Soup Is Not For Ev­ery­one


Special Focus - - Contents - Xia Meng


Back i n the day, the North­ern Chi­nese tra­di­tion­ally ate meat and the South­ern Chi­nese ate soup.

South­ern­ers are su­per par­tic­u­lar about soup- mak­ing meth­ods, the in­gre­di­ents and the time it is to be eaten, all of which has made it a cul­tur­ally sig­nif­i­cant fash­ion state­ment that has spread through­out the whole coun­try. Peo­ple liv­ing in cold re­gions of the North, who once only eat meat not soup, have learned to warm up their stom­ach by hav­ing some hot soup be­fore meals.

In re­cent years, it is said that soup is healthy and nour­ish­ing. TV talk show gu­rus talk about it and even cook it for their guests. Truth be told, it makes me anx­ious ev­ery time I see this kind of pro­gram. We South­ern­ers like soup for ge­o­graph­i­cal rea­sons. But if you make North­ern­ers eat soup like Can­tonese, it will ac­tu­ally be harm­ful.

When the meat from an­i­mals, birds and fish are mixed with other in­gre­di­ents, such as veg­eta­bles and spices, cer­tain nu­tri­ents such as free amino acids, fatty acids, fat­sol­u­ble vi­ta­mins, salts and mi­cronu­tri­ents will dis­solve into the soup af­ter a long pe­riod of sim­mer­ing.

Be­cause of the high tem­per­a­ture and high hu­mid­ity in the South, peo­ple need to con­sume some fat, and the salt they take in is sweated out through work or ex­er­cise. In a word, soup is good for the body. How­ever, be­cause of the cold weather in the North, peo­ple do lit­tle out­door ac­tiv­i­ties and don’t sweat nearly as much. If they eat a lot of soup, the salt and purine can only be ex­creted through the kid­neys, thereby putting an in­creased work­load on them, and mak­ing the eaters prone to hy­per­ten­sion and gout.

Ac­tu­ally hav­ing soup in the South is not even a ne­ces­sity any­more. In the past, peo­ple were com­pletely in the nat­u­ral

en­vi­ron­ment. To­day, the en­vi­ron­ment hasn’t changed, the south is still hot and hu­mid, but the mi­cro-en­vi­ron­ments in the area have changed. Cars and of­fices are air- con­di­tioned, keep­ing the in­door tem­per­a­ture con­stant. Peo­ple used to fight against heat stroke, but now they fight against air con­di­tion­ing dis­eases.

Of course, if South­ern­ers ate a lot of meat and drink a lot of al­co­hol like North­ern­ers, they would suf­fer from chronic dis­com­fort, such as ex­ces­sive in­ter­nal heat, acid re­flux and in­di­ges­tion. In the South, it is bet­ter to eat fish and duck than beef and mut­ton. The pre­cepts of Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Medicine state that fish and duck are clas­si­fied as “cold” meat, mean­ing that they have a cool­ing ef­fect on the body, which is suit­able for hot and hu­mid weather. On the other hand, mut­ton and beef have a warm­ing ef­fect. It is often bit­terly cold in the North, es­pe­cially in win­ter, so it is nec­es­sary to eat mut­ton and beef to keep out the cold.

What’s more, di­ets dif­fer ac­cord­ing to area. Peo­ple in moun­tain­ous ar­eas are short of io­dine and vul­ner­a­ble to dis­ease of the goi­ter. They should take in more iodized seafood and iodized salt. Kelp is often present in re­gional cuisine such as Sichuan hot pot or spicy hot pot, but with its dry, arid cli­mate, peo­ple liv­ing on the plains of North­west China should eat more fruits and veg­eta­bles and steer clear of hot pep­pers.

When tak­ing all fac­tors into con­sid­er­a­tion, whether peo­ple should eat more meat, more soup, more veg­eta­bles or more spicy food or mild food or drink more milk, de­pends on the en­vi­ron­ment. The area you come from, its lo­cal cli­mate, the sea­son and the over­all en­vi­ron­ment are fac­tors that must be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion. Whether you stay

out­doors or in­doors for long pe­ri­ods, whether there is cen­tral heat­ing or air con­di­tion­ing, whether you drive a car ev­ery day or take a bus oc­ca­sion­ally, your level of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, the mi­croen­vi­ron­ment and in­di­vid­ual dif­fer­ence all de­serve at­ten­tion. The good way to keep ev­ery­thing in bal­ance is to make sure your de­posits don’t ex­ceed your with­drawals, so to speak.

(From YouAreWhatYouEat,

Jiangxi Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Pub­lish­ing House. Trans­la­tion: Zhou Honghua, School of For­eign Lan­guage and Lit­er­a­ture, Wuhan Qingchuan Uni­ver­sity)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.