I’ve recently come back from a trip to Japan to visit my daughter. It was my first time to Japan and I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing the Japanese culture, language and the delicious food! I found Japan an interesting mix of old world and traditional with very modern and high tech. And this was the case for the food also. We ate a lot of delicious traditional broths with Asian vegetables and noodles (yum!) as well as fish and rice and Asian vegetables (even for breakfast), and then between meals my teenagers found all sorts of interesting processed and packaged “modern” snacks in the convenience stores that we don’t have at home (and tried far too many!).

Here in Australia we also have access to so much wonderful fresh healthy produce and whole foods, but of course we also have (far too easy) access to the less healthy packaged and processed foods which are strongly advertised and convenient for busy families. Slowly over time more and more processed and packaged foods have crept into our standard diets yet these foods contain more sugar and salt, as well as additives, preservatives and colourings. These toxins build up slowly over time and put a strain on the liver and lymphatic system, which may eventually lead to allergies, skin rashes and acne, irritability, headaches and many other symptoms. Processed foods also contain less nutrients than fresh food, and not getting enough of the important nutrients from food may eventually lead to deficiencies.

It does take a little longer to cook meals from scratch and have healthy snacks prepared, but it is so important for good health that it is worth the small investment of time. If we think back to how our grandparents ate there was a lot more cooking from scratch and a lot less packaged foods available, less GMO produce and less sugar, salt and additives in food. Traditional eating from most cultures around the world are based on good nutrition, and because Australia is culturally diverse we enjoy eating foods from many different cuisines. This makes our food rich and diverse and it is great to eat a variety of ingredients in our diet. Beware of the packaged versions however, it is always better to get a recipe and cook a meal from fresh ingredients. I believe if we turn back the clock to bring back more traditional cooking and food preparation our health will improve.

For example, broths cooked with the bones in (bone broths) are full of nutritious substances (protein, gelatin, glycine, trace minerals) that heal the gut, improve the integrity of connective tissue including the joints and skin, and boost the immune system. They are a great base for soups or just on their own, and winter is just the time to sit over a hot bowl or mug of nutritious broth. Healing for body and soul!

I hope one day I can go back to Japan and try more of their delicious food. In the meantime I’m planning to cook up some delicious fresh traditional Japanese style meals from scratch and enjoy the flavours here.