You've no doubt heard the saying, "You are what you eat", as it typically pertains to encouraging people to be more health conscious- and really consider each food before it enters the mouth! In America in fact, a commercial for a popular brand of cereal bars actually depicted people walking out of donut shops and bakeries in costumes of the food that they ordered for breakfast, and of course, everyone stared at the donut shaped person walking into the office. The idea behind the phrase, "you are what you eat", is if you don't want to look like you eat donuts every morning for breakfast and fast food every night for dinner, you need to eat healthier.
Around the world, countries each have their own special recipes and cooking habits that contribute to the overall health of the countries residents.
Obviously, there are healthy and unhealthy eaters within every country, but there are statistics of each country that prove that some are simply healthier than others, based on the types of meals they eat on a regular basis.
As more countries are starting to include recipes from other parts of the world in their own meal planning, the statistics of the countries health based on eating habits are started to convey those changes. For example, Asian countries who in the past only ate red meats occasionally, approximately once a month, are starting to include more meat in their diets as they accept more westernized recipes, and the number of people who have cancer and diabetes in those countries are starting to rise in correspondence with the changing of their typical eating habits - for reference see http://www.recipes.gb.com
Food is a necessity to live; people need the nutrients and vitamins from the food we eat to survive, but food has certainly become far more than a means of survival for most people. While we should be "eating to live", most of us "live to eat"! This is probably because of the availability of food- you can drive through any neighborhood and pass a fast food restaurant, maybe even with a drive thru- meaning you never have to get out of your car to order and receive an entire meal. Grocery stores are stocked with the necessities of vegetables, fruits, meats and dairy products- but they also have aisles and aisles of fatty, non nutritional items like potato chips, cookies, and other snack foods that offer little more than calories to our diets.
So the next time you are shopping for food, remember the phrase, "you are what you eat", and concentrate on buying products that are going to contribute to the nutrients and vitamin needs that make up our "eating to live" mentality, rather than just filling your grocery cart with the things you may love to eat. You can certainly find recipes that are full of flavor and tastes that are healthy for you, as well. Look to other nationalities meals for food ideas, and search for recipes online and purchase cook books or head to the library for a cook book to spark ideas for new meals that are healthy and delicious!
Phil Edwards is a writer, cooking enthusiast and author of http://www.recipes.gb.com and http://www.diamonds-jewelry.co.uk