How Many is Sufficent?

Posted on Feb 14, 2016 in Hiroko's Blog

Japanese MealFrom time to time while eating dinner (which I prepared) I count how many different ingredients are in my dinner dishes. It has become a custom to do this. My mother planted ‘counting’ seeds in me. Rice, fish, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, rutabaga, fennel bulb, onion, wakame, fried tofu, scallion…. I write down the number; then, I go back to my breakfast and lunch in order to get the total number of ingredients, which I have consumed, in that particular day. The ideal number should be 30, but I always end up with around 18-20.

My mother told us at the dinner table that consuming variety of food items nourishes our body in the most ideal way. It was not just my mother, who followed this traditional nutritional guideline. It was our ancestor’s wisdom and was practiced by mothers at every home in the distant past in Japan. In order to get 30 different ingredients each day I did not need to do anything. My mother carefully prepared our meals with diverse ingredients.

Here is an example of the other day meal from my home. The breakfast was toast, grapefruit and poached egg. I tofu and broccolido not count jam and butter. The total number from breakfast is 3. If this is a Japanese breakfast, the number would have shot up much higher. The lunch was a stir-fried tofu and broccoli dish. I cooked brown rice with tofu, broccoli, white onion and walnuts. Orange for dessert. The total number is 6.

The dinner was a very typical Japanese one: [rice] (it is not counted twice) with sesame seeds; miso soup with cabbage, leek, fried tofu, wakame and scallion; braised winter vegetables with carrot, [broccoli](it is not counted twice), fennel bulb, rutabagus, red onion; simmered five mixed bean (kidney beans, adzuki beans, garbanzo beans, cannellini beans and pinto beans); grilled sannma fish (Pacific Pike) with kabosu citrus fruit), and apple for dessert. The total number from dinner is 16.

17 + 6 + 3 = 26           Still 4 items short…..

Please join me to count ingredients in your breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes in order to improve the quality and nutritional value of your daily meal. If anyone reached to 30, please let me know. Here is one rule to share: Please do not count flavoring ingredients such as salt, shoyu, miso, Sriracha sauce, ketchup, mustard, etc, spices and cooking oil.