Serbia's Secret To Good Health
Eastern Europe isn’t known as a mecca for healthy living. Those who haven’t visited Eastern Europe might still imagine that it’s filled with smoking teenagers and obese babushkas. Although that still exists, Eastern Europeans have some healthy practices that we could all learn from.
For example, when I asked Larry Leigh, an American Law School professor who taught in Belgrade, what Americans can learn from Serbians, he wrote, “The Serbs are quite a physically attractive people. If you walk the streets of Belgrade, you will find a relatively fit and trim urban population. Frankly, they just look better at all ages on the average than Americans when it comes to fitness and general health.”
It’s true. Stroll down Belgrade’s main pedestrian street (Knez Mihailova) and you’ll see that it’s filled with big strong men and beautiful women whose legs never seem to end. Serbs are all ages seem remarkably fit and healthy.
Two Serbian habits help keep them trim and healthy. First, they eat food in season. They don’t buy tomatoes and summer fruit in the winter. Although that’s changing, they’re still old school and favor fresh fruits and vegetables. Thus, they adjust their cuisine according to the season. Not only does this save money (because imported produce is generally pricey), it also lowers your carbon footprint (since imported food is often shipped from far away).
Second, Serbians are physically active no matter what their profession. They are more athletic and thin than the average American because they walk much more and eat less. Sports are glorified in Serbia (especially among men), which results in widespread athleticism.
Slovaks are also outdoor-freaks who take advantage of their spectacular mountains and parks. Follow their example and ist’na prechadsku (go for a walk). Go jog, raft, ski, snowshoe, hike, and bike in your surroundings, even if they’re not as pretty as Slovakia’s.
Of course, Serbians (and Slovaks) aren’t healthy saints. They smoke too much, eat too much much greasy ćevapčići (kebab), and drink too much rakija (brandy). Their average life-expectancy is 75 years, which is good, but not in the top third on the planet. Nevertheless, we could all learn to copy their habits of eating more fresh, local produce and moving our butts.
Francis Tapon has traveled to 80 countries and spent the last three years traveling to 25 Eastern European countries. He is author of the new book, The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us. This article is an adapted excerpt from the chapter on Serbia (and Slovakia).
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Eight-dimensional octonions may hold the clues to solve fundamental mysteries.
- Physicists discover complex numbers called octonions that work in 8 dimensions.
- The numbers have been found linked to fundamental forces of reality.
- Understanding octonions can lead to a new model of physics.
Upload your mind? Here's a reality check on the Singularity.
- Though computer engineers claim to know what human consciousness is, many neuroscientists say that we're nowhere close to understanding what it is, or its source.
- Scientists are currently trying to upload human minds to silicon chips, or re-create consciousness with algorithms, but this may be hubristic because we still know so little about what it means to be human.
- Is transhumanism a journey forward or an escape from reality?
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.