If there is one thing that can bring the world together, it is food. No matter where you come from, you need to eat to survive. There are a million and one different things in different cultures, but if there is one thing that can bring us together, it is food. We’re going over the variety of food and eating habits all over the world, the reasoning behind it and what you can learn from them!
Why Should You Care?
If this article title and topic has you wondering why you should care about other people in the world are eating, well, we’re going to tell you!
Whether you realize it or not, a lot of the food we consume can be influenced by other countries. Have you ever had tacos, spaghetti and meatballs or a gyro? These are all native foods to other countries! We can also learn a lot of information about how and why other countries eat the foods they do. Maybe a certain country has a really low number of Cancer cases. We can then look at their diet and see how their food differs from ours in North America and learn how to eat better! Or maybe we are influenced by how certain countries use meals as the most mindful part of their day, while most of us are rushing through dinner and shoving food in our mouths at lightning speed.
The different cultures of food is a great way to identify each country. Almost every country has their own twist on meals, traditional dishes and flavors. Some countries may focus solely on meat and potatoes, while others have a more plant-based approach. The different climates, locations, economy and natural organisms of a country all play a huge factor of what we eat. We can all come together and appreciate the difference in the foods we eat and take tips and tricks from everyone else.
Cultural Differences In Meat Consumption
In North America, we eat high amounts of beef, pork and poultry, with very little sheep and goats. It is not in our culture to eat the animals that we see at a petting zoo. However, in New Zealand, they eat just as much sheep and goats as they eat beef! In Uruguay, the only meat they consume is from beef and in Saudi Arabia, poultry is the only thing consumed. We could go on for pages and pages about what type of meats every single country eats!
For meat consumption, a lot of countries in the Middle East such as Turkey, Algeria, Egypt, Iran, etc. will not consume pork due to their religion. But in some countries in Africa, they can only eat certain types of meat because the others aren’t available for them!
Countries who don’t have huge animal farming, like in North America, have to hunt for their own foods and that plays a big role of what they actually eat.
What About Difference in Vegetable Consumption?
Just like the differences in meat consumption, vegetable consumption is different for every culture. Warmer climates can grow fruits and certain vegetables better, while in colder countries, squashes and potatoes may be more easily accessible.
Healthy Eating Habits From Around The World
There are a lot of habits we can learn from other countries around the world. In Japan, they make it a point to eat small portions and have a colorful plate. A colorful plate is important for getting a wide variety of vitamins and minerals from different foods! The Chinese eat using chopsticks which can help us remember to eat slower to help with digestion. Now you don’t need to start eating everything with chopsticks, but this is a good tip to help with slowing down at meal time.
In France, they use meal times for pleasure. Sometimes we tend to obsess about how healthy our food is, but if we indulge a bit in foods we love, it can satisfy us way more! Ethiopians consume a flatbread called Injera often! This food is packed with fiber and protein, which will be essential for a healthy digestive tract and keeping you fuller for longer. They also love to eat beans, lentils and root vegetables and eat less meat and dairy. In India, they love to cook with strong spices like turmeric and ginger, which have amazing health benefits. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory that can have cancer-fighting benefits, while ginger is amazing for boosting immune function and supporting digestion.
The biggest meal of the day in Mexico is mid-day, not dinner like it is here in North America. This suggests that by the time they go to bed, most of their digestion has taken place and that may lead to better sleep and a healthier weight. Italians love a glass of wine, but not usually more than that. Wine may prevent the risk of heart disease – but don’t overdo it! The Mediterranean Diet is how the Greeks eat and it puts a huge focus on fruits, veggies, complex carbs, olives and some meat and fish. This diet is shown to be anti-inflammatory and some may argue may be the best way to eat!
In Sweden, you won’t find tons of veggies in their diet, but you will still find fiber!
Fiber is usually lacking in the typical North American diet and may prevent certain types of cancers and obesity.
What Improvements Can We Make
North American cultures can put a huge emphasis on processed foods because it is “convenient.” Burgers and fries are cheaper than a healthy salad loaded with fresh veggies and lean proteins, but in other countries, you can get a healthy meal for a few dollars or less! No matter where you are from, we can all agree that eating more whole, real foods should be the largest portions on our plates. Sitting down to enjoy our food without the distractions of televisions or cell phones should be more of the norm to ensure our meals make us feel full and satisfied and prevent us from overeating. Experimenting with different flavors from spices or foods can give you a different variety of vitamins and minerals keeping you healthy!
Whether you take one tip or ten tips from this article, always remember that we can be brought together by food!
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