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Haitai Teachings

How to Practice the Okinawan Way of Fasting? Tips and Tricks

by Christal Burnette 03 Apr 2024 0 Comments
In the pursuit of a healthy and fulfilling life, people around the world have looked to various cultures for inspiration. One such culture that has intrigued health enthusiasts is the Okinawan way of life. The Okinawans are renowned for their longevity and relatively low rates of obesity and chronic diseases. One of the practices attributed to their healthy lifestyle is "Hara Hachi Bu." Many think it is too difficult, my fellow moai'in. But I am here to tell you that it is not. Here are tips I use myself to practice this way of eating all while knowing it is easier on my stomach and body.

What is Hara Hachi Bu?

Hara Hachi Bu is a traditional saying that roughly translates to "eat until you are 80% full." This ancient concept originates from the island of Okinawa, known for having one of the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world. The principle behind Hara Hachi Bu is simple: stop eating when you are just satisfied, not completely full.
Practicing Hara Hachi Bu may seem challenging in a culture that often encourages indulgence and large portion sizes. However, this mindful eating habit can have a profound impact on your health and help you maintain a healthy weight while reducing the risk of various chronic diseases.

How to Practice Hara Hachi Bu

1. Slow Down and Savor Your Meals
One of the essential aspects of Hara Hachi Bu is slowing down during mealtime. Take your time to chew your food thoroughly and savor each bite. Eating slowly allows your brain to receive signals from your stomach, indicating when you've had enough to eat. Put down your utensils between bites and engage in meaningful conversation to make your meals more enjoyable.
2. Use Smaller Plates and Bowls
To prevent overeating, try using smaller plates and bowls for your meals. This visual trick can make your portions appear more substantial, tricking your brain into feeling satisfied with less food.
3. Listen to Your Body
Tune in to your body's signals during meals. As you eat, pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues. Stop eating when you start feeling satisfied, not waiting until you feel stuffed or bloated.
4. Plan Balanced Meals
To make the most of Hara Hachi Bu, ensure that your meals are well-balanced with a variety of nutrients. Include a mix of vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. These nutrient-dense foods will provide the necessary nourishment without the need for excessive portions.
5. Avoid Distractions
Minimize distractions during meals, such as television, phones, or work-related activities. When you eat mindfully, you become more aware of your body's signals and can gauge when you've had enough to eat.
6. Embrace Tea Time
Incorporate the Japanese tradition of tea time into your daily routine. Sipping on green tea between meals can help keep you hydrated and aid digestion, promoting a sense of satisfaction after eating.

Benefits of Practicing Hara Hachi Bu

By adopting Hara Hachi Bu into your lifestyle, you can experience a range of health benefits, including:
  • Improved digestion: Eating until 80% full allows your digestive system to function optimally, reducing the chances of indigestion and discomfort.
  • Weight management: Mindful eating can aid in weight loss or weight maintenance by preventing overeating and promoting healthier portion sizes.
  • Lower risk of chronic diseases: Research suggests that practicing Hara Hachi Bu may reduce the risk of conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
  • Increased energy levels: Avoiding the post-meal energy crash that often accompanies overeating can lead to sustained energy levels throughout the day.
  • Enhanced mindfulness: Embracing Hara Hachi Bu encourages mindfulness and a deeper connection with your body's signals, leading to a more conscious and satisfying eating experience.
Hara Hachi Bu is more than just a dietary practice; it's a way of life that emphasizes mindful eating and self-awareness. By incorporating this Okinawan tradition into your daily routine, you can achieve a healthier and more balanced relationship with food. So, take a step back, slow down, and savor each bite as you embrace the wisdom of Hara Hachi Bu for a happier and healthier you. Follow me for Okinawan food recipes, longevity lifestyle tips, and more on how to be happier and healthier even past the age of 100 :) Yutashiku!
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