Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Incrediable Okinawan Diet (Power to the Sweet Potato)

 
 I know you're thinking what???? Well, for those of you that know me, you know, very high cholesterol runs in the family.  I'm always fighting this battle and have often joked that I'll most likely die in my 40's, most likely due to my cholesterol!  I don't fit the bill for someone to have high cholesterol either.  I'm thin, I eat incredibility healthily, I don't smoke, I very rarely have a drink of alcohol, I'm doing Yoga or Pilates everyday...so what's the deal?  I have read almost everything on the subject and came across this Okinawan Diet a few years ago, but with moving. living in a hotel and projects with the new house I put the reading material aside... Until now!  So, here is what the Okinawan diet is all about and I wouldn't really call it a DIET as much as there way of life due to circumstances that proved to be helpful when it comes to heart health and longevity. 
  Okinawa is a series of little islands in the middle of the East China Sea, the islands belong to Japan (Okinawans are Japanese).  These people are known for there LONG LIVES.  They as a whole enjoy some of the longest life expectancies in the world and also have one of the highest number of centenarians (people who lived 100 years or more)!  Now, I'm NOT looking to live to 100.  I would rather die before I get that old, but I would like to see grandchildren one day, ( I can't even believe I'm saying that considering my boys are 16 & 15...YIKES!)  Also, interestingly these people live long with exceptional vigor and low rates of chronic diseases that us American's have. Below I have copied a table of there diet and how it's changed over the years.  This brings up another interesting point.  As there calorie intake has gone up over the past few years they actually have become less healthy...hummmm!  So, concentrate on the diet 1949 and before for opium heart health!
 So, as you can see the bulk of the Okinawan Diet 4.5 cups a day to be exact, comes from Sweet Potatoes. This is why I named this article (Power to the Sweet Potato)! The other portion of the diet is about 1 3-ounce serving of fish a week, meat was one small serving a month and one egg every 2 months.  Does this sound like the AMERICAN DIET?  NOPE!  Basically, the Okinawans diet was very low-fat, low-protein, just about vegan and consisted of very few processed grains and oils.
  Now, with this being said, I'm not totally convinced that eating so little protein is the way to go either.  I also discovered that during this time Okinawa was dealing with a famine in 1949 so this could explain the lack of protein in there diet, but none the less,  this is interesting information that shouldn't be overlooked.  I think after the research, I will up the sweet potato intake and adjust the fat intake just due to cholesterol, but I doubt I'll consume 4.5 cups everyday.  I think I continue with my green drink and add the sweet potatoes, but will keep calorie intake in check. I also, will take in consideration that I'm an O blood type, in which Sweet Potatoes are on my highly beneficial list, they also have 4g of fiber per cup which means the Okinawan people were getting the recommended amount of fiber in there diet that us American's are lacking.  This could account for there health as well.  I'm a huge believer in FIBER. 

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