“You’re Asian, that’s why you’re skinny.” Well it’s easy to just generalize and assume that all Asians are naturally slimmer, but are we really? The truth is, NOT all Asians are slimmer, especially with our fast pace life, and convenient diet nowadays.
However if we were to compare the average American to the average Asian, majority of us are slimmer in size, and NO, it is not 100% genetics, it has a lot to do with your lifestyle and food habits!
So let’s dive deeper and look at some of the core principles of a typical Asian Diet, and learn why most Asians are slimmer.
The main focus of the Asian diet is to create wellness and to live healthier. It’s not a short-term fad diet. It’s a lifestyle of balance and moderation, which is something I truly believe in. For the purpose of this video, I’m going to focus mainly on East Asian Diet.
Here are 9 reasons why most Asians are slimmer.
1) We choose Tea instead of Soft drink
If you go to a Chinese restaurant, the first thing the waiter will ask you is, what type of tea would you like to drink? And generally, most restaurants, will serve hot tea or water for free.
I remember when I was living in the UK and whenever I dined out, I’d ask the waiter for a cup of warm water. Most of them would give me that surprised look. On 2 occasions, the waiter told me, I was the first person they ever served to have asked for plain warm water.
Drinking tea or water fills you up on zero calories and it supports the digestive system.
On the other hand, drinking soda drinks with your meals can cause indigestion, bloating plus you will be consuming lots of hidden calories, which can lead to weight gain overtime.
2) Our Portions are Smaller & we use Chopsticks
People tend to eat what they are served; hence larger portions can lead to overeating even when you are not hungry. For those of you would have been to Asia, I’m sure the first thing you’d notice are the food portions.
Generally, portion servings are smaller in Asia, compared to the Western countries.
Asians are also accustomed to family-style dining, where we enjoy a huge variety of dishes shared by everyone. Instead of worrying about needing to finish that huge plate of food, we are more concerned with finishing our bowl of rice, while consuming bite size portions of various types of dishes.
Plus the practice of eating with chopsticks, can help you to eat less and feel full quicker.
That’s because eating with chopsticks means taking smaller mouthfuls slowing down the speed of eating and allowing you to chew better, and making it easier for your body to digest.
This will give your stomach time to send the message to your brain that you’re full and it’s time to stop eating and so you will naturally eat less and avoid stuffing yourself.
3) We enjoy REAL food not processed food.
Cooking and eating REAL food is still a huge part of the Asian Diet. Everywhere you go in Asia, freshly cooked street food is easily available and it’s cheap.
On a daily basis, we eat rice or noodles, served with a variety of vegetables and meat or fish, instead of processed food such as burgers, hotdogs, fries or pizza.
I remember the first time I saw my friend warming up a frozen ready meal in the UK, I genuinely thought that he was making food for his dog and I even asked, who’s that food for, without realizing it was for our dinner. At that time, I’ve never seen ready frozen meals that you can simple put into the microwave and it’s ready in less than 5 minutes, because coming from Asia, I was so used to eating warm, freshly cooked food.
Processed food and convenient ready meals are typically loaded with fat, sodium and they pack lots of calories.
It can make you hungrier, crave for more bad food and disrupt your digestion.
Eating REAL food, that’s freshly cooked provides your body with good nutrients, satisfy your hunger and aid proper digestion, keeping you slim.
4) We Eat on Time!
Most Asians have their breakfast exactly at 8 – 9am, their lunch at 12 – 1pm and dinner between 6 – 8pm. If they missed one of their 3 important meals, they can end up feeling cranking, lethargic and feel like a big part of their routine is missing and feel shitty. Sounds like me, haha!
If you’re someone who eats on a run, well chances are you’ll make less healthy choices because you will just grab whatever that’s available at the moment in time and have no control over your food intake.
You tend to snack a lot more on calorie-dense food too, just to give you the energy to “keep going”. If you notice, Asians snack a lot less and having a snack is not really part of our culture.
