Last week, I shared the horrifying news that I ate two croissants in Paris, risking excommunication from the Exalted Order of Low-Carb Fanatics (EOLCF).
But — as I hope I explained convincingly — a low-carb, high-fat diet is a direction, not an inviolable mandate. When the best croissants in Paris appear before you, forget about carbs! For the love of God, eat them!
Then, mon ami, you can return to the diet extolled by the EOLCF.
And actually, in both England and France, once we got past the bakeries, we were thrilled to find that eating low-carb meals was extraordinarily easy. That’s because…
The Europeans Never Lost Their Way
You see, the Europeans never fell under the sway of “grains healthy, meat poison” nonsense that Big Food, desirous of the high-profit margins in grains, has pushed on us Yanks since the late 1960s.
While Americans were debating whether meat was toxic (a status it never had during 4 million years of hominid evolution), the Europeans kept eating meat and kept taking it seriously.
This attitude is reflected in stores like this:
In America, the fact that meat is regarded as slightly obscene is exemplified by its typically sanitized supermarket presentation. Hair, hooves, entrails and other species-specific details are stripped away to create generic packets of protein. These are then dyed bright red to create further psychic distance from the actual animals.
Hooray for Animal Fat!
The Continentals revere animal fat as well. Check out this rotisserie operation on a Paris backstreet:
And here’s a selection of some of our more memorable low-carb European meals:
In short, we’ve never eaten better.
Eating low-carb, high-fat foods in the U.S. can seem daunting because we Yanks suffer from both shame and worry about eating meat.
So it was refreshing to spend time in cultures where meat is treated as healthful, worthy of respect and still in possession of its integrity as an animal’s flesh.
I’ve heard that this ethic is beginning to catch on in the U.S. as well. In California, always the tip of the spear of American food trends, urbanites are learning to humanely raise, kill and dress farm animals, doing each step consciously and taking responsibility for it.
If butchering courses are a bridge too far, we Americans who eat meat should at least spend the extra time and effort to be sure what we buy was raised humanely and sustainably.
The website Eatwild offers information about farmers and ranchers in all 50 states who follow responsible animal husbandry. Here in Arizona, our purchases from local ranchers such as JH Grass Fed have allowed us to cook meals as memorable as those we enjoyed in the Old Country.
Each time you buy from growers like these, you support an “alternate universe” of meat production in the U.S. that resembles the best aspects of the European model.
It’s more expensive, but consider every extra dollar spent a worthy contribution to a more humane, healthful and sustainable American food supply.
How do Europeans really feel about hyperprocessed American GMO corn products? Voilà: