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How Many a Day?


I attend nutrition lectures regularly and have been interested in simple and nutritious home cooking since 1999. When I do a Chinese medicine diagnosis, I look at how diet contributes to both the health problems and solutions in the body. Food energetics are an important part of the Chinese medical treatment by helping to alter the body's biochemical equilibrium.


Every country has a different concept about a healthy diet. Here in the UK there's debate about how many fruit and veg we should eat each day. Is it 5 or 7 portions and do processed juice and veggie crisps count toward them? Since living in Japan I've used the concept of eating 30 different foods a day as the ideal diet. The American and British gut projects recommend 15-30 different vegetables a week, which is very easy with a Japanese oriented diet.


I lived in Japan for 4 1/2 years as a vegetarian, and still found a massive variety of delicious food I could eat. When going to restaurants, it wan't easy explain my diet. I was asked if I ate carrots, tofu and encountered looks of confusion unless I knew exactly what to ask for. I didn't have ramen or dishes that used dashi or fish stock, so eating out was an obstacle course.


Being a vegetarian for 15 years, I was the perfect example of someone with Blood deficiency, which is like sub-clinical anaemia. Being a vegetarian can often be a cause of disease, and this is diagnosed by symptoms like postural dizziness, seeing black dots on the wall and brittle fingernails. Blood building foods and drinks are foods such as beetroot, steak, and nettle tea.


I found lots of delicious bento boxes in convenience stores that had 2-3 vegetable based side dishes. Check out this article for simple Japanese recipes and an explanation of the 30 a day concept. You can count the herbs, spices, garlic, onions and anything else used in the dish. The idea is to cook a few dishes a day and use them over 2-3 days, The next day you add 2-3 more to eat a nice variety of tasty dishes. I will talk about food energetics in the next article.

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