Nutrition Around the World
We are all taught at a very early age that different countries with diverse cultures exist around the world. Whether the country has only existed for a few decades or thousands of years, each one has differing views and traditions that they cherish in their own ways.
This implies that each culture views nutrition differently, which is reflected in their eating and drinking habits.
We are going to look at local eating habits from around the world, in the attempt to find a greater understanding of nutrition around the world.
We’re headed to the land down under, to another one of the healthiest countries in the world, Australia. The country itself is unique in its origins, history, and wildlife leading to equally unique ways that its inhabitants adapted to their surroundings. While they still have citizens with chronic disease, Australia has one of the highest life expectancies around the world and has seen a decrease in their premature death rates and has seen a decline in the burden of disease both fatal and non-fatal. Let’s ‘dig in’ and figure out what they are doing right.
Origins of the Australia and their Diet
Australia, before colonization, was home to the native Aboriginals. They sustained themselves on a hunter gatherer diet, practically untouched by any other external influences. While the wilderness was brutal and deadly in many ways, the tribes kept themselves well fed with a variety of plant, fruit, insects, fish, reptiles, marsupials, and nectar. This varied diet took care of much of the traditional needs for the tribe until colonization came about.
When the first settlers from Europe tried to cultivate the land, without any knowledge of the natural wildlife. They found cultivation to be too difficult, and wound up relying on imports and suffered from food shortages and scurvy.
Eventually, in the 19th century the introduction of sheep farming and the accidental invasion of rabbits, made meat the mainstay of the local diet. When the railroads expanded and a gold rush sparked a mass influx of people, the colonies could access more lands that were suitable for cultivation. Industrial boom in the 1900s made food prep and storage more accessible, so things like bread and milk were soon part of the Australian Diet.
Local Food + Active Lifestyle= Well Rounded Lifestyle
In the early to mid-2010’s, the accessibility to highly processed foods and the high use of tobacco have caused some concern for the Australian government, since it lead to the increase of disease and premature death rates of those below 75. Thanks to government action, local awareness programs, ethical concerns, and the ‘slow food’ movement, the numbers are now decreasing.
The cultural push towards locally sourced food, such as game meats, vegetables, and grains in their diet has certainly helped matters, but what really makes the Aussies stand out are their love of sports and physical fitness. Sports are a way of life for Australia and are the number one form of recreational activity for most children and teenagers. There has even been a huge economic boom for the fitness industry as of late, with the employment level of fitness instructors rising higher than ever at 32,425. To put it in perspective that is almost 7,000 more than the number of fitness instructors recorded in 2012! It is even projected for there to be over 3,000 more instructors by 2019!
Basic Rules of Thumb for the Aussie Diet.
- Eat mostly high fiber grains and vegetables/legumes.
- Leaner meats like fish, lamb, and chicken (Yes, Kangaroo is an option).
- Dairy and fruit are consumed the least.
- Oils, Processed food/ drink, and alcohol are meant to be consumed only once in a while.
Authentic Australian Recipes
This soup is easy to make, flavorful and good for you. Try it out! The recipe link is in the photo below.
The meat of the fish is lean and filling. It also has a tangy tomato sauce filled with nutritious vegetables to boot. Click on the photo below for the recipe.
These herby potatoes combined with sunflower seeds and onions makes a good side dish for barbecue or seafood. Try it out! Click on the photo for the recipe link.