Hara Hachi Bu/Fast Fasts

When I go visit my mom back in the midwest we always hold hands and she says grace before we eat dinner, even if it is just the two of us.  I love the way she gives my hand a quick squeeze with hers when she finishes the prayer. I have to continue to work hard to intentionally remember to slow down and pause before a meal.

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This 2500 year old short statement is said before meals to remind Okinawans to stop eating when their stomach is 80% full.  Other residents of Blue Zones say a prayer before eating since food is a blessing to be appreciated.  Just pausing before eating can make mealtime more enjoyable and relaxing.

Hara Hachi Bu

How?

  • Say grace or pause for a moment of silence before meals to recognize the sacredness of your food
  • Wear a blue wristband as a reminder to slow down at meals
  • Plate food in the kitchen. People eat 29% more when they eat family style. Put the leftovers away before eating.

Studies have shown that occasionally going without food can provide health benefits.  Fasting can work as a short-term way to lose weight and break food additions by putting cells into survival mode.  This in turn reduces free radicals which strengthens arteries and brain cells along with reducing levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 hormones that can produce several types of cancer.

Fast Fasts

How?

  • Join other members of your faith community or
  • Find a “fast buddy” (it is easier to fast with a friend:)
  • Keep food intake to 500 calories every other day to establish a regular fasting program and safely lose weight.  As with any other fasting programs, drink six glasses of water a day.
  • Try to eat only two meals a day-a large late-morning brunch and a second meal at around 5pm.

Taken from National Geographic’s  “The Blue Zones-The Science of Living Longer”

I like to do a fast once in a while that includes just tea, water, a piece of fruit and cup of miso soup for the day!  It feels good to hear that rumble or low growl when your stomach is empty. Have you felt or heard that recently?

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