Okinawan Style Diet

Okinawan Style Diet

Okinawan Diet

Recently there have been a few posts on eating more like the Okinawans used to. I have received a few emails asking for a list of the types of foods that would be common in an old Okinawan diet. This is just a quick cheat sheet for that. The categories are based on how often you should eat them. Foods are categorized by caloric density (calories compared to volume).

60 Percent of Your Diet – Vegetables

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Gōya (Bitter Melon)
  • Seaweed
  • Garlic

20 Percent of Your Diet – Grains

  • Brown Rice
  • Whole Grain Noodles

10 Percent of Your Diet – Fruit

  • Pineapples
  • Papayas
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Limes
  • Mangoes
  • Passion Fruit
  • Guavas

6 Percent of Your Diet – Soup, Soy, and Beans

  • Miso Soup
  • Mushrooms
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Soy Milk
  • Cooked Beans

1 Percent of Your Diet – Fish

  • White Fish
  • Nuts
  • Dark Chocolate

3 Percent of Diet – Everything Else

  • Turkey
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Everything Else


This diet looks a lot like a vegetarian diet. This is not an intended effect, but it is how the diet works. Meats were expensive and in small quantity. Compare that with sweet potatoes which should make up the bulk of your diet. It was economically driven, something a lot of us can appreciate in today’s world.

By KruczekKruczek on FacebookKruczek on Google+Kruczek on Twitter Visit author's website

Theodore Kruczek is the founder and head writer of the Okinawan Karate-do Institute. He is a 4th Degree Black Belt in Okinawan Shorin-ryu with more than 14 years of experience. This site was created as his way of both teaching his own Karate and learning about others.

Comments (5)

  1. Interesting post. Do you know common ways they would prepare their food? Just boil the sweet potatoes or what were the ways/recipes they used?

    • I have been working on that actually and will let everyone know as soon as I find more on it. There is tons of info on modern recipes, but they are all influenced by the west and people have noted decreased health on the island.

      Thanks for posting Magnus and welcome to OKI.

    • Ive been eating my sweet potatos raw. I know it sounds odd but the sweet potato is not actually a potato, it is more like a carrot so doesn’t have that powdery potato consistency.

      So yeah, try cutting off 200grams of sweet potato, putting it in a plastic bag and stuffing it into your karate bag for a quick complex carbohydrate snack after training. People will look at you like you are a weirdo but hey, we are karateka and we can do what we like so long as we can defend ourselves :)

  2. Its funny, you would have thought fish would have featured quite heavily. Do you have any thoughts on the Okinawa way of eating until you are 80% full…something like that anyway.

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