I’m no biohacker, but I have a profound interest in nutrition, food, and how we can optimize our health and well-being. So of course, I always read and watch a lot of videos on new research surrounding diets like the ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, paleo, and anything else that claims to be the key to optimizing our health.

Most recently, I tried intermittent fasting for 7 days. To be fair, I’m no licensed nutritionist and my diet was developed over my own research online. Here are some details on how I pursued it:

When I Ate:


Finding joy in all things trivial and meaningless

Image for post
Image for post

In a year where the things I usually found joy in — traveling, going to concerts, chatting over tea with my best friend — were no longer to available to me, I adapted in the most unexpected way I thought possible:

Revert to my most goofy, immature, simplistic child.

At first I focused on coping through relaxing, exercising, reading, or developing a new skill. I thought to try to be slightly productive, to see it as an opportunity for gentle self-growth, but as the weeks stretched into months, it wasn’t enough. …


The health lesson in green tea over rice as comfort food for the soul

Image for post
Image for post
Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

A gentle, healthful solution for the emotional eater in me

There were many things I missed about home when I lived alone: the lively conversation with my family, someone to rotate cooking with responsibilities with, and a structured time to unwind and be mindful in the moment. It’s hard to do that when you’re cooking for one.


The key is in the two-vegetable side dish

Image for post
Image for post
Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

Advice From the 100 Year Old Neighborhood Lady

When I first decided I wanted to change the way I took care of my health, the idea of simple and small was counterintuitive to the popular dialogue I found online: my Google search results were filled with articles on sugar and fruit elimination, a diet of 90% fats and proteins, and why I should be eating within a 4-hour time frame. Sometimes I would feel exhausted and stressed just reading about it.

I eventually would end up ignoring the advice, and instead took inspiration from those around me: my active grandmother who often seemed like she had more energy than me, the lean Japanese neighbors who looked 40 but were actually in their 60s, or the neighborhood store lady who would casually mention that she had just turned 100 years old this month. …


I’ll never forget the joy of receiving a bento box from my mom

Image for post
Image for post
Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

I was cleaning out my room, when I came across an old childhood journal. And like most big room clean outs, it soon became a trip down memory lane.

I thought I’d just find cute entries of carefree days spent outside with friends, but instead I was reminded of a life that didn’t feel like all sunshine and rainbows. Changing schools and having no close friends at first, being overweight, and being the token Asian in a very white community was not always easy. Oh right, children experience intense emotions too.

We tend to see children as happy beings — joyful and worry-free individuals whose biggest problems in life tend to be getting the wrong (ie. not your favorite) color calculator for math class, or getting seated next to the funny-smelling kid during the school assembly. It’s supposedly easier to make friends, they don’t have the responsibilities of an adult, and the big life questions — such as what is the purpose of life — don’t need serious consideration. …


We can all use a moment of quiet to let go of the past year’s burdens

Image for post
Image for post
Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

When we think of holiday foods, more often than not we think of something big and gaudy, something worth taking a photo of on a big table spread. We imagine a giant stuffed turkey, an assortment of colorful roasted vegetables, or a laboriously decorated, dense, chocolate Christmas cake. It’s hearty, it’s abundant, and most of all it’s celebratory.

Japan is usually no different — there is its own tradition in colorful and celebratory food — except on New Year’s Eve.

A New Year’s Eve tradition of soba noodles and…silence?

When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, many countries have a tradition of loud fireworks, big confetti, and lots of flashing lights — but in Japan, you might be surprised to find that midnight happens in silence, with nothing but the sound of a ringing temple bell. …


What to do when you’re trying to heal from change

Image for post
Image for post
Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

I lost two close family members within two weeks this year. It was both shocking and devastating to me, and among my own sadness I had to watch my family go through one of the most difficult and painful experiences of their life.

In fact it wasn’t just my family, but I also watched a lot of my loved ones go through a devastating loss this year. …


How some very normal people found success by sticking to their own sense fulfillment

Image for post
Image for post
Image Source: GReeeen Official Facebook Page

A very odd, unexpected search engine result

Whenever I go karaoke with my friends, there is one Japanese song that always makes it to the playlist: “Kiseki” by GReeeeN.

It’s a song that almost the entire population of Japan is familiar with, and many Japanese people would know the lyrics if asked to sing along. Even as someone who had lived and been raised in the United States, it was one of the few Japanese pop songs that I enjoyed.

I didn’t know much about Japanese pop culture, and one day I became curious and decided to look up what this band looked like. …


An organic and simple way to find your life’s purpose

Image for post
Image for post
Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

“I feel like I’m living in a dream, and I don’t like it.”

I was eating dinner with my mom at home, and kind of blurted it out: “I feel like I’m living in a dream, and I don’t like it”. It wasn’t a serious comment, just something I wanted someone else to relate to.

It’s odd because dreams usually imply a positive experience, but these days, I was missing my reality. It was like falling asleep in March and suddenly waking up in December, but by tomorrow came, the day before also felt like it never really happened. Am I going insane? …


How a tiny serving of Japanese pickles can make a huge difference

An illustration of a Japanese meal with pickles.
An illustration of a Japanese meal with pickles.
Illustrations: Kaki Okumura

What is this little thing in my bento box?

If you’ve ever picked up a Japanese bento box or ordered a traditional Japanese meal, more likely than not you would’ve found that it came with a tiny portion of pickles. Perhaps a small red umeboshi on your rice, or a bit of purple shibazuke piled up on the side, it’s not uncommon to find one or the other tucked into a Japanese meal.

Pickles are hardly the main event, yet why are they so ubiquitous throughout Japanese cuisine?

Pickles are so commonly found in Japanese dishes, that they’re actually seldom mentioned — like how you’d expect your fries to come with a packet of ketchup or your steak to come with potatoes, it’s known to be the default pairing to rice and miso soup. …

About

Kaki Okumura

Raised in Tokyo; living in the US. I care about helping others learn to live a better, healthier life. My site: www.kakikata.space 🌱

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store