Going back to your culinary roots: does it make you healthier?

To my post about why Japanese people in Japan don't get that fat, Kim left this terrific comment:

I’m not Japanese (I’m Korean). I was adopted and grew up in America. I didn’t have a weight problem growing up, my weight happened when I hit high school and beyond. When I was in college, I had a chance to go back to Korea for 3 months. I was just a little overweight, maybe around 10-15 pounds. While there, I ate everything in sight, but I also walked everywhere. I also ate more veggies, and more rice, and again, I walked everywhere…usually in atypical day I was walking close to 3-5 miles. When I came back to the states, my Mom automatically thought that I had been starving because I was so slim. Sure enough,1 month later I had gained back all my weight.

There was a big diet trend a little while back that spoke to that. It had people focusing on what their heritage is and then eating and being like the people from their heritage. Now whenever i feel the need to drop some weight, I heavily go back to my Korean roots and the weight just seems to come off. I usually have more energy and just feel more at peace. But it takes so much time, and that is a premium these days.

I must have missed that diet trend Kim mentioned somehow, but it resonates a lot with me. I do enjoy eating a wide variety of cuisines, but when I want to get back into balance and feel good physically and mentally, I always go back to Japanese cooking. I know that Japanese food is generally held to be quite healthy and things like that, but maybe there is more to that.

What do you think? Does going back to your own food heritage help you to feel better and healthier?

[Update:] The comments to this are some of the most thought provoking ones ever on this site. Opinion is divided amongst people who think that it all depends on where your culinary roots are (if you're Asian or from the Mediterranean region, ok, if you're from Northern Europe, not so ok) to those who think there might be something to the idea of your culinary heritage being inherently 'right' for you. People who have had a chance to go back to their ancestral home country for a visit seem to lean towards the latter opinion.

Several commenters from the U.S. and Canada have mentioned how they don't have a particular culinary heritage - that it's all mixed up. That's understandable since both countries are largely made up of immigrants, but a little sad too. Maybe trying to discover ones culinary heritage, as mixed up as it may be, would be a very interesting exercise. It's like exploring your geneology and finding new inspiration for food - sounds like great fun to me!

In any case, comments like these remind me what I love about keeping up this site for 4+ years. Food is for eating and enjoying of course, but food is such an important part of our existence too, and I love to ponder on it from a philosophical perspective. If you'd like to add your opinion too, jump in!

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