What Would Your Daily Food Portrait Look Like?

Time Magazine has a gorgeous and thought-provoking photo slideshow on their website, I highly recommend you see it here. A Worldwide Day’s Worth of Food shows a person somewhere in the world surrounded by the food they would typically consume in one day. The photos come from a book called What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets, see the website here.

My observations (in order of the slideshow):

  • Aside from being beautiful, Viahondjera Musutua (Photo 1) from Namibia is the picture of health at only 1500 calories a day of almost nothing but pure sour milk. She is essentially the poster child for the Weston A. Price Foundation diet. She is lean and strong, her skin is smooth and clear, and her bone structure is stunning. She also has a perfectly healthy little boy sitting next to her. So much health for so little food and variety—this is really putting our nutritional scientists to shame.
  • What can we say about Rick Bumgardener (Photo 2)? His presence here is clearly to stand in stark contrast with the rest of the world. While other developed nations also have processed foods on their list, the Americans put them all to shame. We could cry selection bias, but I think it’s accurate. Just look at all the brand names here, there’s very little real food going on, and don’t miss the long list of medications. Coincidence? But this is the most heart-breaking of it all for me: “Rick Bumgardener admitted to lapses of willpower and some days ate much more. Since this photograph was taken he qualified for, and received, the surgery. He is recovering at home and is losing weight.” Poor Rick thinks it was all his fault, some defect in his personality and not his culture trying to kill him. Godspeed, dear Rick.
  • Prediction for Photo 4 (mall worker): Cute girl will have rude awakening very soon.
  • Photo 8 is fascinating for how food comes to all of us on this planet differently. Nguyen Van Theo of Vietnam boils rainwater for drinking and cooking—imagine that everyday just to make a meal. Also, you can see how something like the China Study could find rice to be neutral when you’re eating servings of pork and eggs with most meals.
  • Saleh Abdul Fadlallah of Egypt (Photo 9) is a great example (of many in this series) of how calorie intake can’t possibly predict weight. 3200 daily calories and Fadlallah has only 165 pounds on his 5’8″ frame. What do we see on his food list? Eggs fried with butter, feta cheese, goat meat and bone broth, chicken stock. Sure there’s some sugar and some bread, but he isn’t so far away from his traditional cuisine.
  • Now this is a guy I could eat with! Miguel Ángel Martín Cerrada (Photo 11), a shepherd from Spain, eats lamb with olive oil, cured pork belly, omelets, and plenty of fish washed down with copious amounts of beer. He butchers a few animals a month to keep his family in meat. Again, 3800 calories a day and nowhere near overweight, though his liver may give out on him someday.
  • Photo 12 of the US Army soldier is just depressing. Our servicepeople deserve better food.
  • Gee, thanks Government (Photo 15): “João Agustinho Cardoso’s menu has changed substantially since he began to receive a government pension for rural Brazilians in his mid-60s. In addition to his staple diet of fish, the onetime subsistence fisherman now eats store-bought pasta and sweets.” Thanks, but no thanks.

What about you, with whom would you want to share a meal? And what would your daily intake look like?

*Big thanks to Melissa “Melicious” Joulwan for the Tweet with the link.


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