As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m on a eight month journey around SE Asia and other countries. My husband and I have spent the last 3.5 months in SE Asia, enjoying the weather, food, sights and activities. Whenever I travel I’m always fascinated how other people lives their lives, what their daily habits entail and what they eat. I’ve come up with some tips that I’ve learned from the SE Asians.
1. Fresh is Best
People in Asia eat really fresh food. Most eat street food daily, which at first thought might sound dirty and unsanitary, but it is anything but that (of course there are exceptions). These food stalls take your order and make your food on the spot. You can watch it all unfold and everything they use is fresh and as soon as it hits the plate it is set in front of you. There are no packaged, frozen or microwaved foods sitting cooked waiting. It is all fresh! Not to mention, the ingredients are pure: rice or rice noodles, vegetables, meats, oils* and sauces. That’s it.
*Some street food can be quite oily, so you have to be discerning, but regardless, it’s still fresh!
2. Fruit is a Great Snack
Everywhere I go in Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, etc, every market sells fruit either whole or cut up and ready to be eaten. This is not surprising since it is such a delicious snack choice! It’s light, hydrating, sweet and nutritious. Fruit packs vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants and much more. It’s also a great portable snack. For simplicity pick apples, bananas (if they don’t get too smashed) or grapes in a bag. Also, try to buy seasonal fruit. It’s easy to figure out what is in season. If it’s affordable and abundant at your grocery store then it’s most likely in season. Berries in the middle of winter are transported from far away so will be more expensive. Better yet, go to farmer’s markets and you will really see what is growing near you!
3. Community is Very Important
One thing I love about visiting other cultures is you are exposed to different ways of living. In Thailand and other Asian countries I’ve noticed how important community is. People leave the doors of their homes open, children are playing outside with each other instead of staring at a television screen, families with four generations live and eat together and friends sit around shops drinking tea. The more I read about health and healthy living I see how important community and friends are. You can eat green vegetables and take multi-vitamins, but if your soul is not being nourished you will be lonely and possibly depressed. Find like minded people and find time to spend quality time together! Think about starting a girls night once a week, or join a club. People have reported illnesses disappearing from just adding more love and laughter into their lives. Incredible.
4. Be Patient
It seems to me here in South East Asia people are more laid back, less stressed out and patient. They have to be patient considering things are slower here and things don’t go quite as planned! Not only is being patient good for social interaction, but it’s also good for your health. If you are impatient or upset, it increases your cortisol (stress) levels, which in turn increases your heart rate and causes your brain to think it’s in danger. Constantly feeling stressed or impatient (which causes stress) can be damaging for your health. Is it really worth it? When something isn’t going the way you planned, the line at the grocery store is long or traffic is stopped, before starting to get upset, take a moment to relax. Put the situation in perspective. Maybe focus on getting deep breathes, talk to the person next to you in the line or listen to a book on tape. Your body will thank you!