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Japanese Diet in USA? 2008/11/11 07:18
Hello everyone,

I am highly considering starting to eat a Japanese-style diet as my main cuisine here in the states. However, I was wondering what kind of foods are not too difficult to find in the states that can be prepared to suit a traditional Japanese diet. I already know rice is a major factor, but I am more asking about what types of meats, sauces, vegetables, and fruits I need as well as some recommended recipes.

I plan to eat a light breakfast each morning, prepare and take a bento with me to work for lunch, and then prepare dinner when I return home or eat leftovers if I have them.

I would also like some recommendations for beverages other than teas and water.

Lastly, is it odd for a male to prepare himself a bento?
by Jonathan  

No problem 2008/11/11 09:35
No, of course it's fine for a guy to make himself a bento, there isn't any cultural reason why not.

If a guy is married and his wife isn't working, it's just more common for her to make the food for the family, that's all.

Single guys in Japan who are motivated enough would make their own bento, but most would be too lazy/not know how to start, and rely on food bought outside.
by Sira rate this post as useful

. 2008/11/11 10:04
Getting traditional Japanese food can be almost impossible or very easy depending on where in the US you live. There are many Japanese grocery stores in California but I imagine almost none in Nebraska. Where do you live?
by Tokyogal rate this post as useful

not that difficult 2008/11/11 20:15
it's not that hard to find most japanese food, probably the hardest thing to find will be the strips of seaweed to make your onigiri or put on your bento. you can buy them online though pretty cheaply from online grocers since they don't require refrigeration, or just get a friend in japan to send them (or use a shipping service/auction service to send it, since small items from japan are super duper cheap to send anywhere in the world)
by winterwolf rate this post as useful

... 2008/11/11 20:40
You might have some luck with ordering foods online, just a quick search I found this site that delivers all over America
For recipe ideas I always find About.com has a good selection, this is the Japanese food page with lots of recipes to choose from

I hope this helps and enjoy :-)
by Kittywheaty rate this post as useful

Here's another good website 2008/11/12 00:24
Here's a good website: Just Hungry http://www.justhungry.com/

The author has lived in USA, England, Japan and now lives in Western Europe somewhere. She writes J-recipes and also about J-Life.

If you like gardening, you can order seeds from J-life. http://www.jlifeinternational.com/index_e.html
You can also find lots of cooking stuff there.

Another good site is muji, but I'm not too sure about the American link. They sell bentos. You can also buy a Mr. Bento on amazon.com. It's pretty pricey though.

Good luck with your j-diet. I have Japanese rice with miso and salad in the morning lately myself.
by Maneki_neko rate this post as useful

Improvise 2008/11/12 07:46
Or maybe you can try improvising with what is available to you already. I mean, besides the bento, which you can probably order somewhere, you can try buying more fish, rice, vegetables, etc... Doesn't necessarily have have to be Japanese brands, it'd still be a somewhat Japanese diet.
by aa rate this post as useful

Thanks 2008/11/12 07:52
Thanks for all the replies so far. I will be in Southern California, so it shouldn't be too hard to find the incredients, I just need to know what to look for.
by Jonathan rate this post as useful

. 2008/11/12 08:40
I also live in SoCal. Getting Japanese ingredients is pretty easy here. I can buy almost anything I want with reasonable price. See:
by Tokyogal rate this post as useful

JP home cooking ideas for the Americans 2008/11/12 10:21
My favorite magazine, Chopsticks NY, has cook recipes from the actual Japanese chefs in New York areas. The ingredients are easy to get here in the US. I think you will need basic seasonings like soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, and also miso paste.


Let me know if you find it useful. They seem to provide information that are really authentic and true to the fact.
by Sarah rate this post as useful

Why? 2008/11/12 12:15
Lastly, is it odd for a male to prepare himself a bento?

I haven't lived in America for awhile but I think it's very odd not just for a male, but for anyone to prepare bentos in America--especially everyday.

