An American’s Ultimate Guide to the World’s Healthiest Diets
A Dutchman once said to me, “Everyone in America is fat and you guys eat such big portions”. Let’s face it, this sums up Merica and how the rest of the world sees us. On the 4th of July, we stuff our faces with beer, brats, and booze. On Thanksgiving Day, we devour our plates until our stomach resembles a nine month pregnant woman. On Halloween, we allow our children to consume enough sugar to the point of a stomach ache. I am sure by now you get the point. All across the world it seems every country has it’s own type of diet personalized for natives. This isn’t to say that Americans can’t eat healthy. Americans tend to take ideas from other countries and make their own versions. The difference is Americans eat large portions of everything. The rest of the world tends to eat smaller portions. But what do other countries’ diets consist of across the world?
Greece – Around the world, Greece may be known for it’s financial anarchy disaster earlier this year. But as a country that’s part of the Mediterranean Sea coastline, it’s also known for it’s Greek food. It is also known as the Mediterranean diet. When you think of a Mediterranean diet, you think of rabbit food. There is a lot green foods that resemble grass. Yes, Greek food does consist of a lot of meat such as lamb, chicken and beef but they are not the leanest of meats with the exception of the chicken. This is where you will get your protein. You can also get your fats from the meats and your leafy carbs from the salads. You will find many combinations of a Greek salad.
Ethiopia – Ethiopia has hell fire flaming food. In other parts of the world, nobody is used to the spice. Even the injera bread is spicy. Injera bread will be your main source of carbs. It is made out of sour dough bread. The injera bread takes the place of a spoon much like chopsticks do in Japan. These Ethiopian meals are very low in fat. They are very meat heavy such as meats as the spicy firfir. There is plenty of protein to go around. You will see live animals on the streets, that’s how you know the meat is real. Protein and carbs is the name of the game in Ethiopia.
India – If you are into world influencers like me, then when you think of India, you think of Ghandi. If you have ever ate an Indian meal before, then you know most of the people are vegetarians. These meals lack protein. You will have to get your protein mainly from chick peas, legumes, and dairy products such as paneer. It is similar to cheese in America. It also contains casein which is a slow digesting protein. Carbs come from rice like foods such as biryani, momos, and idli. Beware of the anchovies dipped in tumeric. Tumeric is a stain you can’t get out. Your fingers will look like you dipped your hand in a bag of cheetos. Fats come from cashews like America.
Brazil – Brazil may be anti-vegan considering it is known for eating a lot of red meat as well as chicken. Most of the meals are influenced from European and African cultures. You will get all your macros. Fats from red meat, carbs from rice, and protein from the meat. Meat lovers will love eating here. Brazil as well as Argentina call themselves barbecue kings. Brazilian recipes you should try are feijao tropeiro, feijoada, and the moqueca de camarao. Good luck pronouncing these meals. They sound a lot better if you knew what it consisted of. feijao tropeiro is made up of pinto beans and bacon, feijoada is made up of stew with different types of meats. and the moqueca de camarao is made up of shrimp, peppers, and other veggies. Here are some brazilian recipes, http://www.oliviascuisine.com/authentic-brazilian-recipes/
Japan – Years ago eating Japanese cuisines like sushi was a popular trend. So most of the general population of America is familiar with Japanese food. It is unique because unlike other countries, it’s meat consumption comes from fish. You have your protein from fish, and carbs from rice and veggies but not fats. Also the fish is usually raw. For some, this isn’t their ideal choice. If you really want the full experience, try eating with chopsticks. Warning, if you are used to eating big meals, you will be highly frustrated after eating a meal. You will have felt like you ate crumbs. Top meals in Japan that are made up of fish, rice, and soy are sushi, ramen, unaji, and tempura.
France – For starters, the French have a perception that they are all skinny. Maybe it’s the cigarettes because it literally seems every adult here smokes. The French tend to eat whatever they want. Red wine is consumed like water in France and cheaper than a bottle of water in some places. It’s not the foods that they eat that are healthy. It is the attitude behind it. You will definetly get all your macros, carbs, protein, and fats. The relationship they have with food is healthy unlike in America. The French take their time and eat small portions with food. In America we tend to eat fast and big. Carbs are the devil and we have the counting calories craziness. If you are not worried about your diet or a flexible eater try buckwheat crepes, sole meuniere, and hachis parmentier. These foods are in small portions and like nothing you have tasted before.
Italy – Italian food is probably the most commercialized food in America. Foods like pizza, lasagna, ravioli, or even risotto need no introduction. Italians foods such as cannoli, prosciutto or ossobuco does. Like most of the foods in Italy, it is made up of a ton of carbs. Italian foods can be a diet killer. But that’s only if you don’t have a game plan. Protein will have to come at your expense unless you get pizza with meat toppings. Most of the meats come in small portions such as prosciutto which is dried ham. cannoli and ossobuco are both made up of carbs but two different kinds. cannoli is basically a pastry and ossobuco are vegetable shanks. Bring almonds for fat consumption.
Mexico – All of these drunken late night runs to Taco Bell has tainted our perception of Mexican food. There are plenty of real Mexican food restaurants around in America. You don’t need to go all the way to Mexico to taste authenticity. Mexico has probably the most complete macro nutrient friendly foods out of the all the countries. The popular guacamole has all the veggie fats you need. Protein comes in the form of meats such as chicken, fish, or beef. Carbs come from all the vegetables that are toppings plus the tortilla wrap or shell. Take your pick from fajitas, grilled salsa verde, huevos rancheros, or enchiladas. There isn’t a Mexican dish you haven’t heard of.
Korea – Just like the other countries in Asia, the main staple of the diet is rice. As far as macros, it is very carb heavy and low in fat. Protein is also limited. A Korean diet fits all the health stereotypes of a healthy diet. Most of the protein comes from soy and tofu. This country’s diet would be a vegan’s dream. Carbs also come in forms of veggies. You won’t find many oils used in foods. Instead most of the foods are steamed. Big eaters will be challenged. You will have to eat rice in order feel full. Try a Korean breakfast and devour kimchi pancakes, pancakes made from vegetables. Or maybe try meals like soy and sesame spinach, or eggplant bowls. As I said earlier, a vegan’s dream diet, a big eater’s nightmare.
Madagascar – I might be safe to say that P.E.T.A. might not be found in this country. This country’s main source of food from macros is meat. Any animal that flies, walks or swims gets devoured. Protein is no issue here. Your carb source will come from greens such as cabbage or carrots. These will be your side dishes like fries with a burger. There is an abundance of fat from the meats. Shrimp, salmon, pork, beef, chicken, crab, lobster. The mixture of meat and island seafood gives the food an original exotic feel. Popular foods such as chicken pies, masikita, and kitoza will keep meat lovers satisfied. Keep in mind that pork is served on the island, it is not widely popular across the island. Know your surroundings and it’s views about pork.
Eating healthy can be done as an American. You might have to steal diet ideas from other countries. But it is more challenging due to the american diet that is made up of processed foods and refined sugars. Here is a quote from The Atlantic, “More than half of what Americans eat is ultra processed and those foods account for 90 percent of U.S. added sugar intake”. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/03/more-than-half-of-what-americans-eat-is-ultra-processed/472791/ We can learn from other countries as a guide to eat healthy. Eating healthy can be overwhelming. What better way to making it fun by eating another one’s food.
- Eric L. Bolden
- E. The Traveling Trainer