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Old 14.01.2013, 01:45
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Standard Swiss Diet

Hello,
I am curious about the typical diet, and the food that is most easily available, in Switzerland. My family may be moving to Bern in the fall, and are currently in the United States. Here in the States, the "SAD" (Standard American Diet) is often referred to - this is made up of junk food, convenience foods, and other highly processed foods. ie, not exactly healthy. It's gotten so bad that author and activist Michael Pollan is famous for advising that if somebody's great grandparents wouldn't recognize something as food, then they shouldn't eat it.

My family eats mostly whole, organic foods, and I'm kind of assuming this will be easier to accommodate in Switzerland than it is in the States. Is it? Does organic food cost much more than conventional?

We also drink raw milk, which is quite controversial here in the States. In fact, several farmers have recently been jailed for delivering it. It's legal in some states, illegal in others, and in my state it happens to be legal but only if obtained at the farm (and only on an "occasional" basis. What the heck is that?!) I saw mention of raw milk dispensers in another thread - how wonderful! That is how it should be, in my opinion!

So I'm wondering - how would the "Standard Swiss Diet" be described? Is raw milk pretty universally consumed and accepted? Are fast food restaurants and junk food as prevalent in Switzerland as they are in the States (ie, easier to get than fresh, organic produce)?

Thanks for your thoughts!
A
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Old 14.01.2013, 01:57
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Re: Standard Swiss Diet

Swiss evening dinner, what do you cook?

Mealtimes

Fast Food and Food Chains in CH

Food in Switzerland

KFC in Switzerland?

Organic food in Switzerland. Do you?

What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

Contradicting facts about GMO foods in Swiss

Eating 100% organic/additive free. Do you do this or are you considering it?

Swiss Health Statistics

Diet and health

Swiss Tap Water
and many more when searched
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Old 14.01.2013, 02:28
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Re: Standard Swiss Diet

I'm getting the feeling that I shouldn't be posting questions in my own words here, that I'm only allowed to search old threads (which I've done.) There are three reasons I've posted my own questions:

1. To interact with people, "mingle with the locals" and get a feel for the people who may be my neighbors this fall. If we do move, I want to do it "right" - get to know people, integrate my family, get involved in the community, be a productive member of society, understand how this beautiful country works, etc. I don't have anything to add to other threads because I don't have any answers yet, so how else could I interact with people here?

2. To ask questions as I want them answered, not just read similar variations from others that don't necessarily answer my questions completely.

3. According to a sticky in the support area, I need to post more in order to get past the "4 messages in 1440 minutes" restriction. I have several PMs I want to reply to, but I can't because of the restriction. This is frustrating because again, I want to mingle with the locals and learn from you guys!

I am looking forward to contributing more, but having just discovered the forum 5 hours ago, I figured I should become familiar with things before walking around like I own the place and answering questions. Does that make sense?

Thanks for the links. I understand you are trying to be helpful, and I will certainly read them, but am I wrong to want to get my own conversations going, too? Is there a different place for that? Is that not allowed?
Thanks!
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Old 14.01.2013, 02:50
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Re: Standard Swiss Diet

I had already seen some of these threads, and appreciated reading the others even though they didn't answer my questions. I am still wondering:

My family eats mostly whole, organic foods, and I'm kind of assuming this will be easier to accommodate in Switzerland than it is in the States. Is it?

So I'm wondering - how would the "Standard Swiss Diet" be described?

Is raw milk pretty universally consumed and accepted?

Are fast food restaurants and junk food as prevalent in Switzerland as they are in the States (ie, easier to get than fresh, organic produce)?

