Ways to Change Your Life

Ways to Change Your Life

Discovering Healthy Foods and Changing Our Way of Thinking

There are may ways to change your life but being passive will not help. Action is needed! “Life has its ups and downs and after traveling and learning about other cultures, reading, soul-searching and striving for a healthy balance in my life, I wrote this article . I wanted to share some of the things that I have learned over the past 14 months of travel.” TL

Traveling and visiting new places around the world opens your eyes to new things and makes you live in the present. This is a small water fountain inside beautiful park in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Both SE Asian Culture and Western Culture here are some of the things you can do to obtain/maintain a Healthy Balance in Life by: using positive thinking, learning to live in the present and going at a slower pace to enjoy the moment.

The Meaning of Health

For a Healthy Balance in Life there are certain things we all must do. The word Health is defined on google search as “a person’s mental or physical condition“.  All the money in the world doesn’t matter if you are sick and there is no cure. It’s then that you then realize health is everything.

Alternative Health/Eastern Medicine

Buddha, Ways to Change Your Life,
Buddha in Chiang Mai Wat Phakhao Temple.

Researching Alternative/Eastern Health is one of the reasons why I am traveling in SE Asia. Asia has a very long history of what western world calls alternative eastern health practices like the art of massage, reflexology, meditation, and the use of herbs to maintain health or for healing has been in practice here for hundreds of years. 

Diets of Asian People

The diets of many Asians consists of fresh vegetables and fruits, and they use herbs like ginger and turmeric when they cook. Westerner’s have begun to take notice and many of us have adopted some of the SE Asian practices for our own health.  

Changes in South East Asian Diets

SE Asians have also copied some unhealthy eating habits from the west like eating too much salt and sugar. Add to that is the popularity of fast food franchises from America: Burger King, KFC, Mc Donald’s, Pizza Hut and 7 Eleven’s are all over SE Asia. Fortunately, these alternatives are not the only choices in SE Asia when you are hungry. Thailand is full of fast-food restaurants and Cambodia is now working to catch up with Thailand. Myanmar is far behind at present.

Fresh Fruit is a staple here in Thailand. Street food is fresh and plentiful in Bangkok.


The human body needs certain things to survive and flourish; one of the most import is adequate nutrition from the foods we consume and a balanced diet. If we don’t get the necessary nutrients, we end up out of balance and our health suffers. In the United States it can be a struggle (time, effort, and money) to find the proper foods to get adequate nutrition, one of the keys to staying healthy. In the U.S. its difficult to get what we need out of foods because the system is set up for convenience & corporate profits, not nutrition. Big Corp have taken over much of the farming and distribution; we have to find better foods ourselves through local farmers and organic food growers. The convenience of fast food restaurants sometimes gives us little choice when there are few healthy alternatives and time is short like during a weekday lunch hour.  GMO’s, pesticides, depletion of minerals in the soil and other problems besiege us. nutritious foods are available, but we have to find them and be mindful of what we are buying and where it came from.

Ronald Mc Donald Bangkok, BKK-mcdonalds-7-73
Mc Donalds from America to Khao San Rd in Bangkok Thailand

Similarities in America & South East Asia

Some of the same problems exist in SE Asia and in America; foods that tastes good but have little nutritional value. Both the United States and SE Asia have many of the same problems, too many fast food chains, they are everywhere. In addition there are two types of medicine available in Asia, Eastern and Western. In the U.S. the mentality of taking a pill to cure-all ends up causing other health problems and diseases. Americans have to work hard to stay current with the latest health research and seek a healthier way of life.  Some of the pop a pill mentality and eating fast foods are now in SE Asia. The good thing is that American seems to be changing and there are choices having both kinds of medicine here in SE Asia and are easier to find compared to the America culture. 

‘The Tree of life’ – Roleus Temple, Cambodia

Finding Our Own Healthy Balance

We all try our best to live the best we can to be happy. Some people do it better than others, but a Healthy Balance in Life is important and if you’re out of balance you will experience problems. Too many long work hours, unhappy home life, eating the wrong foods, stress, or too much of anything can throw bodies and minds out of balance. We’ve heard it before, Live in MODERATION. Obtaining balance is different for everyone, ultimately we are in charge and we each have to take full responsibility for our actions.  We can meditate, talk to friends or family, use spirituality or whatever works for you to find that balance to stay healthy!  Our minds work in mysterious ways and sometimes it just happens, but you made it happen whether it was consciously or not.  How do you know when you have balance? Think about your happiness and how you feel in body and mind… we all know deep down.

This air-conditioned Ferris Wheel is located along the river in Bangkok at the Calypso Shopping area. Happiness happens when you get out and experiencing life.

My lifestyle and way of balance at the present time involves traveling (both work & enjoyment), relationships with others, the foods I eat, my physical activity and sharing what I learn. Traveling on the road has its own challenges when trying to stay maintain a Healthy Balance in Life. Everyone is different and we are all changing and evolving all the time.  Finding balance is a challenge but once we find the right balance, you can’t just say ok, I’m where I want to be. Everything changes and we must keep changing for the better. Relationships, jobs, family and friends all change and work to keep a Healthy Balance in Life.

Maintaining a healthy balance in life means you have to do enjoyable things. Some people love to shop; at Bangkok’s Calypso people are dining out and shopping for fun.

