#okinawan #diet #health

Table of Contents
# details of the Okinawan diet
# good news about seaweed,
# beware Hijiki seaweed collects arsenic;
# the Okinawa Centenarian Study,
# usa's low-fat, high-grain, low-salt,
canola -hijacking of the Centenarian Study;

# the Okinawan sweet potato;
# not much fermented soy .
11.8 .. 11.9: web.health/okinawan diet/
seaweed vs osteoporosis and dementia
. the okinawan's low-glycemic, high-iodine diet is
known to result in a reduction in degenerative diseases;
what are the numbers?

# osteoporosis:
Okinawans have about 20% fewer hip fractures
than do mainland Japanese,
and Japanese have about 40% fewer hip fractures
than Americans . [oki's have 80% fewer than usa]
(Ross PD, et al. Am J Epidemiol 1991;133:801-9).
# dementia:
Okinawan dementia rates at age 85 are 15%
compared to a japanese and usa rate of 30% .
. unstable blood sugar raises risk of dementia
via AGEs (advanced glycation endproducts);
similar metabolic disorders are responsible for osteoporosis:
. as blood sugar increases, bone creates far more lactic acid;
because, the glucose can get easier than the oxygen can;
not sure that acid could that dissolve bones ...
. anything else about glucose that could affect bone?
diabetes or insulin resistance causes osteoporosis:
The diabetic is at great risk of osteoporosis;
reasons include a lack of insulin function
(a lack of sensitivity to growth signals)
and hyperglycemia's dual action of
killing off osteoblasts
(via restrained transcription factors)
and causing a sorbitol accumulation
that promotes bone resorption .
. AGEs are at work here just as they are in dementia:
such glycations are weakening the collagen,
and that causes bone fragility .
. the mechanism for this is glucose displacing vitamin c .
. one of the most important roles of vit'c,
-- and how it stops scurvy as in bleeding gums --
is its creation of cross-links that are forming the strong bonds
in the protein matrix used by both bone and tendon .
. bone's mineralization is too brittle without this protein matrix .]

. the researchers would like to have us believe
that okinawans' strong bones are due to soy,
but why do okinawans' bone health numbers
far surpass that of their Japanese mainlanders
who surely eat as much tofu ?
. there is something about the oki's diet that is
maintaining their own natural sex hormones,
not just replacing these hormones with soy phytoestrogens .

. these impressive results in hormonal maintenance,
and the resulting resistance to degenerative diseases
are related to the glycemic load of their diet
and to their use of seaweed,
a sure supply of all essential trace minerals,
most notably:
# manganese and selenium[sic]* for powerful anti-oxidants
(selenium especially, is much needed by an active thyroid);
seaweed is not high in selenium;
(though it can be if the water is highly selenated)
we should depend only on sea animals,
especially the livers; or  supplements  .
seaweed is a sure source for manganese;
but 6tsp of dried kelp has only 0.02 mg;
a cup of green tea has up to 1.58 mg
(black tea has as little as 0.18 mg).
. the adult dose is 2.3mg per day .

. other good sources include:
12 mg per 100g blanched hazelnuts;
6.8 mg per 100g blue mussels;
4 mg per 100g brown Rice flour,
4.5 mg per 100g dried squash seed kernels
4.5 mg per 100g dried pumpkin seed kernels
0.42 mg per Avocado
0.33 mg per gram ginger ]
# magnesium for maintaining insulin sensitivity;
# 10 times the normal dosing of iodine .
. not only does iodine help proper thyroid function
(for a brisk metabolism that keeps glucose low
and supports other hormones),
but also,
the other minerals also protect from cancer .
Manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD)
is needed for protection against oxidative stress,
and a dysfunction of it raises the risk of breast cancer .
. selenium, needed for glutathione peroxidase,
is well known for decreasing the risk of several cancers .
glycemic loads compared:
. while usa gets a lot of sugar and grains,
and the japanese get refined rice;
the long-lived in Okinawa, for much of their life,
were saved from starvations by Satsuma Imo
-- the Japanese breed of S.American sweet potato,
(also known as nagaimo, ichōimo, yamatoimo, yamaimo).
. does that have a low glycemic index?
it's a bit better than rice or bread,
and very low when used raw
(soaking the gratings in vinegar can neutralize oxalates).

