Okinawan Vegetable ①Handama

February is going to end soon, and we feel the sun shine getting stronger here in Okinawa.  Now the season is shifting from winter to spring, we need to pay more attention to our healthy.  For that reason, I would like to introduce here some vegetables and food peculiar to Okinawa.  The first article is about “Handama.”

“Handama” was brought to Okinawa and some Kyushu areas from China.  For its nutritional value, Handama has been familiar with many people as a medical herb since then.  Even now, it is one of the healthy vegetables to be noted.

Handama is rich in iron, magnesium, and Vitamin A.  Hanadama usually catches people’s eye for its leaf color.  The leaf contains a reddish purple pigment of polyphenol, anthocyanin.  Handama is believed to be effective to relieve poor blood circulation, anemia, eyestrain, and eye swelling so Okinawan people call Handama “medicine for blood.”  It is also believed that Handama has antioxidant effects; we should take it for anti-aging purpose.

You can enjoy Handama in a fresh salad.  The raw Handama has a briskly texture and its color leaf makes a salad impressive.  You can find Handama at the salad bar at many restaurants.  On the other hand, when cooked, Handama changes its texture to slimy.  Boil it quickly, drain, and pour a little bit of soy sauce.  Simple, but very healthy traditional Japanese side dish, Ohitashi is ready!  Handama is a very useful ingredient for deep-fry, stir-fry, miso soup and many more.

The best season for Handama is between spring and early summer, in other words, you will find it in a grocery store more often.  When you have a chance, please try!

Reported by Tomomi Tanaka, Sugahara Institute


The midsection is a common trouble spot for women. Especially as women age, when menopause causes body fat to shift from the hips and legs to the belly. Belly fat is dangerous as it increases your risk for breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, reports Mayo Clinic. Fight belly fat by eating a reduced calorie diet. You can also eat foods that promote midsection weight loss and positively affect your metabolism.

Salmon contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. This substance improves your metabolism, according to “Fitness” magazine. Eat about 4 ounces of salmon, twice weekly. Other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include tuna, mackerel, flaxseed and walnuts. Incorporate these foods into your diet to shed belly fat quicker.

Almonds are a nut rich in protein, fiber and vitamin E. These nutrients help you feel full for longer. Almonds also contain magnesium, a nutrient that aids better muscle contractions, according to “Fitness” magazine. Aim to consume about 23 almonds daily. You can grind almonds into your morning smoothie, sprinkle them on your salad, or eat a handful as a snack.

Half of an avocado contains about 10 grams of monounsaturated fat, according to CBS News. This special fat prevents blood sugar spikes that contribute to belly fat accumulation. Monounsaturated fats also help your body absorb the cancer-fighting substance called carotenoids. Slice avocados on your salads and sandwiches or blend them into a morning smoothie.

Like almonds, berries help you improve muscle contractions during your core toning sessions. This food is also high in fiber, helping you feel full on fewer calories. Eat at least a cup of berries daily, recommends “Fitness” magazine. A cup of berries contains about 40 calories, allowing you to curb hunger without excess calories. Eat a variety of berries, such as gooseberries, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.

Citrus fruits help you burn up to 30 percent more fat during your workout sessions, reports CBS News. Eat citrus fruits like orange and lemons. Blend these foods into a morning juice. You can also make a fruit salad with lunch or eat a small serving of citrus fruit with your dinner.

“Fitness” magazine: The 10 Best Foods for Flat Abs
CBS News; Eight Delicious Foods that Help Fight Belly Fat; January 2011; Belly Fat in Women: Taking — and keeping — it off; April 2011

Article reviewed by Molly Solanki Last updated on: Aug 14, 2011

Mommy’s Mascot Boy is Apt to Commit Domestic Violence!! ②

Do you know about Erikson’s Developmental Social Psychology? According to his study, people establish and acquire their personalities as they go through 8 developmental stages from birth to death. What they experience in each stage significantly influence on forming their personalities. From birth to the age of 2, babies should receive unconditional loving skin ship. Beyond the age of three is the stage for children to learn how to become independent.
During this stage, children shall be respected and given free choices on what they do no matter how small the items are. Children who have the right to select even the clothes and shoes to wear for the day or the books to read for the night, will become responsible, independent person and be less willing to become a violent adult described in the previous article. But if the children are deprived of their free choices and controlled by their mother or father (or both) on what they do, those children are more apt to become a brutal person like the man described previously.

