How Do Vietnamese Women Stay Skinny?

How do Vietnamese women stay skinny?

It is a universal truth that Eastern Asian people are naturally smaller and thinner than the rest of the world. In a region where rice is the staple food and eaten three times a day, one would consider it unfair that Asians seem to maintain their slim figure throughout their old age. It is a common belief that Asians in general are simply genetically gifted being able to stay slim their entire lives without having to diet or log hours in the gym. Jealous yet? Don’t be, this popular belief is just a myth. Your genetics or ethnicity will not keep you from being fat. Your choice of food and lifestyle does.

Asians today are far different than they were before. Countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines have adapted and fully embrace the Western way of cooking and eating fast food. The abundance of international food chains in these countries is spreading rapidly and unfortunately along with it—obesity and diabetes.

We can all agree that it takes an enormous amount of self-control to turn down a pizza or a burger. This is why I am mightily impressed by the Vietnamese’s collective resistance against this so called convenient way of life. Vietnamese people are skinny not because they are Asians and born that way. They are skinny because of how they live their lives.

Here are 7 things that Vietnamese people do that keep them healthy and looking young.

1.  But they like to eat rice
Vietnamese rice noodles
Vietnamese rice noodles
Contrary to popular belief, rice is not bad for you. Vietnamese and Asians in general consume rice on a regular basis but hardly any wheat or other grains. There is a difference. It is the over consumption of wheat and gluten that causes obesity in the west. Vietnamese food is more or less gluten-free as most dishes are made with rice noodle, rice paper and rice flour instead of wheat.

2. They like to exercise
Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam
Women exercising at the Hoan Kiem Lake
The Vietnamese are early risers and they exercise not for vanity but out of habit.  It is such a pleasant sight to see people of all ages rise up early in the morning to exercise in the parks. It is especially rewarding to see older people up and about and engaged in some sort of activity around the Hoan Kiem Lake every day.

3.  They like slow food
Vietnamese Pho noodle soup
Vietnamese Pho noodle soup
They like home cooked meals. Their food is labor-intensive and loaded with healthy and fresh ingredients. Authentic Vietnamese broth that is used in Pho noodle soups takes at least ten hours to prepare.

4.  They work outdoors and do physical labor
Women working at the Mekong Delta river
Women working at the Mekong Delta river
While some countries prefer their women at home or working in the office, Vietnamese women work outdoors and do physical labour just like men. It is no wonder why they remain strong and active even as they get older.

5.    They only serve fresh food
Goi Cuon - Vietnamese fresh spring rolls
Goi Cuon - Vietnamese fresh spring rolls
They don’t like packaged and processed food so it is safe to bet that whatever you eat is freshly made and straight from the source. Because Vietnamese food is flavoured with fresh herbs, vegetables and fruits they can’t stock it too long or it will rot.

6. They serve leafy greens on the side
Vietname herbs and condiments
Leafy greens and other condiments
Leafy green vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Some dishes including Pho are served with a hefty serving plate of herbs, bean sprouts and lime. They serve it fresh on the side to retain its crunch and texture.

7.  They eat fruits for dessert and snacks
Tropical fruits
Tropical fruits
Instead of the usual cake and ice cream for desserts they like to munch on tropical fruits like papaya, pineapple and jackfruit. Itinerant vendors around town sell these fruits already sliced and peeled for convenience. It is a healthy alternative for late afternoon snacks.

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