“Japanese diet” in practice

Alexandra (Sasha) Fedorova
3 min readFeb 27, 2019


Ten months on “Japanese diet” improved diversity of my microbiome (from 75th percentile to 84th according to Ubiome), reduced my weight by 5kg, and generated lots of questions from my friends. This post is dedicated to answering the most common question: What do you actually eat?

I write “Japanese diet” in quotes, because, counterintuitively, it involves few Japanese recipes. Instead it follows the principles that I think are key to how Japanese people eat: diversity of vegetables, beans and legumes, lots of fish, few refined carbs and sweets. (My previous post explains this in detail).

To illustrate what my family eats, I am going to describe several concrete dinners and breakfasts, with pictures and recipes. This post will focus on breakfast.

Breakfast with omelette.

The centerpiece of a breakfast is usually an omelette, which I cook using Julia Child’s method, with one egg and plenty of olive oil. The omelette may be accompanied by vegetables, a piece of smoked fish or cheese, like so:

If smoked salmon begins to bite the budget, it can be substituted with smoked mackerel or various canned fish (Riga sprats for $2.99/can are delicious), or dropped altogether:

On this second picture in addition to the omelette you see a bit of sauerkraut, sautéed chickpeas, sautéed asparagus, and a bit of quinoa. One reason why I find the “Japanese diet” so easy to follow is that vegetables are usually cooked very quickly on a hot steaming pan — a useful feature if you are cooking under time pressure.

Here are some actual recipes:

Sautéed chickpeas:

Take a can of chickpeas, drain the liquid, rinse the chickpeas in cold water. Melt butter in a hot pan, sautée the chickpeas, so they are not crowded in the pan, until golden brown. Add salt. This dish takes 5 minutes to prepare and the result is so delicious!

Sautéed asparagus:

Wash asparagus, cut off the white coarse bits at the bottom and pat dry. Heat olive oil in a pan (I like to use a cast-iron pan). Sautée on medium-high heat, not turning very often, so the asparagus browns a bit. Sprinkle with coarse salt when done. This shouldn’t take much time. The asparagus should be bright green when ready.

Beautiful boiled broccoli:

This delicious broccoli (that you can see on the first picture) is an authentic Japanese recipe, because it comes from my Japanese hairdresser Hiroshi.

Cut broccoli into bite-size pieces. Boil a pot of water. Add enough salt, so the water tastes pleasantly salty. Add broccoli to the boiling water. Turn on the timer for 3 minutes. Don’t overcook or you will ruin it. When the time rings, drain the water, add butter and serve. The remaining broccoli can be refrigerated and eaten later, cold or warmed up in a pan.

Happy eating!



Alexandra (Sasha) Fedorova

I research computer systems, raise young scientists and consult in the area of systems performance. I am a professor at the University of British Columbia.