From Hotpot to Hotdog

This weekend I had a chance to participate in an unusual workshop that discussed the future of health and wellness in China.  I suppose there are plenty of policy makers doing this kind of brainstorming every week but for me to imagine and discuss with a group what nutrition and diet, in particular,  would look like in the China of 2025 was an unique experience.

So what did we have at the end of the day?  Well it should come as no surprise  that we came to the conclusion that the basic Chinese diet, soup, veggies, small portions of meat and tofu, is quite healthy and perhaps the rise of obesity, diabetes and hypertension is  in part because the Chinese are starting to move away from the basics.

In China’s rush to prosperity  it seems to be moving away from  traditional foods and family meals, or the hotpot pot idea of sharing fresh foods in a social setting toward individuals rushing through quick meals, the hotdog, on the way to something else.

We spent some time discussing how to get back to basics with much of the discussion leading right back to the tenets of the Slow Food Movement.  If you remember (see EWS post 8/19/2011) the Slow Food Movement champions the preservation of traditional foods , using fresh local ingredients and urges us to take the time to enjoy those foods in a meal with family and friends.  These are also the same recommendations that nutritionists will promote with patients working to improve their health or deal with a chronic disease.  We concluded if China could embrace this idea, essentially walking back to previous eating habits, this could be a step in reversing the rising tide of health problems that are looming in the future.

Hooking the Slow Movement up with China’s rich culinary history just might be one way to get to a vibrant and healthy China in 2025. Something for policy makers to think about this week.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Slow Food Movement, contact Slow Food Shanghai at

Eat Well Live Well and Eat SLOW !