World Diet – Japanese Style

27 June, 2017

Every month we journey around the world exploring different diets. This journey is revealing some common threads. It feels as we progress on this journey we are repeating a similar message.

What are these common threads?

  • Little or no dairy
  • Red meat in small portions
  • Lots of varieties of vegetables especially in antioxidant colours such as yellow, orange and green
  • Fruit
  • Very little or no sugar

If we consider Japan we think of a nation of healthy people. Japanese women are often envied for their trim figures they just don’t seem to put on weight even in old age. What is even more interesting is that if they adopt a western diet they do put on weight.

Japanese women also have far less problems with the menopause which is attributed to the soy content of their diet. Soy contains estrogenic compounds that are considered helpful in easing hot flushes. Soy or edamame beans have little or no saturated fat and are a reasonable source of protein.

Soy is a deeply challenging subject. In the Western world Soy gets a very confused press. We will just say that Soy consumed in Japan and other Asian countries is fermented and takes the form of miso, tempeh or natto. You know from our previous blog that we love fermented foods

Attitude is a key part to the Japanese diet. They don’t pursue the “all you can eat” fest. Their attitude is measured and controlled; eat until you are 80% full. Eat mindfully, take your time to smell your food, observe the colours and be aware of the textures. Make your plate a visual feast.  In short, food should be a pleasurable experience as well as fuel.

Quality and quantity are important too. Take a mindful approach wouldn’t you rather enjoy a truly excellent ingredient even in a small portion rather than loads of junk? We know what your body would prefer!

There is a Japanese island called Okinawa; on this island life spans reach 100 years 5 times more often than in the rest of Japan. Their diet is a further extension of the Japanese diet.

Okinawa Diet vs Japanese Diet

  • Includes far more sweet potato
  • Less fish and meat
  • Less grain
  • Less sugar

At the risk of repeating the message again note the themes

  • Less sugar
  • Less meat
  • Less grain
  • More vegetables
  • Fruit - two portions a day
  • Being mindful about what and how much you eat
  • Being mindful about the source of your food

It feels as if the travels around the world are reinforcing this message time and time again. If you want to live a healthy life these are the principles to incorporate into your world.

We hope you are enjoying these travels and we look forward to sharing more world diets with you in the coming months





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