Is this for a school experiment? Are you trying to lose weight (I would cut out the rice if you are)? Remember, the reason Americans are fat is not because of what we eat, it's how much we eat. You don't have to change to an expensive all-Japanese diet to lose weight.
by Jerry rate this post as useful

Thanks 2008/11/12 14:29
Thanks for all the input as of yet. Thanks for the links as well. I do think that eating mainly Japanese food as a diet would be a nice experiment to partake in, but it is not my primary goal. I would like to lose weight, and I think a Japanese diet would help achieve that, but I will not be disappointed if it doesn't. Part of the Japanese diet is centered around portions, which helps control how much we eat and even though other foods can be portioned, I find Japanese food to be much easier to be portioned because it makes it look even better and it is still very filling. Rice is actually a very important part of the diet, I understand that it is a big source for carbs but at the same time, it is a lot more filling and due to portioning, it allows to eat less of other foods that can provide a larger amount of carbs or fat. I may be mistaken, but from my research, this is what I've seen. Also, Japanese food doesn't have to be expensive, especially in areas where there is a large number of Japanese-Americans, such as Southern California, it just requires planning I believe. Also, by bento, I was using it as a generic term to represent a lunch box containing Japanese food, as an alternative to eating out, which usually involves very unhealthy fast food.
by Jonathan rate this post as useful

Japanese Diet 2008/11/25 06:58
If you are trying to lose weight, I encourage you to adopt a "Japanese style" diet. I met my J-wife when I had just started to try to lose weight. I was 5'9" and weighed 209 lbs and unhealthy. As part of changing my eating patterns & diet, I adopted her style of cooking: rice, miso soup, lots of fresh vegetables (of all types) and less meat. I also started eating a healther breakfast, a larger lunch and much smaller dinner. I ended up getting down to 155 pounds over 2.5 yearsand am still there. I give the "Japanese style" diet a lot of credit for losing weight and keeping it off.
Search around the web, there are lots of easy Japanese recipes and in S. Cal, you will have not problem finding ingredients. Eat lots of fresh vegetables, cut back on the fat and meats, eat lots of fish, eat the right portions at the right times and you will be on the right track. Good luck losing weight, it is worth it!
by c rate this post as useful

fiber intake 2008/11/25 10:38
One issue with eating white rice every day is that you may not take in enough dietary fiber- constipation is actually a fairly common health problem in Japan.

Brown rice solves this problem (and is becoming increasingly popular among health-conscious Japanese).

Try mixing white and brown rice 50-50 or so if you're not so keen on brown rice by itself.
by Sira rate this post as useful

Food Suggestions 2009/1/14 17:58
As a person who considers herself a "foodie", I've been experimenting with Japanese cooking for about 2 years now and am really enjoying it. I'm a girl who stays healthy by pretty much eating a mediterranean style diet,but adding traditional Japanese cooking to my repetoire has been a wonderful way to expand my cooking vocabulary and it hasn't hurt my waist line one bit.

The first thing i would reccommend is that you assemble yourself a small cooking library on the cuisine so you can get to know the basic ingredients and cooking techniques inside out. I purchased all of my books at heavily discounted prices via http://www.amazon.com

I began my small library with purchasing some books from Harumi Kurihara (Japan's version of Martha Stewart). I also purchased some inexpensive softcover books , one called BENTO BOXES, and another on Japanese pickling. Lastly I purchased a wonderful coffee table style cookbook called WASHOKU that is fantastic because it has great photography of the basic ingredients used in traditional Iapanese home cooking. Being able to refer to the photos and names alone gives me near encyclopedia like assistance that has been a tremendous help when I'm navgating the Asian supermarkets where I live. For fun I also purchased the paperback version of THE JAPAN DIET and another small paperback with no-frills vegetarian recipes.

I am a person who has rejected white rice for years, although I find that the occasional bit ofJapanese short grain white rice doesn't hurt especially during sushi outings. I remedy my distatste for white rice by consuming only brown rice, as often as i like. I use regular western style as accompaniment to general meals. But for japanese dishes that require shaping (like rolls and so on), it is important to use Japanese short grain, because you need the stickiness for everything to hold together.

In closing, I have a theory about all cuisines around the world: they usually start with 5 basic ingredients you have on hand everyday. From what I'm learning, in the Japanese pantry you can start with 5 things too:
Dashi broth, Mirin, Sake, Miso, Soy Sauce. With these 5 flavors you will be able to flavor a whole range of ingredients from breakfast to dinner. But the most important of all would be the dashi broth...it is the basis for most Japanese dishes... so just buy instant!

Anyway, good luck with your food experiments! Japanese cusine is one well worth learning the basics for!
by bella24 (guest) rate this post as useful

food 2009/1/16 05:43
the size of portions depends on the person who is eating! you can eat any type of food and control your weight as long as you eat a balanced diet and portions on the small side. I have known 3 Japanese for 15 years and 2 of them are fat while a 3rd one, from the very same family, is very thin. They all eat only Japanese food but the 2 fatties always have double portions of everything then go out for bowls of donburi during the day.
by Monkey see (guest) rate this post as useful

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