. however, complicating the diet debate is that
some of their success appears to be genetic:
. even after being introduced to american food,
they appear to be genetically endowed
with a caloric restriction phenotype
(exhibiting shorter stature,
and having a lower risk for some
chronic age-related diseases).
and, this suggests that genetic factors
have played an important role
in the longevity phenotype in Okinawa .

better off replacing soy with some other legume:
. "tofu" is 12% of their diet (and, quite possibly,
often not detoxified with fermentation
--. some authors who mention that natto is fermented
failed to mention fermentation when covering
the tofu used by okinawans[; also,
below is an author claiming it was alcoholic,
and given only to those recovering from illness]).
. and,
whether or not they fermented their tofu
is interesting; because,
the only thing the okinawan health profile doesn't
excel in
is the prevention of certain unspecified cancers ...
can you guess which ones those are?
I would bet on {pancreas, thyroid}; because,
tofu and other forms of unfermented soy
are known to cause these cancers in animals .
. for the details on their rate of cancer
compare these 2 tables:
Cancer Deaths (per 100,000 people per year)
Breast Ovarian Prostate Colon
6  3  4  8 -- Okinawa  
33  7  28  19 -- USA
Age Adjusted Death Rates (per 100,000 people per year)
Cancer  CHD     Stroke  
97  18  35  --Okinawa  
132  100  28  --USA  
--( they brag about the hormone-related cancers
that soy is reducing to under 24% of usa's rates;
but their total cancer rates are a far less flattering
74% of usa's).

details of the okinawan diet:
The traditional Okinawan diet includes
low-caloric density, plant-based foods
such as sweet potatoes, green and yellow vegetables,
soy products, fish, and limited amounts of meat
[whole animal, not just muscle, for less excitotoxicity]
(Sho 2001; Suzuki et al. 2001; Willcox et al. 2004).
Consistent with their low caloric intake,
older Okinawans share several characteristics
of the caloric restriction phenotype
as part of their exceptional longevity phenotype,
including short stature, low body mass index,
and high HDL levels relative to other Japanese .
. this phenotype shares several similarities with
lab models whose health lifespan is increased by
20% to 70% via a mutation that
hinders growth hormone biosynthesis and actions,
or increases sensitivity to insulin or IGF-1 .
The extended longevity of these genetic variants
is thought to result from lower {insulin, IGF-1} levels,
higher insulin sensitivity,
a more efficient {carb, lipid} metabolism,
reduced production of reactive oxygen species,
enhanced anti-oxidant defenses,
and greater resistance to cytotoxic stress .

great news about seaweed:
Seaweeds have been a staple of Japan for centuries.
They constitute 10% of the diet in Japan.
The most common forms of seaweed in the Japanese diet are
Nori, Kombu and Wakame, but a lesser-known variety
called Mozuku in Japan (Angels Hair Seaweed)
has been a regular part of the diet of Okinawans .

Sea Vegetables:
Sea vegetables contain 10 to 20 times
the {minerals*, vitamins} of land vegetables
-- higher than any other unprocessed food --
and available in chelated, colloidal forms
that make them especially bioavailable .
. protein is sometimes as much as 48%,
[though that is considerably less bioavailable;
because,] they are rich in soluble fiber .
*: [ it skimps on selenium,
and while very high in sodium, has zero chloride .]

. large brown seaweeds known as
the "kelps" (including wakame and kombu)
contain alginic acid* which protects against
heavy metals and radioactive isotopes,
including strontium 90, [and hot iodine .
(Japan's meltdown has recently turned up
seaweed with radioactive iodine)]
*: [Whole brown seaweeds (not granulated) .]
. sea veg' has traditionally cured heart disease,
cancer, and thyroid problems.
. wrack seaweed reduces hypertension .
Harvard School of Public Health:
"( seaweed has shown consistent anti-tumor activity.
In extrapolating these results to the Japanese population,
seaweed may be an important factor in the low rates
of certain cancers in Japan.)
. they are refering to breast cancer rates
-- lowest in the world --
and strongly linked to Japan's daily diet of seaweed.

