Not only are we more politically divided than ever, we are in regards to our diets as well. There’s the Keto Diet (high fat, low carbs), the Dubrow Diet (intermittent fasting), the Carnivore/Paleo Diet (meat only, or mostly meat), the Mediterranean Diet (healthy fats and whole grains), the Flexitarian (mostly veg, with meat when you crave it), and Vegan (no meat or animal by-products). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg lettuce.

For the most part, I’ve ignored diet fads, striving for moderation instead. This isn’t to say that I haven’t looked at my eating habits, I have, or that I haven’t tried a few (raw foodist and vegetarian in my late 20s).  I dabbled briefly with a low-carb diet until a family friend said, “Whatever you’re doing, stop it, you don’t look good.” I think I got too skinny, and honestly, that diet wasn’t going to work for a carb-lover like me.

For six years I didn’t eat pork because after my partner-at-the-time read The Okinawan Diet (or something like that), he was convinced that many of the longest living people around the world do not eat pork. And as an American Southerner (the South is famous for deep fried and pork products), this was a fairly big deal for him, but we did it.

 

A popular Thai dish, stewed pork knuckle, egg, and rice. [Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2018]

A little about my health

Just to give you a brief background, I’ve been very lucky. I’ve always been slim and never had any serious health problems. However, I’m 47, and my partner will be 55 this year. Our friend, who was only 49, died unexpectedly in his apt a few months ago, of a stroke brought about by runaway high blood pressure. We’re surrounded by a myriad of friends and family who had or who are fighting cancer, weight issues, or heart problems, and we know how you look on the outside is not necessarily an indication of what’s going on inside.

A couple months ago I had a particularly bad case of food poisoning (very common in Thailand) from questionable meat, and this coincided with the BF watching the documentary, Game Changers, which is about the benefits of a plant-based diet for athletes. [He then went on to binge watch Forks Over Knives and other similar films.] He decided he wanted to experiment with a vegan diet, and after I said, ‘okay’, he laughed because he expected me to put up a fight.

It works for us because I’ve been cooking mainly vegetarian for over 15 years. I like to eat (you really can stuff yourself when you’re eating low-cal foods), and I like to try new things. But don’t worry, I’m not here to convert you.

 

One of the best meals I’ve ever had was a vegetarian one at Veg-G Table. [Siem Reap, Cambodia, 2017]

What I’ve learned so far

As I dived into food research (you know, how to make vegan chocolate chip cookies), I noticed how EVERY DIET claims to help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, and get rid of Type 2 Diabetes. And not only that, some folks were vehement about their dietary beliefs, hence, my comparison with politics.

I mean, hello, there’s the Carnivore Diet. So not only do we have extremes on the food spectrum, we have all sorts of “doctors” and “sources” and “research” to tell you why their diet is the best. But this should come as no surprise as the diet and weight loss industry in the U.S. “grew at an estimated 4.1% in 2018, from $69.8 billion to $72.7 billion. The total market is forecast to grow 2.6% annually through 2023.” And “prescription obesity drugs is a $655 million market”.

THAT’S INSANE.

But let me return to the research I’ve been doing, because it’s quite simple. I look up the nutritional content of fruits and vegetables, food we eat. That’s it. What this has taught me is that whole foods, simple foods are chock full of amazing antioxidants, and crazy amounts of vitamins and minerals.

You can look up what you eat for yourself, and see how well you are doing. You can learn which foods are fortified or injected with vitamins, and which ones naturally have C or protein. It’s like falling in love with fruits and veggies again (or for the first time).

Our diets give us an area of our lives that we can control in a world that is very much outside of it.

Perhaps that is why there are battles on what you should and shouldn’t eat. Not only are industries fighting for your money, they want to take some control out of your hands, too. After all, don’t we all enjoy getting out of the driver’s seat from time to time? Tell me what I can eat. Give me the research that tells me that I can eat all the bacon and eggs  I want. Or butter.

But I also learned that in medical school would-be doctors NEVER take a class in nutrition. I suppose it makes sense given how much modern medicine is focused on managing diseases (hello big pharm) or killing cancer rather than preventing cancer or Type 2 Diabetes in the first place. This reminded me of when I was a sprout in college, and one of my professors told us that they never took a class on how to teach. At the time, I was gobsmacked, now I’m cynical.

