Living Healthy

Cultural Appeal
From country to country, tradition, lifestyle and diet vary substantially. If we take a peak at other cultures, we can see how simple diet changes could improve our health and overall wellbeing. Here are a few things we can learn from our friends near and far.

An Asian Inspired Meal
In Asia, people typically eat 300 more calories a day than their counterparts in the U.S. However, they still general tend to weigh less. How is this? Well, one reason may be the fact that in America, we see meat as an entrée, and in Asia, it's used as a garnish. Most Asian meals are made primary with vegetables that are "spiced" or cooked with the flavor of meat. For their protein, the Asian culture consumes mainly fish and beans, particularly soy—with very little red meat. Take a cue from this culture and use rice and vegetables to replace high-fat meat dishes, not just as side dishes to eat alongside them.

South American Fare
Let's face it, Americans love meat. Here's a tip from the Argentineans, who eat up to 30 pounds more beef a year per capita. They buy super-lean cuts, and the cows are grass-fed, not grain-fed like American cattle. Their meat is naturally lower in fat—just 2.5 grams per 4 ounces—than American steaks, which can pack an entire 10.8 grams of saturated fat in 4 ounces of meat. South Americans also have a decidedly lower rate of heart disease.

Hearty Greek Origins
If there is one thing we can take from our Mediterranean counterparts— famous for their heart-healthy diet—it's this: eat from the source. Start by replacing saturated fats like butter with healthy fats, like olive oil. In most European cultures, they not only cook with olive oil, they eat the olives. These whole foods allow you to reap the benefits from the olives, while becoming fuller faster. The French and Greeks also supplement the benefits of red wine by eating the actual grapes—which is a typical dessert in many countries.

African Roots
In Gambia, nuts make up most meals—a favorite dish is tomato and peanut stew. In the U.S., we view stews as fattening, but in Africa they are a main part of the diet. The trick is to combine vegetables, spices and nuts, which can replace meat as protein. As proof to this healthy lifestyle, Gambians have virtually no weight problems, as well as the lowest international incidence of all types of cancers.

Beauty Across Borders—Warning signs of bullying
Flipping through magazines or television ads it seems the definition of beauty in America has been narrowly defined. This unrealistic image is not only offsetting, but also potentially damaging to youth—who are particularly prone to bullying. Parents, here are a few bullying warning signs to look for:

  • Sleep problems: can include nightmares or insomnia
  • Unexplained injuries: physical bullying and or hurting themselves
  • Academic trouble: beware if grades begin to fall
  • Depression: feelings of helplessness may not just be growing pains
  • Unusual appetite: missing lunch/lunch money may be evidence
  • Friends: trouble making and/or keeping pals
  • Feeling sick: could be sign of avoiding school
  • Aggressive behavior: towards siblings or others

If you suspect your child may be a victim of bullying, start by listening. Learn the specifics of the situation and gauge the appropriate reaction. Directly confronting the bully—or their parents—seldom works. If the bullying occurs at school, work with the teachers and principals. It is the school's primary responsibility to keep students—including your child—safe.



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