Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “obesity”

Obesity Begins At 35,000 ft. The USA obesity epidemic in reality. Reflections on USA. Part 1


There is clear recognition that obesity if rife in USA. There is also clear evidence that this has translated into worrying rates of Diabetes a not inconsiderable CVD risk factor. How has this all happened? I like to keep things simple, and mostly they are in life. The USA population eats too much. How does this arise? One easy observation after 3 days in USA, the first time I have visited for many years, is that everyone expects huge amounts of food, and either eats it, takes it away in a box to eat later or leaves it on their plate beaming with delight that ” they have had value for money”. The first place I saw this was in the sky.
At 35,000 ft I can see why USA has an obesity epidemic. Breakfast. American Airlines. The omelette was large enough but hidden inside was a huge amount of high fat cheese. Hiding underneath were about 4 rashers of bacon and the whole lot was swimming around in cubed potatoes. Enough ? No. A huge croissant. Enough now? No. A side order of packet of cheese biscuits and a kit kat and biscuits for cheese and a lump of cheese. There was a look of total horror on the face of the air stewardess when I gave this back. Surely you want to keep it for later? No I do not. One passenger was quite into all this as being asked if she wanted omelette or pancakes replied both….. And I hazard a guess this is not the first time she had eaten like this….
I have also witnessed a curious conversation between two of the air stewards. Discussing what was in the cherry pancakes. And yes they offered cherry pancakes. Quote ‘ what is in those pancakes?’
‘Something like mushrooms?’
‘I thought it was a little like cherries’
I now feel that I have descended into a strange parallel universe. To make matters worse I have spent the last hour thinking he has huge blue earrings. It is only on closer inspection I can see they are earphones which strangely seem to be connected to something and I will not speculate inside the zip of his jeans. I repeat. Parallel universe.
Finally the ending to the food story. Around an hour before we are due to land the next lot of food appears. True to restaurant fashion the meal was both pizza and pasta. Yes both. But if you wanted to pretend you had the healthy option it was pasta salad but oddly without visible salad. And I almost forgot a side order of coconut and orange biscuits.
The second place I saw this was in a Mexican restaurant (maybe one of the worst in the world I have ever visited, but thats a different story), where I ordered a burrito . And that is the operative word ” a”. What arrived was a fairly awful rendition of a burrito and not only that there were two of them. I ate one out of simple hunger, but could not touch the other. The plate was pushed away. My partners plate disappeared but mine stayed. Eventually with a look of disbelief I was asked if I had finished and if I wanted to take this appalling item of food away with me. The third place, was a much better restaurant in Nashville, and just to set the scene more positively you can see what a nice place Nashville is below. But again having ordered a meal that was actually good, chicken and asparagus ( served in a large bun, and one must ask why?. Chicken and cheese and asparagus is a decent meal alone without the need for pounds of bread accompanying it), I was informed in the same way you might be told you had won a prize, that I could have an extra side order. The size of the side order indicated it was either first prize, or was inadvertently given to me but was expected on a table of 8. Nice though it was, coleslaw, it looked like I had not in fact touched it. So cue apologies to Brittany the waitress to explain that it was good but just too much. It would be interesting to do a kitchen audit to see if anyone in a whole day managed to finish their coleslaw and if they did what was their BMI before and after eating this epic side order. So, this story will get continued as the next few days unfold. I plan to have a nice Day and do in fact have a nice Day.

Nashville, Indiana

Nashville, Indiana

Food Photographs Sri Lanka


The food quality in hotels is high. Many foods are offered at all meals including fruit and curry. Some of the best fruits are the pineapples , mangos, watermelon. The bread tends to be of the American type and a little sweet mostly although the basic white and wholemeal loaves contain no additives and taste great. For me the pineaple was the best food, this was available easily and cheaply. The Sri Lankans enjoy their sweet foods too and desserts are essenatially types either of cake with cream in them of various flavours, or mousse like desserts. Sri Lankan coffee is a little of the acquired taste. Can I recommend it? Not really. The tea though is wonderful and like a totally different drink to what we have in UK. There is no need to add milk to tea. Meat is not offered in huge amounts and tends to be used with vegetables in curries rather than served alone. The quality of the meat is also maybe inferior to what is generally served in Uk but is fine. Chicken is rarely served as a breast meat for example, wings, thighs and other less identifiable parts are used. Rice is of many types. Red rice I could not take to but the white rice was excellent. what was the best single food item I ate? Easy. It was the Banana and Coconut Tart!