To clarify, I live in a big suburb about 25 minutes from my state capitol; my state is one of the easier states to find fresh, whole foods in (ie, we have more co-ops, CSAs, and organic restaurants than most). And still, I have to drive 30 minutes to get to the co-op because the grocery stores near my house don't carry the food my family wants to eat (one has a meager organic produce selection, but it's usually moldy and very expensive.) There are dozens of restaurants in my suburb, not one of them are organic. But if I drive 30-45 minutes, I can dine at wonderful establishments that source their food from local organic farms, and only use grass-fed beef/pastured pork, etc. Maybe that will help narrow down my questions?

Thanks!
A
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Old 14.01.2013, 03:02
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Re: Standard Swiss Diet

jrspet is one of the most helpful members of our community.

Twice he has attempted to guide you ... twice you have told him to get lost.

Not a good start of your membership in our community.
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Old 14.01.2013, 03:30
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Re: Standard Swiss Diet

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jrspet is one of the most helpful members of our community.

Twice he has attempted to guide you ... twice you have told him to get lost.

Not a good start of your membership in our community.
I didn't tell him to get lost. I simply clarified my questions; how else will I get answers if I don't clarify what I'm asking?
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Old 14.01.2013, 03:31
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Re: Standard Swiss Diet

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My family eats mostly whole, organic foods, and I'm kind of assuming this will be easier to accommodate in Switzerland than it is in the States. Is it?
No. In any decent sized city in the U.S. you will find at least as much or more choice in organic foods. However, in any decent sized city here, there will be farmer's markets once or twice a week. Decent size means 20k population here, 100k there. Not likely that the farmers are growing organic, but probably close to it.

Quote:
So I'm wondering - how would the "Standard Swiss Diet" be described?
Cheese, meat, potatoes. Lots of Italian cuisine.

Quote:
Is raw milk pretty universally consumed and accepted?
It's accepted, as in not many people would think twice about drinking it. But most people buy their milk in the supermarket, homogenized and pasteurized.

Quote:
Are fast food restaurants and junk food as prevalent in Switzerland as they are in the States (ie, easier to get than fresh, organic produce)?
There aren't nearly as many fast food places here as in the U.S. But it is still easier to grab McDonalds than go in a grocery store, buy food, bring it home, and prepare it. Really not trying to be flippant here.

Quote:
To clarify, I live in a big suburb about 25 minutes from my state capitol; my state is one of the easier states to find fresh, whole foods in (ie, we have more co-ops, CSAs, and organic restaurants than most). And still, I have to drive 30 minutes to get to the co-op because the grocery stores near my house don't carry the food my family wants to eat (one has a meager organic produce selection, but it's usually moldy and very expensive.) There are dozens of restaurants in my suburb, not one of them are organic. But if I drive 30-45 minutes, I can dine at wonderful establishments that source their food from local organic farms, and only use grass-fed beef/pastured pork, etc. Maybe that will help narrow down my questions?
I'm sure you can find organic restaurants in Geneva, Zurich, Bern maybe. One or two per city. Expect to pay 50+ francs to eat there per person.

Switzerland is small. The two major cities are small by U.S. standards. Bern, the capitol, is the same size as Athens, GA there, a small college town. There are two main grocery store chains, and they have a very limited selection of products in general, including produce (and they do have organic) compared to U.S. chain stores. There is no equivalent to Whole Foods or anything remotely close. You have to buy aspirin in a pharmacy or drug store, and it's truly 'over the counter', meaning you have to ask for it and they hand it over. Meat is wickedly expensive.

And they don't refrigerate their eggs!
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Old 14.01.2013, 03:33
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Re: Standard Swiss Diet

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I didn't tell him to get lost. I simply clarified my questions; how else will I get answers if I don't clarify what I'm asking?
In fact, quite the opposite - I'm trying to get conversation out of him (and everybody), not just links! I would love to hear personal experience, so I can combine views to get a better idea. I've been getting the feeling that I'm being brushed aside, and that my questions are a bother. :/

Feeling rather unwelcome at the moment.
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Old 14.01.2013, 03:45
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Re: Standard Swiss Diet

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No. In any decent sized city in the U.S. you will find at least as much or more choice in organic foods. However, in any decent sized city here, there will be farmer's markets once or twice a week. Decent size means 20k population here, 100k there. Not likely that the farmers are growing organic, but probably close to it.

