Sunday, October 28, 2007

Shintani Lifestyle and Diet

Dr. Terry Shintani held one of his last 4 hour seminars two weeks ago. My sister, Sherry, and I count ourselves as lucky for being in attendance. Dr. Diane, the Administrator of the Hawai'i Health Foundation, the non-profit that runs the seminars, explained that the next two events, a Nov. 3, 2007 10 Day Program and a Feb., 2008 21 Day Program may be the last ones that Dr. Shintani does. So, Sherry and I felt very fortunate to be able to hear Dr. Shintani live.

Dr. Shintani is very well known for his groundbreaking work with diet not only in Hawai'i but globally. His book "The Hawai'i Diet" was on the NY Times bestseller list. He has a medical and a law degree from the UH and a Masters in Nutrition from Harvard. He's listed in the Encyclopedia Britannica. He's appeared on national television news shows. For more of his background you can go to the website which Dr. Diane designed and maintains at

You know I am interested in anything to do with food. Some minor health problems prompted me to attend the seminar. My thought was that while I may never become a strict vegetarian, more knowledge would help me in making healthier choices in my food. I think Sherry and I got much more than we bargained for, in a good way.

Basically, if I were to sum up Dr. Shintani's diet plan (Sorry, Dr. Shintani if I use my own mana'o and words) I would say that it is a non-diet. It is a change in lifestyle which actually frees you to eat probably more types of food and a larger volume of food if that is what you want. It is a holistic approach that focuses on diet but includes exercise, our spiritual life, our attitudes, our beliefs and even our feelings of self-worth.

Dr. S. says that on average we need about 2,500 calories a day to maintain our weight with some differences depending on gender, weight, body type, activity, etc. It is better for our bodies if we put into it 2,500 calories of whole grains, low fat, plant based proteins, vegetables and fruits instead of refined flours, sugars and processed foods (think of the movie "Supersize Me"). He likes to say Junk In, Junk Out.

His books provide the Shintani Mass Index of Food which helps you to easily identify which foods are high in nutrition and low in the things that are bad for you, namely fats, animal based protein and refined processed food. As an example, it would take pounds and pounds of say, broccoli to reach 2,500 calories but only one or two meals of fast food. Maybe two cheeseburgers and two shakes. And, most importantly the former will fill up your stomach and make you full but the latter will leave you hungry for more if that is all you ate in one day. Dr. Shintani just uses examples with one food as with broccoli as a lesson, he promotes a widely varied and balanced daily diet. Everything in moderation.

Dr. Shintani, Dr. Diane, Down to Earth and many volunteers put on an enlightening seminar that is part instructional lectures, part cooking show and totally entertaining. Dr. Shintani's beliefs are firmly founded on scientific proof as well as common sense and stories of his many years in practice which includes years at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center. It is not an exaggeration to say that Sherry and I were astonished when we tasted the samples of breakfast, lunch and dinner which we were served. I had heard that people make scrambled tofu but until I actually tried it I didn't understand the concept. Sherry was especially taken with the Spicy Tofu Nuggets. These dishes were representative of the actually yummy, local, some Asian, some Pacific Rim recipes found in three of his books "Eat More, Weigh Less Diet" "Eat More, Weigh Less Cookbook" and "The Hawai'i Diet" by Dr. Terry Shintani.

So, here I am on Day 16 of my own version of the Dr. Shintani lifestyle. While Dr. Shintani and his family are vegans (no dairy, no eggs, no meat) he does not push his choices on you but offers an option and we are, of course, free to make our own food choices. No food police in my kitchen!

My diet these last couple of weeks has consisted of primarily plant based foods but sometimes up to 6 oz. of some form of meat a day. There was that birthday dinner last Friday at Mei Sum of scrumptious dim sum but surprisingly I found myself craving my whole grains by the following morning. The diet does make me feel better. It's hard to put my finger on, I just feel lighter like the difference between having some virtuous jai or oden and having a not-so-virtuous prime rib dinner.

OK, confession time. There are MANY health benefits to the Shintani Diet and it is a relatively easy way to lose weight but there were some pretty convincing Before and After the 21 Day program photos in a slideshow too. It was amazing that the women in particular in their After photos looked like the photo had been taken 10 years ago when they were younger! Well, a skeptic could say that the photos were altered. Not so! There were live, short testimonials at the seminar we attended and those same women in person look every bit as good, if not better, than when the last photos were taken, a year or more ago. How about that?!

ps: I made the Jim Lahey No Knead Bread recipe, below, using 2 c. bread flour and 1 cup stone ground whole wheat flour and it was great. I'll try flaxseeds, oat bran add-ins in the future and report. I'll keep you posted on the lifestyle changes and will add recipes in the future.
another ps: I'm not giving up my square of dark chocolate a day.


This blog is written as a thank you to the tireless efforts of Dr. Shintani, Dr. Diane and volunteers who are passionate about their vision for healthier lives. A thank you to Sherry for going with me to the seminar and for her ongoing support and enthusiasm.

"Eat More, Weigh Less Diet", "Eat More, Weigh Less Cookbook" and "The Hawaii Diet" by Dr. Terry Shintani, MD, JD, MPH, as well as ebooks, other books and videos are all available from, Dr. Shintani's website. See link to the left of this posting. A number of Dr. Shintani's eight books are also available on


Samantha said...

Thank you for the updates about your discoveries in better health and diet. Dr. Roger de Haan's book, "We don't Die, We Kills Ourselves," discusses the acidic vs alkaline diet...and brings up the topic of the emotional and spiritual factors of our health. What comes to mind is that in the Book of Daniel, Daniel went against the diet of the Babylonians and ate his regular diet of vegetabls. Some people today go on a 21-day Daniel fast...sounds sort of similar to the 21 Day Program you mentioned in your article.

foodiewahine said...

Hi, Samantha,
Yes, isn't it interesting that there are accidental Biblical implications to the numbers 7 and 21? While the Shintani programs are 10 and 21 days they are not fasts in the least. In fact the participants are encouraged to eat 'til they are full. That's why I like to stress that this is a non-diet but rather a change in lifestyle.
Thank you for your comments and the references to the Haan book. It is ALWAYS extremely useful for me to have feedback, otherwise I'm writing in a vacuum.

Anonymous said...


MJA said...

Dear Foodiewahine,

I've only recently completed the 10-day Dr Shintani program, and was inspired to create my own food blog and seek out others who've done the same. Your food blog is so filled with great stuff to read! Pls visit my food blog at

inaaya bint musab said...

Is this correct ..Dr S recommends sprouted whole grains, vegetables and beans ?