We are all proud of who we are and where we come from. Each person across the planet feels a degree of belonging to a specific group – or a specific location.
The foods that we are fed throughout our childhoods most often stay with us through our lives as our favorite food types. Even in the midst of globalization, we hold onto the cultural cooking practices that we know best – those that have helped to shape who we are and what we believe about life in general.
However, that does not mean that all types of cooking are healthy for us. In the US for instance: Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama are the fattest of all states. This has a lot to do with that famous Southern cooking – that same cooking that has been traditionally based on staples like fatback, fried potatoes, fried chicken, fried cabbage, fried catfish, fried eggs and about a thousand other “fried” items.
The result, besides widespread obesity rates, has surfaced as increased levels of every preventable disease known.
This list of diseases includes:
- Heart Disease
- Diabetes Mellitus Type II
- High LDL Cholesterol
The point is that just because you were raised on certain foods, or learned to cook in certain ways, doesn’t mean that those foods or cooking methods are good for you. In many cases, it is precisely the foods we eat, and the ways that we prepare them, that are killing us by the millions.
The foods that we consume, along with the amount of physical activity that we engage in regularly, are the most profound determining factors concerning our success in recognizing our goals for weight control – and all of our health-based goals.
The bottom line concerning our cultural cooking methods
We have to come to understand health as a global issue – not Japanese health, Indian health, American health or any other. It is completely within the realm of possibility to add a cultural flair to any recipe. Foods can be prepared to be nutrient-packed and beneficial for our bodies – or they can be prepared to make us feel poorly, gain weight, develop disease and die prematurely.
The bottom line is that, regardless of where you are from or what you were brought up eating, there are certain foods that make human beings thrive, and others that weigh us down and cause us misery.
Base your cultural recipes on the following food types and you will gain vitality, maintain your optimal weight level and live longer:
- 100% whole-grain foods like pasta, bread, rice, cereal
- Legumes, fruits, beans, vegetables, seeds, sprouts and nuts
- Salmon, lake trout, tuna and other Omega-3-rich fish
In addition to the foods that you cook with, it is important to heed the following advice as well:
- Avoid trans fats and saturated fats as much as you possibly can
- Avoid foods that are known to raise your LDL cholesterol levels
- If you consume dairy products, opt for fat-free or at least reduced fat versions
- If you choose to eat meat, opt for only the leanest cuts available
- Avoid adding sodium and sugar to your foods
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Stay away from fried foods, prepared foods, processed foods, preserved foods, bleached foods and microwave foods
- Instead of frying your foods, opt to boil, poach, steam, grill and/or bake them. And remember that raw foods, like fresh vegetables and fruits, are the best of all
You can remain true to your heritage while creating dishes that are healthy and life enhancing. The same foods are good for all humans; it doesn’t matter where you come from. Retrain your mind to experiment with healthful food sources that will increase the happiness and vitality of yourself and your loved ones.
Remember that you are free to begin new traditions within your family – traditions based on increasing the longevity and health of all people.