My friend, be more refined, don’t eat while watching the show.

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Editor’s note: There are many things to learn about Japanese food culture. Although most people don’t necessarily want to live to be 120 years old, each of us certainly wants to age gracefully without suffering from illness. The point is that we don’t want to over-discipline ourselves for the sake of health and deprive us of the joy of life. “One juice and three dishes” may help us achieve this wish, so that we can not only enjoy the joy of gourmet food, but also reduce the risk of disease-just pay attention to diet. This article is translated from Medium, author Kaki Okumura, and the original title was “‘ One Soup, Three Sides ’: The Japanese Art of Eating Healthfully.” I hope to inspire you.

According to the latest obesity report released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2017, in the OECD member countries, more than 1/2 of the adults and nearly 1/6 of the children are overweight or obese. Despite this problem worldwide, Japan still seems to be an outsider. The obesity rate across Japan is only 6%, and the Japanese are known for their longevity.

Japan is a strange case because of the health data of Japanese people, the food they eat, nutrition education and healthcare are similar to other OECD countries. So what exactly caused this difference?

Growing up in the United States and Japan made me realize clearly that it’s not just the food we eat but the way we eat that affects our health. When I was in Japan, the meal looked like this: a small bowl of rice, a bowl of soup, and three side dishes.

Ichiju-sansai: Three dishes with one juice

Ichiju-sansai is a term used to describe the way Japanese traditional set meals are made. It literally means “one soup and three dishes” (or “one juice and three dishes”). Most Japanese eat this, almost subconsciously.

Ichiju-sansai: rice, soup, three sides

There are three major benefits to eating a three-juice diet.

1. Balanced nutrition

Diversity of flavors and ingredients is a characteristic of three dishes. This soup is usually a variant of miso soup, and the three side dishes usually consist of one protein dish and two vegetable dishes. This way we can consume a variety of vegetables, proteins and carbohydrates, without relying on a single food, to ensure that our body gets the nutrients it needs.

Almost every Japanese family will have a rice cooker. There will be a box of miso sauce in the refrigerator and some small Tupperware products in the cabinet, which can be used to prepare three dishes. In fact, Japanese families take rice very seriously, and many people buy high-end rice cookers that cost more than $ 200 to steam better rice. Because if you eat rice every day, then such a “perfect” rice cooker is worth the investment.

2. Keep the right amount

Appropriate single servings of three dishes of one juice means that we can really enjoy the food we like without feeling guilty or overly indulgent. As long as it is the right amount, there is no food that must be banned, such as fried chicken or cream soup, you can still enjoy without feeling guilty. As long as we do n’t overdo it, these foods can also provide us with the protein and fat we need in our diet.

3. Eat attentively

It ’s easy to sit in front of a laptop, read emails and eat, or eat in bed while eating, but I occasionally feel guilty about this habit. If we lose our mind while eating, there will be some obvious negative psychological effects. For example, if we eat too fast, our brain will not react too much, and we will end up eating too much.

However, if you have many different food types in your meal, you are more inclined to find a suitable oneTable, focus on eating. You can’t sit on the sofa and watch a play while holding a large bowl for a single type of meal. Put a few more plates on it. The ingredients are diverse and the taste is the key to a healthy diet.

Mindful eating is scientifically based: human parasympathetic Only when the nerves are active can food be properly digested. We need to put the nervous system in this “rest and digest” mode so that the salivary glands can release the amylase needed to break down starchy foods. The pancreas also receives signals, secretes digestive enzymes, and completes the breakdown of food in the small intestine. Under stress, our bodies cannot break down food and absorb nutrients, and we may receive various false signals, such as hunger or stomach upset. Slowly, this digestive dysfunction can lead to chronic overeating and digestive problems.

“One juice and three dishes” in real life

“One juice and three dishes” is a dish you may encounter in many Japanese restaurants. All food is served in small servings or bowls. This way of eating is neither new nor fashionable, neither casual nor high-end. This has been the tradition of Japanese cuisine for many years.

Of course, you can also make “one juice and three dishes” at home. I will use my Tupperware to make different side dishes in batches. I also have an electric rice cooker, which is always filled with just well-pressed rice. A balanced meal can be prepared quickly.

Japanese food culture has a lot to learn. Although most people don’t necessarily want to live to be 120 years old, each of us definitely wants to age gracefully and not be affected by common diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or dementia, and we also don’t want to live excessive Self-discipline. “One juice and three dishes” may help us achieve this wish, so that we can not only enjoy the joy of gourmet food, but also reduce the risk of disease-just pay attention to diet.

Translator: Jane

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