On Tuesday morning we attended another food lab. This lab was a life stage nutrition practice lab in which we learned how to cook food for pregnant and breast-feeding women. We cooked rice with carrots and shitake mushrooms and clams in a miso broth, fried Namaribushi made from bonito fish which is cut, steamed and fried with a citrus sauce, Japanese mustard spinach with a peanut butter sauce, hot chocolate milk, prune cake and orange. We learned that each of these foods has a purpose for females in this life stage. For example, clams are believed to help mothers produce milk. After cooking, we sat down, relaxed and ate our meals with our group members. Participating in this lab really showed us how their attention to detail in cooking and serving the food is emphasized.
On Tuesday afternoon we visited the National Institute of Health and Nutrition (NIHN). This was a very interesting experience as we got to learn about their goal to improve Japan’s public health by conducting research on diet and nutrition for health promotion. We had a tour of the facility (that included a gym and swimming pool) where participants are studied to determine the effects of physical activity in the prevention of life-style related diseases, cancer, and deterioration of vital functioning. We also had the chance to look at the metabolic chamber, a human calorimeter. This facility helps researchers establish the estimated energy requirement (EER) and the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for Japanese. We also learned about their research on energy metabolism during resting and activity. Through learning about the innovative research related to nutrition and physical activity at the NIHN, we made many comparisons to Canada’s recommendations for nutrition and physical activity. Here is a picture of the human metabolic chamber: