Sunday, April 27, 2008

Reducing calories leads to longer life

From "Food Facts Asia" Entry 32

This is a fascinating article about people in Okinawa Japan living longer, healthier lives by actually reducing their calorie intake.

The article attributes part of their longevity to "their low saturated fat diet which is high in seafood, seaweed, fruit and vegetables."

However, the major point we're getting at here is this, they practice "...a cultural tradition called "hara hachi bu" meaning "eat until you are only 80% full", which is widely practiced in Okinawa. The Okinawans consume 20% fewer calories than the average Japanese diet which in turn is lower than that consumed in most other countries. In effect this means they consume about 500 cals less than the typical 2,000 plus calorie-diet consumed daily by an adult woman in a Western country."

Imagine cooking and eating 80% of the portion size you normally would at each meal, or cooking up 100% of the portions, but leaving 20% or more for left overs. When dining out, try to box-up 20-50% of your plate for lunch or dinner the following day. This will no doubt save money in the long run, but it's already proven that it will lengthen our lives by a decade or two!

Most difficult part for us in the Western (and developed) countries is convincing ourselves that we are full at 80%. The notion of the clean plate society is well known visiting friends and family, so as not to offend by not eating everything on our plates. But in these circumstances all we need do is simply ask for smaller portions, or watch our steps carefully at buffet tables.

The point being made here is as follows, if the human body is designed to run more efficiently on less calories, and everyone in the developed world does their part to eat a little bit less at each meal, then we will see a world of long living, healthy and happy populations.

Here's another tidbit from this great article:

"Alcohol too is consumed in moderation and regular exercise is an important part of their (Okinawans) lives, even when they are very old. The Okinawans are also said to have a psycho-spiritual outlook on life and use meditation and other means to reduce stress. This lifestyle seems to be paying off. In addition to their long life spans, the Okinawans have an 80% lower incidence of cancers such as breast and prostrate cancer when compared to the USA. They also have very a low incidence of heart disease and stroke. The average body mass index (BMI) is just 18-22 and they have low levels of body fat."

Aha! Low stress, alcohol in moderation and seeing life as joyous, happy and balanced through the practice of meditation and spiritual hopefulness is also the key to long, healthy lives.

So cook and eat a little less, try not to finish your plate at restaurants and bring home a doggy-bag for another whole meal, reduce stress wherever and whenever possible, and remember that we're all in this together!

Peace, Love & Organics,

your Hippy Gourmet Family

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