There is also a case that some children lose their self-esteem when they have siblings of their parents’ boast. When parents treat their children significantly different ways, the one who receives negative attitudes or words tends to feel neglected, unloved, and hopeless.

There is another case that some children may have low self-esteem when they fail to meet up with their parents’ expectations. Though this should not happen, some parents may lose affections and interests in their own children just because their children do not follow what they wish. In such case, children will not be able to see good parts of them; instead, they always strive for affection. Therefore, they become blind to a true love. They do not recognize to be abused by their partner, so they do not know how to get away from the vicious cycle.

Children who had such experiences in their childhood may grow up to hate their parents. Some people may become so hostile that they act astoundingly just to disappoint their parents, by quitting a good job and working at night clubs instead for instance. A movie, “Memories of Matsuko” allows you to simulate the similar tragic life.

Then, what can parents do to avoid such disaster from happening? Well, they need to accept and praise their children equally with love. Even if your children have already grown big enough, it is still important to show your love, to praise for what they do, and to accept who they are. Let your children choose what they want to do. Even if you think they have taken a path leading to an opposite way from a rich, promising future, you still need to take a stance as a supporter and believe in them.

To believe is also to become optimistic. No matter how terrible incidents may seem to happen, just believe that everything will turn to a happy end. At the end of each day, say a prayer of thanks for giving us a wonderful day.

It is often said that a meditation over half an hour can bring us into a small universe. This means that even if an incident may seem so serious and confusing, you will soon feel confident enough to solve any problems. You will be released from confusion and have a clearer and calmer mind. You may not be able to delete fear or anxiety completely, but you can decrease 70% of them.

As a matter of fact, if we have an excellent life counselor, we would not have so many things to worry about. In old days, we used to have such excellent advisors in our neighborhood, the optimistic elderlies.

When we feel we are stuck as if we were at the bottom of a pool, all we need to do is to jump up at our full power!!! It may be so dark at the bottom, but we shall see a bright light above us. As we crawl up from water, we should be able to fly to a bright sky ahead of us.

If you think you have someone who has problems like narcissism or low self-esteem, please do not lid on them. Even if you do so, you do not solve the problems fundamentally. Instead, you will have unhappy, unsatisfied, and empty life and feel regretted for not having tried to give out hands for help in your last moments.

Mommy’s Mascot Boy is Apt to Commit Domestic Violence!! ①

In recent days, we find men and women who change their mind after getting married more than before. Those people are generally suffering from narcissistic personality disorders and surprisingly, their parents may have greatly influenced them in the past.
In addition to it, some parents may become extremes in treating their own children: one way is like to take care of a prince or a princess and the other is the totally opposite. The siblings of the family’s prince and princess who fail to receive their parents’ extreme attention, affection, or expectation tend to lose their self-esteem, resulting to be victims of Domestic Violence. Or they may end up to get married to those with narcissistic personality disorders and be treated badly like slaves. What a life!

Misora Hibari, one of the greatest singers in Japanese history, was the princess of the family and her mother would take care of her all the time. As a result, she had already lost her relationship with her husband. She was a successful manager, producer, and a mother who put all her love into her daughter’s genius talent at one aspect, but on the other hand, she failed to take care of her other children who missed their mother’s love.

But even women with low self-esteem can become raged enough to commit homicide when compiled hostility bursts out toward her loving husband. It may not be wise just to watch such brutal murder incident on tabloid TV show. Instead, it is necessary to take time to analyze why the incident had to happen more deeply from a social psychological aspect.

