Fast forward to 2007. Children in China are now adopting western diets by consuming more red meat, more dairy products, more processed sugars and refined white flour. The result? They're not starving anymore; they're suffering from diabetes!
The United States is the world's leading exporter of disease. We not only export sugary sodas that cause diabetes and fast food chains that sell french fries loaded with acrylamides and trans fatty acids, we actually have corporations that continue to export pesticides, pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals that have been BANNED in the United States. They're too toxic for Americans, but perfectly safe to sell to small African nations, it seems. The FDA, by the way, actually allows this practice.
And so America's trading partners around the world are getting clobbered with the same neurological disorders, birth defects, cancer rates and obesity problems that were once largely confined to America and the UK. It is no exaggeration to say that the more any country in the world engages in so-called "free trade" with America, the worse their health gets. In a single generation, smaller nations that once had healthy, sane populations have been reduced to Pepsi-drinking, cookie-chomping, insulin-pumping junkies of western culture.
And that doesn't even include Big Tobacco. When tobacco companies were slammed hard in the United States (after addicting children and destroying the lives of millions of their "best customers" by giving them cancer and heart disease), they masterminded a strategy to export cigarettes to other nations. Countries like Taiwan that tried to ban tobacco advertising in order to save the health of their people were threatened with section 301 trade sanctions. (This was all under the Clinton administration, by the way. Things are even worse now.)
Smart nations around the world are increasingly rejecting America's culture of disease and death. American burgers may seem trendy and cool at first, but when your nation is buried under an epidemic of obesity, diabetes and increasing crime due to mental instability (caused by dietary imbalances), it suddenly doesn't seem so cool to wear American blue jeans. Especially when they no longer fit your rapidly expanding waistline.
I lived in Taiwan for two years, and it was Chinese culture that finally broke me of my atrocious American dietary habits. It was in Taipei that I finally freed myself from a soda addiction and learned to drink unsweetened green tea. (I also learned to use chopsticks in record time -- about two meals. Hunger has a way of motivating you to learn essential skills.)
I also learned to respect the dietary practices of Asian cultures. I can say from direct experience that any self-respecting traditional Chinese mom would never let her kids indulge on American sweets (which are so loaded with sugar that they are actually considered offensive by the older generation of Chinese and Japanese citizens).
The traditional Chinese diet would be a huge step up for most Americans. It contains almost no dairy, very little red meat, and lots (I mean LOTS) of cooked vegetables. There's also very little oil and sugar in real Chinese food, unlike the Chinese restaurant food you get in the United States (which has been all sugared up for American customers who, apparently, even need sugar in their Kung Pao chicken!).
What's lacking in the Chinese diet is a better selection of raw foods. The Chinese diet is also a bit high in carbohydrates for more protein-oriented white folks like me (blood type O, especially). But there's a whole lot of wisdom in the Chinese diet. The traditional beef noodle soup (which I used to eat when I actually ate beef) is made with a special combination of spices containing, believe it or not, the herb used to make the Tamiflu anti-viral drug now being stockpiled against bird flu. Star anise is the name. Most Americans have never tasted it, but it's a mainstay of Chinese cuisine.
Anyway, to get to the comic here, I constructed this in order to contrast the parental dietary advice of Americans ("Eat more!") with the parental dietary advice of Chinese ("Don't be such a glutton!") For some reason, it has become politically incorrect to tell someone in America they're eating like a glutton. We even have huge establishments dedicated to challenging Americans to see just how much of a glutton they can be at one sitting -- they're called all-you-can-eat buffets. The more you eat, the better deal you feel like you got, right?
The official dietary advice of the USDA, by the way, remains stuck in the 1930's when nutritional deficiencies were commonplace and people really did need more food in America. That message continues to this day, where the USDA actually encourages all Americans to guzzle more milk, eat more refined grains, sugars and processed foods.
Welcome to America. EAT MORE! (And you'll look just like us.)
By the way, if you're personally offended by these statements, don't get mad at me, get mad at those monster-sized servings at your local diner. Get mad at your stupid parents for stuffing sweets down your throat as a kid if you want, or get mad at your genes for giving you appetite hormones that never seem to quiet down. But don't get mad at me. I'm just the messenger here. There's nothing wrong with facing yourself in the mirror one day and admitting you're too fat, then finding a way to do something about it. The problem is when people deny it and think being overweight is normal. Obesity in America has become so commonplace that thin people are actually considered diseased!
If you're obese, it may not be entirely your fault, either. The food companies actually load up their products with artificial chemicals that stimulate hunger and fry your appetite control regulation system, causing you to feel hungry ALL the time, even when you shouldn't. Those chemicals include Monosodium Glutamate, Aspartame and Yeast Extract (sometimes labeled as "autolyzed yeast extract"). They're found in snack chips, soups, salad dressings, veggie burgers, breakfast sausage and literally thousands of grocery products. If you're overweight and you can't figure out why, it might be because you've been poisoned by the food companies who have discovered a devious way to sell more food to more people -- make them hungry all the time!
Big Tobacco did something similar by spiking their cigarettes with nicotine. Food companies do it by spiking their foods with hunger-inducing chemicals and refined sugars and carbohydrates that imbalance your blood sugar and actually promote feelings of hunger.
Pretty clever scam, huh? And it's made in America, too. When it comes to exporting disease, nobody beats us. Nobody! Sure, other countries may make better cars, better electronics, better airplanes and even better kitchen appliances, but nobody can compete with U.S. corporations when it comes to spreading disease and death around the world.
We have masterminded the use of free trade as a dietary weapon of mass destruction.