Healthy Tips from Abroad to Live a Life of Vitality

This week we had Abel James on our podcast, and he shared a refreshing view of how to live a healthy, fulfilling life based on his experiences as a world traveler. As he immersed himself in other cultures, he experienced how people live a much healthier, vital life due to their diet, daily movement, community, and spirituality. He also noticed how different life is in these countries compared to the American lifestyle.

If you need help creating a healthy lifestyle, click here

Healthy Tips from Abroad to Live a Life of Vitality - dreamstimem64887276

This week we had Abel James on our podcast as he shared a refreshing view of how to live a healthy, fulfilling life based on his experiences as a world traveler. As he immersed himself in other cultures, he experienced how people live a much healthier, vital life due to their diet, daily movement, community, and spirituality. He also noticed how different life is in these countries compared to the American lifestyle.

Unfortunately, in America our life has become about winning, getting things done as fast as possible, and burning the candle on both ends. As we prioritize striving to be more, climbing the corporate ladder, and keeping up with the Joneses, we sacrifice our health, quality time with family and friends, play time, and downtime. In other words, we’ve given up the things that are most important to a life of vitality.

Instead, we are stressed out, overweight, sick, tired, and lonely. Can you relate?

Abel pointed out a few things that he saw in other countries that were quite different from the US. In America, you see people getting old really quickly. We start aging and declining at a much earlier age. It’s become common for Americans in their 30s and 40s to get diagnosed with diabetes or suffer a heart attack. Others are dealing with autoimmune conditions and digestive problems at too early an age.

In other cultures you see people who are vital and moving frequently and full of life. You see people aging well and gracefully. It’s common to see people in their 70s and 80s in Peru, full of vitality, working, and going up and down the mountains.

In other cultures, young and old, people are always playing and walking. They walk as their primary mode of transportation. They integrate play into their lives; soccer is quite popular throughout the world. They take time for meals. A three-hour lunch is not unusual. They actually take their vacations! And they get a lot of vacation days compared to the US.

Other cultures also eat quite differently than the average American. Processed food is just not in their vocabulary. They eat fresh, local, naturally organic produce and meat. For example, a common meal in Indonesia is fresh veggies from the backyard, rice, and locally sourced chicken. Compare that to a standard American chicken dinner that consists of a bucket of fried chicken and a heaping mound of mashed potatoes.

People in other countries are also eating less and moving more, but this gets very misconstrued in the US. They’re not intentionally starving themselves and then burning themselves out with super-intense exercise. They just naturally eat smaller portions of fresh, healthy food. And they get a lot of physical activity through walking and playing. It’s not calculated; they’re simply living their life.

It’s been said that 80% of the benefit we get from any diet is simply getting off processed foods and eating fresh home-cooked meals. In other words, it’s not an issue of eating vegan, vegetarian, or Paleo. The question to ask is, are you eating fresh, whole foods and cutting out processed foods?

Another practice that is very regular in other cultures is giving thanks for your food. People in other cultures do this before every meal. Expressing gratitude is powerful. Be present during your meal and enjoy your dining community. It’s much more difficult to overeat that way, and you digest your food much better.

You might be thinking, this is easier said than done. Here are a few tips for creating an environment to build positive habits.

  1. Don’t have tempting foods in your house.
  2. Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry.
  3. Try to make implementing good habits as easy as possible—make healthy food visible.
  4. If there’s bad food in the house and it’s not yours, then have a separate shelf or drawer for those items, so you don’t have to see them. You’re less likely to be tempted by them.
  5. Put the unhealthy foods in places that are more difficult to access.
  6. Put out healthy foods for guests, like nuts or fruit instead of chips and candy.
  7. Have healthy food easily accessible in the house.

Additionally, a key component that is very present in other cultures that Americans have started to lose is play time and creativity. We need to learn how to embrace our inner artist. There are many positive effects on the brain when you incorporate creativity and fun. Consider things like playing music, dancing, singing, and art. These activities are a great outlet for emotions, a type of play, and a way to express yourself. Ditch the perfectionist attitude and just enjoy.

Living a healthy lifestyle does not need to be rigid and restricted. Enjoy your life. Spend time with friends and family. Integrate play, social time, and movement. Be honest with yourself, listen to your body, and be sure to have fun.

If you need help creating a healthy lifestyle, click here

What do you think? I would like to hear your thoughts or experience with this.

Discussion

I care about answering your questions and sharing my knowledge with you. Leave a comment or connect with me on social media asking any health question you may have and I just might incorporate it into our next listener questions podcast episode just for you!

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