We have a set meal routine and enjoy eating 3 full wholesome meals.
This can help prevents strong feeling of hunger, which could result in mindless snacking or overeating on your next meal.
5) We Take Our Meal Time Seriously!
When it’s meal time, it’s “meal time” and nothing else!
That can mean taking a break and having lunch with friends at a restaurant or enjoying dinner with the family around the dining table.
NOT eating in front of the computer while working away or eating while watching your favourite TV show.
This practice helps us to eat more mindfully as we are fully engaged with our food and know when to stop when we are satisfied. On the other hand, eating with distractions often lead to overeating.
Research has shown that eating with distraction can lead to eating 30% more.
When our brain is focused on other things such as watching TV or working on your laptop, our body blocks the feeling of satisfaction.
If you want to stay slim, be fully present with your food when you eat. Trust me, you’ll feel satisfied and your food will taste so much better too.
6) We enjoy Soups
I came across this statement recently; when eating, fill your body with 50% food, 25 % liquid and leave 25% for digestion. There’s so much truth in this.
In my previous video, I shared “10 Reasons Why Soup Can Help with Weight Loss”. Do check it out on my channel to learn more about the benefits of adding soups into your diet.
Soup, or a soup-based dish, is present almost at every Asian meal. For instance, congee is a very common breakfast dish in Asia. I personally LOVE soup noodles. Soup fills you up very quickly on very little calories and it’s packed with nutrients and vitamins.
So having soup before or together with your meal can help you to eat 20% less. I’m talking about broth-based or vegetable soups, not those cream loaded soups! So do watch my soup video and start having soups daily.
7) We enjoy more fermented food
Fermented foods such as kimchi, miso, soy sauce, kombucha and tempeh act as natural probiotics, keeping your gut healthy plus they are very tasty.
Our gut is our second brain. If your gut isn’t functioning at its optimum, no matter how well you eat, your body will not be able to fully absorb all the nutrients, so it’ll just go to waste.
So consuming fermented food regularly can also lead to weight loss, especially visceral fat, which accumulates around the abdominal organs. If you want to know more about having healthy gut and a flat belly, do watch my video HERE.
8) Our desserts are nutritious
Let’s face it, most of us like to end our meal with something sweet. Cakes? Ice-creams? Or chocolate perhaps?
Now if you dine at a Chinese, Japanese or even Korean restaurant, at the end of your meal, you’re most likely served with fruits.
Fruits = dessert. Not cakes, or ice-cream. Those are treats, typically served on special occasions only.
The traditional Chinese soup desserts or known as “tong sui” are very nutritious and have healing properties. For example, sweet potato and ginger soup, barley soup and red bean soup. Those desserts are widely consumed and served after a meal.
9) We use food as medicine.
Food is medicine, medicine is food. If you’re ill, modern medical care will prescribe you with antibiotics to instantly make you feel better, without going to the root of the problem. Pop this pill and you’ll be fine within the next few hours.
Traditional Chinese Medicine attempts to get to the root of the problem and uses food as medicine to help rebalance the body’s system. If you have visited a Chinese herbal shop before, you’ll find hundreds of different herbs that’s eaten for health purposes.
Herbs and spices are also at the very heart of Asian cooking. Herbs and spices such as cinnamon, coriander, ginger, cumin, turmeric and chilli are commonly used in Asian dishes and these have tremendous healthy benefits including increasing metabolism, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol.
You don’t need to eat Asian food every day to be healthy. You can still enjoy your cuisines and follow the same principles; eat a diet rich with vegetables, eat more REAL food, less processed food, drink tea or water and eat mindfully. It’s all about Moderation & creating Balance. Too much or too little of any one thing is not good.
I hope this video has given you some insight on the Asian Diet and useful tips which you can start adopting. What other tips do you practice to stay healthy? Let’s me know in the comments below.