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H is for Hara Hachi Bu

March 23, 20221 min read

H is for Hara Hachi Bu

I learned the meaning of this phrase after completing “The Blue Zones”. This book highlights the stories of centenarians,  (people who live to 100 years plus) in high concentrations in specific areas around the world. In Okinawa Japan, one of these blue zones, they have a phrase “Hara Hachi Bu”. It translates to “eat until you are 80% full”. They use this phrase before sitting down to eat, and attribute their longevity to this practice.

Imagine the health benefits over time. 

When we stop at 80% full each time we eat, here's a short list of benefits:

  • Easier Digestion.

  • Better Sleep. 

  • Consistent Energy levels.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

Some of us have these tracks playing in our head “Clean your plate” “Don’t waste food”  “Have some more” “It tastes so good”, and then we  override our body's cues. Yet it's partly cultural, and it’s just become a habit.  We’ve become accustomed to eating to a certain level of “fullness”. 

What if we adopt Hara Hachi Bu?

  • Notice your hunger before you start eating. 

  • Play with this idea of 80% full before you begin. Start with less food. (our eyes are often bigger than our stomach).

  • Then decide if you want more. Slow down. It’s better all around.  

  • Use smaller serving plates (research backs this up).

  • Prior to your first bite, pause, take a breath, and bring your attention into the present.

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Jenifer Paredes

"I can't imagine a better way to use our mind than in service of a healthier body"

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