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Don't eat these foods together and avoid possible intestinal distress

37 Comments

The Japanese grammatical construct "...-te wa ikenai" ("you shouldn't ..." preceded by the continuative form of a verb) sounds like words voiced by a stern parent scolding a misbehaving child. It became popularized in the media after the appearance of a controversial book on food safety published by Shukan Kinyobi in 1999, and has been popping up regularly with regard to things like foods, dieting and other health regimens, medication, selection of physicians and other things, related but not necessarily confined to diet and health in general.

As autumn is a season to be jolly -- meaning lots of social activities -- Shukan Taishu (Sept 26) has run an advisory about how you need to avoid combining 15 different combinations of foods in the same sitting. Disregard such precautions, the magazine warns, and even someone with a cast-iron constitution might find himself doubled over with pain, or making a desperate dash to the toilet.

The article starts by refuting one old wives' tale: eating umeboshi (pickled plums) and eel, which is incorrectly rumored to have a negative impact on digestion. Actually, the sour property of the plums helps to digestion of the fats present in eels, so if anything, it's a good idea to eat them both.

But the ones that follow should definitely be shunned. The first of these combinations is tempura and watermelon.Remarked Satoshi Ikuta, a former professor at the University of Illinois, "As the the saying goes, 'oil and water don't mix.' Eat them together and diarrhea could result."

Number 2: Tempura and "kakigori" (shaved ice with sweet syrup) are to be avoided for the same reasons as above, plus they can reduce the body temperature.

Number 3: Pork and buckwheat noodles should not be consumed cold, say authorities on traditional Asian physiology, as both have the property of cooling down the body.

Number 4: Crab and persimmons together reduce the body temperature. In addition, proteins in crab meat produce tannic acid and albumin, which may result in nausea, stomach pains and other symptoms resembling food poisoning.

Number 5: Too many summer vegetables, such as cucumber, eggplant, bell peppers, okra and acorn squash, which can have the effect of reducing the body's temperature.

Number 6: Avoid milk with fish or shellfish "If incompletely digested, the body generates toxins," said Naomi Hiraji, an authority on traditional Asian herbal medication, saying studies are ongoing to explain why this occurs.

Number 7: Combining vinegar and mutton will cause overheating of the body and lead to abnormalities in the blood.

Number 8: Rice wine and mustard -- said to have negative effects on the skeletal and muscular systems.

Number 9: Carrots and "daikon" (giant radish). While both root vegetables are rich in vitamin C, their respective properties mean consuming them together will cancel out any benefits.

Number 10 is the combination of natto and raw egg. For this one, our foreign readers are probably off the hook, so the less said the better; let's move on.

Number 11: Oysters and seaweeds. "Oysters, which have a reputation for boosting a man's virility, are a rich source of zinc, but 'hijiki,' 'wakame' or other sea vegetables cause the zinc to be excreted," a clinician specializing in male-related problems advised. "Better to avoid eating them together."

Are we forgetting something? Oh yes, Number 12: Beer and fried foods. When alcohol molecules are broken down by the liver, the body generates enzymes that promote the synthesis of fats. At the same time, generation of acetaldehyde can reduce liver function, and lead to development of fatty liver.

Unlucky Number 13 is sanma (mackerel pike) and pickles; number 14, "tarako" (codfish eggs) and sausages; and number 15, the final combination to be avoided are ginkgo nuts and Japanese rice wine. The nuts are particularly popular in autumn, when they're served with "kushi-yaki" (deep-fried tidbits on skewers) or in "chawan-mushi" (savory egg custard).

"Eat too many while drinking sake, and people have been known to get food poisoning caused by the ginkgo toxin (aka methoxypyridoxine) which is present in gingko nuts," the aforementioned Ikuta warns, adding "The safe level would be fewer than 10 nuts per day." Overeating can lead to gastrointestinal distress, and in the most severe cases breathing difficulties and loss of consciousness.

Japanese food has a reputation for being good for health, but like everything else, extra caution is needed when consuming certain gustatory delights of autumn.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

37 Comments
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Number 10 is the combination of natto and raw egg. For this one, our foreign readers are probably off the hook, so the less said the better; let’s move on.

Where does this piece of false information come from?

Most of my foreign friends love natto. It's one of the things I crave when I come back to Japan after a trip abroad. And natto and raw egg is a winning combination, especially if the egg is quail and it's accompanied with thinly sliced ika!

3 ( +9 / -6 )

My Lord! Number 10 is the Breakfast of Champions! It's powered me over more hills on my bicycle than I can count. That said ... "Ika"? Yikes! No shoyu?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Very very interesting and informative! Thanks JT.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I feel like most of this is just old superstitions. Also, everyone's body reacts differently, so it can depend on the person

14 ( +15 / -1 )

"say authorities on traditional Asian physiology"

So is the article trying to say Asians have different physiology from other people? Or just that traditional Asians have different physiology?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I wouldn't be tempted by any of the combinations mentioned, with the exception of Nos 5 and 9.

Summer veggies are great for reducing the body temperature on a hot summer's day. Though of course 'too many' of anything is bad, by definition. How many is 'too many'? Summer veggies are the staple of my diet in summer.

Carrots and daikon are the main ingredients in namasu, a side dish in which the shredded veggies are dressed in sweetened vinegar. It's popular in New Year's food, on account of the festive red and white colouring (yes I know carrots are orange not red...)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Sounds like 15 pieces of total claptrap.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

I feel like most of this is just old superstitions.

