One of my favourite things to do in a foreign country is to study the TV commercials as they seem to represent the most pressing needs of the people – or so I came to believe.
Taking that into consideration, in Mexico there is a big need for air fresheners, hair growth potions and diet pills / meals / drinks. The latter I already enjoyed in the US. It seems like a modern fairy tale: Sad, miserable people discover a miracle potion, they slim down, get shinier teeth and hair, and become happier people. (The same thing happens by the way if you buy the new Koblenz vacuum cleaner that apparently can throw even kids’ parties for you.)
When you go shopping in Mexico, it doesn’t surprise you that people need to come up with all kinds of ideas for overnight weight loss. Everything contains lots and lots of sugar or high glucose corn syrup. And nobody seems to care. The first couple of times when I bought yogurt, I was thoroughly disappointed upon trying terribly sweet stuff, because simple plain yogurt here is already sweetened. Finally now, they seem to have got the hang of the plain concept – and in big letters they print “Sin Azucar” on the lids. Whatever you buy, you have to carefully study the ingredients, because even whole grain bread tastes utterly sweet. And the normal Coke is not sweet enough, they add extra sugar for the Mexican market – at least, that’s what I have been told as a non-coke consumer.
If you talk to people, they are not aware of the choices they make regarding food – or rather, they make no choices, they just don’t think about it, which is surely a matter of education.
On the other hand, they also don’t seem to care so much about being overweight, in general they seem more at ease with their bodies. The ones who do wish to lose weight – well, you can buy all sorts of push-up and push-down garments that will make you appear at least 2 sizes smaller. Hooray. The downside of this is that it clearly only works while being dressed. For that reason, it might appear more tempting to resort to the above-mentioned diet pills and stuff. Hence the commercials.
Of course, not anybody can afford expensive pills, like e.g. my housekeeper Auri. Her doctor told her she should lose some weight as her knees and her back start hurting. Luckily, there is an easy, inexpensive and non-sweaty solution. So one morning, when Auri got here, she marched in, grabbed a sharp knife which always looks kind of scary to me, and without saying a word hurried outside again. Suspiciously, I followed her into the garden only to find her kneeling on the ground cutting our aloe vera plants. Well, she said, she thought it would look much nicer like this. -?- Later on, she told me, her doctor had ordered her to eat a tiny bit of aloe every morning accompanied only by a cup of (sweetened) coffee in order to reduce her weight. After weeks of trying, I asked her, how it was going and she said just fine. After eating that jelly-like tasteless gel, she isn’t hungry for the rest of the day. You don’t say!
However, since she continues to eat her normal stuff at night that contains a lot of sugar and oil, this kind of aloe diet didn’t really work for her, so she switched to “jugo verde” instead, a green juice made of aloe, nopales, parsley, grapefruit, celery and whatnot – delicious and nutritious.
Still, she is not satisfied and I now have the privilege to regularly inspect her belly that undoubtedly hasn’t shrunk a bit. As she is seemingly unhappy about her weight, I tried to explain to her that she needed to cut down on sugar and fat, but I am not sure I am getting through to her. For everybody, those wondrous cures hold a much bigger fascination than just common sense. And yes, I can see that. I also used to love fairytales and woe betide that evil person who would spoil my belief in unicorns and princes on white horses! That’s why I am thinking about getting that Koblenz vacuum cleaner so I can throw parties non-stop without showing the slightest sign of fatigue. If only it came with an integrated hood drier!