Arctic wrack fed to hens can reduce egg' cholesterol:
. the incidence of strokes was reduced 100%
among stroke-prone animals fed SeaGreens® .

The Okinawa Centenarian Study

. according to the Dr.Oz show,
 seaweed is a Japanese secret for anti-aging,
[the benefits are an assured source of rare minerals,
including iodine(thyroid), and manganese(SOD) .]
"( seaweed is a serious anti-aging power food.
Packed with the broadest range of minerals
of any food known on earth
as well as loads of anti-inflammatory B vitamins;
seaweed also has anti-wrinkle properties).

. not so secret is the health benefits of
being challenged with self-employment
and esp'ly when it involves caring for another life
(Ikigai “that which makes life worth living”).
studies have shown it could add up to 7 years
to one's life expectancy .
. matcha green tea
is another major anti-depressant of theirs .

politics of whole grains:
Dr. Oz recommends brown rice (whole-grain rice);
whereas, the Japanese eat white rice
"(a short-grain white rice, which is lower on the glycemic index).
[. while fiber is a good thing,
the fiber in grains comes with a lot phytoestrogens
and poly'oils that go rancid easily;
the best place to get your fiber is from seaweed and legumes,
such as fermented soy or boiled beans .
. the legumes they get include natto and miso soup .]

Okinawa has 39.5 centenarians per 100,000
compared to the world average of: 14.09
--[and less than 10-per in usa .]
. the largest energy intake is from
the Satsuma sweet potato,
as well as a large amount of plant foods such as seaweeds
and herbaceous plants.

"Satsuma sweet potato" ->
Satsuma Imo (Japaneese sweet potato)
Khalilah Aleem @ CalorieLab:
. the only difference from an American sweet potato
is that Satsuma-imos tend to have
a milder flavor, softer flesh,
and a lighter yellow coloring.
Not too long ago, varied colors were intro'd,
such as green, yellow, red, and purple
also known as Murasaki-imo.
Unfortunately, it’s sometimes hard to find
a Murasaki-imo here in Japan -- they sell out quickly .

SATSUMA-IMO The Japanese Sweet Potato:
. 2 varieties:
# Nakamurasak i.:
. purple flesh and pronounced sweetness .
# Beniazuma or Benikomachi:
. light yellow flesh,
-- Thanks to its abundant carotene,
it is one of today’s most popular varieties.
It is ideal for use in dishes like
Kinton (sweet mashed Japanese yam),
and Imo Yokan (a block-shaped cake made of Japanese yam)
In the U.S., the Satsuma-imo is called Japanese yam
to distinguish it from the sweet potato.
In Japan, Satsuma-imo goes by other names too.
. in the Satsuma (Kagoshima) region,
It is called “kara-imo” pr “ryukyu-imo”
and in the Ryukyu (Okinawa) region,
“nmu” or “ ara-imo” .

. the Japanese sweet potato was typically raised
and bred in the Satsuma (Kagoshima) region,
hence “Satsuma-imo”;
but it's native to central america .
3000 BC: raised in Mexico and Guatamala .
1400's: brought to Europe;
1590's: introduced from Spain into China;
and from China, through the Ryukyu Islands,
Tanegashima and Satsuma [okinawa]
mid-Edo period:
. Konyo Aoki, a scholar of Western studies,
began cultivating the plant in the Kanto region .
dawn of modernity:
. the Satsuma-imo saved many from starvation .

