Understanding Shoku ‘The Culture of Eating’

For Mayumi Kojima, food, nutrition, and a person’s cultural background are essential in promoting health and well-being. Understanding one’s own body's needs is crucial for overall health.

Understanding how our bodies are naturally made up

Nick: Let's move on to something I think everyone loves, and that is shoku. So what is shoku? And how do you tie it into your business and helping others?

Mayumi: Well, we can't not talk about naturopathy without talking about food, nutrition, and diet. I love cooking, and every time I go different places, even the states, also Cairns, the one thing I look for is always a nice cafe and the food. Food, actually, I strongly connect it to people, it's very cultural.

And I really love food—talking about food, thinking about food. So I use the term, as a naturopath, is food as medicine. So definitely fundamental for me to talk with my client—it’s a must each time. For me, first of all it is important to understand what kind of food are we eating? What kind of background they're coming from? Are they born in Australia or are they born in different country, and they eat different kinds of food.

And you know, being in Australia for certain time, and they change the diet gradually and adapted to their environment. And those kinds of elements are also important for me to understand. Okay, so they might have a little bit of tolerance to something.

For example, myself as a Japanese person, I do have an intolerance, some degree of intolerance with the gluten and dairy because my ancestors did not eat too much of those things, such as bread, pasta, pizza, and stuff like that.

So if I eat too much, I have a little bit of a challenge. So the ancestry eating is one of those common thing that I start talking with my clients: so what is your background? What kind of food your ancestor, your grandparents, your grand grandparents used to eat?

Even European people, even though they eat gluten, no bread, and the gluten here in Europe is very different. And another things is to eat with the season. I think we forget that. And studying Tibetan Medicine was a wake up call for me to really own other seasonal change.

Because some of the constitution in our body will adapt right each season, for example. So according to the season, we eat accordingly is also very important, as well as understanding the natural make up of ourself.