In order not to make your children or yourself a criminal and to lead your own narcissism to a positive direction, it is important to understand social psychology. If you don’t hesitate to face the problem, you will not fall into a love with someone who has a tendency to commit domestic violence and have an unsuccessful marriage. Or even if you made a mistake, you need to have courage to turn on your heel or to insist No!

You should have a life in which you feel “All’s well that ends well.” When you look back your life, you should feel happy to have led a fulfilled life with your loving partner no matter how much hardship you had to go through.

I can remember that I had one lady whom it applies to. She made up her mind to get divorced with her husband the other day. She insisted that her husband was totally a different person before and after marriage. He was an athlete, had a macho, sexy body that charmed her. She was happy when she got married to him at the age of 35, the age deemed most appropriate for women to get married. It was just as she had dreamed, she believed.

But in reality, it was not. She found out that her husband was still so relied upon his mother that he could not help but ask her for advice about anything. He was also very self-centered. When something he didn’t like happened, he always got very angry. He would rage against her. During their divorce counseling, he would lie about money and would not stop raging. She had to tape record his violent behaviors. At his work place, he was the most popular teacher in school whom everybody looked upon as a man of sense. Disappointingly, it was impossible to recognize the existence of a father in himself and from his life.

Okinawan Sweet Potato Nutrition

Purple Okinawan sweet potatoes may look different from more common varieties of sweet potatoes, but they’re just as nutritious, if not moreso. Common in Asia, the vegetable is beginning to catch the eye of such Western medical experts as Mehmet Oz, M.D., who dubbed it a “Top 5 Superfood for 2010.” The potato may be hard to find in the United States, but with research verifying its health benefits, it’s worth tracking down.

The Okinawan sweet potato is also called the Hawaiian purple sweet potato or simply “imo.” It’s native to the Japanese island of Okinawa, although it’s also grown in other Asian countries. A member of the morning glory family, the potato thrives in deep, volcanic soil with up to 120 inches of annual rainfall. About 1.3 million pounds of the sweet potatoes are grown each year, an amount expected to increase as demand rises, according to the company Hawaii Pride. The Okinawan sweet potato is sometimes confused with other varieties, but the Okinawan potato has a pale tan skin and lilac-colored flesh.

One cup of Okinawan purple sweet potatoes has approximately 140 calories, 2 g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber and less than one-half gram of fat. A serving also contains 30 g, or one-half your daily Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin C, 19 mcg folate and traces of other B vitamins. Minerals include 271 mg potassium, 29 mg calcium, 37 mg phosphorus, 17 mg sodium, 13 mg magnesium, and traces of iron, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. The purple pigment contains high levels of anthocyanin, an antioxidant. (References 1)

People in Japan have used the Okinawan sweet potato to treat diabetes due to its low ranking on the glycemic index scale, used to measure how fast a food is likely to raise your blood sugar. Its beta carotene, or vitamin A, can help improve your immune system, preserve eyesight and fight infections. The antioxidants the potato contains have been linked to a reduction in your risk factor for cardiovascular disease and cancer. The Okinawan sweet potato has 150 percent more antioxidants than blueberries.

Expert Insight
Researchers in Japan at the Daiyu-kai Institute of Medical Science fed rats a combination of purple sweet potato color and red cabbage. Their findings, published in the February 2002 issue of the “Journal of Toxicological Sciences,” showed that the purple sweet potato suppressed the development of colorectal tumors. The Okinawan sweet potato was also found to protect against liver injuries in mice in a study published in 2010 in “Food and Chemical Toxicology,” and to have properties preventing arterial plaque buildup in a study published in 2010 in the “Journal of Medicinal Food.”

The Okinawan sweet potato has a delicate, slightly sweet taste and a creamy texture and can be used like other sweet potatoes, baked, boiled, fried, roasted or grilled. The potatoes are easier to come by on the West coast of the United States and in Asian markets, where you should look for potatoes that are firm and small to medium in size, avoiding any that have wrinkled skins, soft or brown spots or sprouts. Due to a high sugar content, you should store the potatoes in a well-ventilated, dark, dry place and use them within two weeks.