Traditional Japanese Diet

posted by : Jon Kroupa on 06/05/2011

Related Comic: Turning Japanese

After my friend gave me a box of frozen Tilapia filets I decided I would try a traditional Japanese diet.

The Diet:

This diet is basically fish, vegetables, and white rice. The Japanese tend to have a philosophy of eating until you feel 80% full.

The Experience:

White rice has been taboo for most of the diets I've participated in . To the Japanese white rice is basically the replacement for bread at a meal. In America you might have a roll, the Japanese instead have a small bowl of white rice. I consumed a lot of rice this week, probably a little more than 1 cup of uncooked each day (it was cooked before consumption).

Most mornings for breakfast I had some left over rice along with hardboiled egg whites (I was unable to correctly cook the yolk). Rarely do I have much of an appetite in the morning, so I found it difficult to choke down more than a few spoonfuls of rice. The fact that I wake up every morning dehydrated may have also contributed to my inability to down a lot of food.

My primary lunch this week was some form of chicken teriyaki. Sometimes this came with miso soup, Asian salad (aka iceberg lettuce), rice, and some tempura. Other times it was chicken, rice, and steamed vegetables. Friday I had to deviate a little from my diet because at lunch time I teach an Aikido class at the community college. When I got back from to work I didn't have time to get something appropriate and the only thing left at the little cafe downstairs was a small bowl with grapes and cheese cubes, so I ate that with a pint of chocolate milk.

I don't ordinarily eat a lot of fish, maybe I have 2-3 cans of tuna in a month, and that is stretching it. My dinner from Monday to Saturday was Tilapia fish filet, some white rice, and usually a vegetable. I learned a few things when you suddenly start to eat fish on a daily basis:

  1. Regardless of how you spice your fish, it will still taste like fish
  2. Your house will smell like fish all the time, which you will notice when you come home from work
  3. Children on the street with sometimes point at you and call you "Fish Man," but this is for a different reason entirely (kids can be so cruel)
  4. You will quickly become bored with eating Tilapia every night for dinner.

Half way through the week I discovered I had run out of easy vegetables, and I started to be concerned I wouldn't be getting enough vitamins. Rather than take a multi-vitamin, which I view as the coward's solution, I instead decided to have a little bit of apple sauce or something comparable to supplement my diet. I also drank my remaining v8 from my p90x week. V8 is still a terrible drink.

The Result:

Was this a successful week? Yes, I lost 3.4 pounds. How do I explain this? Although I ate a lot of starchy, carby, rice it counted for basically half of my daily calories. I wasn't really paying attention to them, but a quick calculation puts me at around 1200-1400 a day. Certainly far less than I would normally consume. Was I hungry? Well, yes, I've been hungry for a long time. Last week I certainly felt the affects of hunger more than this week. I don't know if this food was more filling or if I have just become more accustomed to always feeling a little hungry.

Because I had just finished my 100 miles goal and because of the holiday I didn't exercise as much as I normally do. Usually I lift weights Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. This week I only lifted on Wednesday, and although I made sure it was a full workout, a part of me is afraid that I lost muscle because I am a slacker.