Adopting a Japanese Diet to Improve Health and Increase Longevity

As I mentioned earlier this month in Fine-Tuning The Low-Fat, Modified Japanese Diet, I shared my commitment to adopting a Japanese Diet to help me improve my health and in the long run, increase longevity.

I adopted this diet for a couple of important reasons, so it wasn’t something I jumped into as a fad, or had begun half-heartedly.

1. Earlier this month I had my annual physical and 1) my triglycerides were quite high, and 2) my blood pressure was high as well.

2. I also wanted to lose weight and get much leaner.

3. I was also interested in increasing energy levels for musical performance and to improve concentration.

4. I wanted to adopt a semi-vegetarian diet that included lots of seafood.

5. And lastly, I wanted to adapt to a diet that was more flexitarian, and allowed me to be able to eat something at most social gatherings and not feel isolated or alienated.

The Principles of a Japanese Diet

Let’s clarify the scenario for a moment. The following are principles of eating that make up what would be considered a Japanese (or Japanese-style) diet.

  • Japanese people in general eat a wide and varied diet in the course of a week, in upwards of 100+ different kinds of foods, as opposed to a much more limited American or European diet.
  • Seafood is dominant in a Japanese diet, and the Japanese tend to eat a wide variety of different types of seafood.
  • A Japanese diet includes lots of sea vegetables like kelp, seaweed, etc, as well as soy foods in the form of tofu, edamame and miso soup.
  • Smaller portions are emphasized in a Japanese Diet. And the Japanese typically place their food into small dishes.
  • A Japanese diet contains several broth-based soups and noodle dishes.
  • The Japanese people tend to drink lots of green tea, which contains an abundance of antioxidants.
  • There is an emphasis on the visual appeal of foods. Food is consumed more mindfully and slowly, savoring smaller portions of food.
  • The Japanese diet does emphasize whole foods and less processed foods. It’s abundant in fresh fruits and vegetables. And vegetables are eaten raw, boiled, pickled, steamed and fried.

Personal Modifications

The following are modifications to the Japanese Diet that I am trying to follow, in order to achieve my specific goals.

Avoiding rice and grains, or use sparingly.

The Japanese people eat lots of rice, and it is their staple grain. I’m avoiding rice definitely as a standalone entree in a meal. And, permitting its use on occasion for sushi. Also, I am permitting grain-based wrappers used for dumplings and egg rolls.

Not just green tea.

The Japanese people drink copious amounts of green tea throughout the day. In addition to drinking green tea, I am also including lots of herbal teas like Chamomile and Peppermint, and also drinking Decaf versions of Green Tea.

Smaller portions, spread out over six meals a day.

It’s true that the Japanese tend to eat smaller portions and a wide variety of foods at any given meal. I’m extending this concept to smaller portions spread out over 6 meals.

Fruits and vegetables.

No problem here, other than the fact that I’m emphasizing raw fruits and vegetables as much as possible for the enzyme benefits. I’m trying not to boil vegetables, and opting to steam most of my vegetables. While fruits are to be eaten raw, and to buy organic.

Sources

The Japanese Diet Has Been Shown To Prevent Disease

WebMD: Diets of the World – The Japanese Diet

YouTube: Diet of Japan (video)

Hakubaku.com: The Japanese Diet

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Carlos Rull

Carlos Rull is a musician living in the San Diego area. His interests include Yoga, Eastern Philosophy, Zen Buddhism, and Gardening. He plays drums, piano, and composes New Age & Ambient music, and his albums are available on iTunes and Amazon.com.

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