Okinawa Diet NPO is a nonprofit food and nutrition education organization, with a mission to guide people to good health through utilizing the principles and practices of the traditional Okinawa diet.
At Okinawa Diet NPO, our mission is to promote healthy foods and eating patterns that have the power to improve the health and well-being of all of us. Research informs us that good health and good food go together along with other healthy lifestyle habits. For example, the traditional healthy Okinawa diet went along with a traditional culture and heritage that believed food was medicine. In fact the saying "nuchi gusui" reflected this belief. Nuchi gusui (Food is Medicine) was reflected in traditional healing practices that promoted health and well being through a connection with medicinal plants that were also integral parts of the daily diet.
Okinawa Diet NPO got its start in 2005 to address increasingly serious health issues (skyrocketing rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome ) among younger people in Okinawa eating a westernized diet and to preserve and promote traditional Okinawan culinary patterns that help people make connections between their food and their cultural heritage. It shares much in common with other non profit organizations such as Oldways, the Slow Food movement in Japan and the ideas espoused in works such as Diet for a Small Planet. We at Okinawa Diet have learned that positive change is possible if people are motivated and nudged in the right direction. However, current obesity friendly societies must also change from a social environment that focuses on fast food and the current disconnect between food and environment.
Since its original conception Okinawa Diet NPO has collaborated with dozens of international experts including scientists, health care professionals, food producers, local chefs, and food writers to promote the traditional Okinawan diet and other healthy eating patterns with which the diet shares much in common (such as the Mediterrnaean diet) that have inspired thousands of people to change the way they eat. Our success stories attest to the positive results that can be attained not only for local Okinawans but also for all people around the world.
FOUNDERS AND HISTORY
After over 30 years of research into Okinawan longevity and increasing concerns regarding the generational gap with regards to healthy aging (healthy oldsters vs less healthy youngsters), Dr. Makoto Suzuki along with Drs Bradley and Craig Willcox, founded non-profit Okinawa Diet in 2005. In addition to improving the health of younger Okinawans, Drs. Willcox and Suzuki dream was to offer an online support program that could reach as many people as possible in order to improve the health and longevity of anyone struggling with obesity or other weight related problems. The website was launched as a companion to the book The Okinawa Diet Plan which was published in 2004. The Okinawa Diet has been promoting healthy dietary patterns along with programs that encourage traditional sustainable food choices, and promote participation in preparation and consumption of slow food (as opposed to fast food). Those involved with the promotion of the traditional Okinawa Diet range from local Okinawans interested in returning to a healthier diet and lifestyle and a reconnection with their roots to whole communities in mainstream America (such as Redondo Beach, CA).
FUNDING AND SUPPORT
As a non-profit organization, we rely on a variety of funding from different sources to support and develop all of our educational outreach and programs. Our financial support is provided by a broad range of sources, including:
Individual and Corporate Memberships
Chambers of Commerce and Associations in Japan and elsewhere
State, Prefectural and National Government Grants
Private and Public Companies
Licensing (use of the Okinawa Diet Pyramid )
Educational Publications and Products (books )
Sales of Tea and other healthy traditional Okinawan foods
Grounded in Science and Promoting Social and Environmental Change
All Okinawa Diet programs are firmly grounded in the sciences of nutrition, epidemiology and public health. These firm principles are NOT affected by our funding sources. Our main source of funding comes from memberships in our programs and sales of our traditional food products such as our tea. When we accept funding from any source, whether it be from publications of our books, or organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, or local prefectural governments, our goal is to educate people about the traditional Okinawan Diet and to help ensure the survival of traditional Okinawan foods and producers of these foods. Moreover, we strive to promote healthy traditional foods and eating habits that exemplify the principles of the Okinawa diet (nutritionally dense but calorie poor) from around the world no matter what their local origin.