Without health you won’t be able to trade efficiently and since I’ve made many new changes in my diet with excellent results, I’m always looking for new ways to improve on success.

The Two Okinawan Diet Rules (or How I’m Getting Leaner During the Holidays).

Rule 1. Eat to 80% full. The Okinawans call this rule “Hara Hachi Bu”, and if you haven’t tried it, you should. I did this on Thanksgiving — while I usually stuff myself with all the good food, I just ate until I was about 80% full. Of course, there’s no way to know exactly how full you are, but it’s a guideline. And as our brains are 10-20 minutes behind our stomachs, it usually turns out that when you think you’re 80% full, you’re actually full … while when we eat to 100% full, we are usually overstuffing ourselves.

The result of this rule for Okinawans is that they end up eating fewer calories than most people. They tend not to gain too much weight as a result, and coupled with their active lifestyles (they farm and garden and generally stay active, even into their 100s), it keeps them very healthy.

The result for the rest of us is that eating fewer calories will keep the extra pounds off. If we pair this with the next rule and an active lifestyle, we can actually lose weight during the holidays.

Rule 2: Eat healthy foods, mostly plants. Way before Michael Pollan wrote about his simple rules for eating healthy, the Okinawans had this down. They eat way more veggies than most people (mostly green and yellow ones), as well as whole grains, tofu, fish and other legumes. They eat very little sugar, and very little meat, dairy or eggs. This contradicts low-carb diets such as the Zone, Atkins, Paleo and others — I’m not saying those don’t work for whatever your goals are, but I am saying that a mostly plant-based diet has been proven to work well for the Okinawans.