Want to extend your lifespan? What are the factors that contribute to a longer life?
In this episode of the Ikigai Podcast, Nick speaks with Sachiaki Takamiya about applying ikigai bio-hacking to our daily lives to improve our quality of life.
Eating healthy the Japanese way
“We need about 30 different kinds of fibre a week, which is a lot, because if we think of fibre, we think of vegetables. But how many vegetables do you eat regularly? Maybe 10. But that is quite difficult to find only from vegetables. But there is this system in Japan called Mago Wa Yasashii.So Mago Wa Yasashii, basically, you consume a lot of beans, a lot of nuts and seeds, a lot of seaweeds, fish, vegetables, mushrooms, and potatoes. Except for fish, they all contain a lot of fibre. You can easily find 30 different kinds of fibre if you use Mago Wa Yasashii.” - Sachiaki Takamiya
Sachiaki Takamiya is an author and sustainable life coach. He is the author of the Ikigai Diet and Ikigai Bio-Hacking: Bio-Hacking Based on Japanese Natural Health. He was a guest on episode 3 of the Ikigai Podcast - “What Ikigai Means to Japanese.”
Ikigai Diet - Live longer. Age younger
Ikigai Bio-Hacking - Bio-Hacking Based on Japanese Natural Health
- Why live longer. At 2:54, Sachiaki shares his purpose of extending his lifespan.
- Three types of health linked to bio-hacking. At 7:32, Sachiaki explains the three types of health that he relates to bio-hacking.
- Hare and Ke intermittent fasting. At 16:43, Sachiaki talks about the fasting that he practises.
- Autophagy-activating foods. At 27:50, Sachiaki gives examples of autophagy-activating foods.
- The gut as a primal organ in Japanese natural health. At 31:07, Sachiaki explains why the gut is considered a vital organ in Japan.
- Mago wa Yasashii. At 36:44, Sachiaki talks about a methodology to find 30 different kinds of fibre that benefit the gut microbiome.
- Ikigai bio-hacking exercises. At 40:15, Sachiaki shares some bio-hacking exercises that he engages in.
Why live longer
In his book, Bio-Hacking: Bio-Hacking Based on Japanese Natural Health, Sachiaki asked two questions: "Why do you want to live long?” and "What is the purpose of extending your lifespan?”
At 60, Sachiaki feels that his life has only just begun. With two books already published and more goals he hopes to accomplish, he sees a longer lifespan as a means to continue his important work.
Three types of health linked to bio-hacking
In his book, Sachiaki highlights three types of health that he relates to bio-hacking.
Personal - taking care of one's physical and mental well-being through proper diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices.
Planetary - taking care of our planet and creating a healthier environment for ourselves and future generations.
Spiritual - focusing on accomplishing one's life mission and cultivating a sense of purpose and fulfilment.
Autophagy and its importance“Intermittent fasting is one of the most effective ways to activate autophagy which is considered to stop or slow down the ageing process.” - Sachiaki Takamiya
Autophagy is a natural cellular process that enables our bodies to regenerate and repair damaged cells by consuming its own tissue. While our bodies can perform this function during our younger years, it tends to decline as we age. Thus, activating this process becomes increasingly important. Once activated, autophagy can help slow down the ageing process.
Hare and Ke intermittent fastingSachiaki follows an intermittent fasting method he calls Hare and Ke, which combines two Japanese concepts: Hare, meaning festivals or celebrations, and Ke, meaning a simple lifestyle. To integrate both concepts into his weekly routine, Sachiaki fasts on weekdays and enjoys or ‘celebrates’ three meals a day on weekends.
"It touches on that aspect of ikigai, when you have something to look forward to. So if you have certain foods you plan to eat, or you decide to go out with friends on the weekend, you have that to look forward to, which kind of makes you feel good in the moment." - Nicholas Kemp
Want to activate autophagy? Sachiaki recommends to eat the following foods:
The gut as a primal organ in Japanese natural health“Fermented food is very big in Japan. We have miso, natto, and tsukemono, which are like pickles. And fermented foods help your gut microbiome a lot. Therefore, our dietary culture is pretty much connected to gut health.” - Sachiaki Takamiya
Japan's dietary culture is centred on gut health. The hara, or belly, plays a crucial role in various practices in Japan, such as martial arts and healing therapies. This highlights that a healthy gut serves as a foundation for a healthy body and mind.
Mago wa Yasashii
Fermented foods and fibre are two crucial components that support gut health. Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, an award winning gastroenterologist and author, emphasises the importance of incorporating a diverse range of fibre, recommending that we consume around 30 different types of fibre per week.
To help achieve this, Sachiaki Takamiya shares a dietary method from Japan called Mago wa Yasashii, which involves incorporating the following foods into one's diet:
Ma - mame (beans)
Go - goma (sesame seeds)
Wa - wakame (seaweeds)
Ya - yasai (vegetables)
Sa - sakana (fish)
Shi - shiitake (mushroom)
I - imo (potatoes)
All of these foods, except for fish, are rich in fibre and can help individuals diversify their fibre intake.
Ikigai bio-hacking exercises
Various types of exercise can contribute to longevity and overall health. For physical fitness, it is important to engage in a variety of activities, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT), aerobic exercises, Tabata, and strength training.
In addition to physical fitness, it is also essential to consider the impact of exercise on planetary and spiritual health. For example, exercising in nature such as hiking, shinrin yoku (forest bathing), and Nordic walking can support planetary health by promoting a deeper connection with nature.
Similarly, for spiritual health, individuals may consider exploring practices like shugendo, a Japanese spiritual tradition that incorporates elements of both Shintoism and Buddhism where Yamanushi, mountain ascetic hermits, retreat to mountains for intensive spiritual practice.
“I guess this could inspire us to maybe create an outdoor exercise routine where we go outside. And if we're lucky enough to be near a mountain, maybe we climb it or go to a park, and we don't have to drive to a gym and pay hundreds of dollars every month. We can do these exercises outside and connect to nature.” - Nicholas Kemp
Ikigai bio-hacking offers a valuable approach for individuals seeking to improve their overall health and well-being. By improving our physical, planetary, and spiritual health, we can extend and enhance our quality of life while pursuing our life's mission.