Hey there, and welcome to the BigAppleSchool Podcast. My name is Sam
And today we are asking what’s the craic about healthy living? So we’re gonna think about what it is in our opinion, we’ll introduce you to Mike, he’ll give his opinion. And we’ll think about exercise and healthy eating, maybe which is better. We’ll talk a little bit about vegetarianism and such, the diets in the East and the West. Specifically Korea Vs. the US, the UK and Australia.
We’ll talk about any differences we’ve noticed over the years and that kind of stuff. Any advice we’ve heard and whether we think it’s good. And a little bit of extra stuff too.
You know, the Siberian wind, I’m experiencing it for the first time, and I have to say, the reputation is befitting.
It’s not even the winter yet. And who are you, sitting beside me here, where are you from?
Well, I arrived in Novosibirsk about 7 days ago. Before that I lived in Australia for 24 years. I am currently 36 years old, so if you do the math, I actually lived in Korea for 10 years, the first 10 years of my life. So I’m an immigrant to Australia. But, basically…
You sound Australian, although, I’m not an expert.
Well, you know, Australian accents can be very “deez days”. Well, basically, all my childhood memory is in Australia. All my friends are in Australia, that’s where I grew up, that’s where my first kiss was.
And it’s where I learnt to be an adult.
I think so, yeah. It didn’t taste very nice. I had a little bit of hair in my mouth afterwards.
I’m reliably informed that you have been in the US too?
Oh, yes, for two years, in Southern California.
And why are you here, in BigAppleSchool?
Well, in Australia my profession was, what is called a chiropractor. So, it is a type of joint doctor. So I advised patients on healthy living, right exercises. I feel like I can talk about today’s topic, which is health and fitness and nutrition.
But I am here in Novosibirsk because of, to learn the old USSR culture and exploring Siberian nature – the Taiga, Altay and Yakutia.
“Taiga”, I know, you’re playing with words, yes, yes.
I hear tiger, I know tiger. TigeR!
I have heard about these things, called Siberian tigers. Is that true?
They exist, I think, I have read there are about 500, there are not so many. And I think, people will correct me if I am wrong, please do. I think they are almost exclusively in the Far East, near, sort of Khabarovsk, Vladivostok area, they are called Altay tigers, no, hang on, Amur tigers, pardon me. And they are over the Amursky region.
That kind of make sense, because, you see, the last tiger in South Korea died over a hundred years ago. It was extinct. It was the last of its kind. And see, Khabarovsk and these areas are closer to Korea than, say, Novosibirsk. It’s kind of make sense, the geography, the natural habitat.
They don’t worry about borders, do they? Generally. Tigers.
No one is gonna check their passports.
Do you have a tiger passport?
Will I be lunch or will I have a passport check? What is healthy living in your opinion, we’ll get down to the topic. Not been eaten by a tiger, I guess, is a healthy living.
I suppose healthy living for me is related to freedom, freedom of movement, freedom of vitality…
Yeah, so I would say, a healthy individual has a functional body. And what that means is that their body parts, all that organs, muscles, joints are able to function properly. So that they have a freedom of movement. Freedom of movement often means - you can go where you want, you can do what you want, and you have the energy to do that. To me that’s healthy.
An unhealthy person, you know all their anatomy, organs, they don’t function properly. So if they were to climb a mountain, their lungs - don’t function. So they start going hundred meters up, which means you are not free.
You don’t see many tigers, if we speak about tigers puffing and panting, like…ouff, but you might see a human, you might even see me doing that, right. Specifically going up the high mountain.
That’s the city living vs the nature living, isn’t it? And humans have lived in cities for, you know, couple of thousands years or more and especially today’s society, today’s city, it’s made us physically weaker than our ancestors in the past.
Alright, wow, There is a lot to unpack here. So, I like your definition, and I don’t think that I want to add to it. Which is more important - exercise or eating healthy?
You know, this is a bit of a trick question and you are playing tricks on me here, because idea is that you want both, right.
