Okay, I might be a little late on this one but yesterday was the beginning of the Chinese New Year, Year of the Dragon. I do not usually celebrate at home, but I do think it is very cool that they get their very own New Year. I am honoring the Chinese with this post.
If you knew me well enough, you would know that I actually do not enjoy Chinese food all that much, but it is because the American culture has made the cuisine into a fatty, fried, greasy meal-when it DOESN’T have to be. Since Chinese New Year symbolizes new beginnings and forgiveness. I will forgive you all for eating fried lemon chicken and ask you to start thinking about Chinese food in a new healthier light and maybe more restaurants will start to follow.
What we can take from the REAL Chinese diet to help us eat healthier.
1. Eat more of a plant-based diet.
Authentic Chinese food actually showcases vegetables in many of their recipes and they celebrate their nutritional benefits. One of the largest research studies done on the vegetarian, plant based diet was actually based on the diets of those in China and is an inspiration for movies such as Forks Over Knives. By celebrating a plant based diet, it promotes less cholesterol, and fat intake and enhances vitamin and mineral intake.
Most of these vegetables can easily be steamed or quick cooked in a wok for a stir-fry. I love the eggplant and long beans.
2. Think like you are Chinese.
Say what Gabriella? Yes, when you are eating! The Chinese do not count calories because they look at food as nourishment vs. weight gain potential. This causes the Chinese not to eat such things as refined carbohydrates, sugar, and “fake” diet food which helps promote a healthy weight.
The Chinese are also known to be better at acknowledging their hunger cues better than Americans. What can you do to get better? Practice eating dinner alone and stop at to the point where you almost feel full. This is the point where you are actually full because it takes about 10-15 minutes after eating for your hormones to tell your brain to stop eating.
3. Drink green tea.
“Green tea eliminates toxins, aids digestion and allays hunger. Scientists have found that it also fights free radicals, which cause cancer and heart disease.”*
If you like green tea that is unsweetened then I say go for it. This will help you get the hydration you need with an added benefit of antioxidants. The powerful antioxidant most known for being in green tea: EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). The research is kind of in the air if it truly helps with weight loss, but a research study this year saw that those who had pepper in their meal and drank green tea had higher levels of EGCG than those without pepper. Pretty interesting!
4. Eat fresh fish and seafood.
When I am craving protein that is not from plant sources, I always seem to opt for seafood and fish. The Chinese are just the same. One popular seafood item? Shrimp.
Shrimp can actually be great for your diet. 1 medium shrimp= just 8 calories if grilled or steamed. Serve with a light soy ginger dressing (i.e. Brianna’s Ginger Dressing) with a salad and you got yourself a tasty meal.
I want to ask you all, are there any chinese recipes or dishes you like that are healthy? Do you manage to still eat healthy out in American Chinese restaurants, if so, how?
Happy, Healthy (Chinese) Eating!
*quoted from Sophia Morris, of The Independent.