What is a Japanese meal anyway?
Japanese meals is generally categorized as “Washoku” in Japan, and it is popular among many people as a food culture attracting attention not only in Japan but also tourists. It is harmonizes to minimize the burden on the body from a calorie intake point-of-view and nutritional balance point-of-view creating a very body-friendly types of meals.
Cooking methods of Japanese food involve naturally cooking fresh ingredients. The cooking in particular is a unique style of cooking that complements the original taste of the ingredients, and its “light seasoning” remains as its “harmony”.
Not only is the flavor of fresh ingredients, but you can also enjoy Japanese food through the types of plates and bowls used, and how the food is arranged is part of the prestige of Japanese traditional food culture.
Japanese food cannot only be enjoyed by being a friendly-to-the-body balanced diet, but it also provides an enjoyment to the “five senses of the body”.
In addition, the food culture also has a custom to enjoy seasonal ingredients from all four seasons, which becomes as part of the “appetite” but it also becomes something that is looked forward to.
Often ingredients are used depending on the season they are available or in consideration of the timing when the ingredients tastes its best allowing to enjoy the natural taste of the ingredients, and the change in season as part of the emotional experience when eating the meals.
Is Japanese food suitable for diet?
This may depend on how you would define your diet, but because Japanese food is generally “a meal that is considered to be the most naturally healthy and with less burden to the human body”. But, of course, the calorie intake is something to be considered similar to any food we consume.
Japanese food does not have a style of “roughly arranging” the dishes in a big plate and “eating as much as you want”. The dishes are served on small dishes one by one and are usually divided into five items.
Let’s try to make it simple and give a hotel breakfast as an example. The staple meals would be “bread”, “cereals”, “milk”, “coffee”, “corn soup”, “scrambled eggs”, “ham and sausages” , “salad”, and “yogurt”. In contrast, Japanese food is often provided as a set in one meal, and the five typical items of Japanese breakfast are “rice”, “miso soup”, “takuan”, “salmon (grilled fish)”, “seaweed or vegetables”.
It is also common to have “Natto and egg” as a set. When you simply look at the quantity of the food, it does not have much variety, and it may not look as filling or satisfying. However, do not forget that Japanese food is not “a meal that is supposed to make you full”, but it is on the premise that it encourages pleasure in all “sight”, “hearing”, “smell”, “touch”, and “taste”.
How effective is the Japanese diet?
First of all, we need to pay attention to the “intake quantity”. If you can determine the “absolute intake quantity” by the size of the bowl or plate that you use, then you need not to add anymore to achieve a well-balanced food intake.
The main source of carbohydrates will be from “white rice”, and by combining this with “side dishes”, you will be able to satisfy your hunger efficiently by simultaneously ingesting energy and consuming side dishes. The size of your bowl or plate for your rice will be the allocation for the amount of carbohydrates you need to consume, and with the side dish, you will naturally be able to even out the consumption of both. This allows you to stop yourself from “over eating”.
Next, let’s consider the nutritional balance. It doesn’t simply end at preparing 5 different dishes. But by chewing each dish to let your body consume the nutrients of each ingredient, it will set a harmony in your intake balance, and it will reduce the burden on the body during consumption. As a result, it will promote efficient digestion and avoid the excess use of energy. By avoiding the consumption of energy, your body will be able to consume “efficiently” which will lessen negatively affecting the body.
As we can see, the characteristics of Japanese cuisine as being “arranged in small plates” and its “light seasoning” have these intentions. It doesn’t end at breakfast, but “Washoku” is a colorful cuisine that Japan holds its pride in. Holding its heart in putting importance in the aesthetics and ingredients of food prepared, its spirit of preservation towards “limited harvests of ingredients” for ingredients or flavors that can only be experienced during a particular season is translated in the form of “stimulating the five senses”. This is the ultimate “hospitality” to the appetites of those who enjoy them.
Japanese food does not hold the concept of “filling a hungry stomach”, rather by “enjoying your appetite”. It is a food culture that allows your body to effectively digest the food you consume.