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Toastmasters Project #7Research your topicWe are what we eat - Bernardo NajlisFellow Toastmasters and welcomed guests... I would like to talk tonight about a subjectthat we all share just for the fact of being human: food. I’m sure you all love food as Ilove it. I swear I do. I come from a country which is, according to the Encyclopedia ofthe nations, 97% european in origin, principally from Spain and Italy. And you know howitalians are with food... I remember when I was a kid my mom, which is from italianfamily, used to tell me “Mangia che te fa bene”... “Eating is good for you”. Everything wedo there is somehow related to food: we meet around food, we talk about food, wecelebrate and mourn with food. Food accommodates any kind of emotional state youcan get.So I was amazed to see how different things are here in Canada and in our neighbordown the south, the United States. According to a study published by BioMedCentral’s journal in 2010, Canadians can expect to live about three years longerthan americans: until 79.7 years of age versus 77.2. Of course the study cites thatone of the main reasons might be that attributed to differences in access to healthcare.But Argentina also has life expectancy similar to the US (76.95) and access tohealthcare is also good, maybe not as the same quality level as Canada, but prettymuch universally accessible.So I came up with my own theory about why this might happen and it is related to foodand how we eat. Just by my own simple observation of people on the streets on thesecountries’ major cities (Toronto, Buenos Aires and New York City) you can tell thatcanadians look slightly more ﬁt. I’ve noticed that in Buenos Aires almost everybody hada belly and used clothes one or two sizes larger to try to hide it. I like to call it “the happybelly”, as I told you before, people like to celebrate good times around food. And Ihaven’t been in New York lately but let me tell you that according to the americanCenter for Disease Control and Prevention, about one-third of the US adults(33.8%) are obese.But what I think makes the difference between this countries is really something muchmore simple: portions’ sizes. Let me tell you some examples on how big portions were20 years ago and how big are now based on a list provided by the american NationalHearth, Lung and Blood Institute:• Two slices of pizza used to account 500 calories, and are now 850 calories. Those extra 350 calories, if eaten just two times a month, would put on two extra pounds a year.
• A cup of coffee (used to be just coffee) was just 45 calories. Today we have a Grande cafe mocha with cream: 330 calories. Even Starbucks has a larger than Venti size in the states, called “Trenta”: 916 mL (almost one liter, the average capacity of an adult human stomach).• Movie popcorn: 360 extra calories.• Bagels: 210 extra calories.• Cheeseburguers: 257 extra calories• Even healthy food got large: a regular serving of Chicken Caesar Salad 20 years ago used to be 390 calories, and now is around 790 calories.But is not only food portions that just increased; plate, bowl and cup sizes have as well.According to the same study, in the early 1990s, the standard size of a dinner plateincreased from 10 to 12 inches. A study published in the American Journal ofPreventive Medicine found that when people were given larger bowls and spoons, theyserved themselves larger portions and tended to eat the whole portion.What can I say? I am guilty as charged. But according to a very trustable source, theweight scale I have in my own bathroom, portion size control works very well if you feelyou have to loose weight. You can start using smaller plates. Try not to eat the wholeplate to the end. Another trick I use: put a paper napkin on top of what’s left on yourplate, so you don’t have the urge to look at it to ﬁnish it.I can attest that these tricks work, and if they help us stay alive three more years, Iwould be glad, because I will have more time to give more Toastmasters speeches!Thank you!