By the way, your surname is Kang, yeah?
I just wanted to ask you. Can I call you King Kang?
King Kang was actually one of my nicknames back in Australia.
I’m not very original, I guess.
Not so much to be honest.
We’ll think of something else I guess.
Hopefully people in Novosibirsk will give me a nickname.
That’s what the American friends called me.
It’s from, what do you call it, «The Monsters Inc.».
Oh, there is, isn’t it? It’s the annoying little green one.
Sorry, I am interrupting my own questions. Exercise or healthy eating?
If I had to pick one, definitely, definitely, healthy eating. You know, you may get away from not exercising, but, surely, if you eat badly daily, you will end up with the health epidemic we have in the west. Which is: number one - diabetes is number one heart ischemic problems in human history, in fact.
So only one big marketing.
Well, if you ask me that question, yeah, of course we know that both are very important. I feel that you are the expert, so I am gonna agree with you. I mean, eating healthy is something that you could hopefully do everyday, even if you don’t necessarily have the time to exercise, at least you can eat healthy.
I think, what I am gonna say, try to fit exercise into your daily routine as part of your working life, or family life, or something. That’s what I would do. And I am sure, you agree with that, right?
Only 20 minutes of intense exercise is required per day. You know, daily, six, seven times a week. 20 minutes is all you need, ideally 40.
If you can’t reach the ideal, at least, do something. That’s what I would say.
I would think so. If you cannot lift weights, go for a little jog, if your ankles and knees hurt, go for a bike ride, if you cannot bike ride - do some sit-ups.
Find something. Use your own body weight, use anything.
Better than sitting at home.
Get moving. That’s the point. Get the heart rate up, get the sweat.
You are listening right now? You! yes, you! You know who you are! Get moving!
Mike Kang has said this - get moving.
Doctor Mike Kang - that’s my legal title.
Doctor Mike Kang said that. He is a doctor. You should listen to him. Are you vegetarian or vegan?
Yeah, in Australia I usually live vegan lifestyle. But I know that in Siberia it is impossible, so for the last 7 days I have been eating meat.
Actually I do know the answer to this, because my wife had the pleasure of helping you buy pork.
Ah, that’s right, that’s right. Also, ever since I’ve been here, I’ve been eating once a day, so, you know, I need to eat some protein. So, basically, as you need and what allows you to train your area.
So you can be a vegetarian, if you choose to be.
Yeah, well, that is right, until the winter comes and see about that, shall we?
You know, before coming here today, I had this wonderful dish that is called okroshka. And ordered it without the ham, that’s in it. And I have to say, you know, so many of the foods in Russia are very close to veganism. If you get rid of the sour-cream, if you get rid of the meat, this would be called, well, it would be called what we call in Sydney vegan food, in the vegan restaurant. So I am very happy with the diet here.
And as for me, and, well, I’ll try to answer my own question, I tried to be a vegetarian just to see, what it was like, and I accidentally, honestly, I accidentally forgot and bought some food with chicken. And afterwards I thought, I wouldn’t want to waste my money, I don’t want to waste food, cause I was always brought up to not waste food. So I ate it and I never tried to be a vegetarian again after that.
But I have the idea to try and to see what it was like. It’s as far as my vegetarianism has gone.
It depends on the area you live, I mean, and the circumstances they’re allowed. I mean, there is a lot of vegan activism in Sydney, throughout Australia in fact veganism has become just increasingly and exponentially popular year by year.
And you got the food that’s available.
That’s right. We are living in a rich supply-chained world, where trucks are constantly supplying the cities, with variety of foods and ingredients. So, you know, in Sydney the life it’s easy to do. But, let’s say you go to Yakutia, where winter is 8-9 months of the year, it’s very cold and vegetables are very difficult to grow, you can’t really impress your veganism on those people, can you?
Well, I can’t say for sure, I don’t know how much imported vegetables and fruit they have, so maybe they have limited fresh stuff.