Cheese, meat, potatoes. Lots of Italian cuisine.

It's accepted, as in not many people would think twice about drinking it. But most people buy their milk in the supermarket, homogenized and pasteurized.

There aren't nearly as many fast food places here as in the U.S. But it is still easier to grab McDonalds than go in a grocery store, buy food, bring it home, and prepare it. Really not trying to be flippant here.

I'm sure you can find organic restaurants in Geneva, Zurich, Bern maybe. One or two per city. Expect to pay 50+ francs to eat there per person.

Switzerland is small. The two major cities are small by U.S. standards. Bern, the capitol, is the same size as Athens, GA there, a small college town. There are two main grocery store chains, and they have a very limited selection of products in general, including produce (and they do have organic) compared to U.S. chain stores. There is no equivalent to Whole Foods or anything remotely close. You have to buy aspirin in a pharmacy or drug store, and it's truly 'over the counter', meaning you have to ask for it and they hand it over. Meat is wickedly expensive.

But they don't refrigerate their eggs!
This is wonderful - thanks so much for your reply!

Do you know offhand any rough prices for meat? I pay US$10 per pound of grass-fed ground beef at the store here (cheaper when I buy directly from the farmer). I'd love any sort of rough comparison if you happen to know.

I still have yet to hit Google to find out for sure (don't worry, I will! Have had tons to research lately) but I'm thinking Swiss conventional/non-organic food is probably safer than US conventional/non-organic. I think we have more dangerous chemicals allowed here than in Switzerland, so I may not even feel the need to buy organic there.

Most of the time I just want basic staples. I don't need to buy "baby carrots" (regular carrots peeled and cut into tiny rounded shapes, and soaked in chemicals so they won't dry out in the bag), or flavored sunflower seeds with 5+ ingredients. While I know convenience foods can be great sometimes, I mostly prefer to buy single ingredients, close to the form they grew in, so I can prepare them myself. Funny that it's so hard to come by these days!

Thanks again for your thoughts
A
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Old 14.01.2013, 03:56
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Re: Standard Swiss Diet

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Do you know offhand any rough prices for meat?
Have a look here for general prices of groceries, Coop is one of the two major supermarket chains. Click 'EN' at the top for English.

http://www.coopathome.ch

(And no they aren't run by thin bearded guys in comfortable shoes like co-ops in the U.S. , it's just a standard supermarket)
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Old 14.01.2013, 04:04
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Re: Standard Swiss Diet

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jrspet is one of the most helpful members of our community.

Twice he has attempted to guide you ... twice you have told him to get lost.

Not a good start of your membership in our community.
And my last thought about this comment: maybe this community isn't very welcoming to new members? I followed the directions and took the new member poll, and posted an introduction. As of a few minutes ago, 67 people have viewed my intro, but not one person has commented to say welcome or hi. That's fine, I didn't expect it. But I also didn't expect my first post to garner a comment like the following which I'm pasting here - "F£*k off, come back, and then F%"k off again." That was because I asked about the general feeling toward families who don't vaccinate. Well, I got my answer! I also had another poster telling me that I wouldn't be able to sue anybody like I can in the US, when I had made no mention whatsoever of suing - she assumed that because I'm American, I would want to sue somebody. What the...?!

Instead of attacking me, maybe put yourself in my shoes - I'm looking for answers, trying to find how to best integrate my family, and this is what I get?

Whenever I'm the existing employee/member/resident somewhere, I'm always the first to welcome people and make them feel comfortable. Even if they're different or believe in things I don't. I guess that's my fault, that I expect the same (or similar) treatment from others.
A
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Old 14.01.2013, 04:09
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Re: Standard Swiss Diet

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Have a look here for general prices of groceries, Coop is one of the two major supermarket chains. Click 'EN' at the top for English.

http://www.coopathome.ch

(And no they aren't run by thin bearded guys in comfortable shoes like co-ops in the U.S. , it's just a standard supermarket)

LOL!!