80/20 Rule

I try to live by the 80-20% rule to keep my Healthy Balance in Life. Healthy lifestyle 80% of the time, and 20% indulging yourself in what you enjoy but may not be the best for you.  (This is if you are healthy, if you are not healthy you need to take care of yourself 100% of the time to get well.)  If you live by the 80/20 healthy rule, you can still over-indulge yourself and be balanced.  If you try to change your life too fast, we end up right back to where we started. Change takes time. Write down your goals and how you are going to achieve them to get and stay in a healthy balance and then review, review, review. Reward yourself somehow when you make progress. That is where the 20% part comes into play. 

Lunch Buffett including Sushi in Singapore – Enjoying a healthy life means live in moderation. You can still enjoy your favorite foods.

Healthy Ways to Change Your Life

Think, plan, and practice for a better understanding of what it takes to find your balance in life. Here are a few things to practice to help balance yourself. Part l:

1. Positive Thinking

The way we think affects our body chemistry and that in turn affects our health. Much of this is based on hormones and how our body responds to these hormonal chemical changes. It’s invisible to us but if you work at it and use a journal you become sensitive enough to feel the changes. Find a positive out of a negative situation. It takes work, but the positives are there if you examine your problem. They say one door shuts and another opens, its true if you are patient and give yourself time to think. Once you figure out the positives, write them down and stop thinking about all the negatives; you need to elevate your mood and stop thinking about the negatives. We are emotional beings and it takes time to calm down after something bad happens. If we work at thinking positive, we can change the way we think and when we do this we begin to feel better about ourselves and about life in general.  Health is about balance and positive thinking will help balance your body chemistry and help your health.

There is an old saying that goes ‘if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it’. Not only do others not want to hear negative things, your brain functions better if you stop talking about it. It’s ok to talk about it to a friend so to feel better, but not to everyone, they don’t want to hear your complaints. The more you talk about the negatives and complain to others, the more negative it becomes in your own mind.  Shift your thinking, find the positive out of the negative and when the negative comes back to your mind, think again about the positive. There is a positive twist to everything, find it! This works, try it and you will feel better and your friends will like the new you!

Buddha at Wa Po Temple, Bangkok, Thailand – Thinking positive helps give you balance in life.

2. Living in the Present

We all have to experience life to the fullest everyday, or you’re wasting precious time! We lose important people in our life every year and one of the messages we should take with us is, live now because we are not here forever.  Enjoy everything you can, a healthy balance in life is living in the present and with practice it will help you enjoy the now moments and celebrate life. If you dwell in the past or worry too much about the future you are wasting your time it’s not healthy; you create more stress and dwelling on things that you have no control over is causing you more harm than good. Maybe we should take a Que from the animal kingdom and live in the moment.  Look around you, even the animals in nature find a way to enjoy the moment.  Do these water buffalo in the photograph below looked stressed to you? I think the middle one is smirking at me, ‘hey, don’t judge me in this mud bath until you try it yourself”. 

Even these Water Buffalo’s know how to enjoy life in the hot weather by the Angkor Temples in Cambodia.. Nothing like a cool mud bath, want to join them? The water buffalo on the far right was sleeping, we checked to make sure.

3. Life is in the Details

Stop every once in a while and take a look around you, make the time!  If you are dining out, notice the little things going on around you that you normally don’t notice. Look closer at the food you’re served, enjoy the aroma and take notice to see what is inside. Look the colors, try to taste every ingredient by savoring it, use your taste buds. Take time to taste it before swallowing, or you’re missing out. (eating slower is also good to do to keep your stomach in tune with your appetite). I started to do this when I began to write food reviews, now I do it all the time. Notice all the little things in the restaurant like the sounds around you, is their music and what kind, how about laughter, or what kind of ambiance do you notice? What are others doing around you, are the chairs comfortable, how do you feel, happy, sad, indifferent, relaxed. Take note of everything you can, experience life. Do this wherever you can and you begin to notice that you are living in the present, and now you have a moment to remember. Being in touch with your feelings is what living in the present does to you. Healthy Balance in Life is about taking the time to enjoy every minute you can.

You can almost taste the vegetables when you look at this dinner served at a Burmese restaurant in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

My Point is…Slow Down

Life is about balance!  Balancing our health, relationships, work life, and happiness. We are all different and what makes me tick is different then what makes you tick.  But we all share some common things that we need to practice.  Take the time to notice how you feel and the environment you are in for your own well-being and health.  Work to find your Healthy Balance in Life.

Flight of the Gibbon – Chiang Mai – Balancing yourself between the Zip Line landing trees is fun and safe on this well-built bridge because everyone is hooked up to a safety line. Getting out and having fun is important. All work and no play will throw you out of balance.

Stay Tuned for More…

I’m here in SE Asia to experience how life is different and comparing different cultures to obtain an understand about life and how to live a healthier less stressful life. The future I will be discovering more of the eastern ways of life. My goals in 2016 are to learning and write about Yoga, Meditation, Buddhism, travel destinations, foods and herbs as medicine from different cultures and countries.  Thank you for reading Healthy Balance in Life and Happy New Years!!!

Read about balance by Dr. Beth Gineris

 8-Habits-to-Balance-Your-Health, by Beth Gineris 

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Calypso ASIATIQUE The Riverfront

© 2015-2016 Travel Food & Health Magazine

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