Import means more expensive as well.
So I think that people who live in certain climate, they just got to except the fact that you have to eat meat. That’s it.
Yeah. That’s not a problem for me.
Not a problem for me either.
They have to accept that.
Vegans in Sydney listen to this: I have no problem with people eating meat. They will grill me for that.
They are coming for you now.
You’d be assassinated before the day is over. How are people’s diets in Australia, cause you are the expert here. I’ve been to Australia, but I don’t know much. I’ve been to Perth….
So you didn’t go to Sydney and Melbourne?
You missed out on 80% of Australia, my friend.
I felt like I’ve experienced a good bit of Australia. My mate was in Port Lincoln, we traveled across Nullarbor desert, I feel like we got a good… Yeah, of course, we talked about going far east, Sydney and so on.
I will disagree just a little bit.
Didn’t fit our budget that’s all.
Okay, I understand. I would still argue that you have to visit the East Coast of Australia, mainly Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, because over 80% of Australian population lives in the East Coast.
But I did, I saw enough people.
I was looking for the crocodiles and I didn’t see any.
You have to go to the special restaurants.
I was there in July or something, maybe, July or August, and I didn’t see one crocodile. Plenty of kangaroos though. So how’s people’s diet in Australia compared to the US? Sorry, Australian and the US compared to Korea. So we’re thinking West – East.
Well, I was in Sothern California last year, visiting my father’s new fiancée. Basically to thank her for taking my father in at that age. He is 70 years old now. And he is getting remarried. Had to be very grateful for her. So I went to my old neighborhood Costa Mesa in Orange County.
And I have to say that diets in America has changed a little bit, but not much than diets were to say 15 years ago. Whereas Australia has changed quite dramatically for the last 15 years. And South Korean diet has always been the same. But it has always been quite healthy.
Have you been to Korea recently?
Yeah, two weeks ago, no, no 10 days ago, before coming to Siberia.
I see. Do you speak any Korean, by the way?
Wow. Can you say “Hello”?
That sounds more than a hello. What did you say?
I talked about my name and hello. Those of you listening and the fans of K-Pop, I am sure you understood what I said.
Some of my students love BTS. They are young girls.
I found out today, there is a K-Pop fan group in Novosibirsk.
Yeah, I believe you, it is quite popular. So Korean food hasn’t changed, is it healthier in Korea compared to the west?
I would argue that it is one of the healthiest foods and diets you can probably eat in the modern world. Minus the salt. Because you have to understand that South Korea, we get winds from Siberia and our winters are very cold because of that.
So in the past when we didn’t have refrigeration and vegetables didn’t grow, Koreans just like Russians needed to understand how to salt food and preserve it. So a lot of our foods are quite salty. High in sodium. And I would say that’s probably the Achilles’ hill when it comes to the healthiness of a diet, because of high content of sodium, but minus that, very little fat, mostly all fresh vegetables and just really good organic ingredients. And the variety, because we have got many side dishes. We don’t only eat one mail course.
I have eaten kimchi, I liked it. Mainly because it was spicy.
There is a popular thought in nutrition: that the easiest and the cheapest way to increase the quality of nutrition is to vary the ingredients. So if you are having cereal in the morning, don’t just have cereal, put some fruit in there, have it with a little bit of a toast, mix it up.
Don’t just have a piece of meat and that’s your lunch, put some vegetables, make sure you get carbs, proteins, fiber and the fats – all the macronutrients, make sure you have all of them in one meal. So I would say that Korean meals are very very healthy.
Lots of variety, yeah. It’s just that’s its power. Such a variety in one seating of a meal.
Tell me more what kind of foods do they eat?
A lot of fish, a lot of sea food, because the Korean peninsula is surrounded by three seas and land is small, so it’s easy to transport. Russians, I find so far don’t seem to eat a lot of seafood. And that’s perhaps because the land is so big. It’s hard to transport it from the sea to the land.
We’re a little far from the sea.
