Local leader | Nutrition: Be like Okinawans and eat a litle less

Okinawa, Japan, is home to some of the world’s longest-lived people, leading lives rich in energy, health and vitality. 

While there are many reasons as to why this is so – be it their wholefoods plant based diet, close-knit communities or active lifestyle – Okinawans are also renowned for reciting an ancient Confucian adage “Hara Hachi Bu” before meals.

Jenelle Croatto

Jenelle Croatto

This phrase is roughly translated into eating until you are 80 percent full, and not to the point of feeling like you’re about to burst!

A simple, yet powerful cultural mindset we ought to all adopt in our lives.  

In saying this, I understand perfectly well that such a practice may not come naturally, particularly as we’ve likely been raised to finish everything on our plate. 

As such, my advice is to ensure you don’t begin your meals absolutely starving! 

When we reach this point, our brain cannot tell the difference between you simply being late to eat a meal or that the world has just broken out in famine!

Dramatic sounding, but it’s how we’re programmed. 

After all, the human race wouldn’t have made it very far had we not been motivated to find food.  

Once you’re on top of your hunger levels (aim for three evenly spaced meals and snacks if hungry), try serving a little less than you normally would.

Eat slowly and mindfully, taking the time to savour each bite and you may just discover you are happily full and content with less.

  • Jenelle Croatto is an accredited practicing dietitian.

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