A Japanese Diet for 2015 – Healthy Eating Options At Japan Centre

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In the last of our posts on how to achieve a healthier lifestyle by switching to Japanese cuisine, we’ll be casting our eye on some of the wonderful healthy eating options we have right here at Japan Centre.

Tofu

For some time, tofu was chuckled at in the West as “silly food for hippies”, but no longer. People have woken up and smelt the tofu (so to speak) and now can’t get enough of this magical stuff. Even bodybuilders are gorging on tofu to develop their hulking muscles. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of tofu shall we:

  • A great source of protein and therefore an excellent substitute for meat
  • Contains all eight essential amino acids
  • Rich in minerals: iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc and copper – may sound like the ore of a mine, but each of these is great for the body
  • Research indicates tofu helps lower bad cholesterol

Due to its elegantly simple flavour and soft texture, tofu is well known for its adaptability and can be used in an astonishing range of recipes. Check out some of our faves from Japan Centre Online:

Wakame & Tofu Salad: the subtle taste of tofu paired with the umami richness of wakame
Yudofu: an elegant classic loved by monks in Kyoto for centuries
Tofu shakes: Our brand new recipe is a cracking dairy free alternative to calorific milkshakes, made with tofu, soy milk and natural ingredients

Tofu options at Japan Centre Online:

A soft tofu that’s a wonderful option for blended delights like shakes and smoothies
A firm tofu that’s perfect for cooked dishes like stir fries
Premium tofu made from top notch soy beans and mineral water extracted from the aquifers of Mt. Fuji itself – la dee da

Shirataki & Konnyaku

These superfoods from Japan are a more recent explosion onto the health food scene. Konnyaku, also know as konjac, is derived from a special Japanese potato or yam that’s sometimes called ‘Devil’s Tongue’ in English, though we have no idea why. When prepared in noodle form it is known as ‘shirataki‘ in Japanese, which translates beautifully as ‘white waterfall’. Aww, doesn’t that put the names of our grub in Blighty to shame – pork scratching anyone? Anyway, let’s not get bogged down with its seemingly infinite names, this stuff is the SHIZZ:

  • Zero fat
  • Zero carbs
  • Virtually no calories
  • Fills you up without fattening you up
  • Full of dietary fibre and so excellent for digestion

One of our favourite things about konnyaku & shirataki is its versatility. It has no taste of its own, but will happily soak up whatever flavour you dress around it. Here’s some mega healthy recipes using the yam on everyone’s tongue (including Satan’s apparently):

Shirataki beef salad – a health, tasty meal perfect for dieting carnivores (anyone else imaging a T-Rex checking its figure in the mirror?)
Spicy Shirataki Noodle Salad – the chilli kick makes this healthy dish even more satisfying
Shirataki & Fresh Vegetable Salad – super easy to rustle up and delicious hot or cold

Shirataki & Konnyaku options at Japan Centre Online:

Shirataki noodles in spring water
In brown yam cake form, great for dipping in soy sauce

Seaweed

Some people are terrified of seaweed – they find it slippery, untrustworthy and “too sea-ish”. Japanese however, are not in this category, and chow down on approximately 3 billion tonnes of the stuff a day (we just made up that statistic). We’ve looked before at the different kinds of seaweed that pop up in Japanese cuisine, now let’s look at its health benefits:

  • Good for digestive health 
  • Eating sea vegetables has been linked to having a healthy heart- as seen by the long living folk of Okinawa
  • Packed full of nutrients such as iodine and calcium 
  • Very low in calories 
  • Strong umami flavour from seaweed leads to feeling fuller for longer
  • Helps detoxify the body

These are just some of the many benefits from chomping on sea plants. Cooking with seaweed is also an utter joy, as it tends to be very easy to prepare and you can reap the health benefits straight after. Let’s have a look at some of our Japanese seaweed recipes:

Seaweed salad: unique salad packed with umami flavours of Japan
Aonori Seaweed Infused Chikuwa Tempura – a distinctive healthy snack or light meal
Hijiki Salad – our new recipe is a classic bento box filler in Japan

 

And don’t forget all our great sushi recipes, rolled in delicious, healthy, seaweedy nori.

What seaweed products do we stock at Japan Centre?

Nori – dried sheets of seaweed used in sushi making
Kombu – Japanese kelp used to make dashi, the quintessential flavour of Japan
Hijiki is fibre rich and easy to prepare
Aonori – powdered seaweed used to impart umami flavour on all sorts of Japanese dishes, including takoyaki and okonomiyaki

Check out our full seaweed selection here at Japan Centre. 

And the healthy eating options don’t end there. If you’re a sweet tooth trying to cut down on refined sugar, try azuki sweet red beans used in yummy Japanese sweets and desserts. Other Japanese Centre classics that are great for the body and soul include natto, tea, sesame, shiitake mushrooms, soba noodles and more.

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