 

It’s a like a salad bowl, but so much more than a salad. [Vibe in Siem Reap, 2017]

War on Information

Right now, there’s a battle regarding what the dietary guidelines from the USDA in 2020 will say. Apparently this fight for control started back in 2015 when Congress decided not to ‘muddy the waters’ by including a UN report about the impact the cattle industry is having on the environment. This UN report is something they will also be neglecting to look at this year because of a specially tailored law that Congress passed back then.

It makes my head spin, researching the whys, but from what I gather they decided to focus on the health aspects of food, not the environmental issues related to it.

The business of sugar, however, was upset in 2015 when the USDA recommended a restricted intake of sugar. Interestingly, five years ago, two out of the 12 members of the committee who created the dietary guidelines had ties to the food industry. This is in stark contrast to this year’s whopping thirteen out of 20. Instead of scientists and health experts recommending what we eat for our health, industry representatives are fighting to keep their products on the plate.

And if that wasn’t enough to ring the cow bell, the USDA will only be looking at their own scientific data, discounting anyone else’s. The argument is that the government has their own standardized resources and process. Of course, on the other side of the aisle, the scientific community feels as though their research and knowledge will not be brought to the table.

Something sure does smell fishy…

*I tried to summarize the key points about this issue. The references I made can be found here. Warning: it’s a long article.

 

 

Battambang Bike tour, 2015
The stinky fish paste making process. [Battambang, Cambodia, 2016]

What happen to the Hippocratic Oath?

Decades ago, I remember learning how the news and media industries were controlled by a handful of conglomerates. This made me question ‘hidden agendas’ and look for biases. When I read the news, I read critically and almost never take something at face value. I guess I was ahead of my time (or a good student) because now everyone is talking about conservative versus liberal news, and fake news, all of which continue to confuse and frustrate readers from gaining some understanding of the truth.

However, these days, it’s the scientific sources under fire, as in, not only do we have to wonder what filter or spin a news article has, but where did they get their information from. And I’m not even talking about cherry-picking, or cropping a photo, or video manipulation, I’m talking about SCIENCE.

On my first day of statistics class, our teacher told us that all data can be manipulated through statistics. Great. Another hurdle. It used to be Bible quotes were used to give credibility to this or that idea, but now it’s pseudo-science, statistics, and studies. Using religion for personal gain and purposes was bad enough, but somehow the realm of science, which is supposed to be grounded in scientific observation, you know, PROOF, adds another layer to the shit pie we’re consuming.

“More shit pie?”

“Oh, yes. Shit pie is my favorite. Mmmm.”

 

Cuenca street-treats
Some sort of meringue that I was always weary of since it was sitting outside all day. Don’t eggs need to be refrigerated? [Cuenca, Ecuador, 2010]

The red meat debate

Okay. Is red meat alright or not? A google search for ‘the red meat debate’ gives us 30 million results.  I think this recent question submitted to Harvard Health Publishing says it best:

Just before the holidays, I heard that a study said it was okay to eat red meat. Previously, you’ve said just the opposite. Help!

But just in case you don’t believe it’s a controversial issue, consider these headlines:

In short, well-circulated publications like Time magazine ran articles that said, yes, red meat is a-okay! Then the scientific community went bonkers over the legitimacy of the studies. It turns out the funding for this research was provided by the meat industry. Tah-da!

But is the damage already done? There are hardcore believers that meat consumption is not only delicious, but safe, and perfectly fine in generous quantities. High fat is high fun!

Yet, despite the fact that the U.S. News and World Report has ranked the Keto diet as one of the worst diets to follow, for like three years in a row, it’s one of the most popular, if not, the most popular in America. Even more crazy are the short-term side effects like bad breath, strange smelling urine, and flu-like symptoms. (I’ll take the occasional bloating from a high fiber diet any day over that!)

“Should you try the keto diet?

It’s advertised as a weight-loss wonder, but this eating plan is actually a medical diet that comes with serious risks. – Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Health Medical School

This CNN Health article painted an interesting picture of how diets like Atkins or the South Beach (same as Keto essentially) have re-branded themselves in an effort to stay appealing in the diet world. So, why is it popular? And despite the landslide of evidence that scientists, doctors, and nutritionists have told us about “eating your fruits and vegetables”, why do folks insist on eating towards an early grave?

