In my last post I noted some of the factors that make healthy eating and living fairly easy in Barcelona: abundant fresh produce, tasty meals in small portions, and an urban infrastructure that supports walking and other physical activity.
A few weeks prior to my visit to Spain, I was working in Orlando, FL and it struck me how much effort it took to find healthy choices there. While there are some fine restaurants in the city, there are hundreds of fast food places. Driving through town (there are only a few areas of Orlando that are conducive to walking) it is incredible to see the endless burger and fried food options. Can you find healthier options, yes? Is it easy? Not so much.
Of course, cooking at home is a good alternative to dining at a fast food place. Even at the grocery store however, I was struck by the predominance of heavily processed foods (often sold in large quantities at bargain prices). And the relatively small section of produce didn’t always look so fresh. What a difference from the open-air markets of Barcelona.
But most disheartening was obvious obesity issue in the city. Of course, mine was by no means a scientific sampling. However after spending a few days in Orlando I could not help but notice that obesity was a real issue there. To be sure there is an abundance of healthy food in Florida… and many gyms, health clubs, beaches, etc. But making those healthy choices there does require more of an effort than in some other cities where fresh food, smaller portions, and walkable streets and sidewalks are a way of life.