In my personal opinion, I believe that part of the reason for Americans having a difficult time eating vegetables (and not other things) has to do with the capitalist orientation of our food industry. Big profits are not made in the crops or vegetables themselves but in the manufacturing of farm equipment, chemicals and pesticides used to guarantee the highest yield of crops from a given acreage. After the crop has matured it is the packaging and advertising that are the big money makers. I think Americans have a difficult time eating vegetables because we have been led to believe in the power of processed foods that no longer resemble the vegetables or other natural foods these products are derived from.
brantoss brings up a great point that due to corporate advertising, Americans feel that they can derive the same benefits from substitutes (vitamins, products like V-8) rather than from fruits and vegetables. I think there’s a mentality that eating vegetables can be more convenient, like when they are packaged into single-serve portions, full of chemicals and preservatives. Also, sometimes the convenient and cheap vegetables (frozen or canned) taste disgusting, and people give up on vegetables altogether. People on limited incomes will also choose whatever is cheapest and can ease their hunger–usually processed frozen foods with limited vegetable quantities.
I think there are a few reasons. One is that most Americans are addicted to salt, fat, and sugar, of which they cannot find enough in vegetables. This explains why so many things are fried (even candy bars). Another reason is that Americans don’t cook as much as they used to, and the food that is sold in fast food/restaurants is meat and starch heavy, instead of vegetable heavy. Also, many people think of vegetables as steamed, limp food or unsatisfying light “rabbit food.”
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