Americans love Mexican food. Studies show that it has the ethnic food market cornered with 62% of the FDMx (food, drink, mass index). But even without a study it’s a hard trend to miss. When you ask someone for the best Mexican restaurant in town they likely to have an answer and even a follow up suggestion, “You have to go there, they have the best como hacer flan.” While it wasn’t all that long ago that most Americans couldn’t tell empanadas from enchiladas.
It would be good for people in the U.S. to start eating more like actual Hispanics, who don’t gouge themselves on tortilla chips and salsa. Hispanics cook with a lot more fresh ingredients than their non-Hispanic counterparts. They are also more likely to prepare their own meals. As the obesity epidemic has skyrocketed, so has the diabetes epidemic. In the U.S. there is a person diagnosed with the disease every 17 seconds.
The true Mexican diet has always been made up of a much different style of food than you’ll find at the local Chili’s or El Taco Loco. Hold the beef chimichangas with extra cheese and bring on the ceviche (of course with the best como hacer flan afterwards). The bulk of the dishes include corn, beans, chilies and stews. Yes, tortilla-based dishes such as tacos and burritos are mainstays but you’re more likely to find someone eating arroz con pollo (chicken with rice) than loaded nachos. This is a diet higher in soluble fiber, which has been proven to reduce heart disease.
The way they eat is much different, too. Not only are the portions much smaller but the frequency and timing is as well. Americans tend to eat three meals a day spread out over the duration of the day. The biggest meal is reserved for dinner.
In Mexico, the eating schedule follows a similar pattern to that of Spain. Smaller meals are spread out throughout the day and the largest, bulkiest meal is lunch. Breakfast can run the gamut from simple and light to huge and complex.
Making the switch could help a lot of Americans because it isn’t as healthy to eat three big meals with one late in the day, just before the body is going to shut down. Laying down is not even the best position for digestion.
If we even ate more of one things we all associate with Mexican food, we could be healthier. Adding avocados would do wonders. An avocado rich diet has been shown, in at least one study, to lower people’s bad cholesterol by 22% and increase the good by 11%. The fruit is packed with vitamins. It has nearly 20 vitamins and minerals per serving. This includes potassium (controls blood pressure), lutein (strengthens the eyes) and folate.
At the end of the day, most things aren’t terrible for you if eaten in moderation. Even the best best como hacer flan can be enjoyed every now and again.