Feeling healthy comes from eating fresh and healthy, according to BYU—Hawaii students. Students from different cultures shared different but similar ideas for healthy eating such as eating the right portions or food at the right temperature. Together with consistent exercise, the desire for a healthy lifestyle is a goal students said they share.
Chinese - Being aware of the heat inside the body
In Chinese culture, it is a common belief that eating fried food escalates heat inside the body, according to Amelia Chen, a sophomore from Hong Kong studying TESOL education. She explained, “When [your body] is overheated, you get pimples, sore throat...etc.”
Chinese people adjust their diets according to the level of heat within their bodies. Chen said to reduce heat and get relief from the symptoms of overheating, one should stop eating fried food, eat more vegetables, drink more water, and go to sleep as early as possible.
Japanese - Eating humbly
The beauty of humility has been integrated into Japanese people’s healthy way of eating, according to Ayana Fukushima, a junior from Japan majoring in art. The healthy diet consists of avoiding sweet and oily food, and instead, choosing plain food.
Fukushima explained, “I think Japan used to be a country of hard labor. We were farmers, craftsman, and there were far less wealthy so I think we would just eat food that would give us a lot of strength and energy. Hence vegetables. We try not to eat too much.”
Mongolians - Eating what keeps them warm
“We prefer hot or warm food and drinks because it gets so cold in Mongolia,” shared Tsetsgee Enkhbold, a freshman from Mongolia studying business management.
“We eat meat and boiling hot soup regularly because it gives you energy and helps you to keep your body temperature,” shared Enkhbold
Ecuadorians - Organic, fresh and CrossFit
“The good thing about Ecuador is that the food is very organic,” said Saba Ramirez, a senior from Ecuador studying communications. “We do not eat fast food. People cook all the time using fruits and vegetables that are fresh. Also the meats are fresh. In summary, I could say that our food is very organic and we avoid junk food.”
Ramirez shared how people care about their weight and that a popular exercise that people do in Ecuador is CrossFit.
Tongans - Eating what makes them strong
Siahi Taufa, a freshman from Tonga studying business management, shared how traditional Tongan food is mainly fish, taro, and plantation food. Taufa said Tongans believe these types of food makes them strong. “It’s 100 percent nutrition and straight from nature so it’s super healthy,” Taufa said.
“With that, we can live longer and help better protect our country. Back in the old days, we were known as the strongest people in the Pacific because we were careful with our chosen food.”
Hawaiian - Balancing traditional cultures & modern science
Kiara Wasano, a junior from Pearl City studying information systems, said growing up in Hawaii made it difficult for her to share Hawaiian health standards because of all the different cultures also embedded in their diet. But in the Hawaiian culture, Wasano said they try to find a balance between traditional beliefs and modern science.
The Hawaii State Department of Education tries to promote healthy eating by serving healthy lunch options and maintaining a garden that produces crops to benefit students, according to Wasano. She shared how her mother would also teach her to read nutritional facts and their family tries to consume less salt and sugar.
However, Wasano also commented that traditional remedies are also applied in her family when it comes to health problems. “My mom likes to use essential oils to help relieve pain or make us feel better before calling a doctor. Her mom would make her this really stinky herbal soup when she was sick.”
Germans - Reasonable diets mean reasonable portions
Annika Soderborg, a senior from Utah studying political science, said she spent one year in Germany during high school for a study abroad, and then went back for three months this past spring and summer for an internship.
Soderborg said what she noticed most about the German diet is it focused on eating fresh whole foods. Fresh produce, meat, and bread seem to be the most common staples. “Generally what I saw is that people don't place too many extreme restrictions on what they consumed but rather understood the importance of eating reasonable portions,” said Soderborg. “Most people I knew would indulge in baked goods and chocolate, but they were careful not to do so too often and they ate just enough to appreciate the treat.
“Along with maintaining a balanced diet, Germans are typically pretty active. Most of Germany does well avoiding air pollution, which in turn encourages people to walk and bike rather than drive, which I definitely think contributes to their overall health.”