Turning Japanese


Jane Pikett turns to the healthiest nation on earth for nutritional tips

The Japanese live longer than any other nationality on earth and enjoy better general health than the rest of us. Yup, all that sushi’s got to be good.

Apparently, the average Japanese person eats some 25% fewer calories each day than we do in the west and, while their diet is rich in fish, vegetables, wholegrains, squid, tofu and soy, they also eat more slowly and mindfully, enjoying smaller portions.

Rice is a staple, but it’s generally eaten at the end of the meal with pickles and soup and in small quantities. The Japanese cook with water rather than oil, so food is eaten raw, simmered and grilled. The occasional fried dish like tempura is served alongside other dishes, so it’s not taken in huge quantities.
The Japanese believe in eating a wide variety of food of different colours during every meal and dessert is rare.

There’s a good deal of ceremony in the Japanese way of eating, and a lot of attention paid to presentation. Their filling, lower-calorie foods are presented in pretty dishes which make you eat with your eyes. This slows you down, as you savour the looks of the food as much as the taste.

Eating with chopsticks also slows you down, giving the body time to realise it’s full when it is. The Japanese also love green tea, which is not only good for your body, but also for your mind, enhancing cognitive functions including memory. Give it a go, you might find you’re turning Japanese!

Recipe: Baked panko fishcake with edamame puree

Chocs howay!
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