0

votes

What if you could make just one suggestion to benefit someone's health?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 08, 2013 at 6:37 AM

I'm in a perhaps interesting situation. I have a close friend who I'd very much like to make some lifestyle suggestions to, but there's a complicating factor. She's Japanese, and I'm American. Her English is at a rather basic level, and so is my Japanese. I can communicate something easy like, "Maybe you should try going off wheat for a few months." But there's no way I could get into all the reasoning, or explain the theoretical framework behind GAPS-style protocols, or get into the epistemological basis of paleo reasoning, or anything like that.

What I need is a short list of the suggestions that have the best ratio of ease of explanation, to ease of implementation, to strength of positive effect. What advice would I be able to give that would be ridiculously self-explanatory, have a quick enough effect to have her convinced without getting into all the theoretical stuff, etc? My initial thought on the subject of diet is to suggest that she avoid unfermented dairy, soy, and wheat. This would leave yogurt, miso, natto, soy sauce, etc., but remove milk, tofu, bread, pasta, ramen, pizza, cake, and so on.

Any other ideas? Perhaps suggest blacking out her room, or joining a gym, or something like that? What could I suggest that would be easy to communicate, extremely self-explanatory in implementation, and so on? Any supplements I could suggest that would be extremely likely to have a strong and noticeable positive effect? Perhaps vitamin D? She complains of constipation sometimes, so perhaps magnesium? Anything else? What sorts of suggestions would be most likely to help virtually anyone?

First attempt:

  • Avoid unfermented dairy, soy, and wheat
  • Eat more fermented food
  • Black out her room, and use an alarm clock to wake up
  • Join a gym, and go regularly
  • Try vitamin D and/or magnesium
  • Probiotics?
  • ???

Thanks in advance for any suggestions! Although this is a rather unique situation I'm in, I believe the answers would apply also to the much more common situation of being constrained not by language barrier, but simply by time, etc.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on April 08, 2013
at 07:11 AM

Yep, that's what I was going to suggest. You could also say "if you couldn't go hunt it or pull-it from the ground/trees with your own hands"

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 08, 2013
at 07:01 AM

Oh yeah. It's only somewhat recent that Western junk food has begun to make a big impact on Japan. Perhaps I could simply start out by suggesting that she emphasize traditional Japanese food whenever possible. That would be virtually impossible to misunderstand. Every Japanese person knows what it means to eat the sort of food their great grandmother would have cooked at home back in the day

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 08, 2013
at 07:00 AM

Oh yeah. It's only somewhat recent that Western junk food has begun to make a big impact on Japan. Perhaps I could simply start out by suggesting that she emphasize traditional Japanese food whenever possible. That would be virtually impossible to misunderstand. Every Japanese person knows what it means to eat traditional Japanese food

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 08, 2013
at 06:53 AM

First attempt at taking the content of your statement and putting it in a more self-explanatory form: "Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't have recognized when she was young"

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 08, 2013
at 06:51 AM

How would you suggest phrasing it so as to make it ridiculously self-explanatory? A problem I anticipate is ending up in the familiar situation of having her constantly have to ask me, "Wait, is this processed, or is it ok?" I feel like the term 'processed junk food' is sort of a code word for 'what we've been told to avoid by people we trust'. It's extremely obvious to us, but to the uninitiated, it would often be unclear

  • 5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

    asked by

    (266)
  • Views
    1K
  • Last Activity
    1547D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

5 Answers

4
508a4ebd259022f415326f7a6baec00c

(482)

on April 08, 2013
at 08:30 AM

I am currently living in Tokyo, and have been dating a Japanese girl for over 3 years now, so I understand the situation. Japanese ideas of diet and exercise are very different from the paleo-lifestyle.

My girlfriend noticed that I had altered my diet over the past months, but thought nothing of it. This weekend I explained why. I found out that many people are as emotional about food as they are about religion and politics. Talking with her about why I don't agree with gluten made her defensive, and ended with, "I don't want to hear about that!"

So... If I could do it all over again... DO NOT speak negatively directly regarding dairy, SOY, or wheat. Soy in particular, which is a staple of Japanese food and culture. Wheat is close too, because Japanese noodles are some of the best in the world.

