Let me tell you a small tale.
A couple of years hence, I performed on a cruise ship for just over three weeks. In those three weeks, I ate like some kind of Roman Emperor/pig hybrid; there were cheese-covered potatoes, more tuna and mayonaise than I'd ever seen in my life, an almost inexhaustible supply of 'Daim' bars, a huge cheese platter and creamy, chocolatey gateaux, and my sole exercise was stepping from side to side for a couple of hours every night while singing about walking on sunshine, getting my kicks on Route 66 and various other things. The rest of my time was spent sitting down or lying down when even sitting became too taxing. In those three weeks, I lost three quarters of a stone.
Just before Christmas of this year, I was on my tour of Europe (which was almost entirely in Germany). At the beginning of November, for six weeks, I went on a grueling health-kick. I stopped eating chips and crisps, I did a 2-3 minute plank most days (2 planks on some days), I had no fizzy drinks and, most importantly, I was taking part in an incredibly physical show that sometimes involved about 5 hours of constant exercise a day. In those six weeks, I PUT ON three quarters of a stone.
After racking my brains, (not too hard, to be honest, as I was already aware of the problem,) I realised that the only difference between my time on tour and my time on the cruise was BREAD. On the cruise, I ate none of it; none at all. In Germany, I am forced to eat about a loaf a day, because it is ALL THEY HAVE.
In many of our hotels, breakfast was typically a choice of 8 different kinds of bread and some cheese to go with them, accompanied by a single bowl of (sometimes mouldy) fruit, and maybe some yoghurt. If we were lucky, there would be croissants. In one hotel there was no buffet, and they just sat us down and brought us each a plate with three MASSIVE bread rolls with butter and jam to go with them. We were mystified. Now I'm slightly weird when it comes to breakfast as it is, but I like to have at least a small amount of choice. This would be my perfect breakfast:
I mean, it's not perfectly healthy, but this would be my dream breakfast. In Germany they usually have barely any of these components; one time they had baked beans. I practically cried with joy when I saw them. In any case, it's a damn sight better than a plate of nothing but BREAD.
I don't understand it, I really don't. Germans are not fat; in fact, they are probably much healthier as a country than Britain is, but I don't get how they manage to stay slim with all the food available; I just had to walk a mile from my hotel to find some fresh fruit, and even then it was in a 'Lidl'. On my way to the shop, I counted nineteen bakeries, and they were only the ones I could see- there were probably plenty more down side-streets. In the same mile I spotted one 'to go' food establishment that was not a bakery. It sold raw fish and meat, and also some sandwiches. I suppose it must be easy to eat healthily if you actually live in Germany and can drive to supermarkets out of town, but that is no good for me, as I am not German, I haven't got a car, and I haven't passed my driving test.
I suppose it must be the stress of being on tour for so long making this seem worse than it is, but it actually makes me ANGRY. When I walk past my fifth bakery in ten metres, I think to myself- why did you build this here? Was there a demand for it? Did you just think one day- "hey, you know what this town needs? ANOTHER bakery." I look in the inviting windows and see the effort that has gone into these lovingly-created bread products; the gentle sprinkling of cheese on the Käse brot, the colourfully painted doughnuts and the croissants covered in what I think are poppy-seeds, and it just makes me SO CROSS how they imagine themselves as providing such a good service to the public when the bakery two doors down is offering exactly the same stuff. I can imagine a board meeting:
The thing is, their logic works, because all of these bakeries were full of people! How many bakeries do people need?!? Are Germans actually 60% bread instead of 60% water and need it to survive? Why are they healthier than us? Is it purely exercise and lack of binge drinking? It makes me FURIOUS!!!!
To be fair, bread is not entirely bad;
In fact, in moderation, wholegrain bread is a very good and healthy thing to eat. However, it should only fill one quarter of our plates at mealtimes, not EVERY quarter of the plate, perhaps with a sausage squeezed in somewhere, which often seems to be the German way of thinking.
As racist posts go, this one is pretty tame, but nonetheless I must stress that I'm sure the Germans have a much healthier overall lifestyle than I do and it is silly of me to get cross over something like this, plus if 'too much bread' is the worst thing about Germany, that makes it a pretty amazing country really, but when I have absolutely no control over almost every aspect of my life, e.g. what time I get up, what I wear, where I go, how I get there, the amount of sleep I get, whether I can wash my clothes or not, whether or not I can connect to the internet... the little things, like simply going into town to choose something to eat, become incredibly meaningful, and when I come across nothing but bread and bread-related products, it takes its toll on me, mentally and physically. I want to be healthy. I want to look after my body and treat myself well. It's frustrating when something out of my control is preventing me from doing this.
At least we get to go to Switzerland next week. With any luck, there will be nothing but chocolate there, and if I get fat, it will be absolutely worth it.