If you want to put it simply, you can say Ikigai Diet is a diet to foster your healthy gut microbiota. Recently there have been many scientific data suggesting our intestinal microbiota plays a significant role in our health. There are many doctors and scientists such as Justin and Erica Sonnenburg, Claire M. Fraser, Fiona Magaret Powrie, and Join Warren Peters researching on microbiota and microbiome; it has almost become a common understanding in the medical community.
If you want to understand it more, please read this book written by Justin Sonnenburg and Erica Sonnenburg.
The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health
Although this discovery that our gut microbiota affects our health is relatively new, it has been common knowledge in Japan for a long time. In Japanese traditional medicine, the gut is considered to be the most critical organ, and it is regarded as the second brain. The large intestine is located in the belly area that the Japanese people know as Hara. Hara is central to all martial arts including karate and Aikido, as well as Shiatsu, a natural healing method. We move from Hara and feel Ki energy, which radiates from Hara. In Zen meditation, we breathe through Hara.
Now we understand why Japanese people live long. The secret is in our traditional diet, which happens to be a gut-friendly diet. We ate a lot of fermented foods such as miso, soy sauce, natto, and pickles. Our diet was predominantly plant-based with rich in dietary fiber. It isn’t just what we ate, but also how we ate affected our intestinal environment: The amount of food we ate each day, the number of times we chewed, and so on.
Another word, if you learn from traditional Japanese dietary practice, you can foster your healthy gut microbiota.
In the book IKIGAI DIET, I covered all vital elements to create a healthy gut environment.
In Chapter 4 The Secret of the Traditional Japanese Diet Part 1 Why Is Fermented Food Good For You?, I dealt with fermented food.
In Chapter 5 The Secret of the Traditional Japanese Diet Part 2 What Is the Ideal Menue for Health?, I introduced other aspects of the traditional Japanese diet which support the gut microbiota, such as Ichibutsu Zentai Shoku, Ma Go Wa Ya Sa Shi I, dietary fiber, Ichiju Sansai, and Shindofuji.
In Chapter 6 Did You Know There Was Something Better Than Brown Rice Which Was Considered To Be the Most Balanced Food?, I introduced one super dish that you can make your staple food to improve your intestinal environment.
In Chapter 9 The Secret of Japanese Longevity Was Not in What We Ate, But How We Ate, I discussed how to eat, which is an element missing in the West even among natural food eaters. The topics include Hara Hachibunme, how many times you should chew, whether it is bad to munch between meals or not, occasional fasting, and how much water you can drink each day.
In Chapter 10 By Adding Hygge to Ikigai Diet, It Will Become More Sustainable, I included a mental aspect of our diet, which differentiates Ikigai Diet from the macrobiotic diet, the other dietary practice from Japan, because I believe that the gut microbiota is influenced by the way we think and feel.
So, Ikigai Diet is a diet to help you create a healthy gut microbiota. It is a comprehensive diet introducing what foods you can eat, how you can eat them, and how to think and feel about your eating.