The first steps to take in our series of a healthful lifestyle with tips that apply to everyone.
As of the early 21st century, Okinawans in Japan, through practicing hara hachi bu, are the only human population to have a self-imposed habit of calorie restriction. They consume about 1,800 to 1,900 calories per day. Their typical body mass index (BMI) is about 18 to 22, compared to a typical BMI of 26 or 27 for adults over 60 in the United States. Okinawa has the world’s highest proportion of centenarians, at approximately 50 per 100,000 people.
Biochemist Clive McCay, a professor at Cornell University in the 1930s, reported that significant calorie restriction prolonged life in laboratory animals. Authors Bradley and Craig Wilcox and Makoto Suzuke believe that hara hachi bu may act as a form of calorie restriction, thus extending practitioners’ life expectancy. They believe hara hachi bu assists in keeping the average Okinawan’s BMI low, and this is thought to be due to the delay in the stomach stretch receptors that help signal satiety; The result of not practicing “hara hachi bu” is a constant stretching of the stomach which in turn increases the amount of food needed to feel full.
In the 1965 book Three Pillars of Zen, the author quotes Hakuun Yasutani in his lecture for zazen beginners as telling his students about the book Zazen Yojinki (Precautions to Observe in Zazen), written circa 1300, which advises practitioners to eat about two-thirds of their capacity. Yasutani advises his students to eat only eighty percent of their capacity, and he repeats a Japanese proverb: “eight parts of a full stomach sustain the man; the other two sustain the doctor”.
Hara hachi bu was popularized in the United States by a variety of modern books on diet and longevity
�Hara hachi bu� which means �belly 80
percent full�. So instead of eating until I actually feel full I should stop just
short of being stuffed. There has been a good bit of science done to support this.
It may be that there is some value in calorie restriction, or that it just keeps our
body fat down, or that if you always eat till you feel full you train your stomach
to expand and need more and more to feel satisfied.
I wonder what the Okinawans would think about the �all you can eat� buffet
restaurant ideas? They�d probably think it was the worst idea ever.
2. Eat 7 times more vegetables than meat: It�s interesting because all the groups of
people the author studied ate meat, dairy and animal products. Just like in the book
�Nutrition and Physical Degeneration� Weston A. Price says in his exhaustive studies
none of the world�s healthiest people groups were vegetarian.
But that doesn�t mean they ate like the average modern person. Even though these 5
healthy people groups ate meat they had a different ratio � they ate way more
veggies and fruits than meat. They also ate a lot of fish, it wasn�t always read
I have read almost every health book ever written and the only thing they all have
in common is saying we should eat lots of vegetables. From Arnold Schwarzenegger and
Paleo advocates, to the USDA recommendations, to the most hard core Vegan, everyone
agrees � Vegetables should be the highest volume food type we eat.
I try to be sure every plate of food I eat keeps this ratio � 7 times more
vegetables than meat. I just use my eye to estimate when my plate looks like there
is a ton more vegetables than anything else.My favorite technique is to take a huge
salad and dump it on top of whatever I�m eating. I make sure it looks like the salad
is a mountain on top of the meat.
3. Drink 5 Cups Of Green Tea A Day: The book says that green tea was the basic drink
of choice for the long lived people of Bama, China and Okinawa, Japan. The author
says that you need about 4-5 cups a day to get the maximum effect. Green tea
basically has the most antioxidants you can get from any one food type.
A tremendous amount of modern science backs up what the Chinese have known all
along. If you are a coffee drinker, green tea is also a great substitute that still
has the caffeine.
Or you can rotate between coffee and green tea to maximize the health benefits of
both. But it seems
more likely that green tea is better for you and can actually have the same �pick me
up� effect as coffee.
The people of Bama, China already knew what this
Harvard Health newsletter confirms:
�A study of 40,530 Japanese adults found that participants who drank more than five
cups of green tea a day had a 26% lower risk of death from heart attack or stroke
and a 16% lower risk of death from all causes than people who drank less than one
cup of green tea a day.
Last year, a meta-analysis of observational studies�13 conducted in green tea
drinkers and five in black tea drinkers�found that people who drank the most green
tea had a 28% lower risk of coronary artery disease than those who drank the least
green tea. Black tea had no effect on heart risk.Another 2011 meta-analysis of 14
randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials found that green tea significantly
lowered LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.�
I found it funny that the Chinese ancient proverb says that the green tea leaves
should be harvested by virgins and then sipped�slowly in a pavilion, next to a lily
pond, in the company of a beautiful woman.� This sounds like a great idea in theory
to me. I am not sure where to find a pavilion but could probably conjure up a lily
pond and pretty girl (not as sure where to find a brand where the leaves were picked
I can also tell you after I increased my green tea drinking I stayed way more
hydrated (which also means lots of quick trips to the bathroom haha).