Hara hachi bu. Did you grow up being asked to finish everything on your plate? Eating past the point of fullness can be detrimental to our health and sabotage our goals. Pausing a minute before eating and staying in touch with your satiety cues might help you to avoid that “too full” feeling. A confucian teaching and originating from the city of Okinawa, the phrase of hara hachi bu is a phrase repeated before meals that serves as a reminder to eat until you are 80% full. This area of Japan is considered a “blue zone” and has little illness from heart disease, cancer, stroke, plus a long life expectancy boasting the highest number of centurions in the world! The next time you take a seat to eat think of the rough English translation of “Eat until you are eight parts (out of ten) full", or "belly 80 percent full.” We don’t really have to finish everything on our plates.
Consider the order in which you eat your foods. Traditionally sushi is ordered from light to heavy or lean to fatty. You may begin with whitefish, then moving onto yellowtails to tunas to "silver skin" fish, like mackerel. The meal typically concludes with sweet items like eel and tamago (a Japanese rolled omelette), or eggs. Consider getting your lighter items in first (broth based soups, salads, veggies, beans, and whole grains), then heavier foods (meats, seafoods, and healthy fats, lastly sweets (desserts.) You might find that when you are moving toward the end of the meal you have naturally consumed fewer calories by eating in this way. Especially when keeping Hara Hachi Bu in mind! You might be 79% full when you reach dessert and will be satisfied with a few bites of confection rather than needing two whole pieces of cake. This comes in handy when you arrive home and are hungry - while your meal cooks have a savory broth based soup, raw veggies, or a garden salad appetizer!
Umami! Want to feel satisfied with your meal? Increasing satiety comes to those who enjoy umami and when served up as a soup appetizer you may need to consume less of a meal. This might naturally help you reduce your overall calorie intake at meal time. What foods are highest in umami? Avocado, asparagus, tomatoes, onions, beets, seafood, meats, aged cheeses, seaweeds, soy foods, mushrooms, kimchi, and green tea. Click here to see a fun website about high umami foods. Have you tried nutritional yeast on popcorn? It is my favorite umami add on. My daughters love it on baked potatoes. However, if you deal with gout or issues with high levels of uric acid - don’t add this to your repertoire. This is a food high in purines.