Article: Adapt favorite foods to fit lifestyle to keep foods healthy

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Time for Sushi Roll in a Bowl!

I was in the underneath a HUGE load of grading after my Friday morning class, when an email popped up on my phone with a GORGEOUS picture of a sushi bowl from what I thought was a restaurant. I had made several suggestions that morning about making sushi at home, as many students were in the middle of transitioning their diets and wanted an option for some of their favorite Japanese cuisine. Two students told me that they were going right to the store after class, and they weren’t kidding! They outdid themselves, as their creation was fantastic and they even used black rice, which is a nutrient powerhouse, boasting more antioxidants than blueberries! Perhaps, Brittany’s story and tips will inspire you to tap into your creativity and bring some fun back into your kitchen!

In her own words… About three months ago I was inspired by my nutrition teacher to start eating a plant-based diet. At first, I received a lot of criticism and skepticism, “Where are you going to get your protein?” “I bet you don’t last 2 weeks!” I heard it all, but I expected it. These were the same thoughts that I had had before taking the class. I thought it would be nearly impossible and didn’t think that I would last, either. Admittedly, the first two weeks were hard, but after staying with it, I noticed myself having more energy, feeling better, and losing weight. My friends and family began to notice it, too. These are things that I half expected and half hoped would happen. However, I did not expect to love cooking. For me, cooking always seemed like such a hassle and mess. I preferred to purchase something that was already made because it was more convenient and I did not feel like I possessed the necessary skills to make amazing things that I actually wanted to eat. Now, I love cooking and don’t like to go out to eat because I feel like I can do better. I have eaten such a huge variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. I have discovered many recipes, and I have found that cooking together is a great way to spend time with the ones that you love.

There was one food that I could not stop craving and that was sushi. How could I possibly give up sushi? Before I would have sushi at least once a week so after about two weeks of eating a plant-based diet my strength was weakening and after one month I was just about ready to give up. Instead of giving up, I decided to make something that would satisfy my sushi cravings but not compromise the diet that had done so much for me. I was inspired to recreate my favorite thing to order, a chirashi bowl. The word “chirashi” means scattered, and typically it consists of raw fish and vegetables scattered over rice. It has been my favorite meal because it is so versatile, contains a variety of different flavors, and is very filling. Don’t let your favorite foods be a setback for you, adapt them to fit your lifestyle and to give your body what it needs.

The reason this recipe is so great is that it requires very little effort and little to no cooking skills. I have listed the ingredients I used in my sushi bowl, but you can pretty much add anything to it.

Brittany Evan’s Sushi Roll in a Bowl (makes 2 bowls)

Ingredients

1/2 cup black rice

just under 1 cup water or vegetable broth

1 – 2 carrots, julienned

1/2 cucumber, julienned

1 avocado

1 cup edamame

1 handful of red cabbage, shredded

Nori sheet, cut into strips

sesame seeds, to garnish

3-4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 lemon, thinly sliced

Extra Toppings: Low sodium soy sauce, ginger (fresh/pickled), wasabi, Sriracha

Procedure

To cook the rice: Rinse rice well under cool running water using a fine mesh sieve. In a small sauce pan, bring rice and water to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 25 minutes without disturbing. When done remove lid and let rest about 10 minutes, fluff with fork. I choose black rice because of the beautiful color and high antioxidant content, but you can substitute brown rice as well.

The next step is to arrange the prepared vegetables over top or to the side of the rice. Take your time to make it look like it was prepared in a sushi restaurant, or just throw the vegetables haphazardly on to the plate and mix them up, it’s up to you! Because I love lemon, I squeezed extra lemon on top of my bowl in addition to the lemon slices in the bowl.

This bowl is full of nutrient dense ingredients, guilt-free, and will help you satisfy your sushi cravings. Have fun and enjoy!

This article was published in the Lodi News Sentinel on June 3. 2015.

Timaree Hagenburger, is a registered dietitian and certified health fitness specialist with a master’s degree in public health. She is a nutrition professor at Cosumnes River College, who conducts corporate wellness work throughout the area, and has a regular segment on California Bountiful TV.

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