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Rarely There

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat

japanese women dont get fat or oldSounding similar to French Women Don't Get Fat (Mireille Guiliano), this book aroused my curiosity just a bit.

I believe genes and lifestyle play a big role in fighting off obesity, along with good eating habits. When I was a poor grad student in Eugene, OR, i didn't have a car and was walking or riding the bus everywhere, it was much easier for me to stay trim and keep up my stamina. Over the years, I've become soft.

Anyway, back to the book: I did not like the Guiliano book, just was not a good read for me, couldn't connect easily and I sensed a holier-than-thou attitude which sort of put me off. But, the book did bring out the common sense approach to food and nutrition and healthy lifestyle. The recipes did not catch my fancy unfortunately.

Naomi Moriyama's book didn't offer me serious research into Japanese way of eating, but I wasn't looking for any. I love eastern/asian foods and I love to cook. I wasn't looking for a diet book. I wasn't looking for a recipe book either. I just wanted to know if there are any tips and tricks to home-cooking Japanese foods. Unfortunately, i didn't pick up many "secrets", but, that's just me.

What I liked in the book as it agreed with my personal food philosophy:
  • emphasis on seasonal foods, portion control, (Eastern) concept of aesthetics of food presentation, with an eye on nutrition
  • simple yet sumptuous: feast with eyes, nose and mouth
  • seven pillars of japanese home cooking: fish, vegetables, rice, soy, noodles, rice, tea
  • beef and chicken are sides not entrées or main course
  • soy is wonderful: makes a good meat substitute for vegetarians
  • simple recipes, easy to follow; plus sample meal ideas
  • shojin ryori: Zen approach to food - food should enhance spiritual growth
  • five Zen food reflections
    • I reflect on the work that brings this food before me;let me see whence this food comes.
    • I reflect on my imperfections, of whether I am deserving of this offering of food.
    • Let me hold my mind free from preferences and greed.
    • I take this food as an effective medicine to keep my body in good health.
    • I accept this food so that I will fulfill mytask of enlightenment.
My dad taught me Vedic ideas about Life in general, as well as approach to food and nourishment for the body's sustenance. My parents' approach to food is similar to the sentiments expressed in Moriyama's book.

There are a few Sanskrit slokas/verses my Dad taught me (and the meaning, so I know what I am stating) which are similar in concept to the Five Zen Food Reflections. Pretty much every meal, I have seen my dad utter the sloka verses and be grateful for the food he has been given.

I only hope that watching me cook, and enjoying every meal we have together, my wee tot grows up learning the value of good eating habits and healthy lifestyle. For a brief 2 months, I fed store-bought jar foods to my baby and i wasn't very comfortable with it, so, i started making her foods at home.

These days she eats pretty much what we eat, only smaller portions. Well, I should say, she is offered pretty much the same foods we eat - she is still picky about foods, so, she doesn't always clean her plate like D and I do:-)

I hope setting an example teaches her better than establishing double-standards and confusing her little mind. No harm in enjoying an occasional dessert, or even rich foods, after all Life is Wonderful...

Hopefully, she'll learn to choose 100% juice (preferably, diluted with 50% water) over corn-syrup-laden cola drink and such... learn to make choices the smart way. I wouldn't be disappointed and consider myself a failure if every once in a while she chooses Chocolate Eclairs and Chinese take-out... it shouldn't be hard to teach how to make smart choices, I hope, as she grows up.

This book sort of leaves me with that take-away message: make smart choices in everyday meals.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the book's (I have not read it-only from your blog)philosophy as well-introducing the "zen" in every element of life!
It is however annoying to see the Japanese women wearing size 00 and having flawless skin (Sisheido, notwithstanding!)and looking so fresh and young all the time. Why do I have to work so hard at having lovely skin-thanks to rosacea, I cannot wear wool, consume alcohol or live in places with extreme climates. I shall have to do some research into Zen Rosacea!

5:01 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

I'm returning the visit (thanks for taking the time to leave a comment) and am having fun reading your various eclectic blog posts. I love the ideas from this book -- I think we could all stand to put more thought into the appearance and spirit of our meals. The afghan is gorgeous. And I need to get a recipe for homemade ketchup. We always have way more tomatoes than we can use. What a great idea!

8:56 PM  

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