Why is it difficult to lose weight? It is because you are trying to alter what you eat instead of adopting to healthier eating habits?
Have you noticed that most weight loss diet plans are so restrictive that some even remove foods from your diet. Generally, it may have brought some results but over time, dieters give up their weight loss goals.
What we should look for is a type of diet that can help us lose unwanted pounds without compromising the essential nutrients that our body needs to survive and perform properly.
Why do traditional Chinese and Indian eating habits considered healthy? What do they have in common?
Both cultures feature vegetables, lean meat, and use of spices and herbs. Traditional Chinese prepares their vegetables by steaming or stir-fried with starches (noodles, rice, dumplings). Fish and meat are part of their diet. And with so many American cooking styles that tend to use spices with flavor enhancement, Chinese uses ginger and garlic in their cooking because it helps in digestion. Chinese prepare and cook food as therapy to harmonize the body with the seasonings, like combination of flavors and spices for healthy and delicious dish.
The Indian traditional diet is known for including so many spices, rice and pulses, flavors and colors, making their cuisine special and unique. Their diet is generally low in fat but plenty of veggies, fruits, and lean meat.
What have we learned from these two cultures that can help us lose weight?
Treating food as medicine.
By following an American diet, we are always told to remove “toxic” foods such as sugar, yogurt, and potatoes (to name a few). According to Chen (founder of Rice lean), East Asian culture sees “every food has a medicinal value.” While most of American dishes eliminate rice and other carbs, Chen believes that it can heal. He further says that rice does not make one fat because rice contain water which supports satiety and hydration and has anti-inflammatory properties. These properties can help fight against chronic disease and improves digestion. In short, respect food as nourishment, not toxic, and healthy options follows naturally.
Continue eating your favorite foods.
Generally, giving up what you love will not work. Like if really love pizza or cakes, removing them totally and abruptly will just result to “diet burnout.”
Just enjoy your favorite “guilty-pleasure” foods – in moderation. Follow the 80/20 rule where we eat sensible 80% of the time and allow ourselves to enjoy the other 20%. For instance, if we plan to have a dessert one night, we balance it by ordering a light entree and refrain from drinking cocktails. This will help us maintain and sustain a healthy diet without feeling deprived.
Avoid counting calories.
If you notice, food labels in China may contain a list of ingredients but it rarely that we find calorie count. American studies about assessing the effectiveness of calorie information on food labels and American dishes indicate results mixed. Some results show that including a recommended calorie intake beside a calorie content may tend to people ordering a little more.
In East Asian countries, “weight loss is not a willpower game.”
Consuming more plants.
Vandana Sheth, registered dietitian, has ten to sixteen varieties of beans in her cupboard, which is normal in Indian culture. For them, following a plant-based diet is normal and is linked to many things, like from helping prevent diabetes to reducing blood pressure, and losing weight. Ayurvedic therapy, a traditional Indian health care system, encourages seasonal produce. Food tastes so good when it is in season and fresh.
Taking a sip of tea.
Have you noticed that in cultures where desserts are enjoyed have smaller waistlines. In China, taking 3 to 4 sips of herbal tea with every bite of their favorite dessert or snacks. Try this and “you will find that craving of eating more dessert almost immediately gone,” explains Chen. If you do not like tea or any beverage with bitter flavor (arugula, lemon, grapefruit) combine it with a sweet to stop your sugar cravings.
Sipping tea has always been an ancient practice in Chinese culture for thousands of years already.
Filling up your fruit bowl and place it somewhere you can easily see them.
So easy but very effective. You may have two fruit bowls where you can place one bowl in the house and one in your office. Have them always filled with seasonal, fresh fruits such as bananas, apples, oranges, and the like. If you see “smart” snacks, then you will have “smart” snacks.
Eating a little of a lot.
Chen suggests to combine two distinct flavors level up by including plenty of tasty varieties in smaller portions. Ayurvedic also recommends getting multiple varieties of flavors in your food like something sweet, bitter, salty, and sour. When you handle all these different taste palates, you will be satisfied with your meal. Eating a lot of foods will make you feel happy about it.
Adding spice to your meals and feel satisfied.
Chen suggests adding a touch of ginger when you are making a smoothie, soup, or stir-fry. A study says that ginger root fosters feeling of satiety and serves as diuretic. One teaspoon of cumin can help burn 3 times more body fat. Over time, you will eat foods that will help you naturally consume less calories and curtail cravings for sugar, boost metabolism, and relieve inflammation. And you can get all of these benefits in just one delicious meal.
Eating with the people you love.
Sheth recommends eating the way people eat traditionally – eating together. She says that eating with others may help with portion control. A research shows that eating alone have poor diet with fewer veggies and fruits, and fish. Eating with family may help prevent obesity by supporting one another. Plan a few meals with them, like breakfast or dinner, and encourage them to eat with others every week. Food is more satisfying when you are in good company having good conversation.
Were these eating habit tips helpful? Read our next articles for more weight loss diet tips.