Local Food at Home and Abroad – Which is better?

Many people know that proper nutrition is key to a healthy body. Our nutrition is a reflection of how much we care about our body, health, youth, and even emotional balance.

Since my childhood, I have been involved in sports. But only recently have I begun to build a proper diet. Realizing that an athlete needs the right energy source to have a feeling of cheerfulness, fullness of strength, and of a restored body, I decided to study about proper nutrition and how I can help myself through an appropriate diet. 

Today, I would like to share information about the differences in nutrition between Ukraine and overseas given my vast experience in sports life and performances locally and abroad. 

There was a stage in my life when I took part in a water show on a cruise ship. The route passed through the Caribbean Islands but sailed back to Florida, USA every Sunday. On this day, we had the opportunity to buy groceries from local supermarkets. Naturally, each area has a popular product among residents. What I want to highlight is the difference between food available in Florida and food available in Ukraine (which may be similar to that of East Europe). Furthermore, I wish to also take note of which products we lack locally.

Taisia Cherednichenko
Taisiia Cherednychenko/ private archive

PRICE

In the United States, food is much more expensive. While this is fine for residents, post-Soviet countries will be in a completely different situation. In Ukraine, prices are significantly lower. It is not worth comparing prices by exchange rates. These are two “different worlds.” However, if we take into account the local salary, everything will become relatively comparable.

The products that I used to eat in Ukraine can be found in the USA, but it was very challenging. Everyone knows that there are “Russian” supermarkets with goods, but we could not get there due to lack of time. We could only purchase in stores nearby.

WHOLESALE PRODUCTS

A fairly large number of products are sold in bulk (wholesale). Perhaps for someone, it will be a huge plus – you can save both time and money! But this option did not suit us since we could not carry perishable food onboard the cruise ship. It is also impossible to eat everything on “land” in such a short time.

The ultimate healthy products – organic vegetables/ source

FROZEN PRODUCTS

Florida sells many ready-made and frozen food – hamburger, pizza, and many others. While there is also a lot of this in Ukraine, we understand that these products do not carry any nutritional value. However, you can easily take vegetables and berries which are amazing sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

frozen products
Frozen products are good in many cases/ source

GREEN ZONE PRODUCTS

We were pleased to find a “Green Zone” with a huge selection of products. You can often see trays of different sizes with already washed, peeled, and cut products such as fresh vegetables, roots, fruits, and berries. In Ukraine, this format is only starting to develop. Our choices are still not that great and the price is too high. On the other hand, cereals, meat and seafood are in abundance in both cases.

We are what we eat/ source

FOOD QUALITY

There are many questions about taste and quality. Cucumbers that we are used to having in the USA have a different taste or are even tasteless. No wonder some people say, “focus on those food products that are grown in your country.” In my opinion, we have certain products of higher quality and richness including berries, fruits, and vegetables. At home, they are juicier, more natural and have a richer taste. 

Due to the difference in tastes of the same products, a popular expression even appeared: “you feel the taste, not just plastic!” Because of this, we eat faster as our taste buds react and the true taste is full. But after eating “plastic food,” you will certainly want to eat something else, and often it is obviously not healthy food.

Healthy products = healthy life
Healthy products = healthy life/ source

THE DIFFERENCE

Buckwheat, cottage cheese, and other dairy products – that’s what we are missing (and of course borsch, even though it’s not a nutritious meal). Those who go abroad immediately desire to eat traditional dishes of their country and we were no exception. Of course, nothing beats cooking at home. Self-prepared food will always be different. We see all the “purity” of the cooking process. We avoid flavor enhancers, excess sugar, salt, various oils, and other substances unnecessary for the body.

TIME

Being at home, we do not need to waste time searching. We already know certain places such as supermarkets, hypermarkets, wholesale outlets, etc. where we can save and buy food products for a certain period. When you arrive in a new country, it will take a lot of time to find quality products. Due to unfamiliarity with the area and pricing policy, purchases are much higher than average. This needs to be taken into account.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE IS PRICELESS

I cannot say that it was difficult to get used to the “American” food onboard the ship. The management company understands that the staff and guests come from different continents. We have always had an abundant variety of products. Directly on the islands themselves, we found the opportunity to eat traditional dishes and various fruits. Since we have lived in “permanent summer” for more than 8 months, fruits and vitamin D were enough.

Organic food in supermarket/ private archive

This is only my personal experience. But I know that people under any circumstances get used to everything, wherever they are. The main thing is to have the desire and focus your attention on the product that will really compliment you and tune you to prosperous affairs, and not the opposite – to take your energy back…

And remember that the base of our nutrition should be 80% nutritious food. That is, food that carries a certain value. We can leave the remaining 20% ​​”for pleasure.”

Taisia Cherednichenko
Taisiia Cherednychenko/ private archive

I believe that in post-Soviet countries, you can buy products for every taste and budget. You don’t have to buy redfish, avocado, and blueberries. It is false to think that this is the only “healthy lifestyle.” “Healthy lifestyle” is also the most common food product – the simpler, the better. Your priority should be those sold without labels: grains, roots, vegetables, nuts, etc.

The choice is yours! Be healthy!

Translated by Aldo Tong

About the author

Taisiia Cherednychenko
Healthy nutrition specialist (UKR)
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