The Satsuma-imo, is rich in calcium, Vitamin C,
kalium[potassium] and dietary fiber.
When the Satsuma-imo is cut,
it exudes jalapin, a slimy white substance .
When cooked at 160 to 180 degrees F for several hours,
Satsuma-imo’s natural sweetness and sugar content
are increased through enzymatic action,
making it [dangerous only when over-cooked].
. greatest USA production is Livingston, California
(August ... March) -- ready year round in storage .

tofuyo is okinawan Doufuru:
[. why is my new anthropology source contradicting other sources
in saying that ok's eat tofu without mentioning that it's fermented ?
(the author does mention fermentation,
but only in mainland japan's natto)
. so what are the names for it? is all ok'tufu fermented?
perhaps the author simply assumed that tofu is tofu
unaware of it being fermented
because it didn't smell like natto?
Characterization and Product Innovation of Sufu
[@] exo/health fermented legume sufu aka tofuyo,
. sufu (fu-ru) means “moulded milk”
and tosufu (dou-fu-ru) means "moulded soymilk".
so, Officially,
sufu should be named Furu (or Doufuru) in Chinese.
Because of the numerous dialects used in China
and the difficulties of phonetic translation from Chinese into English,
sufu has appeared in literature under the following synonyms:
sufu, tosufu, fu-{ru,yu}, foo-yue,
{dou,tou,toe}-fu-ru, and  jiang-dou-fu .
. in Japan (Yasuda & Kobayashi, 1989),
Sufu is also known as tofuyo, nyu-fu or fu-nyu .
tofuyo is fermentation of Okinawa-style tofu (shima-dofu)
. tofuyo is an Okinawa-style tofu (shima-dofu) that is fermented
in a mixture of awamori (a traditional alcoholic drink from Okinawa),
rice malt, and red yeast .
Characterization of Tofuyo (Fermented Tofu)
Masaaki YASUDA
Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, 
University of the Ryukyus,
Senbaru, Nishihara-cho, Okinawa 903-0213, JAPAN
Tofuyo is the excellent vegetable protein food made from tofu
by the action of microorganisms in Okinawa, Japan.
It is nutritiously rich with good protein, fat, and other nutrients.
This food is a creamy cheese-typeproduct
with a mild flavor, fine texture, and good taste.
Tofuyo is very similar to the foods called
sufu, tou-fu-ju and furu in China
or tau-hu-yee in Thailand
and its root is considered as sufu in China.
It was brought to Okinawa from Fujian, China
and has been introduced since 18th-century Ryukyu dynasty .
Since the product was brined and had a strong taste,
formerly it was not accepted directly by the people.
Therefore, it was recreated by cooks in the dynasty
for an accepted taste which was of milder flavor.
As the food has the characteristic properties of
smooth texture like as a cheese, sources of valuable protein,
improvement of the circulation by awamori (traditional liquor)
and suitability for one’s taste,
it has been treasured as nutritious food for health
to be taken after an illness
or as a side dish at such a time .
Nowadays, attention has been paid to
this food as vegetable cheese,
which is cholesterol free food.
[ the author describes tofuyo
prepared by Monascus fungus ].

book reviews for that
"Okinawa-Program" grains & soy salesman:
The Okinawa Program: How the World's Longest-Lived People
Achieve Everlasting Health--and How You Can Too .

John Granger:
I lived in Okinawa for four years and have studied nutrition
and worked as a dietary counselor for fifteen years.
With these credentials, I heartily recommend the Okinawan program
but I cannot encourage you to buy this book
without sharing three big reservations and misgivings.

First, the Okinawans are almost certainly NOT
the longest lived people on the earth.
. every young person of talent flees the country
keeping their population artificially low
and further skewing demographics.
[. another source added that the okinawans have big families;
ie, the people that stay behind on the island
are those that won a personality contest,
or otherwise have the social skills that reduce stress .
. this shows that if you just flush all unhappy people ...
you add 7years right there to the island longevity .
. when this reviewer mentioned
how the war affected their genetics,
he was refering to the ones that
could survive the starvation afterwards .
(I was wondering how the strong would survive,
wouldn't it be the cowards who survived?
I mean it wasn't a karate match, it was blaze of automatic fire;
then again I recall the guys had quite a time with ninja types
-- staying active and stealthy with little food or sleep, ...).]