If "traditional Asian physiology" is mentioned, or anything to do with heating or cooling of the body, which comes from the arbitrary Chinese designation of foods as hot or cold, then it's grade A bunkum.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@cleo: Western carrots are certainly orange, but there is a variety of Japanese carrots used in New Year's (osechi) dishes called "Kintoki Ninjin" that are quite red. I only see them around at that time of year and make sure to buy them. It may be all in my head, but they taste different (better) to me.

http://xn--u9jt37isvkg91a8to08j.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/DSC_1097-1.jpg

1 ( +1 / -0 )

kawachi,

Until the 18th century, there were various varieties of carrots in Europe. In Okinawa yellow or purple (kuro ninjin) are not uncommon. They both have a slightly different taste. There is more on the history of carrots here:

http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/history.html

As for the list of 15 "ikenai's" listed above, I'd like to know if there is any logical reasoning behind it, or whether it is just an etherial "wareware nipponjin" rationale.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

it's like saying only on Tuesdays before 6pm, and not on Thursdays after 9pm

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No 5 is BAD ??? So nobody (who believes this) will ever eat my Ratatouille again ??? (maybe in France we have a different "set of rules" ?) As a mixture of all summer vegetables, this is THE summer dish "par excellence".

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Don't have kimchi and orange juice together. It is bad for you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Strawberry kakigori and beach. Unwise combination.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One way (East) Asian physiology is different is that most are lactose intolerant.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Number 10 is the combination of natto and raw egg. For this one, our foreign readers are probably off the hook, so the less said the better; let’s move on.

What about your foreign readers who do eat natto and raw egg? What about your foreign readers who don't eat it but would still be interested in the speculation why it's not a good combination?

Maybe you are 'off the hook' in many cases - but for the sake of two more lines of text, why not just explain the reason why, as you have done for the other combinations mentioned?

I didn't expect JapanToday to partake in the old 'generalization of foreigners' nonsense. Disappointing.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Carrots and “daikon” (giant radish). While both root vegetables are rich in vitamin C, their respective properties mean consuming them together will cancel out any benefits

What is the mechanism for the disappearance of the vitamin C when carrots and radishes are combined?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Is this the same "traditional Asian herbal medication" beliefs which say a rhino's horn looks like a boner hence it must be good for boners beliefs. In that case I may pass on these pearly wisdom. On the other hand there are traditional ingredients which are beneficial and warrants further studies.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm pretty sure these notions about incompatibility of certain foods originated in China. I've seen Chinese almanacs that show a chart of foods to be avoided in combination. Messes with your "qi" or whatever. If they want me to believe it, let them organize tests of 500 or 1,000 people and stuff them with ginko nuts washed down with Asahi Super Dry, and let's count what percent of them croak.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

pop rocks and diet coke aren't a good combination.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Newsflash: All of this is nonsense.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Strawberry kakigori and beach. Unwise combination.

@lucabrasi - Could you mean "... and peach" ? :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Most of my foreign friends love natto"

You must have some weird foreign friends, Bertie!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@kangawota

Excellent suggestion, thanks.

Actually it was a lame attempt at humour: I meant to say " strawberry kakigori and bleach". Still not a wise choice. ; )

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As Laptop- suggested, it seems a little loosely based on Chinese complimentary / antagonistic Yin Yang philosophy ecompassing all aspects of compatabilities in our lives.

Re- food - some of these may have modern science support, but some won't, as concepts like "ki" or "life force" can't be verified by scientific analysis.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@lucabrasi

I love it! Hehe... bleach :P

With the 'beach', I was thinking a mouthful of sand might not go well with the strawberry kakigori. Or probably with kakigori no matter what the topping. But bleach might just have a chance paired with something acidic like perhaps orange... just kiddin' :P

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Number 7: Combining vinegar and mutton will cause overheating of the body and lead to abnormalities in the blood.

That means roast lamb (or is it just mutton) and mint sauce is dangerous. Someone tell the BBC! Quick! . . . Oh yes, that's right, we're not really taken in by this 'news' article are we!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

You must have some weird foreign friends, Bertie!

Steve, I do, I do!

"Birds of a feather . . . "

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What a load of old rubbish.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"Japanese food has the reputation of being good for health..."

While low in fat, something in the Japanese diet makes Japan a nation with one of the highest rates of stomach cancer. I suspect the reliance on pickled foods.

http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/stomach-cancer/by-country/

3 ( +3 / -0 )

" Number 12: Beer and fried foods "

Are you kidding me? No french fries and yakitori with beer? Most of my Japanese friends would be sick if that was the true.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

****I love natto with raw egg and nori, and am still here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"...tempura and watermelon.Remarked Satoshi Ikuta, a former professor at the University of Illinois, “As the the saying goes, ‘oil and water don’t mix.’"

What about tempura with hot udon or soba noodles (water in the noodle broth), or tempura teishoku (water in the miso soup, and the tea probably had)?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

12 is absurd
1 ( +2 / -1 )

Number 12: Beer and fried foods. When alcohol molecules are broken down by the liver, the body generates enzymes that promote the synthesis of fats. At the same time, generation of acetaldehyde can reduce liver function, and lead to development of fatty liver.

well us Brits are screwed !

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So my tonjiro rich with carrots and daikon slices is bad for me? Oh well, beats smoking.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Does America have certain foods at are bad to mix together as well? I live in America and I have never heard of any bad food combinations. Please tell me if you know any...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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