How to sushi slim

How to sushi slim

By
Makiko Sano
Contains
0 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
9781849491754
Photographer
Lisa Linder

Virtuous indulgence

Indulge and slim: Japanese food is healthy, delicious, good for you and helps you lose weight. For women in Japan, how, what and when they eat is seated in tradition, in the treasured ingredients of rice, miso, wasabi, fish, tea and seaweed that are the traditional harvests of our island nation. All of these have incredible slimming and beauty-boosting benefits.

The sushi, soup, salad and bento box recipes in this book are not only the height of food fashion, but also the perfect fast food for busy people on the run… and you will learn how simple they are to make.

And although people in the West might view the phrase ‘healthy diet’ with trepidation, bringing as it does connotations of abstinence and avoidance, our style of healthy eating is all about what I call Virtuous Indulgence. Japanese food is full of all the sensuous experiences you would normally feel deprived of on a western ‘diet’. We eat first with our eyes: the food looks beautiful. Next up come touch, feel and texture, and finally the exquisite taste.

The Japanese culture of slimness: In Japan, we are taught from a really young age what is good for our bodies. It’s part of our culture to eat healthy foods which help maintain a trim figure and improve our looks.

Unlike the Western sweep-it-under-the-carpet approach to weight gain, Japanese women openly scrutinise each other’s figures and won’t hesitate to mention if someone has added a few pounds. In fact it has even been legislated for, with the maximum waist size for a woman over 40 years old set at 90 centimetres. Some of Tokyo’s restaurants have scales at each table; others serve 500-calorie lunches.

We may not have calorie-counting restaurants in the West (yet!), but this book will do the work for you. Each of the delicious dishes has been calorie counted, and our dietitian-devised diet plan will show how, by introducing just one Japanese meal a day into your diet, you can lose a healthy amount of weight each week, or just maintain your ideal weight. So, if you want to indulge your way to a healthier, trimmer, more glowing you, try Sushi Slim.

Japanese food: The facts and your figure

Many Japanese people are taught to eat until they are 80 per cent full, and this might be one reason for their trim figures. In the latest world obesity rankings, Japan scored the second lowest percentage, with a mere 3.9 per cent, compared to America’s troubling 33.8 per cent.

The average daily calorie intake in Japan is 2,754 kcal, compared to the USA’s 3,825 kcal.

The omega-3 content of the high prevalence of fish in the diet, along with a relatively small amount of meat eaten in Japan, is thought responsible for low levels of cardiovascular problems in the country.

They say variety is the spice of life. The typical Japanese person will have about 100 varieties of food per week, compared with just 30 in the average British diet, or 45 in the Mediterranean diet.

Results from a study at the end of 2011 suggested that a traditional Japanese diet may help to manage Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

For many years, researchers have been aware of the extreme health and longevity benefits of a Japanese diet, especially the now legendary Okinawa way of eating, where inhabitants of the Japanese island regularly live to 100 (and an Okinawan was found to be 6.5 times less likely to die from breast cancer).

When you understand all that this cuisine offers, the only question about embracing a whole new style of eating is: why didn’t I do it before?

Seven reasons why the Japanese diet will help you lose weight

–Portion control: Because of the way in which it is presented, with three or four dishes, Japanese meals give the impression of being bigger than they are. At least one of the dishes will be a low-calorie, filling soup. In Western cuisine, the style is to use one big dinner plate groaning with quite a mountain of food. A typical set of sushi contains about 300 calories. An average Western plate of food can be 500 calories more than this.

–Chopsticks: Slowing the rate at which you eat allows your brain to notice when you feel full. The Western eat-on-the-run way of dining means we have often overeaten before we even know it. Japanese people find it easier to notice when we are full because we use chopsticks, which are a more time-consuming way to eat. Set aside at least 20 minutes to eat each meal, as it takes your stomach about that time to register fullness.

–Swerve dairy and meat: Japanese people do eat some meat, but not much of it compared to the Western diet. Also, dairy wasn’t eaten in a traditional Japanese diet, and still isn’t a big part of it. These two food stuff s are high in fat and responsible for much of the Western daily calorie intake.

–Big breakfasts and early, light suppers: We often eat a selection of dishes in the morning: miso soup; rice; omelette; and grilled salmon. Japanese people also tend not to snack after 4pm, and eat an early supper that focuses on fish and vegetables. We also don’t tend to eat desserts at home.

–Green tea: Japanese people drink green tea throughout the day and it’s readily available from street vending machines, which preheat it in cans. It contains virtually no calories. In contrast, the Western equivalent — the ubiquitous coffee shop — is a diet baddie. Even if you order a skinny latte, you will take in around 100 calories, and that can increase to a staggering 500 calories for a mocha with cream.

–Good things in small packages: Instead of tearing open a long roll of biscuits and ploughing through them, Japanese people tend to pick up snack-sized dainties. Small packaging minimises the temptation to overdo it. So, if you’re wavering and feeling like you might blow your diet, pick up a mini pack of sesame snaps, or satisfyingly salty rice crackers. It’s a simple idea, but a great damage limitation exercise.