Thanks - super helpful! Great to see products, brands, and prices. Perfect
A
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Old 14.01.2013, 05:19
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Re: Standard Swiss Diet

You'll do fine with the type of food you're looking for.... Bio/organic is widely available although more expensive, raw milk is available at some farms. Buy at markets instead of supermarkets, try to find farms that sell meat direct although few Swiss apartments are big enough to house a freezer, you should try to fins space for one. I buy whole goat, lamb and quarter Dexter calves direct from a neighbour and they come ready for the freezer.

And ignore some of the more grumpy and pedantic members here, most members are pretty welcoming.
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Old 14.01.2013, 05:20
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On Tuesdays and Saturdays in Bern, there are farmer's markets,mostly in the AM. Local produce, ethnic stuff, cheeses, meats, etc are for sale. Great places for all sorts of things. There are lots of smaller "hofladen" all around, farm stores. We used to live in Belp and bought our eggs there, asparagus in season, and other fruits and veg.
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Old 14.01.2013, 05:26
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Re: Standard Swiss Diet

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jrspet is one of the most helpful members of our community.

Twice he has attempted to guide you ... twice you have told him to get lost.

Not a good start of your membership in our community.
Where the hell did she tell him to get lost? I thought she gave a dignified response to a quite pedantic reply. What a welcome!
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Old 14.01.2013, 05:31
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Re: Standard Swiss Diet

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You'll do fine with the type of food you're looking for.... Bio/organic is widely available although more expensive, raw milk is available at some farms. Buy at markets instead of supermarkets, try to find farms that sell meat direct although few Swiss apartments are big enough to house a freezer, you should try to fins space for one. I buy whole goat, lamb and quarter Dexter calves direct from a neighbour and they come ready for the freezer.

And ignore some of the more grumpy and pedantic members here, most members are pretty welcoming.
Perfect - this is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!

This may be the hardest thing for me to get used to, if we won't have an extra freezer for buying meat in bulk.

Thanks for the advice, and especially for the welcome. It's very much appreciated
A
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Old 14.01.2013, 06:08
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Re: Standard Swiss Diet

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And my last thought about this comment: maybe this community isn't very welcoming to new members? I followed the directions and took the new member poll, and posted an introduction. As of a few minutes ago, 67 people have viewed my intro, but not one person has commented to say welcome or hi. That's fine, I didn't expect it.

Instead of attacking me, maybe put yourself in my shoes - I'm looking for answers, trying to find how to best integrate my family, and this is what I get?

Whenever I'm the existing employee/member/resident somewhere, I'm always the first to welcome people and make them feel comfortable. Even if they're different or believe in things I don't. I guess that's my fault, that I expect the same (or similar) treatment from others.
A
With regards to this part I think you need to realise that you were actually posting in the middle if the night over here.
There are all sorts of posters on here and your questions or very similar have probably been asked at least once before so some of them get a bit annoyed when reading them again. Nearly every thread you read will probably have some comment directing the thread starter to google. If you had said in your first post that you had read other threads on the topic but were looking for specific answers to these questions you might have had a better reception.

That being said there are loads of very helpful posters and you'll get lots of useful advise and information on here. Don't judge the whole community by a few responses posted at a time when most of us are asleep.( a word of advise though: it's usually appreciated if you've done a bit of research yourself before posting questions.)

Sorry I can't add any more to what has been said regarding your specific questions. I don't live in Bern and all the other questions have already been covered adequately.
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Old 14.01.2013, 06:34
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Re: Standard Swiss Diet

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With regards to this part I think you need to realise that you were actually posting in the middle if the night over here.
There are all sorts of posters on here and your questions or very similar have probably been asked at least once before so some of them get a bit annoyed when reading them again. Nearly every thread you read will probably have some comment directing the thread starter to google. If you had said in your first post that you had read other threads on the topic but were looking for specific answers to these questions you might have had a better reception.

