What Women Eat: A Glance at the Good Eats From Around the Globe
To celebrate International Women's Day, we’re taking a peek inside the heart of homes around the world to see what women are eating. What better way to do that than taking stock of what’s cooking in their kitchens?
Family Favourites: Food in Ethiopia is spicy and the country’s national dish is a fiery stew called wat. Made with chicken, beef, lamb or vegetables with lentils and ground split peas, wat is spiced using berbere, a red-hot seasoning paste made with chillies. In fact, there’s so much pride and importance placed on this go-with-everything condiment, local lore says that the woman who makes the best berebe has the best chance of nabbing a good husband.
Secret Weapon: Injera, a thin, pancake-like flatbread made from teff flour is loaded with fibre, vitamin C, and protein and is a staple of Ethiopian cuisine. Look for teff to overtake the almighty quinoa in terms of trendy, gluten-free alternatives, as A-listers like Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham are already on this grain’s bandwagon.
Family Favourites: Forget fast-food-style tacos and burritos, authentic Mexican cuisine centres around fresh salsas, whole grains, fruit and chiles, beans and herbs, and is actually quite healthy. Dishes like corn tortillas filled with savoury grilled meats and fish, topped with fresh salsas made from ripe tomatoes, fruit, citrus and chiles; light soups full of vegetables, coupled with beans and vegetables, only minimal amounts of dairy and meat are eaten on a daily basis.
Secret Weapon: Traditionally speaking, lunch is the largest meal of the day. This is important since recent research suggests that the body is less responsive to insulin at night, so eating late in the day could cause weight gain, even if calories are the same.
Family Favourites: Lentils, seasonal vegetables, flour and wheat products are the most abundant foods and make up the base of Pakistani cuisine. Chapatis, flat bread made from wheat, is a staple at most meals and is used to scoop up sauces and stews. Hearty vegetable-based dishes like the lentil stew dhal, as well as sides of potatoes, cabbage, okra, chickpeas and peas are an integral part of Pakistani cuisine.
Secret Weapon: Pakistani cuisine highlights tons of spices, which add yummy flavour, appealing colour, and surprising health benefits. Spices like turmeric and ginger may help to lower cholesterol.
Family Favourites: When we think of Texas, it’s hard not to think of the state’s notorious love of meat. Bacon, hamburgers, chicken fried steak, barbecue ribs; all served with a side of biscuits and gravy and a heaping slice of pecan pie. In 2000, total meat consumption reached a staggering 195 pounds per year.
Secret Weapon: While a protein-rich diet can help kick start weight loss, a new study says that eating too much meat and eggs is ‘just as bad as smoking’. The good news is that the pendulum seems to be swinging, as overall meat consumption is steadily going down among Americans.
Family Favourites: Fish and vegetables play a big role in Japanese food, and it’s common to see them cooked in broths, steamed or very lightly sautéed. Big bowls of steaming, flavourful soup with buckwheat noodles and tons of vegetables are a popular meal option, and such savoury dishes often make an appearance at breakfast.
Secret Weapon: As a culture, food in Japan is just healthier as a whole. They eat less red meat than their Americans or European sisters; opt for tofu as a go-to protein and eat a ton of fish. In fact, while Japan makes up about 2 percent of the world's population, they eat 10 percent of the world's fish.
Family Favourites: It’s all about quality, not quantity. Food is meant to be savoured, not devoured and they don’t shy away from high-calorie goodies like chocolate, cheese and wine. At first glance, Pot-au-Feu, France’s national dish, is your typical stew. But even the way they eat this good-for-you favourite highlights the way that the French view food. Slow eating is celebrated and practiced, even this dish is served in multiple course, beginning with the bone marrow on toast, following with the broth and the meat and vegetables.
Secret Weapon: We get it. French women don’t get fat. But the truth is there’s some method to this madness and it’s actually quite simple. They drink a ton of water, they walk everywhere and most importantly, they eat less. Smaller portions of your favourite foods like quality dark chocolate and full fat cheese also make you feel more satisfied and the theory is that diving in on these small indulgences keep you from binging.
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