I’ve always been told that there are two kinds of people: Those who eat to live, and those who live to eat. As someone who falls into the latter, many of my travels have had a semi food-centric nature. I’ve had the great pleasure of eating authentic cuisine in places like Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand. You may have noticed that I’ve only referenced Asian Cuisine… There’s a reason for that, and I think the people of these countries have stumbled upon a secret to eating.
As a young, broke student, my diet was pure garbage in my late teens (and even my early twenties). I had no idea about nutrition and if it looked good, tasted good, I was going to eat it… a hell of a lot of it. It wasn’t until I traveled to South East Asia for the first time that I realized how much impact a different way of eating (notice I didn’t say diet?) could affect the body and mind.
My biggest realization was that the people of these countries, more often than not, are slim, active and have far greater longevity than those of western countries I have seen and visited. It seems to be two fold: what we eat and how we eat.
When it comes to the what: I think we can all figure this out. Balancing your carbohydrate, protein and general calorie intake for the kind of demands your day is going to have is going to be the first major step to a) losing weight and b) allowing your body to perform at its best. I’m not a nutritionist or a dietitian, so beyond that; you do you homie.
When it comes to the how however, I think that this needs some attention. The biggest thing I noticed was the regularity at which people in Asia eat, and it is far different to their western counterparts: Smaller serving sizes with more meals throughout the day, fresh ingredients, spices and herbs not only help manage strenuous activity in a hot, humid climate, but affect the gut in a very positive way and stimulates the metabolism better throughout the day. How we eat can be far more important than what we eat. If we look at high performance athletes, many are not strictly eating one specific kind of food, but they are eating food in a certain way. That is the how; the way in which we eat has a huge impact on the way our body reacts to the nutrition you are giving it.
Far be it for me to tell you how and what you should be eating, but consider this food for thought (pun intended). Whether you’re looking to lose weight, fuel your body for physical exercise, weight cutting for competitions or even just trying to fit a healthy eating pattern into your lifestyle, try changing how you eat. It can sometimes be more important than what you’re eating.