ruins your appetite for pudding’) but here they were adapted in a rice pudding specific way. They made me smile, but I also found them a bit confusing.
Because in the scale of these things, rice pudding hardly seems a ‘bad’ food to me! Back in my teenage days when I was interested in weight loss related nonsense I used to actually make rice pudding as a healthy alternative to other sweet stuff. I mean, it’s just milk and rice, and you can put as little sugar in as you like*. I asked my friend that were were staying with what was up and what he said was ‘Americans are scared of carbs’. And I wondered if that was true.
It does seem that almost everything I hear about cutting out starchy foods** comes from the US. I know plenty of people here who are ‘watching what they eat’, in some cases to what seems an excessive extent. I even know a few people who have done atkins style diets. But they’ve always done it for short term weight loss reasons, and I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone from Europe who has seriously suggested that never eating any bread or potatoes or rice ever again is in any way sustainable or a good idea.
I was considering writing a lot more about sustainable diets and cutting out whole food groups but I didn’t want this to turn into an argument about whether complete starch avoidance is a good thing or not. Plus I ran out of time as I’m still feeling my way back into writing chunky thinky posts. So I will just leave it with the observation that diet trends do seem to be culturally/nationally determined and the tentative question of if and how that relates to countries’ actual ways of eating, unhealthy weight rates etc.
* admittedly, the rice to riches stuff was more like a mix between ice cream and rice pudding, so it probably very fatty/sugary. But you know what I mean.
** and cutting out things in general, dairy being the most obvious one, but the other day I saw something about cutting out pulses as well which was a new one to me.