From the fruits the pineapple and passion fruit were always good. Papaya is not my favourite so unfair to comment. Many of the set meal type lunches were not only huge but often combined meats ( unneccessarily), such as Gammon and Chicken. image

Banana and Coconut Tart. Copyright Chris Bushe 2014

Banana and Coconut Tart. Copyright Chris Bushe 2014

Chicken and Asparagus. Copyright Chris Bushe

Chicken and Asparagus. Copyright Chris Bushe

Herb Crusted Chicken Breast. A rarity .Copyright Chris Bushe

Herb Crusted Chicken Breast. A rarity .Copyright Chris Bushe

Madeira cake or butter cake!Copyright Chris Bushe

Madeira cake or butter cake!Copyright Chris Bushe

Sri Lankan FruitCopyright Chris Bushe

Sri Lankan FruitCopyright Chris Bushe

Sri Lankan  Lunch. MixtureCopyright Chris Bushe

Sri Lankan Lunch. MixtureCopyright Chris Bushe

Mixture of Gammon and Chicken. Sri Lankan Lunch.Copyright Chris Bushe

Mixture of Gammon and Chicken. Sri Lankan Lunch.Copyright Chris Bushe

Sri Lankan FruitCopyright Chris Bushe

Sri Lankan FruitCopyright Chris Bushe

Breakfast CakesCopyright Chris Bushe

Breakfast CakesCopyright Chris Bushe

PineappleCopyright Chris Bushe

PineappleCopyright Chris Bushe

Sri Lankan Brioche type rollsCopyright Chris Bushe

Sri Lankan Brioche type rollsCopyright Chris Bushe

Reflections of Dublin


In the last 24 hours I have seen and met more strange people than in the preceding 6 months. An overnight trip to Dublin is to blame. Where to start? Well why not with a taxi driver who clearly had adult ADHD. He spoke at me the whole journey that was sadly longer than it should be due to the hideous friday evening traffic, shouted at various other cars and vans relating to perceived driving crimes against him, asked me to look at the strangest cars and have me compare some Avensis with some Passat for some reason………Impulsive, hyperactive and judging by his driving inattentive as well. Then there was the woman in my meeting who looked exactly like Margaret Thatcher, younger version around 40 years, but splitting image. Put her in Madame Tussauds and there would be no difference.

Then there was the large woman at the airport. Her waist size was over 100 inches. I noticed her because she was unable to sit in a chair without taking up 2-3 seats and I hoped vehemently that she would not be seated next to me on the plane. In fact she was a few rows ahead and spilled out at least 12 inches into the aisle and was unable to put down her armrest in the aisle.

But the food must also be mentioned. The traffic in Dublin was appalling, taking over 90 minutes to get from the airport to the city centre. But greater was my horror when I saw my proposed menu for dinner. Included were raw beef, squid, goat and rabbit. These are not foods that regularly grace my table, the cat maybe but not mine. Luckily the magic word chicken popped up and all was relieved. Thats French restaurants for you.

Overall, Dublin is not a bad city but is is very busy and seriously lacks the Irish charm that might be associated with Cork or Galway. I feel that I can say this being Irish, and anyone who doubts this can trace my family history back to and well beyond Charles Kendall Bushe who was Lord Chief Justice in Ireland in the mid-1980’s. He is written about in James Joyce novels and is described as morally perfect. Well something like that anyway, but I would say that.

Should you visit Dublin? In my view yes if you have lots of money or others are paying, but no if you want charm and to see real Ireland. Others may and do disagree. The streets were full of folks celebrating Arthur’s day, the annual celebration of Arthur Guinness. Well maybe that is a good reason to come along but bring a full wallet and watch out who your taxi driver is.

A Final View on South Korea from Sherlock Holmes


There is no doubt that I would like to come back here. Based only on two days I would say that this is one of the most polite and pleasant nations I have visited. I saw no aggression nor irritation with two exceptions. A Korean man trying to check in for his flight before the counter was open ( the clue for him was a huge queue and the massive sign saying opening at 14.50) and a Korean man paying his executive level room bill with wads of cash. No smile, no communication. Deadpan face. No thanks either and no bowing. Everyone else in Korea bows to everyone else on every occasion. Let me give you an example. When the check-in desks did open at 14.47 the whole team of 7 check-in staff, stood up, said something together to the waiting travellers ( rather like one might address a church congregation ), bowed to us all, and then rapidly motioned for us to come forward. I will not criticise British Airways for not doing this, but maybe a smile instead of a bow? And not one of those sour mouthed ones either.

The other learning in South korea is that in two days with mostly affluent doctors and other souls, I saw only two overweight people ( out of hundreds if not thousands). One of these was a morbidly obese Korean man in the hotel ( BMI>30, maybe >35), and the other a slightly overweight young woman (BMI maybe 27-28). Why? Easy. They eat less. How do I surmise this? Am I Sherlock Holmes? Well, maybe….

The portions served at mealtimes are much smaller than western sized portions. The meal last night in a grand hotel ( Lotte Busan, if you want to look it up. It has a casino and theatre etc, to give context) was 4 courses. Four small courses. Fish as a starter with bread roll about half the size of UK bread rolls a la Co-Operative. Third of a bowl of asparagus soup. Small steak with side salad, other vegetables and small amount of potatoes. Dessert a small slice of a sort of light cheesecake. No alcohol served at all, and in fact only water and coffee. This was a meal served to a group of top physicians in Korea attending an important annual congress. My second observation was actually a secondary one. I was trying to work out why the airports function better and quicker than UK. The answer is essentially no shops ( certainly no unnecessary ones) and few restaurants. So the whole area is not clogged up by people rampaging for their ninth meal of the morning. Compare and contrast with any USA airport where it seems de rigeur to eat a massive meal even though one is going on a 1 hour flight. So, simple deductions,Watson. Eat less and do not get overweight.

I would definitely return here both in a professional capacity and for a holiday. And in fact I am quite taken with South Korea and shall be cheering them on in the olympics!

Busan from the 33rd floor

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