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trip to the States

Hi there,

I live in Wellington, New Zealand (where it is currently winter and very cold
and rainy).  I just got back from 2 weeks in Oregon (windsurfing) which was
fantastic and thought i'd just put in my comments on the differences between
our diets/availability of foods/fast food etc along with a few questions:

American food is very SWEET.  I am not used to added sugar.  Some of the low
fat granola is fantastic (I could eat it all the time) but SO high in sugar. 
Does anyone have a good recipe for low fat low sugar granola?  (we don't have
granola here).

American pancakes are fantastic (with syrup of course) - ours are nothing in
comparison. Had oatbran, buckwheat, banana and blueberry varieties.  any
recipes?  Are these high fat?  I was not trying to keep to super low fat while
I was there because I was doing huge amounts of exercise, I am not over weight
and I was not that concerned...for the first time in 3 or 4 years I ate cheese.
I'm sure I gained some weight even so but that is from eating with 3 very
active guys, and trying loads of things!!

We stopped at a little boutiquey fruit place in Hood River which made chutneys
etc.  Tried some awesome PUMPKIN BUTTER - made from pumpkin (what kind?),
spices (which?), sugar (of course) and pectin (i think).  How does this keep? 
does anyone have a recipe?

We camped and ate out alot.  The first time my friend and I ate together (he
didn't know about my eating and I didnt' want to go into it) we were in a rush
and got Tacotime.  Yucky cheese.  The next time we went here I had a fantastic
veggie burrito minus the cheese and sour cream...I asked in the drive-thru with
little hope but they did it!!  Ate alot of pizza at a place called Andrews in
Hood River.  Very good pizza, even with cheese (and you could pick it off),
also good Calzone (ricotta mushrooms and spinach).

Also the beer from Oregon and Seattle is very good - albeit sweet.

I can understand the reasons for the MWLP now.  We don't have that much
processed food here and certainly not the fatfree stuff.  I couldn't believe
that you have Oreo cereal.  And the amount of sugar in fatfree fig newtons and

I had alot of cherries and apricots.  They are out of season here till 1999 so
I made a complete pig of myself.

Observations - may have gained a pound or 2.  my skin is not as clear as it has
been for the last few years.  You cannot eat unlimited low fat foods and not
gain weight with all that sugar.

I had a fantastic time, found the people to be very hospitable/friendly and the
variety of food wonderful (albeit tempting...)

I also found a wonderful herbal tea.  don't normally drink them but this is
called Good Earth.  The main herb is Masi (I think) which I have never heard
of.  There is no sugar or artificial sweetener added and caffiene free
varieties.  It tastes sweet though.  I brought some back but would like to know
if anyone has tried making their own.

Enough from me back to work