–Acid test: Sushi translates as ‘vinegared rice’. Vinegar and other acetic acid-based pickles, ubiquitous in Japanese food, have a distinct effect on how we digest fat when eaten as part of a meal. Japanese researchers recently found that acetic acid may aid in fat burning. Another study found that vinegar taken after a high-GI food, such as white bread, not only reduced peaks in blood glucose, but also increased the feeling of fullness. When vinegar was introduced into a test diet, 10 per cent less body fat was produced.

Diamond ingredients

‘Our foods are full of goodies. We say eating them makes us sparkle like diamonds… forever.’

The Japanese diet not only helps you to lose pounds and maintain a healthy weight, it’s anti-ageing, bursting with complexion-boosting goodies and adds gloss and condition to your hair and nails.

Part of what makes Japanese food so different is the myriad ‘diamond’ foods we use, that do so much more than taste great.

–Ginger for all-round health: This rhizome contains silicone to promote smooth and even skin tone, glossy hair and healthy teeth and nails. It is also considered to act as a mild aphrodisiac.

–Nori for mermaid locks: This is the seaweed used to make sushi. It is believed to stimulate hair growth as it contains naturally high quantities of biotin, a compound often sold as a supplement in health food stores to strengthen hair.

–Sesame seeds for a youthful body: These are small but nutritionally mighty. They have a cholesterol-lowering effect. Sesamin, a compound found in the seeds, has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage. The seeds are high in copper, which strengthens blood vessels to promote healthy skin and hair. Crush them in a mortar and pestle to release the maximum health-giving qualities.

–Vinegar: Japanese rice vinegar is used to flavour sushi rice. Several studies have found it can suppress body fat accumulation.

–Yuzu for younger skin: This fragrant citrus contains antioxidants, bioflavanoids and a high level of vitamin C (three times that of lemon). It’s worth seeking out from Japanese stores, and use it in any of the recipes in the book that call for lemon or lime. Yuzu zest also contains nomilin, a compound which has relaxing properties. Japanese women rely on it to rejuvenate maturing skin. I love to use the juice in salad dressings, or the zest shaved into a dipping sauce, or into the bath!

Diet-boosting drinks

As crucial as the food to the Japanese diet are the drinks. From skin-revitalising soups to low-calorie tipples, what’s in your glass or tea cup could have more impact on your Sushi Slim plan than you think.

–Green tea: Green tea — the most popular tea in my restaurant — wins hands down in the calorie stakes against the Western fascination with dairy-laden hot drinks. It is virtually calorie-free. In fact, you could actually burn about 80 calories for every five cups of green tea you drink, due to the ‘thermic effect’ on the body of processing the drink.

We drink hot green tea with every meal, and even buy it ready-made in bottles. It also makes a refreshing drink served cold, over ice, in the warmer months.

Green tea is laden with antioxidants that help lower cholesterol, and has antibacterial properties which sweeten the breath.

–Oolong tea: Japanese oolong tea is almost like our cup of coffee. More intensely flavoured than green tea, I tend to have one very strong cup in the morning to provide that same boost that a shot of coffee would.

–Barley tea: Strict dieters such as my sister would choose Japanese barley tea for its reputed detox properties, drinking it as we would drink water in the west.

–Shochu and sake: Women in Japan opt for these over a cold beer, as they don’t have any wheat content. The drinks have reputations for minimising hangovers, and shochu has a mere 35 calories per 50 ml shot. Sake, also low in calories, contains more than 20 kinds of amino acids. Amongst their benefits is slow ageing of the skin.

Japanese wonder soups

–Collagen soup: You may have noticed little sachets of liquid collagen being sold at beauty counters. But this is old news in Japan. A girlfriend of mine first made me collagen soup in my teens and I’ve been hooked ever since. Even the morning after drinking it, my skin looks firmer and plumper. And it’s not my imagination: The Japanese Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that drinks containing 10 g of collagen produced a 50 per cent observable effectiveness against wrinkles and skin moisture content within one week. The soup I prefer is made with fish, either salmon or grouper, and it isn’t something you will find at Japanese restaurants in the West. You can find recipes. I eat it twice a week. I often make a large batch and freeze it in cubes to use later.

–Miso soup: In Japan we would quite happily have miso at every meal. I carry sachets of it in my handbag to have at my desk. There are many different ways to make the soup, so it never gets boring. Miso has high levels of umami — the savoury taste — and so is hugely appealing and very satisfying.

Miso contains only 30 calories per 240 ml serving and contains high levels of antioxidants, the goodies that clean up the ‘free radical’ cells responsible for ageing. The amino acids in miso also help rid the body of harmful toxins.

Miso is rich in zinc and manganese, which help give glossy hair and healthy nails.

Sushi Slim meal plan

I have devised three diet plans. Each replaces just one meal a day in a normal Western diet with a delicious Japanese meal from Sushi Slim (though you can swap in two meals a day if you want... and it’s easy to get hooked!).

On the Sushi Slim plan, you should aim to lose no more than two pounds each week. A slow, steady weight loss, along with taking regular exercise, is the best way to long-term success. Crash diets never work. It is also important to eat a morning and an afternoon snack, to keep you feeling full and avoiding temptation.

I advise that everyone considering a weight-loss diet should check with their GP first, just to rule out any problems. And always remember to drink lots of water throughout the day.

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