. the program they recommend
is Andrew Weil's integrative medicine diet
re-packaged here with a Okinawan face .
and Dean Ornish's writings.
Anything by Michio Kushi and his students
will bring you closer to Okinawan
than this book
. we had to import whole grains,
the heart of this program,
from the States because it was
unavailable on the island
except in medicinal packages;
to the Okinawans,
wanting to eat *genmai* or brown rice
was a sign of ill health
and only to be eaten at that time.
Eating the Okinawan Program way is associated with
war time austerities and deprivation
- and avoided like the plague.

If you need to believe there is a
Shrangri-La Diet Program,
this book is a well packaged program for you.
[ . there is a Shangri-La Diet program!
it was a book sharing a personal experiment
not a real, established program .]

For help with the food they recommend,
buy Macrobiotic cookbooks and cooking classes.
for a more honest and applicable way
to improve your health,
read Dean Ornish's Love and Survival
or anything by Andrew Weil .

Their menus TOTALLY contradict 
their research, May 31, 2001:
. The authors write that each day, the average Okinawan
eats seven servings of fruits and vegetables,
seven servings of grains, and two servings of tofu.
Fish is eaten two or three times per week.
During the first week, the "Everlasting Health" menu
includes 5 servings of fish,
7 servings of poultry, pork, beef, and 12 servings of dairy. ...
Okinawans eat just two-three servings of fish each week,
and little or no milk, dairy or meat.
Midway through the book, a the authors include a mention of
Okinawan "power foods" containing protective phytochemicals.
This list of antioxidant-rich foods includes
tofu, miso, carrots, tea, goya melon, konbu (dried kelp),
cabbage, nori (dried seaweed), bean sprouts, raw soybeans,
sweet potatoes, and peppers.
Unfortunately, the authors did not have the vision
or the culinary expertise to include these foods in their
"Four Weeks to Everlasting Health" diet.

With diet, it's not what you eat, but what you don't
that becomes the critical factor towards
achieving and maintaining good health.

March 17, 2002 Joel M. Kauffman:
The Hidden Agenda:
One of the major "findings" in this book was that
Okinawans consumed very little saturated fat
(meaning fat containing saturated fatty acid [SFA]),
and this was supposed to be a major benefit.
The main oil used in cooking was said to be canola oil.
Since canola oil is a recent invention,
becoming common only in the last 20 years
in Canada and the USA,
it could hardly have been a benefit to
Okinawans who are now very old.
My Univ. of Sciences, Philadelphia co-workers:
Mignon S. Adams and David C. Geliebter,
spent a month in Okinawa recently,
with special attention on food.
They did not see any canola oil in use.
The common oils were
lard (44% sat'fats),
soybean (15% sat'fats)
peanut (16% sat'fats), rapeseed (1% sat'fats).
Data are mostly from
Mary C. Enig 2000`Know Your Fats,

The Okinawans also eat significant amounts of pork
and moderate amounts of chicken,
both of which contain considerable SFAs.
There is no unbiased evidence that SFAs are unhealthful
(Taubes G, Science 2001:291:2536-2545).
This was confirmed by Stephen C. Byrnes,
who has friends raised in Okinawa.
They ate fish, rice and vegetables, but pork and lard "
...have always been the mainstay of this people's diet".
Sally Fallon and Mary C. Enig quoted an Okinawan professor
who wrote that the Okinawan diet was "greasy and good".
The glycemic index table was incomplete,
missing all the good foods that have very low glycemic indices
that diabetics can eat, such as nuts, cheese, fats, oils, and meat.
Diabetics have been punished for decades
by being handed tables such as this
where they might assume that foods not included
should not be eaten.
Nuts, in particular, despite their carbohydrate content,
have very low glycemic indices,
and high nut consumption is strongly associated with longer lifespan
(Hu FB et al., British Medical J. 1998:317:1341-5).
These authors seem to have had a hidden agenda.

