Shokuiku: a Japanese Blueprint for Conscious, Healthy Eating

Promoting Optimal Wellness for Body, Mind and Spirit

Promoting Optimal Wellness for Body, Mind and Spirit

February is National Cancer Prevention Month. Some risks for cancer are out of your control (E.g. age and genetics.) Research shows that you can control other risk factors such as healthy eating and regular exercise to help lower the risk of cancer.

Recommendations for prevention includes –

  1. Maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Engage in physical activity at least 30 minutes every day. (Check with your doctor before beginning if you have not been exercising.)
  3. Avoid sugary drinks and food.
  4. Eat a plant-based diet (fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.)
  5. Limit red meat (beef, pork, lamb.)
  6. Avoid processed foods and limit salt.
  7. Limit alcohol. (No more than 2 drinks per day for men, 1 for women.)
  8. Avoid all tobacco products!

Teach Your Children Healthy Eating; Tips From Japan – What is learned at a young age is more likely to become lifetime habits, bad or good. The Japanese government requires that all children receive education in healthy eating. Shokuiku means “eating education.” Dr. Yukio Hattori, who coined the term more than a decade ago calls it a blueprint for conscious eating.

Shokuiku is taught in every Japanese public school, starting in kindergarten. Students learn to:

  • Start the day with a healthy breakfast.
  • Use fresh, seasonal ingredients.
  • Avoid buying foods from convenience stores.
  • Choose a traditional Japanese meal over fast food.

Traditional Japanese Meal. Traditional Japanese meal is based on rice, along with soup and other side dishes. The side dishes often consist of pickled vegetables, and vegetables cooked in broth. Fish is common in the traditional Japanese cuisine.

The 'Captain Joe' Sushi Roll at the Studio Gloucester MA copy

Expressing Gratitude Before and After Your Meal. In Japan, gratitude is expressed before and after every meals similar to saying grace or ‘bon appetit’ in the West. Itadakumasu is spoken before meals and means “I humbly receive (this food/meal).” It is used to show gratitude for the food and everything that went into the meal, all the way from farm to table. After the meal, Gochisōsama is spoken and means “thanks for the food.” Gochisō literally means “feast,” so the translation is something like “It was a feast.” Often these words of gratitude are spoken while having palms pressed together, head slightly bowed in ‘gasshō.

Beautiful copper Buddha statue at a shrine near Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan

‘Gasshō.’ Buddha statue at a shrine near Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan.

Teach your children well, and enjoy your healthy meal with gratitude, and be well.   ~  Karen

Karen Pischke B.S.N., R.N., C.C.R.N. Alumnus. Certified Hypnotherapist, Tobacco Treatment Specialist, Usui Reiki Teacher/Komyo Shihan. Owner/Founder of Dreamtime Wellness™ Promoting Optimal Wellness for Body, Mind & Spirit Find us on Facebook –

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