Vancouver Restaurants – Alert!

If you are a captive audience, needing to buy all your meals out, while you attend the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, BC, then read this!

At the moment, British Columbia and Canada are wrestling with ways to halt the epidemic of obesity and extremely large % of Canadians with high blood pressure (due to too much salt in their prepared food, mostly). Much of this being caused, by the “super-size mentality” and / or by grossly negative food preparations made by major restaurant chains.

This problem is also driven by imperfect knowledge of nutrition by the general population, as it also is in several other Western countries, like the United States, Britain and Australia.

There’s also an aspect of a “who cares” attitude, and all of this can find its way into any kitchen!

British Columbia’s government, nutritionists, consumer advocates and others are fighting for food labeling, at least the number of calories, to appear on menus, but none of this legislation is in place.

It’s being delayed because there’s at least two camps, about putting just calorie counts on menus, rather than more information about the actual nutrition of the food.

The worry is that ignorant people reading just calorie-counts can also shoot themselves in the foot by still making poor nutritional choices, e.g. drinking a zero-calorie, artificially-sweetened, nutrition-robbing, soda pop drink over real-food like juice or milk, which do have calories. And, not knowing the daily nutritional and calorie levels they need is also problematical.

The restaurants definitely need “incentives” to change! Laws would do the trick!

Now, without laws, even the chain restaurants, who usually have a dietician look at their menu at some point, have been bitten by the give-’em-what-they-want and plenty-of-it-so-we-can-charge-more bug.

Recently, a Vancouver Sun reporter was sent out to 3 main chain restaurants in the city, to see if he could survive a 6,000 calories day. Frankly, his editors were jeopardizing his life — that day, and the next day, as the huge fat-load globbed up his blood making him ripe for a stroke or heart-attack. He could feel the stress on his heart, almost immediately, after the first 2,000 calorie “meal”.

The final result was that he could not digest any of the huge meals completely, and by continuing to eat, the previous meal just got turned into toxic waste.

Some of the items on the restaurant menus sounded quite healthy when you read them, and seemed to be named by the Marketing Department to be so, when they were not. So, the lesson begins.

Until the laws are passed:

___ read the menu carefully
___ ask questions about the amount of food and its preparation for any dish you are interested in
___ if it sounds like it’s too much food, ask if they will halve or split the portion into 2 to share or into one half to “take away”, if your hotel room has a refrigerator and microwave.
___ if the preparation sounds poor, ask for it to be cooked in a healthier way – like broiling, steaming, grilling, poaching or baking instead of frying or deep-frying
___ discuss what fats are used, how much and talk about acceptable substitutes
___ ask to speak to a chef, if necessary or to the manager
___ only patronize the restaurants willing to accommodate your needs

Expect the food to be ridiculously expensive, as well as being less healthy; it was when Vancouver hosted the World Expo in 1986.

The Vancouver Sun is providing a database of chain restaurant food items with their nutritional information. This will help you while traveling throughout Canada.

It’s called the Fatabase — a pun on Data, as well as Fat (and Fate has no part in it!). Clever. It’s link is below.

On the same page, they include Health Canada’s or other official view of daily nutritional requirements for a moderately-active adult Male, but non-lactating, sedentary to moderately-active adult Females require only about 1,600 calories. The diet level of 1,200 calories for women is too little and impossible to get proper nutrition; supplements are not an acceptable substitute for food.

If you have access to the internet wherever you are staying in Vancouver, during the Olympiad or not, be sure to use the Fatabase tool. Learn and act in your own best interest!

The three restaurants reporter Pete McMartin was asked to eat in were: DeDutch for breakfast, The Keg for lunch and White Spot for dinner. The editors chose what he was to eat. I have eaten at The Keg (when they were in Oregon), and I always found a healthy meal there, so look carefully; it’s possible. And, note that White Spot may have an undeserved “local reputation”, clouded by sentimentality.

Washington State and New York City have already enacted these menu laws, and due to necessity, everywhere else has to seriously consider doing so too. This is not a matter of being food police to stop you; rather, it’s a matter of protecting you by making sure that healthy food is actually available for you to purchase and to eat.

When you are traveling, you can just about always identify the Americans because they are fat, but now the same can be said due to the statistics the Brits, Canadians and Aussies are posting. The Dutch and Scandinavians are still slim. The Italians, and other Mediterranean populations are mixed, as are the South Americans and Asians — increasing numbers of them are getting heavier. The Africans are still generally slim.

Obesity in the face of nutritional-deficit is a global problem.

For every excess of 3,500 calories, you will gain one pound. Lack of nutrition, even when adequate calories are eaten, is a HUGE problem. You need both nutrition and proper calorie level for your gender and activity level. Calorie requirements is based on lean body mass, not your actual weight. Learn more online, and ask your doctor to check your body mass index if you are already overweight (and if so, then be careful if you are attending Olympic events at high altitudes).

Eating-to-excess is not a sports event, and it’s nothing laudable. So, don’t waste your money on food you don’t want and don’t need or that is poorly-made. Be proactive, and if you don’t get co-operation, tell the restaurant manager and corporate headquarters “why” you won’t be back! Get the corporate headquarters’ address!

Fatabase – Nutrition in chain restaurants database

6,000 calorie day

Vancouver, B.C. – detailed Vancouver travel articles archive portal, here!

Vancouver Useful Links Archive from TravelVacationReview

©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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