On Sunday my wife, my sister-in-law, and I headed to the University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum of Natural History to take advantage of their free admission on Sundays and check out the Hungry Planet: What the World Eats exhibit which is on display through May 2010.
The exhibit comes straight from photographer Peter Menzel and writer Faith D’Aluisio’s book and you can check out NPR’s coverage of it from a few years ago on their website here. An interesting look into several families across the world, this book (and exhibit) show everyone just exactly how ridiculous Western cultures are when it comes to what they eat and how they eat it.
Now, we all know that Americans eat like fucking shit. In fact, the majority of people here know that I do a lot to inform people of better choices that exist out there but I am still guilty of plenty of prepackaged foods, eating out too much, and even sneaking things that I really shouldn’t–mostly out of pure laziness. But even with all my failures, I still eat a whole helluva lot better than the Western families displayed in the exhibit we saw at the Bell Museum on Sunday.
Just take a look at some of what The Revis family from North Carolina ate in one week back in 2005:
Fruits, Vegetables & Nuts: $41.07
Dole yellow bananas, 2.9 lb; red seedless grapes, 2.4 lb; green seedless grapes, 2.2 lb; Birds Eye baby broccoli, frozen, 4 lb; yellow onions, 3 lb; Green Giant corn, canned, 1.9 lb; Green Giant green beans, canned, 1.8 lb; Bush’s vegetarian baked beans, canned, 1.8 lb; cucumbers, 1.4 lb; Harris Teeter tomatoes, vine-ripened, 1.2 lb; Del Monte whole leaf spinach, canned, 13.5 oz; garden salad, packaged, 10 oz; Italian salad mix, packaged, 8.8 oz; pickled mushrooms, 7.3 oz; Harris Teeter peanuts, 1 lb.
Fast Food: $71.61
McDonald’s: 10-pc chicken McNuggets, large fries, large Coca-Cola, Filet-o-Fish meal; Taco Bell: 4 nachos Bell Grande, 2 soft tacos, taco supreme, taco pizza, taco, bean burrito, large lemonade; Burger King: double cheeseburger, onion rings, large Coca-Cola; KFC: 2-pc chicken with mashed potatoes, large Coca-Cola; Subway: 6-inch wheat veggie sub, 6-inch wheat seafood crab sub; Milano’s Pizzeria: large sausage pizza, large pepperoni pizza; I Love NY Pizza: 4 pizza slices.
Wow. Simply wow. Let’s take a look at that fruit and vegetables section…mostly just canned foods and a couple of snack fruits. I used to be just like that and probably worse but now I do my best to fill up on fresh organic vegetables more than anything else but I am still guilty of plenty of processed frozen vegetables–at least they’re organic, right? Just looking at what I saw at the exhibit, and again now via the NPR article, I plan to take a look at what I’m eating this week and seeing what I can do to make even better choices than I already do. Starting today (Tuesday) I plan to keep a log below in the comments for the rest of the week. I’m interested in seeing what the rest of you have done for your breakfast, lunch and dinners this week as well. Just a quick and simple list (don’t worry, I’ll start everyone off) and at the end of the week we’ll all vote to determine who ate the best this week. The winner will receive a $15.00 gift certificate to Satay2Go in Apple Valley courtesy of Satay2Go (yes, they will make your food healthily if you ask). We can use what we learn from each other to better our own eating habits–if only for a short time as anything is better than nothing, right?
Contest opens today (Tuesday November 10th) and will run through Friday (November 13th). In order to be eligible you must have four day’s worth of meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) cataloged by Friday November 13th at 11:59:59 CST.
So go ahead and share what you’ve eaten this week and let’s see if we can try and improve our eating habits at least for 4 days but hopefully for good. Do you have any tips that you are willing to share on how you save money, keep packaged and fast food out of your diet all while juggling a busy schedule and enjoying what you eat? If so please share below! Whatever you have to say about the Hungry Planet: What the World Eats exhibit or this small little contest, go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say!