February 22, 2002 By  Stephen Byrnes:
A Trip into Fantasy Land,
This book claims to be an accurate presentation of the
"Okinawan Diet," but the elements of that supposed diet
are a far cry from reality.
I live in Hawaii where there is a large Okinawan community
(including first, second, third, etc., generations)
and I have many friends who were raised in Okinawa.
Believe me: Their diet is anything but "low-fat" as this book claims.

Okinawans are known for their preference for fatty pork
and they principally use lard in their cooking
--nothing low fat here I can assure you.
They do eat vegetables, rice, fish,
and those delicious purple potatoes,
but the mainstay of Okinawan cuisine is pork.

This book is simply a politically correct
re-writing of the actual evidence
done by the Spin Doctors of modern nutrition.
You're better off getting
Fallon & Enig's "Nourishing Traditions",
or Allan and Lutz' "Life Without Bread" .

March 6, 2002 Stephen Byrnes:
CAVEAT EMPTOR! The Real Okinawan Diet,
This book is a very selective presentation
of Okinawan cuisine and does not present the whole picture.
Its contention that the good health of the Okinawans
is due to their diet of
fish, vegetables, white rice, and canola oil
is simply wrong.
Canola oil? A 20 year-old food product
contributing to longevity in Okinawans
who are now in their 80s and 90s?
How exactly is this possible?
Okinawans do eat fish, vegetables, and rice,
but they also eat lots of pork
and routinely cook with lard, not canola oil.

Detractors notwithstanding (see below reviews),
Okinawan cuisine, according to
Okinawan gerontologist Kazuhiko Taira,
"is very healthy--and very, very greasy"
(Health Magazine, Sept. 1996, pp. 57-63).
Taira also revealed in that interview/article
that Okinawans, in general, eat an equal amount
of pork and fish per day--about 100 grams each.

[Orvan refutes citing:
Nov 26, 2007 7:47:26 AM:
the Sep 1996 Health Magazine report(pp. 57-63):
Take a Lesson From the People of Okinawa .
. Yukio Yamori (Kazuhiko Taira's research partner)
did reveal that
at an average daily meat consumption of 12 oz.,
Americans were eating more than 3 times the
average Okinawan total daily meat intake
(meaning it adds up to about 100 grams daily),
. Not only is pork NOT served every day,
but being the _staple_ meat,
it is eaten in less than 100g per day.

The liking for and emphasis on pork
is not a new feature in Okinawan cuisine,
but a historical one.
Its true that heart disease has risen among some Japanese
who have moved to the USA,
but the rise was shown to be from
abandoning Japanese social customs for American ones
--not from dietary changes
(Am Jnl Epidemiology, Sept 1976;104(3):225-247).

Japanese researchers actually blamed the higher rates of
heart disease, cancer, asthma, allergies, etc.,
not on saturated fats and meat,
but on increases in omega-6-rich processed vegetable oils
(used in every fast food establishment to cook most foods in
--Prog Lipid Res, 1997;35(4):409-457).
[dietary fatty acids: the n-6/n-3 balance
and chronic elderly diseases]

This book is certainly correct in pointing out
the benefits of regular exercise and meditation
but it is dead wrong in its
presentation of the traditional Okinawan cuisine
which is anything but low-fat.

You are better of getting
(to really learn about traditional diets),
(to learn the truth about
low-carbohydrate nutrition),
(to learn the truth about heart disease),
rather than this biased book.

This book extracts a small part of the data
and uses it in support of the authors' diet prescriptions.
The lifestyle changes they propose are basically sound,
but you can get the same advice in a
much more readable format from
Dr. Weil who happened to write the forward.

For a book that supposedly has its roots
in statistics and science,
I felt quite annoyed with the assumptions
and leaps of logic they took with their data.
For example, they stated that the Okinawans could have
improved their diet if only they didn't consume
so much sodium.
These people often live to be 100+ ... so
why isn't the interpretation
that our notions about sodium are wrong
or that with the right dietary adjustments,
--[as in a less glycemic, insulinemic diet]--
more sodium can be tolerated?
I was often left with the impression
that the data was used to support their
preconceptions about diet
and not that the diet was
the product of the information obtained.
So while the suggestions are sound,
I wonder what valuable information was lost
due to the scientist's filter.

