As Americans, we are blessed with wealth, comforts and conveniences that third world countries only dream of. Yet we are also afflicted with uniquely first-world health problems, including obesity, high blood pressure, stress-related illnesses, and type-2 diabetes. In many cases, the modern conveniences that we enjoy are the very things that make us sick.
Fortunately, in this country we can have our cake and eat it too, weaving some third-world lifestyle choices into our busy, first-world life. (Though it is safe to say that we should all have — and eat — less cake.) Here are five steps you can take bring some sensible third world habits into your daily life, along with a healthy dose of gratitude.
1. Walk more. Walk everywhere you can! If the grocery store is near your house, do your shopping on foot. You’ll have to go more frequently, because you won’t be able to haul home quite as much. That means more walking! When you must drive, park at the far end of the parking lot. Yes, it takes longer, so build that extra time into your schedule. Feel like this is too much to take on? Here’s some perspective: last fall in Madagascar, a group of American volunteers ran a remote medical clinic.
People in need of medical attention walked for up to two days to attend this clinic. They walked because they had no other choice. When I have packed my schedule so full that there’s no time to walk, I try to be thankful that I have the option to hop in the car and zip through my errands.