Also, many Japanese do not find gyms attractive. You can kill two birds with one stone by exercising outside, using exercises that are easy for beginners, and very effective for starting out. I suggest Mark Sisson's Fitness Plan for great introductory exercises that require a $0 gym membership AND since she will be doing them outside, gets more sunlight. It's easier to start exercising if you can cut out the gym membership, gym environment (which can be very intimidating for beginners, weak Japanese ones especially).

To summarize:

  1. Stay positive. Instead of saying, "Avoid X, Y, and Z because they're bad for you" try, "What works for me, is taking a more natural approach to food. Try eating more 'real foods' such as A, B, and C". If you must ban foods, eliminate processed foods, as everybody can agree that Cheetos and McDonalds is garbage.
  2. Introduce exercise in a comfortable way, outdoors, with the appropriate degree of difficulty for body-weight exercises. You can also incorporate yoga, if that's appealing to her (that's how I introduced exercise to my girlfriend successfully).
  3. Don't worry about avoiding bad foods 100% initially. Gradually move away from them, while finding healthy paleo-friendly foods that she likes. Keeping proportions balanced.
  4. Boast the benefits of probiotics. My girlfriend understands the concept and likes to feel healthy eating them. If you're going to permit miso and natto, encourage it, and also suggest kimchi, which adds a lot of flavor and great probiotics.

Please let me know how it goes! I'm very curious about your success with your friend. Unfortunately I'm now fighting an uphill battle with my Japanese girlfriend, because I didn't approach it correctly from the beginning. After a good amount of time and wanting to learn more about why she's feeling better, and healthier, (it's contagious and addictive) then you can get into the science and the specifics.

3
6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

on April 08, 2013
at 09:06 AM

Eat real foods.

That is probably the best advice. If man made it don't eat it.

Japanese women are usually much healthier and better fed and slimmer than US/UK women so you usually start off from a good point. They tend not to eat more than they need. Encourage all that lovely fish, seaweed, sea food and veg.

0
142d7e06e608cff536ab78e6ca78ce38

on April 08, 2013
at 06:50 AM

Maybe suggest eating food that is not processed. I taught in China for three years, now in Thailand and while there taught a lot of Japanese students. There diet is very different from ours and I do think they start from a better point that us Westerners do but in saying that they are starting to introduce Western foods i.e. junk! I would suggest you help her by suggesting one thing at a time until she understands then go from there.

good luck.

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 08, 2013
at 07:00 AM

Oh yeah. It's only somewhat recent that Western junk food has begun to make a big impact on Japan. Perhaps I could simply start out by suggesting that she emphasize traditional Japanese food whenever possible. That would be virtually impossible to misunderstand. Every Japanese person knows what it means to eat traditional Japanese food

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 08, 2013
at 07:01 AM

Oh yeah. It's only somewhat recent that Western junk food has begun to make a big impact on Japan. Perhaps I could simply start out by suggesting that she emphasize traditional Japanese food whenever possible. That would be virtually impossible to misunderstand. Every Japanese person knows what it means to eat the sort of food their great grandmother would have cooked at home back in the day

0
048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

on April 08, 2013
at 06:43 AM

I think that for better health this one makes the most dramatic difference:

  • Forget about refined sugars and general processed junk food

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on April 08, 2013
at 07:11 AM

Yep, that's what I was going to suggest. You could also say "if you couldn't go hunt it or pull-it from the ground/trees with your own hands"

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 08, 2013
at 06:53 AM

First attempt at taking the content of your statement and putting it in a more self-explanatory form: "Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't have recognized when she was young"

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 08, 2013
at 06:51 AM

How would you suggest phrasing it so as to make it ridiculously self-explanatory? A problem I anticipate is ending up in the familiar situation of having her constantly have to ask me, "Wait, is this processed, or is it ok?" I feel like the term 'processed junk food' is sort of a code word for 'what we've been told to avoid by people we trust'. It's extremely obvious to us, but to the uninitiated, it would often be unclear

-1
Ce3b15d5f6bfae73088cbae47c3ecf36

on April 08, 2013
at 09:06 AM

In 2 words - Metabolic Typing. It's paleo on steroids! Paleo is ancestral absolutley but metabolic typing actually reads your DNA. I have seen it do some amazing things that I have just never seen anything else come close to. It reverses disease. There really is only 1 diet and that's the diet right for you and your DNA.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!