Many in the West may know the 80/20 Rule, also known as the Pareto Principle.  It states that “80 percent of the results are achieved by 20 percent of  the group or 20 percent of your effort will generate 80 percent of your results.”  According to the Wikipedia ” Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, observed in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population; he developed the principle by observing that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.”  This rule is often used in business management and economics.  But did you know in Asia we also have an 80/20 rule? As a young adult, I had never heard of the Pareto principle.  But in Asia we use the 80/20 ratio not for economics but for our health.  In Asia, they believe that perfection belongs to God, therefore, as 100% equals perfection, 80% is what works best for man.  The following are what I call the Three Asian 80/20 rules for health that we can apply in not only this holiday season but in our daily life:

1.  When eating, stop when you are 80% full.  When we are having a fabulous meal or are consuming a favorite dish, we often don’t know when to stop!  Eating until you are completely full strains your organs and is not good for digestion.  At 80%, you are satisfied and comfortably full, yet still have the energy to work hard, as overeating can also cause drowsiness.  This rule was highly encouraged in our household!

2.  In winter, it’s best to dress at 80% warmth.  They say it’s good not to be totally warm….that’s something that’s hard for me as I rather be hot than cold….but this is better for your health.

3.  When consuming alcohol, stop drinking at 80%, meaning stop before you’re drunk.  All things in moderation – again, this is better for your organs and general health for obvious reasons.  Yet at 80% you’re still are able to enjoy a little fun and relaxation.

 The holiday season has just begun and these 3 simple tips are easy to remember and implement:  just remember to stop at 80%! 

2 thoughts on “Three Asian 80/20 Rules for Health”

  1. That’s interesting that you were explicitly taught to stop eating at 80% full. I have heard of that (as a cultural trait) but thought it would be a habit you would get by watching others in the household, seeing that they were not overeating, and copying them. I didn’t realize children were told about this habit as a principle and encouraged to follow it.

  2. @Mary – In general, portions in Asia are much smaller and since meat is expensive, we tend to eat a lot of vegetables. But, yes, we are taught not to ‘overeat’.

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