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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:

The best and easiest way to adopt a more minimalist lifestyle

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

Unpretentious advice that was remarkably helpful even before I understood it

“Did you put away your bed yet?”

My grandma would call out from the kitchen, as she began to put together breakfast for my siblings and I. It was a habit I wasn’t quite used to yet, putting away my bed first thing in the morning, but my grandmother’s orders were not one to be ignored. With the help of my siblings, we’d obediently fold up the blankets and futon mattresses, stack the pillows, and tuck them away into the closet.

Unlike western beds, Japanese beds are traditionally laid on the floor, as thick mats called futons. Rather than leaving…

You don’t need to go through life dreading exercise

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

The necessary burden I feared would control the rest of my life

Exercise — we’re told it’s important from a young age, our doctor consistently advises us to do more, we read articles on how it’s great for us, yet consistently millions of people every day choose not to engage.

And I don’t blame them.

I used to hate exercise and was always avoiding it, finding both fictional and real reasons to avoid any form of exertion. Even later on when I had finally decided to take responsibility for my increasing weight and deteriorating health, and had committed myself to it, I found myself consistently dreading it. …

Bad advice to avoid when it comes to cutting down sugar

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

I love sweet things. I love chocolate, ice cream, cakes, cookies, and desserts just as much as the next person. And while I tout a healthy lifestyle, I am adamant in the belief that fruit is not a replacement for ice cream, cakes, or cookies.

But that doesn’t mean there is no joy in fruit.

Bad advice to avoid when it comes to cutting down sugar

If you search “How to cut down on sugar” on Google, many listicles will come up, with many of them sharing similar advice —

“Swap your cookies for orange slices!”

“Eat frozen bananas instead of ice cream!”

“Baked sweet potato is just as good as…

You probably carry it too, just pay a bit of attention

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

“My favorite thing about you…”

I was at dinner with a couple of close friends, and we were going around in a circle sharing with each other what we thought their best trait was.

“My favorite thing about you is that you’re always able to roll with the punches, and have a good attitude towards everything.”

“I think you’re super driven, and when you want something, there’s nothing that can stop you.”

“You’re able to put aside your own needs for whatever’s best for the group, and that’s really selfless.”

And suddenly I realized, what’s universal about my favorite traits from my favorite people is…

Valuable and simple eating advice I’ve adopted from living in Japan

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

Something I do at ice cream shops that might come off as a little weird

I don’t think I’m a crazy health nut. I love to eat vegetables as much as I love indulging in desserts, and I love whipping up a nice salad as much as I like enjoying a crispy pork katsu sandwich. But while I’m not a picky eater and don’t have any dietary restrictions, I can empathize with those who get the weird side-eye when eating out. For whenever I go to an ice cream parlor in the U.S. I always do something that my friends often find a bit off — I order the kiddie size.

The power of just saying hello

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

What kinds of greetings do you use every day? Do you say good morning? Good evening? How about “I’m home!” or “Looking forward to working with you today!”

Japanese greetings, or aisatsu, are used all the time in society. Beyond just hello or goodbye, people say them when someone enters a restaurant, when they leave a store, when leaving the house, and as soon as they get home.

In fact, they’re not just prevalent, but they’re an important part of Japanese life. They’re taught from a young age in schools, reinforced in the home, and carried out in the workplace…

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. …

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