In Japan, people are taught from a really young age what is good for their bodies. It’s part of their culture to eat healthy foods which help maintain a trim figure and improve their looks.
Unlike the Western sweep-it-under-the-carpet approach to weight gain, Japanese women openly scrutinize each other’s figures and won’t hesitate to mention if someone has added a few pounds. In fact, it has been legislated for, with the maximum waist size for a woman over 40 years old set at 90 centimeters.
1. Indulge and slim
Japanese food is healthy, delicious, good for you and helps you lose weight. For women in Japan, how, what and when they eat is seated in tradition, in the treasured ingredients of rice, miso, wasabi, fish, tea and seaweed that are the traditional harvests of their island nation. All of these have incredible slimming and beauty-boosting benefits.
Japanese lifestyle of healthy eating is full of all the sensuous experiences you would normally feel deprived of on a western ‘diet’. They eat first with their eyes: the food looks beautiful. Next up come touch, feel and texture, and finally the exquisite taste to savor.
By introducing just one Japanese meal a day into your diet, you can lose a healthy amount of weight each week or just maintain your ideal weight. So, if you want to indulge your way to a healthier, trimmer, more glowing you, read on…
2. Portion control
Because of the way in which it is presented, with three to four dishes, a Japanese meal gives the impression of being bigger than it is. At least one of the dishes will be a low-calorie, filling soup. A typical set of sushi contains about 300 calories. An average Western plate of food can be as much as 500 calories more than this. Also, Japanese people seldom eat desserts at home.
Slowing the rate at which you eat allows your brain to notice when you feel full. Japanese people find it easier to notice when they are full because they use chopsticks, which is a more time-consuming way to eat. Set aside at least 20 minutes to eat each meal, as it takes your stomach about that time to register fullness.
4. Swerve dairy and meat
Japanese people do eat some meat, but not much of it compared to the western diet. Also, dairy wasn’t eaten in a traditional Japanese diet, and still isn’t a big part of it. These two foodstuffs are high in fat and responsible for much of the western daily calorie intake.
5. Big breakfasts and early, light suppers
Japanese often eat a selection of dishes in the morning in Japan: miso soup, rice, omelet and grilled salmon. Japanese people also tend not to snack after 4 pm and eat an early supper that focuses on fish and vegetables.
6. Green tea
Green tea is virtually calorie free. In fact, you could actually burn about 80 calories for every five cups of green tea you drink, due to the thermic effect on the body of processing the drink. Green tea is laden with antioxidants that help lower cholesterol and has antibacterial properties which sweeten the breath.
7. Acid test
Sushi translates as ‘vinegared rice’, Vinegar and other acetic acid-based pickles, ubiquitous in Japanese food, have a distinct effect on how we digest fat when eaten as part of a meal. Japanese researchers recently found that acetic acid may aid in fat burning. Another study found that vinegar taken after a high-GI food, such as white bread, not only reduced peaks in blood glucose but also increased the feeling of fullness. In fact, when vinegar was introduced into a test diet, 10 percent less fat was found to be produced by the body.
8. Collagen soup
A friend of mine first made me collagen soup in my teens and I have been hooked ever since. Even the morning after drinking it, my skin looks firmer and plumper. And it is not my imagination: The Japanese Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that drinks containing 10g of collagen produced a 50 percent observable effectiveness against wrinkles and skin moisture content within one week. The soup I prefer is made with fish, either salmon or grouper, and I eat it about twice a week. I often make a large batch and freeze it in cubes to use later.