A Healthy Lifestyle: The Japanese Way
The Japanese are renowned for their slim figures, clear skin and sense of calm. How exactly does one achieve this trio of perfection?
Japanese people have the lowest obesity rate of 3% in the industrialised world
Since the rise of fast food and sugary drinks the western diet has really taken a tumble.
We don’t stop and think about what we put in our body, yet we wonder why our waistlines are forever expanding, our skin constantly breaking out and stress levels higher than ever.
Well stop, and think.
If you could change your attitude and adopt a different lifestyle that would transform you into a slim, stress free beauty then you’d probably ask what’s the catch, am I right?
Our solution to weight loss is a grueling, depriving diet plan and hours at the gym
Our solution to clear skin is spending a fortune on chemically laden cosmetics.
Our solution to busting stress is either moaning about needing a holiday or medication.
I don’t mean to be harsh here (trust me i’m guilty too) but it’s really quite clear that something needs to change. Especially when we have the Japanese way of life as a living example to compare to.
So let’s jump straight to it, i’m going to share with you the secrets of a healthy lifestyle – the Japanese way. Hopefully we can all take a few pages out of their book and apply it to our own.
Secrets of the Japanese Diet
The benefit of eating soup before meals
Eating soup before a main meal is a common occurrence in Japanese cuisine. Miso soup is a favourite, it usually contains dried sardines, tuna, kale and shitake mushroom (very low calorie).
Eating a light soup before a meal makes you less likely to overindulge in the main course, resulting in less food consumption.
Takeaway tip: Fill up on soup to stop you wafting down that main meal
Seafood & rice galore
Omega 3 rich seafood makes up a large percentage of the Japanese diet (hello sushi).
They tend to shy away from dairy and breads which is thought to contribute to the average Japanese life expectancy of 86.4 years (compared to 82.7 in the UK).
Research conducted by the Office for National Statistics reveals that following this type of diet (raw fish & rice) may help you live longer.
Takeaway tip: Up your seafood game to 3 portions a week and swap bread and pasta for rice.
Smaller portion sizes
Portion control is a significant part of the Japanese diet. Rather than piling food on a plate the Japanese take pride in arranging meals in an appealing way.
They use several bowls and plates to lay their food out on. When food is displayed/presented more thoughtfully people are more likely to appreciate and enjoy what they eat.
Chopsticks are the go-to cutlery and a fantastic way of slowing down the pace at which you eat. Eating slower, savouring every bits gives the stomach more time to register when it’s full (no overeating bloat!).
Takeaway tip: Buy smaller plates & bowls, lay food out separately and start eating with chopsticks.
Japanese Cooking Methods
Rather than frying foods in calorific oil and fats the Japanese opt for a much lighter way of cooking. They either eat fresh, raw foods straight from the harvest or cook them by boiling or steaming.
This method in itself saves you hundreds of hidden calories and by steaming veggies you keep a higher percentage of nutrients from them.
Takeaway tip: Swap the oil for water!
Sweets are unpopular
(Apologies in advance for the delicious cookie picture!)
Desserts and sugar laden fizzy drinks (albeit they do exist in Japan) aren’t a part of the traditional Japanese diet. They just aren’t addicted to sugar like us westerners are!
Now i’m not saying we should wave goodbye to dessert but to opt for healthier versions like chocolate drizzled strawberries or protein balls for example. Obviously treat yourself now and again but in moderation.
Takeaway tip: Tame your sweet tooth and opt for healthier versions where possible.
Making Time For tea
The Japanese always make time for tea, (us brits do but it’s usually sugar and milk laden!) herbal teas and matcha, of course.
Making time to enjoy a cup of tea and take a time-out is important for our wellbeing as much as it is for our insides. Matcha tea is a go-to drink in Japan and the benefits of matcha speak for themselves.
Takeaway tip: Swap fizzy calorie laden drinks for water, herbal or matcha tea instead.
Live Life The Japanese Way
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is a journey and not something that happens overnight. Yes, there will be hurdles and weak points but the feeling you’ll witness when you start making healthy choices will be all the willpower you need.
By taking a leaf from the Japanese lifestyle expect to see a trimmer waistline, clearer skin and the ability to manage your stress levels so much better.
What are you waiting for? I’m on my way to buy some chopsticks!