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Born in Dallas, raised in New York and Tokyo. I care about helping others learn to live a better, healthier life. My site: 🌱

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:

What everyone should know about healthy eating

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

There is an American video creator I follow, who is also an English teacher in Japan. I love his content for his foreigner-living-in-Japan stories, as I find his humor and insights relatable.

If you surf through his posts on Instagram, you will quickly find that there is an ongoing joke within his classroom, which he refers to as “caramel latte”. The children go absolutely bonkers when it comes up, and apparently it has been a source of chaos in the morning multiple times.

The effortless 15-minute health tip anyone can adopt

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

Why this man quit being emperor to be a cabbage farmer

“If you could see at Salonae the cabbages raised by our hands, you surely would never be tempted by the prospect of power ever again.” — Diocletian

It was this response that the former Roman emperor Diocletian gave, when he was encouraged by his former comrades to reclaim the throne and rule Rome once again.

He was a man who was arguably the most powerful figure on the planet, and then traded that lifestyle to become a cabbage farmer. A rather strange declaration I thought, until I found that everyone is actually the same.

The incredible health benefits of time in nature

It’s not just a trait of…

How sakura season helps me find comfort in an unknown future

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

It’s springtime in Japan, which means it’s time for me to talk about cherry blossoms, or sakura.

It’s funny, because for any Japanese person working within the realm of food, entertainment, or leisure, it almost feels like a requirement to acknowledge and honor the tradition of sakura in the spring.

Shops begin to decorate their windows with sakura ornaments, and even convenience stores like 7–11 begin to adorn their shop windows with ads and images of sakura. …

This small change in thinking has made healthy cooking so much easier for me

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

A light and healthy sauce to use in all my dishes, without sacrificing flavor

Modern Japanese food is no stranger to thick, creamy sauces, but traditional Japanese cuisine actually relied heavily on a sauce that had no sugar, fats, or oil. This might sound like a health nut’s hack, but you’ve probably heard of it and used it before: soy sauce.

Standard soy sauce is made from soybeans, roasted wheat, culinary koji mold, and salt water. That’s it! This might seem like a bland combination, but what makes soy sauce so rich in flavor is the fermentation process which often spans several months, which helps it develop a deep umami flavor. …

It’s rather what you end up not drinking, than what you do

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

A cup of green tea to go with your lunch, miss?

When you go to a restaurant and are asked to choose a drink to go with your lunch, there is a drink option that is consistently offered in Japan that is rarely found in the United States: green tea.

It’s not just restaurants, but you can order straight Japanese green tea at your movie theater, your McDonald’s, your local street vendor, at school, Disneyland, and almost every vending machine in the country. Oftentimes you’ll even be given several options for tea — green tea or black tea? Roasted or a blend with oolong? Tea is as varied and ubiquitous as…

Three lessons on how to handle adversity while feeling your feelings

A tree shaped by the wind
A tree shaped by the wind
Photo: Melanie Hobson/EyeEm/Getty Images

I used to think resilience was a tool I just didn’t have. I can be an easy crier. How can one cry frequently and also be resilient? When we think of resilience, we imagine stoic faces, superhero power poses, and triumphant fists in the air. If we do a Google image search for “resilience,” a person shedding tears certainly does not come up.

I don’t think that anymore. It’s a realization that has come from time and age more than any single aha moment, but I know now that — much like how courage is not the absence of fear

The pleasant art of saying no in Japanese

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

When we think about establishing boundaries, we often think of it as something curt, maybe a bit rude, but that we should be unapologetic about it anyways. Yet while I often agree with this sentiment, there is something about the pleasant art of saying no in Japanese.

The major difference between Japanese and American customer service

The sentiment of “the customer is always right” and “everything is negotiable” is prevalent throughout American consumer culture — in food, in lodging, in transportation, and in retail, most Americans approach customer service with the expectation that some negotiating and flexibility in rules can be applied.

But unlike American customer service, Japanese customer…

Why I spend an hour every week to buy bread and other healthy hassles

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

My mom had texted me, “Do you want me to pick up anything at the supermarket?”

We had no more bread at home, and I was thinking about going out and buying it myself. But if my mom picked it up for me, I wouldn’t have to leave the house today. It would be convenient.

I replied, “Thanks for checking in, but I don’t need anything!”

You see, my thumb had hovered over the ‘Send’ button for a brief moment — it would be so much easier if she had just picked something up at the grocery instead. I could…

Why your body, brain, and mood need you to move

Illustrations: Kaki Okumura

I was at the end of my workout, about to close out my music app, when one of my favorite songs came on.

Oh dang, I can’t press skip on this one.

I thought I would just continue stretching to it, but I couldn’t help but start dancing. I usually don’t dance — I’m pretty awful at it — but I decided to turn up the volume full blast and pretend I was celebrating something. …

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