How to Eat Healthy With the Shoku Iku Japanese Diet Plan

How to Eat Healthy With the Shoku Iku Japanese Diet Plan


Shoku Iku Japanese Diet Plan

Amazingly, just a few simple changes to our diet can mean a longer, healthier life. At the end of the day, making some small adjustments to our diet is worth it. When we talk about self-care, it’s important to remember that it translates into what we put into our body, just as much as it does what we put into our mind. The Shoku Iku Japanese diet plan is a great way to show your body some much-needed care.

In this Guide:

Table of Contents

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What is the Shoku Iku Japanese Diet Plan?

What is the Shoku Iku Japanese Diet Plan

The first thing you should know about the Shoku Iku Japanese diet plan is that it’s not exactly a diet plan. Instead, people who follow this plan are simply following in the footsteps of the  Okinawan people. This means adopting a way of eating that is, for many Japanese people, their normal way of eating. 

This plan adheres to the Okinawan way of thinking of food, and how it relates to our body. It’s about having a healthy relationship with food that transcends counting calories or stressing out over every bit of information on the nutrition label. The way they eat is all about balance and not about overindulgence. 

What Does Shoku Iku Mean?

Roughly translated, Shoku-Iku refers to the way we prepare our food and how we combine meals. Many Japanese people are brought up with the thought pattern that a heavy meal should be combated with a light meal. Healthy Japanese food is about balancing what you eat and combining small meals that work together to satisfy hunger and provide nutrition. 

By eating smaller meals that are heavy on vegetables and light on processed, refined sugars, you’re not only giving your body the nutrition it needs, but you’re also giving yourself healthy food to fill upon. For example, having edamame on the dinner table provides a nutritious side or starter that will help satisfy your hunger without the calories. 

The Benefits of Shoku Iku

We already know there are many benefits to a plant-based diet. While Shoku Iku includes a small amount of meat here and there, it mostly focuses on vegetables and other healthy foods. The benefits of this are plentiful. 

  • The Japanese have one of the highest life expectancies in the world. Perhaps this is why they also have the highest number of centenarians.  
  • People who follow this plan have a 15% lower risk of premature death.
  • The emphasis on whole foods that are minimally processed is much better for heart health. The low fat and sugar content is an excellent addition, as well.
  • There’s a lower risk of age-related diseases associated with this lifestyle. This includes Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, etc. 

Shoku Iko Foods and Meal Plans

When you’re preparing a Shoku Iku meal, you’re going to prepare it as part of a bigger plan. You won’t just look at the single meal. You’ll look at the week’s meals. Healthy Japan eating means you don’t exactly look at carb pairing, but rather, you look at meal pairing.

Another unique component of this Japanese diet plan is that you don’t make a meal like you ordinarily would. Instead, you make several small meals all at once. You might think this would result in hours in the kitchen, but you can actually prepare meals ahead of time and use quick techniques. 

Here’s a Japanese food list you to give you a better idea of what the Japan diet plan consists of:

  • Steamed rice
  • Soba
  • Ramen
  • Udon noodles
  • Seaweed
  • Tofu
  • Vegetables
  • Shellfish
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Edamame 

How To Get Started

This diet is for everyone and anyone who’s willing to make a few changes to the way they eat. They’re not difficult changes, either. Mainly, following a Japanese diet plan means balancing heavy meals with lighter ones, adopting more rice and vegetables into your meals, and putting together groups of smaller meals, rather than large ones.  

Take a look at what you’re eating. Decide whether or not it’s worth what it might be doing to your body. If it is, then great, keep enjoying it. If it isn’t, then maybe take a look at the way the Japanese eat and see if it might be for you.  

A Typical Shoku Iko Meal

Some really healthy Japanese recipes include miso soup and lots of green tea. The best part of this way of eating is that it’s a flavor pairing diet. When you choose to eat this way, your palate will never suffer for your health. 

You’ll be eating and drinking some of the following foods:

  • Green tea – The matcha variety is best. It’s a powdered green tea that contains a great deal of high antioxidant compounds. The compounds are known as catechins, and they have been identified as cancer-fighting agents that also reduce the risk of catching viruses or developing heart disease.
  • Miso soup – An excellent source of vitamins and minerals.
  • Seaweed – It helps to reduce blood pressure.
  • Brown rice – Has many beneficial compounds and nutrients
  • Stir-fried vegetables – The ideal way to satisfy your hunger. 

Tips and Advice

Enjoy it! Don’t look at it as some sort of diet plan that you have to suffer through. Instead, think of it as a new way of life that will help you live longer and feel better. There are even a couple of things you can do to make it work for you.  

  • Write out a meal plan – Decide exactly what you’ll be eating for the week. This way, there’s no indecisiveness at mealtime that could lead to an unhealthy choice.
  • Go grocery shopping – Make sure you have all of the food you need in the house. If you don’t, you’ll risk having to go grocery shopping while you’re hungry. It’s much easier to stray from your diet when you’re in that position.
  • Find a partner – Ask someone to do this diet with you. When you have someone you can lean on and talk to about the diet, it’s easier to stay on track.   
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