That’s right. So, a lot of seafood, in the last 20-30 years Koreans started eating quite a lot of meat. Pork, beef, chicken. Obviously, the dog meat has now become nearly extinct.
Oh yeah. When I was a little kid, yeah.
It’s better than beef. Sorry to say.
It’s leaner and it’s more tender. But it’s a certain type of dogs, not every dogs.
Look, it depends on where you live, okay? If you live in a really little town that has nothing to eat…
Probably not in Novosibirsk….
Obviously. But I’m talking about the edge of the world where there’s nothing to eat, and there’s all you have to eat, and sorry, that’s what you gotta resolve to. I’m not going to bring in the first war mentality to people who don’t have a luxury and say ‘you have to eat in certain way’.
I think that’s very selfish and, unfortunately, a lot of vegans do that too in Western culture. That pisses people off.
What differences have you noticed…? Well, compared to Korea, you’re saying it’s quite healthy, lots of mixture, good meat, not too fatty et cetera. How’s that compared to Australia?
Well, Australia is a nation of immigrants. And thus it’s dietary habits have been largely shaped by immigration, especially in the last 50 years.
Before that, before World War II and, you know, before the post-war immigrants that came afterwards, I actually don’t know, and many Australians themselves don’t know what the people actually ate. Maybe pies. Maybe it reflected something of old English food. Maybe stews, pies.
Yes, because it was essentially a British colony back then. So culturally. But because of the flood of immigration from various parts of Europe and Asia and now Africa, we are… our diets have been shaped tremendously, so, let’s say, for example, when I was a little kid and I just arrived in Australia, most Australians didn’t know how to eat sushi. They didn’t know that.
They didn’t know. They didn’t know how to eat it. It was disgusting. But now it’s the thing to eat at lunch.
It’s become very popular, fashionable.
Oh yeah. Very fashionable. And Australians themselves, pretty much all the young ones know how to use chopsticks.
It’s quite strange. You know, I don’t think, unless I’ve been away from the UK for a while, but I don’t think it’s so popular there yet. But it’s really popular in Novosibirsk, sushi.
I’ve noticed that, but sushi here is not raw, it’s cooked. That’s the fundamental difference. Sorry guys, what you’re eating is actually not sushi.
I cannot forgive, cause like I said, I cannot impress my dietary habits from a different part of the world onto here. It’s necessity that I think the Russian government makes a mandatory for healthy reasons. For your safety.
Just in case, yeah. But they enjoy, the good people here enjoy. I eat occasionally too, I mean, the cooked sushi.
So coming back to your question. I guess Australian diet, you know, I would say from the old English diet in the 70s, they adopted Italian style diet, so a lot of pasta, a lot of, you know, those kind of gnocchis, and pesto and those kind of things. So they became a standard dinner table.
Back in the 70s, until the 90s and then we had a flooding of Asian immigration since the 90s. And that certainly has changed things, so you’ll see things like curry. I think that British people eat a lot of curry too.
So you’ll see at the dinner table curry, you’ll see something, you know, sometime wonton fried rice, you know what I’m saying? Sushi, you know, you will see such a big variety now. So Australian diet really has become just full of variety.
And that’s a good thing! It’s not a bad thing. But what’s happening in last, I’d say, 5 to 10 years, is the rise of veganism. And vegetarianism, because…
No no no, it’s because it’s natural, because Australia has become one of the biggest obese nations in the world. So it’s pretty much population to population number one in the world with America in terms of diabetes and heart disease.
So, the new young generation are trying to eat very healthy. As so they are turning towards vegetarianism and veganism for that.
Yeah, so it’s maybe giving them a longer life. Maybe, hopefully, healthier. I mean, at least as a vegan, a person is thinking carefully about what they’re eating. So it kinda forces you to think more carefully, whereas someone like myself who’s not vegan or even a vegetarian, eats pretty much what he wants. And maybe that’s not forcing… It’s not forcing me to think maybe enough, which can be bad.
