Ethnic Foods? Who are they good for?

Why do certain populations eat certain foods and still thrive, while those exact foods can create disease for other populations around the world?

Classic examples of this are :-

– Tofu being eaten by Asian cultures safely for over 2000 years but playing with estrogen levels for Americans.
– Peruvians enjoying quinoa as a staple but it being very heavy for populations that are not used to it.
– Mexicans consuming beans with negligible intestinal discomfort. On the other hand, beans can cause a great deal of bloating and flatulence for others.
– Italians consuming bread and cheese and their bodies processing them fairly easily.

Why such Favoritism? The truth is that nature is not partial or more loving to certain populations but some foods are just ethnic. They are easy for a specific population because of the following reasons:-

Satmiyata/Genetic compatibility – This is the specific code required by your DNA for the breakdown of specific foods. When your family or community has been eating a food for a few generations, your genes have evolved and your body has the programming to utilize and disintegrate that ethnic food. Foods eaten for generations by a certain community are usually received well and don’t create symptoms in those populations. This is knows as satmiyata in Ayurveda.

Local Foods – Clownfish are able to successfully hide in the poisonous tentacles of the sea anemone. While other fish can be easy stung. Such is the symbiotic nature of the universe. Our bodies need local foods. A man in the desert needs the water from the oasis and a people living on hot tropical islands thrive on coconut water. Eating foods that grow locally usually tend to be those required by your body. That being said, places with similar climatic conditions and soil may be able to borrow from each others’ diets.

Food Combinations – As foods are eaten for a few generations, the best combinations and quantities for those foods have been learned. Eating cheese with wine, or Buckwheat bread (Bajra Roti) with ghee are examples of this. Respecting food combinations is very important if we want to eat a particular food.

Before we sing praises of foods not ethnic to us, we must ask –

Is this food native to me? Or can is it even comparable to a certain food that I already consume? (Basil and tulsi)
Is my environment similar to the one where this food grows?
How is this food traditionally eaten? (Quantity, time of day and food combinations)

It is possible for humans to adapt to most newer foods if the answer to the above is in affirmative. Ayurveda just asks that their use be gradual and slow!

So consume mindfully, slowly and most of all question what you consume!

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