In today`s modern world many of us often eat more chemicals then real, whole, live foods. While Japan currently holds the healthiest, longest living people on the planet, we are quickly becoming a nation of fast food eaters along with much of the rest of the world.
Japan`s long history of healthy eating however, holds an important key for those who want to live life with more energy and less illness.
To eat healthy is a major component to being healthy. Each time you make a decision about what to put in your body you are choosing what your future holds.
One choice and you`re the old man or woman who`s health is too poor to walk, so you ride in the electric power chair at your local Wal-Mart to go down the isle to the Pharmacy to pick up a dozen medications. Don`t worry though, if you get too sick you can always go into a state run nursing home and rot with neglect and a body full of unattended bed sores.
The second choice you`re the 70 year old everyone is always asking how you do it all at your age. You politely reply, "right living I suppose".
Does this disturb you? If it frightens you a bit you need only consider that you can start making better choices today. Whether you are 17 or 70 the benefits of eating healthy can help you if you learn to follow them consistently.
For those who think they just can`t change, you need to have a heart to heart with my husband, Mark. Few people are as finicky as he was when we married. You can ask any of his family and they will tell you he has been like that since he was born.
Despite this, my husband did learn to eat healthy and is now enjoying the benefits and you can too.
But it is more then just the food. Japanese believe the setting should be beautiful and relaxing. You need the necessary time to eat slowly, giving yourself time to chew your food well as well as enjoy it`s taste and textures.
Gathering for a meal with family or friends is a tradition enjoyed by many cultures including Japan. This is a time of thankfulness and communion.
Healthy Eating Tips #2: Harahachibunme means in Japanese to eat until 80% full. The body doesn`t automatically understand you have eaten. Especially if you eat in a hurried way as is common these days.
It takes from 20 minutes to an hour for the body to understand it has eaten and produce chemicals that allow us to have a satisfied feeling.
This is why many of us eat and later feel bloated and stuffed. Learning to eat until 80% full helps us both to learn gratitude for our meal along with giving the body the time to register we have eaten. After 30 minutes to an hour we will feel satisfied which is all that is necessary.
Healthy Eating Tips #3: Eat 4 or 5 times a day instead of one or two or three times. Eating smaller amounts more often helps regulate sugar and insulin levels. It is easier for the body to digest and assimilate the nutrition and keeps us from becoming overly hungry which can lead to binging and drive us to eating the less healthy fast, convenient foods.
Healthy Eating Tips #4: Make whole grains, vegetables and soups your staple foods. The average American or British person consumes only 8 - 12 grams of the recommended 40 grams of daily fiber. The only way you will ever consume a healthy level of fiber is by making most of the foods you eat whole grains and vegetables.
Soups like miso can supply needed enzymes and help fill you up so you don`t over eat. Fruit and Fish should be your secondary staples and all other foods should be consumed only a few times each week in small amounts.
Healthy Eating Tips #5: Consume more of your protein from vegetable based sources allowing for smaller needs from meats. Foods like beans, nuts and tofu are excellent sources of plant based proteins and should be used for at least half of your total protein needs.
Healthy Eating Tips #6: Eat mostly whole grains and a small amount of protein for breakfast. A little protein like a handful of nuts or some tofu are good choices and help the brain to have focus. The fiber gets you off to a good start and the complex carbohydrates will provide energy.
Have some fruit for a mid morning snake. For lunch consume your
days supply of protein. 3 ounces of lean meat or plant based protein
from tofu, beans and other sources are all you need. Keep your intake
of carbohydrates to a minimum at lunch as this is what will cause the
At mid afternoon have another serving of fruit and if you are feeling a little tired eat a small handful of nuts or seeds or an ounce or two of tofu. The protein in these will give you focus.
For dinner you should eat whole grains, vegetables and soups. The soup will keep you from over eating and the carbohydrates will help you sleep. Don`t eat 3 - 4 hours before bedtime.
Healthy Eating Tips #7: Remember to be grateful for your food. In Japan we begin a meal by saying Itadakimasu which is like a short prayer and means "thank you for this meal". We end each meal with Gochisosamadeshita which again is giving thanks both to God and the cook or host.
Healthy Eating Tips #8: One of the most important things you can do is chew your food. Most of us don`t chew nearly as much as we should. New studies have now found that human saliva has anti-aging components. In addition to this it is our first point of digestion.
When you fail to properly chew your food you greatly reduce the amount of nutrition your body will receive. Failing to chew your food leads to overeating because you consume food faster then your body can register and understand it has had enough.
It has also been discovered that the longer you chew highly processed foods the more bland they taste because the sugary taste comes at the beginning, but complex carbohydrates often taste bland in the beginning, but with longer chewing, (which starts the digestion process), releases their natural sugars and gives a satisfying sweet taste. Try it and see for yourself.
Healthy Eating Tips #9: Drink a tall glass of water with two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar 10 or 15 minutes before each main meal. The water will partly fill up your stomach allowing you to fill full sooner. The apple cider vinegar will provide important enzymes and other components that aid digestion.
Healthy Eating Tips #10: Understand that the basic principle of traditional Japanese eating is that healthy living and healthy food are the most common home remedies and eating right is natural, preventative medicine.
Japanese believe strongly that there is a direct connection between a healthy body and a healthy mind and spirit. They each feed or starve each other. When eating do it with conscious focus using the mind to fully enjoy colors, taste, texture and allow your spirit to enjoy in gratitude for this life giving meal.
Kenzen na tamashii wa kenzen na karada ni yadoru, "a healthy spirit resides in a healthy body".
A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Make the home remedies and eating tips on this site your first step to a healthy lifestyle.