Hara Hatchi Bu
I first learned about this phrase used by Okinawans from Dr. Caroline Leaf in her book, Think and Eat Yourself Smart. It means: stop eating when you are no longer hungry, not when your stomach is full. There is a big difference.
Centenarian Okinawans studied in the Blue Zines were never on a diet, and they were not obese. What we should keep in mind is that when centenarians were growing up, the world didn’t have fast food. Most had their own gardens and had not had their taste buds tainted by abundant sugar and fat. In America we have a major disadvantage with fast food on every corner. Temptations surround us. However, we can train our taste buds to like what is good and health building for us, and to actually not even want those poisons in processed and fast food around us.
Toxic food, which processed and fast food is, destroys the healthy trees in our brain, says Dr. Leaf, Cognitive Neuroscientist; and creates deadly black trees which lead to many diseases.
Using this Okinawan saying before eating is a reminder to stop eating when we are 80% full. If we were around Okinawan elders before a meal, it would be common to hear the phrase: Hara Hatch Bu.
Adapting this practice for ourselves would be taking a stand against a huge stumbling block many have in their path: mindless eating. How easy it is to eat mindlessly when we aren’t really even thinking about what is gong into our mouth.
This quote by Dr. Wansink says so much:
We gain weight insidiously, not stuffing ourselves, but eating a little bit too much each day–mindlessly. We can eat about 20% more or less without really being aware of it. And the 20% swing is the difference between losing weight and gaining it,