Now that we finished a long weekend celebrating some of our national pastimes like hot dogs, baseball, and apple pie, I thought we should take a look at some international diet secrets. Let's look at some other cultures' diet philosophies and see what we might gain from a global perspective on food.
- Eat Like the French: Although French cooking is notoriously rich, the obesity rate in France is considerably lower than here in the states. One reason is that the French have a different relationship with food than Americans. For one, this culture knows how to savor its cuisine, and secondly, they eat smaller portions. So eat like the French and eat your smaller serving slowly - putting your fork down between bites helps.
- Try Hara Hachi Bu: Hara Hachi Bu is not a diet food, but rather an eating philosophy. In Okinawa, a Japanese island, the population practices eating until they are only 80 percent full - quite different from stuffing yourself silly at an all you can eat buffet. The average daily caloric intake in Okinawa is 1200 calories a day, which is significantly lower than western countries. Incorporate this philosophy into your daily meals.
- Go Mediterranean:The only diet proven to be heart healthy, eating the Mediterranean diet is great for your waistline too. One element to imitate in this diet is choosing your fats wisely. Opting for olive oil over butter and yogurt, full of healthy bacteria, over cheese are two ways to imitate the Greeks and reap the benefits of the Mediterranean cuisine.
- Think of Meat as a Spice: In the nation of Cameroon, produce takes the starring role of most dishes. Meat is used as spice, to add flavor to the meal. Americans often fall short on the recommended five to nine daily servings of fruits and veggies, and by making meat less important to your main dish helps increase the intake of low calorie, nutrient dense produce. The Almost Meatless cookbook provides great recipes to follow this philosophy.