I suppose for the same reason why folks smoke or drink. It won’t happen to me. I don’t care. Also, we’ve been lied to, and I know that sounds like I’m into conspiracy theories, but advertisements have only gotten better. Remember when doctors recommended smoking? There’s SO much information, as well, and I fear it’s easy for us to get lazy, scan a headline, and call it a day.

I got dragon fruit eyes…[Siem Reap, Cambodia, 2016]

What we’re learning is there are no shortcuts to healthy eating…

but we already knew that. We know that a bag of Cheetos is less healthy than a bowl of cut fruit. I remember when people starting telling me that fruit was bad because of all the sugar it had. This went against every inch of common sense in my body and brain. The short of it though is it’s always better to eat fruit in it’s natural state (as opposed to processed), and while fruit is sweet, it’s loaded with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

I get it though, nobody wants to eat their fruits and vegetables. Nobody wants to hear about steak and ice cream causing inflammation which help cancers form and grow. We’re a species that wants to look slim and beautiful now. We want to eat whatever we want. We ignore the bad stuff because we feel powerless to change any of it. There are no guarantees in life. Some folks have smoked cigarettes all their lives seem fine, and the healthiest folks can get really sick and die.

Freshly juiced at Coffee Plus. [Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2014]

The good news

So how are we supposed to know? How is the public going to figure out the truth when there are plenty of “experts” recommending fad diets?

There’s a global organization that is fighting misinformation. They’re called the True Health Initiative. I’d recommend heading over there and taking a look at some of the fake health facts they are battling such as cholesterol in eggs being OK, dairy being necessarily for calcium, sugar in fruit being bad, and so on. They’re short articles.

And something that I probably should have mentioned earlier is when I went on my search for information, I was careful not to use articles from vegan websites or places where I thought there might be an obvious bias.

Ok. Another article you might find interesting is from The Guardian. It’s a summary of the carbs versus fat wars and how researchers are trying to end the debate. Interestingly, it’s a late 2018 article, one of the oldest ones I used because just about everything else I linked to was new, like 2020 new. Yeah!

And from Nature is a new checklist that can be used to check the validity of a scientific paper. Will I use it? I don’t know, but I downloaded the pdf anyway because I want to know what the scientific community is looking for when vetting these types of things.

I know you hear it all the time, but it’s true, it’s important, more than ever, to read critically. It’s easy to get depressed over the world’s money-grabbing ways, and hey, I certainly do, but there are people still fighting for your rights to accurate information. There are ethical folks who believe in doing what’s right, and isn’t it nice to know they’re out there?

Welcome to the Age of Aquarius, baby, where the key currency is information. We’ve had our bucket challenges, and now, here comes the tide. Put on your swimsuit, grab a floaty, or whatever you need to dive in, and start paddling.

42 replies on “The battle for your body – Diet Wars

  1. You’re absolutely right. ‘There are NO shortcuts to healthy eating.’ You would think this would be all it takes to get one on the path to changing their lifestyle. I believe you can change your diet without being on a diet. Let’s face it. By the time you decide which of the many to choose, you’ll be so hungry, you’ll simply eat what’s handy. Yikes!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad that you, too, see how much we are in control of what we put in our bodies. And yes, it’s easy to get lazy, especially when you are super hungry, I think we then gravitate towards whatever, and that’s not always a good choice.

      ‘The no shortcuts to healthy eating’ was a direct quote from the article I linked to. It was good to read it after all this research on what is going on in the diet world.

      Thanks, Jen!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lots and lots here Lani. Think a sceptical attitude to nutrition science is a good starting point — because most of it is junk science and even the stuff that looks decent is usually observational which hardly proves anything. I remain most convinced by a mostly plant-based that doesn’t swing blood sugar too much (which means low carb in reality). I’ve never liked meat personally but it’s been on the menu for 10s of 1000s of years so some clean meat is no doubt ok. I think by simply staying far away from refined western crap then any diet is pretty much fine. It just comes down to personal preference- all the diets you mention would be fine for some people. It’s hard to just enjoy your food with so much conflicting media and alarmist marketing that causing second guessing but one side of the modern age is that we can easily check our blood work and make changes to diet as we see fit

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I think it does come down to common sense. We know what’s good for us, and what isn’t, but I know that we want reasons why it’s okay to eat high fat or other ‘good tasting’ foods. I’m looking at you, bacon.

