- No prepared food: that means no pudding cups, Campbell's soup, pre-breaded anything, frozen pizzas and nuggets of meat, etc.
- Nothing that tastes at all salty or has any notable amount of sodium in it: since coming back to America I have been struck by how salty everything tastes to me now, including potato chips, french fries, steak at Boulder Creek, and even ketchup. From now on whenever I eat out I'll be asking for half the normal amount of salt.
- Half the salad dressing: you don't need every lettuce leaf to be completely drenched to enjoy your salad, and if you do, you've probably blasted your taste buds with salt.
- Observe fat people: last night at the airport I watched a fat woman count the hours until her plane was to arrive, then call someone at her destination and make sure there would be somewhere to eat when they got there, and then seconds later her fat husband arrive with some big big McDonald's hamburgers and fries and chow down lustily. It was disturbing.
- Eat at McDonald's: Mickey D's has a couple of healthy, cheap and convenient options that I look forward to eating, including their salads and grilled chicken sandwiches.
- No drinks: This is the most important rule, I think, because it puts you in a different state of mind. I am talking no juices, soft drinks and diet beverages. Even diet cola has a lot of salt in it, which is important to avoid, even though you can't taste it. I only drink water, black coffee, tea, and occasional alcoholic beverages.
- When my wife and I go to restaurants, we order one meal and one salad: we have literally not been able to finish a single meal at any restaurant since arriving, except McDonald's, where the servings are very reasonable.
- Dress smartly: That means clothes that fit well, shirts tucked in, etc. A lot of people let themselves get sloppy fat because they disregard their personal appearance and let the 'It's what's inside that counts' message go to their heads (and gut, and butt . . .)
- Don't take escalators if you can avoid it: You may be thinking this is something that is too insignificant to make a difference. What, is walking one or two flights of stairs going to help me stay healthy? No, but it is a first step to putting yourself in the right state of mind, and that's the really important thing.
I was lucky, because living in Korea forced me to discover some of these ideas. I had no idea that American food was so salty. When I lived in Korea my mother-in-law would let me taste the soup that she made. If I said it needed salt, she knew it was just right, and if I said it was just right, she knew it was too salty. I still eat my food a little saltier than the average Korean, but I bought a bag of Ruffles Sour Cream and Onion potato chips the other day and I had to throw them out because I could not handle the saltiness.
Other things I found out by watching my own self take Korean eating habits too far. Go to any office or house in Korea and you are likely to find lots of juice, honey water, ginseng essence, and rice milk, both in 1.5 liter containers and little personal-sized bottles.
Hey folks, take care of yourself and live a long time.