Hello my friends,
Welcome to Part-3 of Foods and Habits That Boost The Immune System!
It’s been quite a while since I posted the Part-2 of this series.
I hope you will enjoy this new topic as I do.
I am blessed to have met nice beautiful friends from Japan. We had neighbors back home some 30 years ago. They were Christian missionaries from Japan who dwelt among us for many decades. They became friends not only to my family but to almost everybody in our small tribal village. We learned a lot from them, not only from their christian living, but also from their healthy living – what and how they eat and all about their food and habits..
Have you ever heard about ‘shoku-iku’ ?
If you have, and love to share your thoughts, you are most welcome to do so, and leave them on the comments section below this article.
You might be wondering why I mentioned my Japanese friends.
Here is why..
Before I came across some articles on Shoku-iku, I had witnessed the food preparation and results in the health and lives of our Japanese missionary friends back then.
From the book of Makiko Sano, a Japanese chef and author, I learned that Shoku-iku is a Japanese word which means “food education”. It is an approach to food, according to Dr. Sagen Ishizuka, a military doctor in the late 1800s, whose belief is that the secret to health and healing is to strengthen the body from the inside.
It is amazing to note how the Japanese government took action in June 2005 on the negative effects of Western fast foods on families and the young generation. It passed the Basic Law of Shoku-iku, declaring it compulsory to educate children about nutrition, origin of food, and food pairing.
A vital component of Shoku-iku is to advise to “never skip meals in order to lose weight”. It is rather advised to consciously monitor your nutritional intake with every meal on a daily basis.
Shoku-iku and Immune System
Covid19 seem to linger for some more time.
Because of this, we need to be on the offensive side. Not all the time defending ourselves from attacks of Covid19 and other viral and bacterial infections.
We have to boost our immune system by applying the principles of Shoku-iku.
In Makiko Sano’s book, she mentioned that the basic rules of Shoku-iku include the “Power of Five”.
-Eating foods from five groups: GRAINS – VEGETABLES – FRUITS – PROTEIN – DAIRY
-that appeal to your five senses: SMELL – TASTE – TOUCH – SIGHT – HEARING
-that contain five tastes: SWEET – SOUR – SALTY – BITTER – SAVOURY “UMAMI”, and
-which aim to reflect five colors: GREEN/BLUE – RED/ORANGE – WHITE – BLACK/BROWN – YELLOW
The principles of Shoku-iku include:
-Pairing of: food, meals, drinks
-Balancing the food nutrients: Fat, Carbohydrate, Protein, Vitamins & Minerals, as in the Food Pyramid
-No starving – no skipping meals
-Eating smaller meals that are heavy on vegetables and light on refined sugars
-Timing: when to eat certain kinds of food and food products
Applying the principles of Shoku-iku
Let us now apply and give few examples:
-Pairing of food
* Iron is well absorbed when paired with vitamin-C. So it is best to squeeze lemon on iron-rich vegetables or other iron-rich foods
* Vitamin-A is well absorbed when paired with oil. So it is best to add oil (olive, corn, or vegetable oil) to vitamin A-rich foods. This could be vegetable salads (vit.A-rich veggies)
* Food pairing is a MUST if one is on weight-loss or weight-gain program. [We will talk more on this in another article on weight management].
* When is it best to drink water – drink 2 glasses of water upon waking up, 1-2 glasses of water 30 minutes before meals, and consume more than 8 glasses of water a day
* When are fruits best eaten – nutrients in fruits are best absorbed 30 minutes before meals or between meals
* Happy foods are not advisable to be eaten or drunk just before bedtime. Those foods may keep you awake. Examples of happy foods or energy foods: Banana, mango, blueberries, strawberries, yogurt, green tea, coffee, olive oil, mushroom, grapes, dark chocolate, turmeric….and many more.
Note: For weight-watchers, there is best time to eat certain foods, but we will talk about this in another article on weight management.
* The food pyramid is the best example and explanation – the top tier of the pyramid represents the fats, sugars, oils which should be taken sparingly; the bottom tier of the pyramid represents carbohydrates which we could consume in larger amount; and the next large tiers represent the vitamins and minerals, and protein, which can be consumed in large amounts.
* We need to eat foods rich in anti-oxidants after a fast-food meal in order to flash out the unnecessary fats, sugars, and sodium.
* If we ate much in one meal, we should eat less the next meal.
These are but few doable examples we could apply in our daily living.
It is very vital to know the nutrient contents of each food product we buy or grow in our backyard gardens or farms. By this, it will be easy for us to pair food items during meal preparation.
Promoting the principles of Shoku-iku
The staple food in Japan and other southeast Asian nations are different from the other nations, but everybody can always adapt and promote the principles of Shoku-iku on any meal planning and preparation.
The List below is from the website of Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (https://www.maff.go.jp/e/policies/tech_res/shokuiku.html). Let us learn from this:
Dietary guidelines for Japanese
- Enjoy your meals.
- Establish a healthy rhythm by keeping regular hours for meals.
- Maintain the proper weight with adequate exercise and well-balance meals.
- Eat well-balanced meals with staple food, as well as main and side dishes.
- Eat enough grains such as rice and other cereals.
- Combine vegetables, fruits, milk products, beans and fish in your diet.
- Avoid too much salt. Attention should be paid to the quality and quantity of fat ingested.
- Take advantage of Japanese dietary culture and local food products. Preserve local dishes.
- Conserve food resources and practice dietary habits for minimizing leftovers and food waste.
- Develop your understanding of food and review your dietary life.
Shoku-iku-based diets tend to aid the body in losing extra fats naturally without you and me even planning to. Hence, promoting health, and longer life.
We may not have access to fresh vegetables, fruits, and other food products, especially this time of strict quarantine rules all over the land. But we can always search online for food supplements bearing in mind the Shoku-iku principles in choosing the best products.
God, the Almighty Creator of Heaven and earth be glorified for His marvelous works. He has provided everything man could ever ask for.
Let us ask wisdom from God as we start our Shoku-iku meal planning and preparation.
God bless us all.