      I’ve actually not experienced blood sugar swings with this diet, but I did before. It might depend of the type of carbs. I don’t know. The BF no longer gets heartburn either, and he tried eliminating foods to figure it out, too.

      The point though is there is a lot of different diets for every lifestyle and need out there. But I was simply blown away by all the conflicting information, so I started to organize a blog post around it!

      Like

      1. Common sense is a good idea in practice but it seems completely missing most of the time in most people lol The blood sugar spikes I mean won’t be noticeable. Just having sweet stuff gives a blood spike I think. I’ve seen some diets recommend a ton of fruit (like that medical medium crack pot) — but modern, enhanced fruit could potentially be a risk factor if it interferes with insulin sensitivity.
        All in all, plant-based with some complex carbs and a little meat if you fancy it seems solid.
        Great topic to think on — thanks. I feel I’ve done my dash on diet —probably read 5-6 diet related books last year. Needed to investigate keto for Muky but the lack definite answers is interesting….

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      2. Oh, I didn’t know that you knew Murky well enough. Have a look at this, it’s in the post, but I know I included an insane amount of links.

        https://www.sciencealert.com/study-on-half-a-million-people-has-bad-news-for-keto-diet

        It’s where I got the phrase, “Basically, we’re learning there’s no shortcut to healthy eating”…so hopefully, you find the piece reasonable and helpful.

        *By the way, in the middle of The Song for Achilles and I’m LOVING IT. So so good.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks for the link- yes there was lots of links inside!!! Will have a look later, I think I’ve read most of the studies (or at least their takeaways) so interested to see if there’s anything new there. One thing to remember is that keto as a long term diet is unstudied. When people talk about long term consequences they are making predictions only. There’s no data. nutrition science is the flakiest branch of science as you know. That guy gary taubes is writing a book on the keto coming out on April- which should be worth looking at…

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      4. I will be keen to see what long-term results weld. Regardless, I’m not sure I’d want to take a chance on my health while the results (in whatever capacity they might be) roll in. This might be a battle for the next decade, but most experts agree that a Mediterranean-type diet or Vegan is best.

        I think this is also coupled with the impact the meat and dairy industry are having on the environment. If you look up ‘UN report on meat and climate change’ … you should find plenty of articles.

        Noooo! Another thing to read!!!!

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      5. Yes- interesting to see what comes in. Re keto, if i thought there was any type of risk, I’d be slipping sugar pills into Muky’s water. I just can’t see any at this stage. Though that study you linked too did point out there was a considerable difference in outcome between low-carb animal based and low-carb plant based (which is more what she does..) Wait and see.
        Did you ever see that sustainable Planetary Diet that came out last year? I was a big fan of that — think you’d like it too. See if I can find a link

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Geez…enough of that. Hey so pleased you’re enjoyed The song of achilles! Remember to let me know your thoughts on the very end of the book…
        If you enjoy this one Circe is the perfect follow up

        Like

      7. I stayed up late to finish it. LOVED IT. I think I’m in love with Madeline Miller now. Thanks so much for recommending it.

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      8. Now you’ve finished…have you ever read a more beautiful, moving end to a book?? That last sentence….can’t remember reading better
        Circe awaits! lol

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Yes. It’s so funny because I couldn’t get the Hollywood version Troy out of my head (Brad Pitt as Achilles…) So I kept waiting for the ankle slice, so when Patroclus goes on his own bender, I was like – what’s happening? what’s happening?!

        Tears at the end … beautiful – I agree.

        Circe is tonight!

        Like

      10. I know what you mean about Troy — i thought of that film too… but not too much. The nature of their ‘relationship’ separated the stories early on for me

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a great post, and super relevant to me right now. I’ve been reading a lot about food lately, and I am on day 4 of 30 days of trying a plant-based diet. My wife is a pescatarian so I never cook with meat at home, but I know eating out will be a big challenge. I wanted to try it in part because I’ve had persistent tendonitis for two years in my elbows and feet. Also, I want to lose some weight and reduce calories, and this seemed like a good way to shock my system in a healthy way.

    It shouldn’t take a scientist or a study to tell us what diets are healthy. Just look at the heart disease, diabetes, and obesity epidemic in America. Fatty meats, fried food, sugar, processed food – ugh, just thinking about what I used to eat in the USA makes me feel sluggish.

