Monday, October 29, 2012

Sweet, Sour, Salty, Savory. Asian Salads.

Gosh, it's been so long, but I do remember the very first day of my "diet".  I packed my lunch, for the very first time that day, a salmon and spinach salad.  I purchased the spinach salad from Costco, added my own grilled salmon, and a little bit....okay, "alot a bit" of more spinach!  With so many better choices than fast food these days, I'm not above using a good quality alternative to a completely home cooked meal.

In the beginning I used chicken harvested from store purchased roasted birds.  I used many protein options, like prepared salmon cakes, and pot roast from Trader Joe's.  But, I made the majority of my meals, mostly the vegetable additions myself, along with big pots of soup and stew.  I never left the house without my own homemade, pre portioned meals....and an apple!  I may have not made certain "components" of my homemade meals, but I put them together myself, packed them myself, and planned ahead.

Things are not the way they used to be.

Back in "my day" I had the option of Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, McDonalds, Mr Chau's.  Now?  You have Chipolte and Baja Fresh, Sonoma Chicken Coop, Subway, Happy House, Whole Foods, and goodness....I don't know!  Anyway, my point is that you can get a better quality of "fast foods" in a number of places these days.  But I still believe in a more "hands on" approach....that's why I "partner up" sometimes!

Take for instance one of my favorite salads these days.  Seaweed.  Asian salads have numerous ingredients in common:

Sesame oil (fat and flavor)
Soy sauce (salt)
rice wine vinegar (acid)
ginger (spice)
red pepper (heat)
oh, and SUGAR!  That's why it tastes so good!  lol

Maybe a little MSG and viola!  Asian salad!

Personally, I am not afraid of a little MSG, but I reserve the right to change my mind in the future!  Really, I don't trip about details most of the time.  I take my life as a whole.  MSG, refined white sugar, HFCS? Refined white flour?  Butter, olive oil, hydrogenated oils? These ingredients are a fraction of my daily consumption, if I consume them at all.  If I'm fat I'm eating too much....of everything!  None of these ingredients are to blame...IMO.

Goon-ness!  This was supposed to be a blogpost about seaweed salad for God's sake!

OK.  Nijiya Market.  My neighborhood Japanese Market sells all kinds of pre made Japanese foods.  Everything from sushi to seaweed salad....and all of the produce is organic btw.  Funny that they should sell a product with MSG...just sayin!  Good thing I'm not

Favorite salad?

Purchased, prepared, Seaweed Salad.  Ingredients?

Can I make it myself without processed, and fake ingredients?  Of course.  But until then, I will enjoy partially using  and taking advantage of the convenience of a pre made, and purchased, salad.

I shred my own cabbage (green and red), and carrot, add diced jalapeno, and cilantro with lemon juice to preserve (for up to 1 week).  Although I mostly dislike TJ's, I do like the 1/2 sodium canned tuna option they offer.  1-2tbl mayo/plain yogurt, 1 whole can of TJ's 1/2 sodium tuna, my own shredded cabbage mix, 1/2 Nijiya Market Seaweed salad, a splash of rice wine vinegar, a splash of soy sauce, and maybe some fruit.  These days it could be Fuyu persimmon, or grapes, OR a combination of (apple is good too!).

Sweet, sour, salty, savory.  The definition of Asian flavor.

List of ingredients in Nijiya Seaweed Salad

agar-agar (a thickener)
sesame seed (nut/fat/flavor)
black fungus (mushroom, umami)
red pepper (heat)
sesame oil (nut flavor and fat)
sugar (sweetness)
salt (salt!)
hydrogenated vegetable protein
MSG (more salt)

Don't fool yourself into believing "Chinese Chicken Salad" is good for you!  lol

Bottom line?  Sure, I can make my own seaweed salad and dressing.  In fact I can make a better version!  In the mean time I can purchase and use a option ready made.  This purchased salad is actually too strong in flavors for me, that's why I mix it with my own shredded veggies and additional dressing.

If I find myself overweight, it's not because of a purchased seaweed salad!  It's most likely the quart of ice cream, the bag of cookies or Halloween candy, the "Grande Pumpkin Latte" I eat mindlessly everyday, in addition to 3-4 meals a day!

Establishing the habits of eating more vegetables, good quality proteins, homemade and pre-planned, pre portioned meals, instead of the fast, high fat, high sugar snacks, will be what can guarantee your success to a permanent, healthy,life and body weight.  Congratulations!

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