Keiko Yasuda (Tokyo, Japan) October 28, 2001:
a response to Owl's review of Sept 9, 2001.
. I am a Japanese woman from Tokyo
who also lived in Okinawa for several years
but I have a very different opinion from Owl.
I studied anthropology and wrote my thesis on Okinawan culture
so I feel that I have some qualification
to comment on The Okinawa Program
both as a general prescriptive, self-help book
and a scientific work.
I can also offer you my interpretation of
Okinawa and its culture.

Owl (the Sept 9, 2001 reviewer)
sounds like so many other self-proclaimed "experts"
on Okinawan culture from abroad.
Typically they live in Okinawa 1-3 years (as did Owl),
learn very little of the culture
(including the language, customs, history),
interact on only a superficial basis with the locals,
and sometimes learn a little karate.
When they leave they consider themselves
cultural experts and gurus (his correspondence from
a "remote mountain village" in Japan
suggests that this applies in his case).

I believe that the Okinawa Program gives a
realistic, intriguing account of Okinawan life and culture
and valuable "hands-on" health advice.
It has hundreds of scientific references
so is hardly what I would call "superficial".
In fact, the text itself is referenced,
so that one can verify all the statements the authors make.
This is rare for books written by scientists for a lay audience
and I think that helps to explain its appeal
to both the lay audience and the scientist. ... .

In one sense, Owl's review is very illuminating
because it illustrates the problems of modern day Okinawa,
where the youth no longer value as much the old ways
and don't eat the traditional diet
or practice the traditional martial arts
or believe in the native spiritual traditions.
In fact, very few Okinawans under the age of fifty
even speak the Okinawan language,
which is quite distinct from Japanese.
Sadly sometimes they cannot speak fluently
with their great-grandparents,
who may speak only the Okinawan language.

Owl reveals his superficial experience
with Okinawan culture when he states
"did I ever see older Okinawans
out practicing Tai Chi or karate
or any other martial art for exercise
or anything else? No! "
Shoshin Nagamine, one of the giants of Okinawan karate,
would turn over in his grave if he read that comment!!
I suspect that Owl never bothered to seek out
the multitude of martial arts dojos around Okinawa
where karate has been nurtured,
practiced and spread to every corner of the
globe over the past few centuries.
So for him they don't exist.
Yet, thousands of Okinawan karate dojos exist
 around the world.
The hundreds of thousands of devotees
may be surprised to hear that older Okinawans
"don't practice the martial arts",
especially since their "masters"
 are usually older Okinawans.

I also suspect that Owl never made it to the
traditional villages of rural Okinawa,
especially in the Northern half of the main island
so he never saw the elders out walking,
gardening or participating in traditional dance.
To correct Owl once again,
 the authors never said that masses of Okinawans
 are doing Tai Chi on the beach
but that many engage in traditional dance,
which resembles Tai Chi
and likely had similar origins and influences
 from ancient China
(and likely offers similar health benefits).

I really had to laugh when Owl said that he
never saw karate on the beach in Okinawa.
I guess he never made it to the beach on Sunday morning
where 97-year-old karate master Seikichi Uehara
takes his many pupils through their paces.
 That doesn't surprise me either.
I don't think that I have to ask Owl if he ever
 participated in a shimisai
(picnic with the ancestors at the family tomb)
or ask him if he saw the sacred sites
on the island where the elders gather
 to pray for peace and health.

Finally, he does have a good point when he said that
other Japanese live a long time too.
But if he actually read the Okinawa Program
 he would see that an important reason
 that Okinawans live longer
is that they have the lowest heart disease,
lowest stroke levels
and the least cancer in Japan.
This is largely related to their overall healthier lifestyle,
which includes a higher intake of vegetables,
soy products and less salt in the diet,
as well as more exercise and cultural traditions
such as moai(support groups)
that increase social support
and may lead to lower suicide rates, among other benefits.