    In the 14 years I worked in Alaska, we had an employee dining room due to our remote location. When you see your co-workers eat every meal, every day, you see a clear connection between diet and body type. All my fattest co-workers loaded up their plates, went back for 2nds, ate the deserts, drank Coke and Pepsi. My fit co-workers ate smaller portions, more salad and vegetables.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeaaa! I’m so thrilled you’re giving it a go! Have you watched Game changers? or What the Health? yet. GC is so inspirational, and even funny.

      We’re about 2 months in, and I’m convinced I’m never going back. We, of course, as expats living in T-land, can’t be too crazy about it because we don’t have the kind of access to products that the Western world has.

      For instance, if I’m eating out and the veg fried rice has fish sauce or oyster sauce thrown in, I’m not gonna freak out. If pasta or bread has egg in it, then what am I going to do? Right?

      Overall, I must say we’re pleased and you will most likely lose weight in a healthy way, and if your tendonitis is caused by inflammation, then your body should be better off. But I’m no expert!

      The crazy thing tho’ is I have more energy on this diet, and it’s not what I expected or thought that I needed/wanted. We also have enjoyed finding vegan options (Chiang Mai was auh-mazing) and eating a wider array of fruits and veggies. Have fun! and feel free to drop me a line! Good luck!

      Like

  4. I did see Game Changer and one of the producers, NBA basketball player Chris Paul, plays for my favorite team. At age 34 he hasn’t missed a game so far this season and has been one of the best players in the league during the 4th quarter. Clearly, a plant-based diet isn’t hurting him. After each game, he eats a Beyond Burger.

    I’m with you on the oyster and fish sauce, and the possible eggs in bread or noodles. Besides, everyone knows that oysters are jerks and they deserve to die.

    You mentioned in your post that you can really feast on vegetarian food. I often eat massive salads with olive oil, vinegar, and lime juice for dressing, and they can’t be more than 500 calories. I can gorge on those once a day without thinking, and I always feel good afterward.

    I’ll keep you posted. I assume I’ll write a blog post about the experience here in a month or so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “everyone knows that oysters are jerks and they deserve to die” – 555+

      Yes, I know I’m not supposed to overeat, but I inevitably do, but instead of feeling like a bowling ball is in my stomach, I simply feel stuffed. And it doesn’t last – it’s like the extremes have been taken out of the equation.

      It’s also nice because sometimes I work late, and I’ve always hated eating late, but when I do on this diet I don’t feel bad – no more food hangovers.

      Looking forward to the report! 🙂

      Like

  5. So many great points here, Lani, and kudos to you and the BF for trying out a plant-based diet! I’m the first to say that even a plant-based diet can be poor based on the foods one chooses (like, HELLO, have you seen all the junk food options?!), so no matter what the eating protocol, it is so essential to research and if possible, consult a registered dietitian.

    I do have one very, tiny, seemingly insignificant sticking point, which is “vegan diet” vs. “plant-based diet”. I view veganism as a guiding principle in my life. First and foremost, I am vegan for the animals. Period. This viewpoint affects the food I eat, the clothes I buy, the makeup I wear, etc. I do my absolute best, in this imperfect world and in my own imperfect human way, to live a vegan life. I don’t mind people saying they are on a vegan diet, but I do hope that people don’t conflate veganism to just a diet, if that makes sense. I think that’s why “plant-based” is the more general term for a diet free of all animal products, but one does not necessarily have to be committed to a vegan lifestyle. I think it’s awesome that more people are trying out plant-based, even if it’s just for a meal or two a week or for Veganuary – every little bit counts! But yeah, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a bit irked every time I read some headline like, “I went vegan for 30 days” when in reality, the person went on a vegan/plant-based diet for 30 days.

    Okay, time for me to get off my soapbox :S

    My fave vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe 🙂 – https://itslivb.com/2019/04/04/chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I don’t mind a little soapbox action at all. 😉

      I have read a lot about the terms plant-based versus vegan. But I find ‘plant-based whole foods diet’ to be verbose.

      But I think I understand what you’re throwing down. I view vegan as a lifestyle as well. And I understand that vegans can reach for unhealthy choices just like anyone else. Interestingly, I don’t have access to fake meat or all that fun junk food here. Sometimes I wish I did.

