Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Inscrutable Weight Loss Diet

The Japanese have ceremonies for everything.

From losing your virginity to committing suicide, there are rituals that circumscribe every moment. In true Zen fashion, the correct performance of the act becomes as important as the act itself.  Particularly when it involves pleasure or pain.

Even those of us whose moments of pleasure are sandwiched between checking our email and answering our cell phones can appreciate the Japanese genius for symbolism and ritual.

In our hurry up I've got carpool world we can acknowledge how the contemplation of an experience during its slow, measured movements would serve to heighten every aspect of the climax, if you'll pardon an expression.

Of course after World War II, most performances of those carefully crafted, nuanced, and very ancient rituals went out the window when the country was occupied by beerdrinking American soldiers out for a good time. Bad karma. Appreciation for the power of delayed gratification requires centuries of navel contemplation and the USA wasn't even 200 years old. A pimple on the butt of a life of introspection.

The American character does not have the rich patina of the Japanese. We act on our impulses almost as quickly as we have them. The Japanese response is often imperceptible.

The idea of spending years to learn the intricate nuances required to perform the tea ceremony would never occur to us.  Worrying about the correct tilt of one's finger while pouring flavored water is just wasting valuable time we could be using to satisfy our thirst for immediate gratification.

We want results now. A job done. The Japanese savor the experience.

So it's not surprising that in Japan, it's not what you eat but how you eat it. 

Eating food reflects the centuries of contemplation which permeate so much of Japanese life to this day. 

The result is that women in Japan live longer with thinner bodies than almost anywhere else in the world.

You've probably heard about the Japanese girl who gained 25 pounds in two months living in the US. Or how anyone who switches to an American diet becomes a big fat cow.

When the young woman got back to Japan the extra pounds disappeared. Quelle surprise!! Then she did what everyone else does, she wrote a book about it. Oh, sure tell us we're fat, then try to make money off our big fat asses.

So, to lose those unsightly bulges, all we have to do is cook and eat like the Japanese.

No thank you, I have a cupboard full of Mexican food to get through first. Plus, I don't want to learn how to make apples look like swans yet. Or risk my life serving that poison blowfish.

Meanwhile, in case you haven't figured it out by now, Japanese women eat very differently than the rest of the world. Mostly they eat less. There is only a two per cent obesity rate among women in Japan. Versus thirty-four percent in the US   As a result, women in Japan have an 85 year life expectancy in Japan versus 80 years over here.

Preparing a meal in Japan is like painting. The art and beauty of the food matters as much as the amount. The arrangement on the plate is as important as the preparation. In all there is restraint, which may be the main difference between the Japanese and Americans in everything. We barely give lip service to portion control. Lip smacking is more our style.

Fish is the main source of protein in the Japanese diet. Served raw or grilled.  Rice bran oil or canola oil, not butter, are used for cooking.  Vegeables are the main course, not the side dish. Fish, meat and poultry are used as condiments, sprinkled on top, not served on a slab in the middle. Rice is cooked with water and no oil.  At the end of the meal, unsweetened green tea is served hot as the final punctuation.

The Japanese use small, separate plates to serve the different foods. Like people who've had stomach stapling.

Eat only until you're almost full. Once again, restraint is required. Eighty percent full if you play the numbers game.

Everything is prepared fresh in the Japanese diet. Microwaved Mac and Cheese, while hot, is not considered fresh.

Healthwise, there is ample protein from the ubiquitous soy products and fish, which provide virtually no saturated fat. Lots of fresh vegetables and fresh fruit round out the Japanese diet.

Portions are dainty to miniscule. Even you have seconds, the amount still remains small.  Halfway through a meal, stop and decide if you really need the rest of what is on the plate. Try that with your blooming onion appetizer at Outback. Pay attention to internal cues. Lower your threshhold of pain. 

Remember the green tea served at the end of the meal is drunk slowly. And not served with three layered chocolate cake.

Some people believe green tea can act as an appetite suppresant. For most Americans, the mere mention of sushi provites the same result. 

In general, warm drinks that provide no calories are great distractions from snacking. They become a calming, gentle way to end a meal. Especially when accompanied by your dose of Ambien.

Dessert? One of those apples sliced and diced into swans, maybe.

Okay. Okay.  I get it. 

Make you want to rethink that Belgian Waffle and side order of thick sliced bacon this morning?

I didn't think so. 


screaminremo303 said...

All that work and none of their woman has anything resembling an ass. You think J-Lo or Beyonce would be half as famous in a Japanese body? Having sex with a skinny woman is like riding a bicycle over train tracks.

I cook with butter.

ksquester said...

I understand it, but I think timing is a big issue. We are in such a hurry over here. The other thing I have noted is that a very large percentage of Japanese people NOW smoke.   So, go on, serve the blowfish, with a big ole cigar for dessert.  Anne

ladeeoftheworld said...

What is "full"?  I've never felt that  Actually I'm not kidding.  Duh.  

Maybe I can get a Japanese lady to move in with me for a while as a mentor.

I once made an cucumber alligator.   Somehow, as I recall, the beauty and elegance did not quite match that of the apple swan.  Hmmm.

swibirun said...

I agree with Remo.  Even though I am very slim and athletic, I don't care for skinny women, from a sexual standpoint.  I like REAL woman with hips and boobs.  

I don't care to watch my diet, thus my severe exercise regimen.


mombzbe said...

I'm rethinking that order for the Belgian waffle with the side order of bacon....

I'll take two.