Okinawa goes against the social gradient in terms of
having lower socio-economic status
and higher life expectancy.
This is quite unlike what you see in the rest of Japan
or the rest of the world,
unlike what Owl would have you believe.

Okinawa  life expectancy leads
some other prefectures in Japan
by only a few months and others by a few years.
As the Okinawans lose their traditional healthy ways
the overall lead is closing.
To be precise,
Okinawans live on average to be 81.2 years,
Japanese 79.9 years and Americans 76.8 years.
But Okinawans are more active
and less disabled as they age
and they have over 4 times the number of centenarians
 as Japan or the U.S. ... .

To sum up; The Okinawa Program is full of
useful prescriptive advice and fascinating information
but if you are already a self-acclaimed guru
who does not wish to come down from your
remote mountain village to mingle with the people
or you are simply a "know-it-all"
then save your money.
If you are like me, and want some
practical and helpful information on
how to live a long, active life,
lose some fat, stay active, and learn something about
different cultures, including healthy eating patterns,
exercise habits and stress reduction
then invest in The Okinawa Program.
It may be the best investment you make.

11.9: co.amazon#Keiko Yasuda/health/okinawan diet/
Response to Owl, October 28, 2001:
[my response to Keiko]:
Finally, he does have a good point when he said that
other Japanese live a long time too.
But if he actually read the Okinawa Program
he would see that an important reason that
 Okinawans live longer
is that they have the lowest heart disease,
lowest stroke levels and the least cancer in Japan.
This is largely related to their overall healthier lifestyle,
which includes a higher intake of vegetables,
soy products and less salt in the diet,
as well as more exercise and cultural traditions
such as moai(support groups)
that increase social support and may lead to
 lower suicide rates, among other benefits.
. I found your contribution to the cultural aspects fascinating,
but I think you're being deluded by
the medical advice of this program
-- it is completely owned by the
American Medical Assoc .
. you think there's a problem with salt?
besides Okinawan genetics, and a low glycemic load,
it is the sea vegetables that are saving the Okinawans
-- and that stuff is loaded with salt!
. I don't see any mention of Okinawan
thyroid and pancreatic cancer rates;
are the Okinawans mainly fermenting their tofu?
I am sure they would do even better
by replacing that soy with beans and olive oil .
I am very into beans, seaweed, and some raw egg yolks .
. I'm not into grains like this book is,
and it was great to see 2 Okinawan centurian twins
reminding the doctors on some American tv show
that Okinawans ate a lot of yams and some pork
-- not an American grain-heavy vegetarian diet .

11.9: news.health/okinawan diet/
seaweed has fans but beware hijiki:
. the solution to lack of iodine is sea veg!
. managed to get hijiki:
- the only seaweed that the UK FSA recommends against
because of high arsenic levels in it being carcinogenic.
-- and see grass-fed @ La Jolla, California .
. Ortho.iodo.supplementation @ The Iodine Group:
"( Orthoiodosupplementation
challenges the traditional view on iodine
in many fundamental ways, especially
(1) how much iodine is appropriate and necessary,
(2) how much is "excess" and potentially toxic, and
(3) what are the criteria to determine what is "excess".
usa`conventional View.
The conventionalists see the RDA of approximately 150 mcg
as appropriate and necessary.  Amounts above 1 mg (1000 mcg)
would be seen as excessive and potentially toxic.
And the primary criterion for determining excess
would be thyroid function, especially TSH .
From this point of view, the traditionalists view
most Americans as getting sufficient iodine from their daily diets,
and the primary concern is Iodine Toxicity,
Orthoiodosupplementation View.
In contrast, the Orthoiodosupplementation point of view
sees the RDA as [far] too low, with 6.5 - 12.5 mg [not mics']
seen as necessary for total body health for most people.
Amounts of iodine up to 50 mg (and sometimes more)
may be necessary for brief periods to restore iodine sufficiency.