      I’ve seen folks say they eat a mostly plant-based diet, and I think that’s the direction most folks will go. I don’t think many people are ready to give up meat and animal by-products, but before my own change, I strongly felt that even if everyone reduced their meat intake that would make a huge difference.

      But just to be clear, according to wikipedia there are a few different categories of veganism: dietary, ethical, and environmental. For the purposes of this post, I wanted to strictly look at diet.

      Thanks for the cookie recipe! Hee, hee!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I appreciate you indulging me! Where else can I go to have mature and thoughtful discussions, if not your blog, right? The internet can be cruel, I tell ya!
        I certainly don’t want to gate-keep with something as insignificant as labels. My intent is for people to be aware of the differences and not conflate veganism as just a diet or a fad, especially with those clickbaity “ex-vegan” videos that tend to pop up in waves and get people’s underthings in a knot and I’m just like, *sigh* here we go again. Then you look at what those ex-vegans were eating and it’s basically crackers and guacamole for months at a time, or dangerous multi-day fasts (yeah no shit you weren’t feeling good on your “diet” omg).
        Even Canada is lacking a bit on the fun vegan junk foods but we do have a fair bit that can become a slippery slope. Everything in moderation, I say. But man, I am a little addicted to Gardein crispy tenders
        There is also a double chocolate chip cookie recipe she has on that site and it’s also EXCELLENT (just made them today hehe).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hahahhaa. Yes, there is a good deal of misunderstanding. What do you eat? Salad? Yup, that’s all I eat. There’s nothing else….

        If anything, our menu has expanded! Although, I can’t wait to try all the vegan junk food when I go to the States for holiday. Hehehhehee!

        Like

  6. Great article. Yes, there are so many diets out there. It’s difficult to know what to believe, right? I actually follow a diet that is kind of a hodgepodge of a few different diets. I don’t tend to agree with all aspects of a particular diet. Every BODY is different; however, there are some core principles that I currently believe in when it comes to food. For instance, vegetables are very good for you. Haha. That’s all I will say. The rest can get pretty controversial. Good luck on your health goals!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I agree, diets should be tailor made to lifestyle and needs of the individual. Of course, common sense should prevail, but these days folks would debate what common sense is (*eye roll*)

      Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve never followed any diet, I just try to eat healthy. Which means I try to avoid many processed stuff. You won’t find things like Cheetos or cookies in my home, when I want a snack it’s either fruit or nuts. Or 85% dark chocolate 😛 Bacon? I haven’t eaten that in years, haha. It’s not something I crave.
    I’ve tried to eat less meat (not that I eat steak on a regular basis or anything) but as I’m not the cook at home at the moment, I can’t nag much. My MIL cooks Chinese meals and at least one of the dishes always contains meat. But it’s not even the main ingredient, and the other dishes are vegetables, mushrooms, tofu, maybe eggs… However, Chinese food is always choke full of salt and sugar. For the moment I’ve managed to have my in laws pouring less soy sauce/MSG/salt, their dishes used to be too salty for me and now they’re mostly fine. Most Chinese people over a certain age have high blood pressure, mmm, I wonder why that would be… (roll eyes).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Salt is definitely my weakness. I’ll take it any day over sugar. Some foods can naturally taste sweet, but salt? What is naturally salty?

      Salt and pepper and I’m good.

      Traditionally, I’d say Asian dishes are much more balanced than the Western world, but these days, I fear that’s changing.

      Based on the years we’ve known each other 😀 I’m not surprised by your answer. You seem pretty damn sensible and I can’t imagine you having any vices or addictions? Do you???

      Like

      1. Well, depends where in the Western world! The traditional Spanish (or Mediterranean) diet is quite healthy. Nowadays, as everywhere, junk food has mostly taken over, especially in the case of young people…

        Right, it’s been quite a few years, haha. Nope, I’m a textbook boring good girl, haha. I don’t even drink alcohol, I’ve never been drunk in my life and I have never even tried a cigarette. I don’t even know how I managed this having spent my teenage years in Spain…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hahahahaha. You are right, not all Western diets are traditionally meat-centered. Everyone likes to talk about how good the Mediterranean diet is – and the French (with their high fat diet).

