Japanese Mindfulness Traditions and Health
Japan is one of the several other Asian countries influenced by Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is also one of the few developed countries where mindfulness has traditionally been an important part of mealtimes. Children are taught to eat mindfully and with a sense of appreciation at both home and school. For example, itadakimasu (pronounced with a silent “u”) is said before eating, and roughly translates to let’s eat”. Afterwards, it is polite to say gochisou-sama (thank you for the meal). Appreciation is extended to all involved in preparing the meal, from farmers to those cooking; and to all animal and plant lives given so we can eat (it is believed that even fruits are alive). In a survey of 270 Japanese students, greater appreciation for food was associated with lower body weight, less fatigue, higher consumption of healthy foods and lower consumption of junk foods.