Good morning. Happy Monday. Thanks so much for the messages of peace that I received yesterday in response to the quote I shared. The return of the peace sign was something I embraced years ago and chose to never lose touch with again. Practicing peace (and fitness) have somehow become my “religion” and I am thankful for those who are like-minded and practicing with me. Only when we have internal peace can we go out and spread the word. Let’s take care of ourselves so we can take care of the world around us. Then, let’s do it for many years to come!!
I have been reading a most interesting compilation of articles in the February edition of Men’s Journal. Though Mitch often teases me about reading all his magazines, I can’t help myself. ANYTHING that comes through this house that has a health/science/fitness section is going to get read by me, too. This particular group of articles is written by Sanjay Gupta. He is a practicing neurosurgeon and the chief medical correspondent for CNN. When he turned 40, he decided he wanted to make some changes in his life in order to live both better and longer. Though he turned down President Obama’s invitation to be the United States Surgeon General, he is still a pretty busy guy, so the changes had to be do-able.
In 2005 he traveled to Okinawa, Japan where people live longer than anywhere else. Many experts believe that one of the reasons for this is that they eat far fewer calories than Americans; about 500 fewer a day. Somehow when those crazy Americans who practice calorie restriction talk about this, we all just think they are crazy. When you hear these words from people like Dr. Gupta, or Dr. Mahmet Oz, who have done extensive studies into this, we have to wonder if they are onto something. I certainly believe they are!
In fact, Okinawans practice something called hara hachi bu. This is a cultural concept of eating only until you are 80% full. Though we can never know exactly when we are 80% full, the message is quite clear. Step away from the table before you are full! In Okinawa, you are 5 times more likely to live to 100 than here in the states. Additionally, those extra years are quality ones!
Not only is eating less proven to be better for our DNA, but as Dr. Gupta experienced when he began cutting back on calorie intake, blood pressure lowered, energy increased and a general sense of well being was obtained. Oh yeah, he also mentions that weight loss came more easily than ever before.
When we cut calories, though, we must make sure that we are still getting all the vital nutrients we need to maintain optimal health. Tomorrow we’ll visit Okinawa and several other areas of the world that have the longest, healthiest life-spans to see what they eat. For now, let’s just start practicing hara hachi bu!