That being said there are loads of very helpful posters and you'll get lots of useful advise and information on here. Don't judge the whole community by a few responses posted at a time when most of us are asleep.( a word of advise though: it's usually appreciated if you've done a bit of research yourself before posting questions.)

Sorry I can't add any more to what has been said regarding your specific questions. I don't live in Bern and all the other questions have already been covered adequately.
Thanks for the reply. To be clear, I did do some research before posting. I found this forum earlier this afternoon (it's midnight right now - eek! I'm usually not up this late, but I'm just really excited to be gathering info about this huge life-changing move.) I spent at least an hour familiarizing myself with the forum before my first post. And then I kept researching before asking another question. You're right, I should have been more clear that I had done some searching and had not found the specific answers I was looking for. But what is the point of this place if all of the veteran members think every possible question has been answered, and all they want to do is point people toward previously posted questions while getting annoyed at the duplication? Doesn't anybody value conversation?

Personally, I'm so excited about this move that I want to talk to people about it. I read the official welcome to Switzerland PDF, and several dry articles with facts and figures, but it's hard to get a complete feel for a country by that stuff. Like I said in an earlier post, I really wanted to mingle with the locals and hear some thoughts from real people rather than facts through the eyes of a journalist.

Regardless, I've learned a lot today. Thanks for taking the time to post
A
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Old 14.01.2013, 06:45
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Re: Standard Swiss Diet

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Thanks for the reply. To be clear, I did do some research before posting. I found this forum earlier this afternoon (it's midnight right now - eek! I'm usually not up this late, but I'm just really excited to be gathering info about this huge life-changing move.) I spent at least an hour familiarizing myself with the forum before my first post. And then I kept researching before asking another question. You're right, I should have been more clear that I had done some searching and had not found the specific answers I was looking for. But what is the point of this place if all of the veteran members think every possible question has been answered, and all they want to do is point people toward previously posted questions while getting annoyed at the duplication? Doesn't anybody value conversation?

Personally, I'm so excited about this move that I want to talk to people about it. I read the official welcome to Switzerland PDF, and several dry articles with facts and figures, but it's hard to get a complete feel for a country by that stuff. Like I said in an earlier post, I really wanted to mingle with the locals and hear some thoughts from real people rather than facts through the eyes of a journalist.

Regardless, I've learned a lot today. Thanks for taking the time to post
A
I really understand where you're coming from and your desire to find out as much as possible as quickly as possible.
I was just trying to explain why some of the responses might have seemed a bit harsh as I wouldn't want you to be put off by a few responses as overall most people are very helpful and friendly and will take time to try and answer your queries. (the graveyard shift ie midnight to 5 am is probably not the best time though)

I hope you find all the information you're looking for and wish you all the best with your potential future move. We're not far from Bern but in the French speaking part of Switzerland.
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Old 14.01.2013, 06:52
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Re: Standard Swiss Diet

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. But what is the point of this place if all of the veteran members think every possible question has been answered, and all they want to do is point people toward previously posted questions while getting annoyed at the duplication? Doesn't anybody value conversation?
Regardless, I've learned a lot today. Thanks for taking the time to post
A
Nah! Not all of us! But, as already mentioned by another poster, this is an internet forum of frequently anonymous people, so you are going to find a wide variation in the responses.

My own feeling is that so long as one has a job to come to, then living here for a while is a great expereince for anyone, any family. Generally, it's a clean, healthy, comparitively safe country to live in, with a wide range of easily accessable activites - especially if one is nterested in outdoor activities or music. All other things will fall into place, including finding whatever food specialities are desired. School ing variations can be interesting....

So welcome to Switzerland.
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