During my recent stay at Embassy Suites in Chicago I witnessed hundreds of people, mainly families, piling on “free” breakfasts. In my visits to the tiny gym I saw 0 to 4 other people. There’s lots of families traveling and Embassy Suites caters to them. I wish for a cultural shift where the family attraction doesn’t have to be unhealthy food; maybe even fitness could be an attraction.
Breakfasts consumed were huge and not nutricious. I don’t remember seeing a vegetable. True, some healthy choices were offered which the platters of food didn’t reflect. Clearly a culture of get-and-eat-as-much-as-you-can prevailed. Later in the day the scene repeats with free cocktails and non-foods snacks such as Chex mix. It’s vacation, after all. It wouldn’t have been so disturbing if most of the adults and children hadn’t been overweight, a sign that it’s not just at Embassy Suites where poor food choices are made.
Don’t we all know how to eat? The message is everywhere, it seems to me. Michelle Obama sure has tried.
Michael Pollan, journalist and food activist, puts it simply: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Compare to the plates pictured above:
- questionable how much “food” (little nutritional value)
- clearly too much
- no plants
We can’t blame Embassy Suites, can we? Don’t we all know the price we pay from poor diets and excess weight (heart attacks, diabetes, joint pain and injury, high blood pressure, etc.)? But where do we start to change the culture in America? Corporations can take the lead. Can you imagine less food, paired down to the healthiest options, with a bigger, more visible gym, maybe even with a section for kids?
Take a look below at CEO of the Worldwide Hilton chain (owners of Embassy Suites), Christopher Nassetta .
Here’s the CEO of Embassy Suites, John Rogers with celebrity Brooke Burke- Charvet at an event held at Dylan’s Candy Bar promoting family travel at Embassy Suites.
Whatya bet you wouldn’t catch them eating platters full at breakfast, and I’m guessing you’d meet them in the gym. CEO Christopher Nassetta loves to cook and is known for visiting kitchens in Hilton hotels. I urge him to infiltrate the dining area of the Embassy Suites on N. State Street in Chicago this summer and see what people are putting on their plates.
I don’t know the answer to changing our breakfast culture. Why do I care? I guess it’s wanting to have pride in being an American. I want an America on the cutting edge of health, a country of people taking the lead in eating less, wasting less, and exercising more.
More from Michael Pollan:
More about CEO, Hilton Worldwide, Christopher Nassetta