Post #12+1 – For everyone out there who is superstitious, I numbered this post as 12+1, the lucky dozen.  In Spanish, the extra little thing you get when buying a dozen of something is called yapa.  So here is my ‘docena con yapa’ post to introduce the Healthy Lifestyle, Healthcare and Technology category of entries of my blog.  These entries will be on gadgets, products, services, places that have something to do with health, beauty, cosmetics, sports, skincare, doctors, clinics, spas …as well as technology that improves our lives.

I recently read that by 2020 Korean women will reach a life expectancy of 93 years of age – currently it stands at 81-83.  So women born that year can expect, in average, to reach 93, what means that a lot of them will live well beyond 100.  In comparison, men will stay in the 80+ range, while Japan’s life expectancy will slide into second place, and France’s is inching up.

Hanging out with friends Gangnam Seoul
Hanging out with friends Gangnam Seoul

These projections take in consideration trends and speed of change, and are mostly accurate as long as no major social or natural issues occur.  So, how do Korean women do it?  It is estimated that a large portion of the women population in South Korea will become part of the country’s workforce in the next decade, although in the past it was normal for women in South Korea to be housewives.  So the improvement might come from bigger professional satisfaction.  Personally, I believe it has to do with their lifestyle, the way they care for their families and themselves, their wisdom and generosity of spirit.

Girlfriends visiting a palace park in Seoul
Girlfriends visiting a palace park in Seoul

Stress is considered world-wide the biggest cause of demise.  Does it affect Korean women? And men? Most of our stress comes from too high expectations, be it in appearance, professionally, socially or in relationships; unsatisfactory recognition and remuneration; improper healthcare…and low self-esteem and personal traumas.  How do they do it?  How do Korean women outperform all of us around the globe? How does their healthy lifestyle, physically and mentally, differ from ours?

My opinions, are, well, opinions, and are not based on any kind of science.  I hope though to hear many others’ opinions, and enrich my maybe a bit naïve speculations with suggestions and comments from everyone else.  Thank you!

Traditional selection of Korean dishes
Museum display – Traditional selection of Korean dishes

So, first of all, Korean women cook at home, eat healthily, and eat little. I noticed that meat is a bit of a luxury, so is cheese.  The main part of their diets are vegetables, seafood and rice; and the meals are mostly boiled or grilled, so there is little intake of fat.  I tried cooking for myself like that every day and dropped excess weight.  So it works.

Cold noodle soup Busan
Cold noodle soup Busan – see that red paste? It is spicy!

They eat three meals a day and skipping a meal is something that every mom tells you not to do when leaving the house.  All three meals consist of the same – so there is warm food three times a day, soups, veggies, pickled side-dishes, seaweed, and …rice.

Rice dish with fresh tuna and fresh vegetables
Garosugil, Seoul – Rice dish with fresh tuna and fresh vegetables

They do drink juices, eat fruit, drink coffee, drink beer, soju, eat out … but more importantly, they eat with the family.   Eating alone is considered a sad thing.  In Korea, women surround themselves with their families, work incessantly for them, are humble in their expectations, thankful for their circle of support, generous with their time and resources, and really easygoing and funny.  If you know an exception, I hope it proves this ‘rule.’

Koreans in general have an active lifestyle, they walk a lot in the city, in the park, or go hiking.  Being thin comes naturally.  Being outdoors is a favorite sport, rain or shine.  And most of their daily activities happen in social groups, with family, friends, or co-workers.

A walk in the park Seoul South Korea
Healthy lifestyle – A walk in the park Seoul South Korea

And then, there is the Korean healthcare system, which encourages prevention; there is traditional and oriental medicine; there are well respected old-fashioned remedies; shamans; and a good dose of healthy sense of humor and humility.  And for the looks, there is a cosmetic industry that has no rival world-wide.

Cosmetic Store in Seoul
Cosmetic Store in Apgujeon Roadeo, Seoul

This industry will be the main focus of the Healthcare blog posts to come.  After experiencing many Korean products, I wish to highly recommend them, in the hope that many more women can benefit from them.

Healthcare and technology from South Korea
Sample of Products – Healthcare and technology from South Korea

Why do Korean men not fare as well as their ladies?  They deal with a high level of responsibility that comes with studies, finances, work, the military, plus forming and providing for a family and achieving social status.  All these are taken very seriously.  I hope that they can also find relief in their partners becoming more and more professionally active, and that a renewed optimism in the future of their society will allow them to equally enjoy the benefits of a shared healthy lifestyle.  It goes without saying, that, even if the ladies will outlive them, Korean men will still be living in the future longer that all other men on Planet Earth.

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“A long and sinuous Silk Road unites all our cultures, a road full of colors, hardships, and hopes. If given the chance to travel this road over and over again, overlapping images would melt into a warm human fabric, full of labor, sweat and dreams. This fabric inspires my work. Its resilience is my hope for a common road into a harmonious future.” Ellie Perla

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