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Food Food is an extremely important part of all of our everyday lives, since we need food and liquids to survive. The human body requires regular supply of solid food and water in order to function properly. We can last about 40 days without food and only 3 days without water. It is essential to get certain amounts of nutrients every day. They include protein, which is in meat, eggs and dairy products, fat, which is in butter, milk and nuts, and sugar, which is in fruits or honey. There are also vitamins, which you need to take in microscopic amounts. Nowadays, peoples eating habits revolve around fast food, which is both affordable and fast. However, fast food is also quite unhealthy. I don’twant to debate whether eating processed food is bad for us or not, but for me, fast food is bad because it contains a lot of salt, which is very bad. It is recommended to eat at least three times a day and not to skip breakfasts, but I personally eat very irregularly. Sometimes I snack at 1 am, or eat lunch at 3 pm. While it is probably not so good for my liver because of insulin spikes, I believe that what I eat is quite healthy. Usually I only eat rice, chicken and vegetables, because my mother doesn’t have much time and cooks in bulk once a week. I would like to talk about the Vietnamese cuisine. The main difference would be that in Vietnam, the whole family gets together to eat and talk about the day. It is quite common in western countries for the family to eat separately and get together only on weekends. Also, we serve food differently. Usually Asians chop their food up and serve meat, vegetables, soup and rice on separate plates. Everybody then has to pick it up with their chopsticks and bring it to their small bowls. Some people find it really disgusting and unhygienic. In Europe, it is common to eat from a single plate with forks, knives and spoons. Our usual side dish is rice, while here it is quite varied, for example potatoes, pasta or dumplings. Then we serve some meat, usually beef, pork or chicken and lots of vegetables. I have never made any sauce with milk or cream and I always find it very fatty. It is also common to eat rice noodles, which are made with beef stock and either beef or chicken meat. I personally really hate rice. I’ve been eating probably since I’ve had teeth and chewing rice again and again everyday is quite horrible. I would cook for myself, but buying ingredients in small amounts is quite expensive and my parents are on a diet and can’t eat typical Czech meals. Also, Asians usually don’t eat desserts after dinner. Sometimes they might eat some fruits. The very concept of desserts is quite foreign in Asia and we don’t really have and good sweets. Most of them are based on sticky rice and red beans with sugar, which I find quite boring, since I had all types of pastries and cakes in the Czech Republic. But my parents taught me to put salt on my watermelon, because it makes it sweeter. While I described the typical Asian dinner, my family doesn’t really follow this tradition. They used to, but nowadays they have to work so we eat separately. Also, everybody has to eat different meals, because my mother has diabetes and my father has low blood pressure. I personally prefer to eat with a fork, because it is much faster and more efficient. Chopsticks are useless when you eat from one plate. As you can see, we are a practical family with no time for traditions. Now I would like to talk about some misconceptions about food. Many people believe that eating fat makes you fat. That is not the case. While it is true that fatty food is very calorie dense and eating at a caloric surplus does make you overweight, the most common cause is drinking soda, which is full of sugar. I never understood why people skip the small fat parts of the meat and then drink a whole bottle of coca cola. Also, I always get mad when the girls only eat the rice or pasta and skip the meat, because in Vietnam meat is very valuable and even the middle class can afford to eat one chicken a week. The rice, potatoes and grains have the most calories anyway. Many people have absolutely no idea what they eat and complain about getting fat. I had to learn a lot about nutrition because of my mother’s diabetes and estimating calories has been a habit I picked up. Then there are people believing that vitamins are automatically good. They usually don’t read the small text on the vitamin supplements, because you can actually get overdosed with them, especially with fat-soluble vitamins such as A or D. That is quite dangerous.

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