I’m pretty sure. Forcing me to think I guess. What about other criticals? So we talked about healthy eating, we’ve talked about exercise a little bit. What else is critical to being healthy? Being a whole healthy, fully functioning human being?
Well, let’s talk anatomy. Let’s not talk about spirituality or anything like that. Nothing esoteric.
Let’s talk about the practical side of things. So, the three fundamental things that humans need are oxygen, so clean air. Water, and good nutrition. So how long do you think it takes, and there’s a priority to these things, okay?
So this is the pyramid order to these things, okay? So I’m gonna ask you a question – how many… How much time…?
The doctor’s gonna ask me a question.
I’m gonna ask you a question, I’m gonna challenge you on it. How long can a human being go without eating food?
Okay. I think I have an idea. Without… So it depends on water or no water. So you can… As I understand you can survive…
You’ve got the water, you just don’t have the food.
So if I have water and I don’t have food, I think I could potentially survive a month.
Five to six weeks, depending on how much fat you have.
More or right. I think I would make it to the six weeks.
Okay, six weeks. There have been people who lasted longer.
Okay. Don’t try that please! Don’t try that!
Yeah, don’t try that! Don’t this at home kids!
Yes. How long do you think you can go without water?
Right. So I think it’s like three days.
Yeah. Three-five days. Three to five days usually.
I will not… Don’t try that!
Again, people have gone longer without water. Okay. There are exceptions, we’re talking about a medium, average. So three to five days. How long can you go without air?
You need to work on your fitness. So about three minutes.
So, which do you think is the most important out of those three?
Well, they’re all very important.
I can’t survive without either, any of them.
So, I would argue, perhaps. Clean air is the most important. So being able to breather clean air.
Based on the amount of time, yeah.
That’s probably… to be healthy and having plenty of water in your food or just drinking it is probably second. And having good nutrition is probably third.
Because…. I mean, the timing shows you. Without good oxygen – three minutes. So, yeah, I think that’s what essential to a health.
Okay, so I will try my best to breathe.
We’re having people who didn’t exercise their entire lives and they have perfectly healthy lives. So, again…
But you wouldn’t recommend that?
Obviously, I mean. Yeah, I would not recommend no exercise at all.
So how do you try to stay healthy?
How do I try to stay healthy? Well….
Yeah, I think the most important thing in achieving anything is having a routine. So if you do…
We are the creatures of habits.
Exactly. If you have good routine and you do it every day, you’re gonna have good results with anything in life.
If you have bad routine, and you do it every day, you’re gonna have some trouble in your life.
And this is why diet is important. If you eat KFC 2-3 times a day, and you do it every day, for the rest of your life, I mean 2-3 times a day…
So I shouldn’t be doing that?
You should not, of course. You can imagine how that’s gonna create bad results.
You’ll turn into a chicken.
You are what you eat. So I make sure my nutrition is very good. And I eat maybe once a day, twice a day, I’m eating only once a day, but I make sure my meal is very healthy. And by healthy I mean it’s got the four macronutrients – the protein, the carbs, the fiber, and the fats.
All four. And plenty of them.
So what you’re saying is – don’t take away fat.
Don’t. Fat is not a dirty word people! It’s not, okay?
Unless you’re talking about my belly.
It’s just… yeah. It’s just a substance, so. I mean, it’s the substance that your body needs.
That’s right. And your body needs it, so don’t be trying to stay away from fat, because, you know, we associate it, the word fat in English, with obesity. And that, I think, has given it a very bad name. And I think that’s wrong. Scientifically that’s wrong. So, make sure the nutrition’s good, exercise daily. Like I said, 20-30-40 minutes a day. Just once.
What do you… What exercise do you enjoy doing?
I don’t tend to exercise for strength or hypertrophy of the muscles, like a bodybuilder. I tend to exercise for longevity. So I tend an endurance, so some cardio, and obviously a little bit of resistance, but with light weights. And…
So like a walk or a run? And then lifting weights?
