In contemporary Japan, the modernization which has occurred since the last century has led to major changes in how people live and eat. It has also brought with it various problems, one of which is the prevalence of lifestyle-related illnesses. Traditionally, eating, health, and Nature were understood to be closely related. This was expressed in phrases such as “ishoku-dogen” (both medicine and food derive from the same idea of maintaining health) and “shindo-fuji.” (man and the earth are not separate). In recent years, these traditional values, which are congruent with the laws of Nature, have resurfaced in the public awareness, particularly in Japan’s culinary culture.
MOA’s Food and Eating Program provides guidance in achieving both physical and mental health through a way of eating embedded in traditional values – the principles of respecting and adapting to Nature.
Mokichi Okada formulated his philosophy of eating according to his concept of human nature as deriving its life-force from a union of body and spirit. That is, foods have “spiritual energy” which nurtures the spirit of human body. The denser the spiritual energy, the stronger the body becomes. The strength of the physical body follows from this.
His unique philosophy of eating extends to the mechanics of nutrition within the human body. It defies conventional dietetics because of differences in the fundamental assumption about human beings.
MOA International has formulated 5 comprehensive points of healthy eating, covering how to choose good food, how to enjoy eating, how to prepare meals, and so on, based on Okada’s philosophy and principles. It promotes them through MOA’s Health Promotion Seminars and Cooking Schools.
The Food and Eating Program recognizes the importance of mental attitudes, as well as physical soundness. The program helps enrich the eating experience in a way that enhances the benefits of good eating habits. The program agenda is totally compatible with the Government’s new policy intended to change national eating habits as spelled out in the Basic Law for Promoting Good Eating Habits. Supporting the Government’s policy, MOA International hosts various activities and events, in cooperation with other individuals and advocacy groups, to promote good eating habits throughout the country.
Five Practical Points of Healthy Eating
- Choose food materials that are full of vital energy
a. choose fresh ingredients
b. choose seasonal ingredients
c. choose produce grown by Nature Farming
d. choose locally grown produce and/or products
- Eat with gratitude for the food and for those who have prepared the meal
a. dine together with all family members
b. observe good table manners (e.g. saying “itadakimasu” and “gochiso-sama” or grace)
c. pay attention to the presentation of the food (choice of crockery, etc.)
d. the use of favorite cutlery and dishes enhances the eating experience
e. arrange some flowers on the dinner table
- Avoid too much seasoning
a. make the best use of the flavor of the fresh materials
b. use as many homemade ingredients as possible (e.g. homemade stocks, soups etc.)
c. lower the salt content (herbs and vinegar can substitute)
- Eat more grains and vegetables
a. staple foods (e.g. rice) should form the main part of the meal
b. eat semi-refined or brown rice
c. side dishes should contain more vegetables than meat or fish
- Appropriate diet and exercise
a. avoid overeating
b. get adequate amount of exercise (e.g. take a walk regularly)