        I don’t care much for alcohol either. I could really never drink it again which for some folks is absolute insanity. I can count how many times I’ve been drunk on one hand…

        Cigarettes, on the other hand – but haven’t smoked in years and with all the pollution in the world – yuck. I don’t even like the smell of incense anymore.

        Like

  8. Thank you for an excellent article. Maybe I like it because there are so many points I agree with. Unlike you, I’ve always had a tendency to be just a little bit overweight. Also I started having a bit of arthritis at an early age. Being the type who has been serious about looking things up long before the internet, I’ve read about all kinds of diet advice. When we lived in Asia, it was easy to keep my weight down because we ate a lot of fruit, vegetables, fish, and seafood. Now, at my more advanced age, I’ve been tested to be very sensitive to eggs, dairy, and wheat. So I aim to eat mostly fruit, veggies, tofu, lean meat and fish. I’ve never been a big lover of meat, but I try to eat a reasonable amount to get enough protein. My biggest problem is sweets. I do my best there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Nicki! Have you tried increasing your legumes/beans intake? They are a good source of protein and I find them very tasty haha. I love lentils and chickpeas but now I am starting to love other beans that I had never seen before coming to China. For example I found out recently that red beans, which are always used to make sweet things here, can also be done into savory stews. Another advantage of legumes is that you can do many one pot stews with them! My current favourite is chickpeas and whatever beans I have with rice and pumpkin! Delicious and super easy to make, just need to put everything on the pot and cook for a couple of hours.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Marta. I have thought of it, and I do cook a few legume recipes, but I need to do more of that. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. It sounds like you’re on the right track because dairy and meat can cause inflammation which can contribute to arthritis.

      I’ll piggyback with what Marta says about beans. Legumes are an excellent source of protein, and so are nuts and seeds.

      Sweets! Go for a walk after cake? 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do eat a fair amount of nuts and seeds, but, as you and Marta said, I need to increase my legume consumption. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. For myself, I think my good health is only 15% genetic and rest is: a) foundation of my mother’s healthy cooking for her 6 kids for approx. lst 19 years for each of them…that is real dedication b) I don’t drive /have a car. So naturally transportation forces me to walk/cycle daily even on transit days c) My food choices have changed over the years
    *Don’t eat white/brown rice often anymore. Maybe 3-4 times per month. I don’t buy it for home. Result of a near diabetes 2 test result. So I just gradually withdrew over many months. My mother lectured me initially….but now as a result of her diabetes 2 test result, she withdrew from much rice. She’s 85.

    *Eat meat 3-4 times per month. I just lost interest and in some cases, just couldn’t be bothered with the cost, effort of cutting up hunks of meat for freezer. I used eat meat nearly daily for dinner when growing up.

    Still got kick bad habit of more sugar in my diet in past 2 decades…a result of being with my partner who has fondness for gourmet desserts. I should cut down use of soy sauce.

    I will turn 61 in a few wks. Being healthy isn’t meant to be a chore and it isn’t for me. Just some habit tweaks needs to be integrated into daily life so that it become seamless and normal like brushing teeth or riding a bicycle …after awhile one doesn’t notice much of a difference. It might take a few months/1-2 yrs. to get there…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You and I are the same that way. I don’t see it as a chore to eat healthy or exercise. I enjoy taking care of myself, and healthy food taste fine by me.

      If anything, junk food gives me a ‘food hangover’ and makes me feel like crap. I’m also perfectly fine stopping myself from eating too much junk. I’ll get a craving and then it’s done. I can eat 2 bites of a candy bar and put it in the fridge. Yeah, I’m one of those. 😛

      Happy Birthday, Jean!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Loved reading this! I find that every year shortly after new years, people start getting into those fad diets again .. definitely concerning! Most of my friends are into those short term diets that some kpop stars do (only eat one sweet potato a day! only three apples per day for a week! etc.) and those are CRAZY to me! There’s no shortcuts for sure and we need to work for a healthy body and mind!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG. I have not heard of those diets, and here in Thailand, the girls are crazy for Kpop. That sounds horrible.

      Yeah, the post seemed perfect for January. It’s too bad that our governments don’t have / can’t control these diet fads when they have direct consequences to our health. Then again, do we want our govts having that control? Ekkkkk!

      Glad you liked it, thanks!

      Like

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