I just do it with an exercise bend at home. For now. But in Australia I did to it at the gym. I went to the gym.
But the important thing is – you do it every day, and it has to be a little bit intensive. In other words, you have to sweat, your heart rate has to go up.
And you have to feel some soreness in the muscles the next day. Those are the kinda three rules that I have. But everybody’s different, and everybody’s goals are different, so you will have to find one for yourself then. Once you find the right routine that allows you to feel healthy and energetic, stick to that.
Fair enough. What is the most common health advice in your country or countries if you like? I’ve written here, maybe drink 2 liters of water – is often given by doctors. Five portions of fruit a day, I mean, what kind of advice do you often hear? Is it good? Is it not good?
I would say that the most, the biggest most often given advice in Australia in its current state of health is nutrition and exercise.
Get good nutrition, get exercise…
Yeah. What we’re talking about, sort of repetitive, but this is what we’re told…
Doctors say that. Regularly, yeah?
Well, that’s the most common thing, because that’s what most people suffer with now. Especially the people who are older.
And the doctors are actually seeing the problem and saying ‘hang on guys, catch and… yourself, you need to do this’.
Well doctors are saying it because we realize, basically, intervention doesn’t help with obesity. You understand? Only prevention does. There’s no magic injection you can take that’s gonna help you with your obesity.
There are surgeries, guess you can take that sort of thing. And liposuction, but that’s not a cure. That’s, you know, and gastral taping only has, you know, a half life of, say, two years. As I understand it. So, yeah, so it’s not…
You need to work on yourself.
You need to work. And prevention… The advice always is see a nutritionist, get some professional help, and exercise. Maybe get a trainer. That sort of thing. You don’t have to do that, but because we live in an information-rich world, so information is always one YouTube away.
But be aware that, you know, YouTube is an opinion, it’s not scientific facts often. So, you should give some judgement on that.
You can’t just do whatever some guy or girl tell us to.
Everybody’s body’s different. And everybody’s body will react differently to different nutrition and different exercise. That’s what I’m saying – you need to find what is right for you, and that takes time. Don’t expect to find it within a week, a month. It does take a couple of years to find your own routine.
And I think… I mean, we all enjoy different sport as well. Some people really hate… I’m not a lover of running, but I enjoy swimming. I love swimming, I hate running. I mean, I don’t think that’s wrong, that’s just I have to swim instead. I’m not doing running, do you know what I mean?
Let me elaborate on that, just a little bit. Automatically in the western culture, when we think of exercise, people automatically, people who are inexperienced almost immediately think of running. Let’s go for a jog, or walking. That’s the best, right?
I don’t agree with that. And I actually think that swimming is actually better in so many ways. Jogging puts an incredible amount of stress on your knees and ankles.
And to challenge yourself further, at some point when you jog, let’s say, a hundred meters a day or 200 meters a day, sooner or later you’re gonna get better. You’re gonna get fitter. Right? So you’re gonna need more challenge. Right? So the only way to improve in jogging is to jog more.
Okay. Cool. So guys, so that was the craic about healthy living. You got to hear the advice from a doctor, doctor Mike Kang. And we gave you our opinions about healthy living and what it is. We talked about differences in Korea versus Australia and even the US a little bit.
Right? So the 200 meters become 400 meters, 400 meters become 800 meters. Well, then you’re putting more shock through your knees and joints, right? And your ankles. So what you’re doing is introducing more micro shocks, so that the … So jogging is not often the best exercise. It is a good one to start off with, its advantage is that you can start and you will do it.
You don’t have to have special equipment or anything.
Just do it. So it is a good starting exercise, but understand that if you’re going for longevity, it may not be the best exercise.
We learned a little bit about what lifestyle we should have or what we should be doing in our daily lives. What we should be eating, what kind of variety we need. And, well, I think you should be very well informed about how to live a healthy life. Good luck! So that was the craic about healthy living.