The lowdown on sushi: why maki rolls may actually pack on fat rolls, and an alternative recipe
Ah, the innocent sushi wrap. Wrapped up in an adorably irresistible bundle of nori seaweed, sticky white rice and an assortment of fishy goodies, one could easily misinterpret it as a tasty – and at first glance, healthy – Christmas present of the nutrition world. Whilst the vast majority of dieters and fitness folk alike consider it as ‘the ultimate fast-food,’ it is fast becoming a staple in Westerners’ lunch and dinner choices. Unfortunately, despite its incessant appraisal of supposed ‘health benefits’ and various marketing strategies to suggest it being a definitive ‘diet’ food, there are a plethora of health nasties hiding under those neat little bundles of rice and fish.
What started out as traditional Japanese cuisine has launched into a Western craze, overtaken by companies who could care less for your health or for promoting its lean cuisine roots. A far cry from living up to its fresh, raw, and natural image heralded so strongly by the media, sushi actually contains an absolute warzone of chemicals and pesticides, often use to preserve the fillings in each roll. The calorie content in some of the dishes are pretty high, too – 200 to 300 calories can be found in even the most innocent of looking platters, which certainly adds up after a few helpings at Yo!Sushi.
Now, obviously, considering sushi as a last measure alternative in real life situations – say, you forgot your prepped food and the only other restaurants around consist of Mcdonalds and takeaway shops you quite frankly want to forget the sight of –is not the end of the world and certainly acts as a far better choice than some other food options lurking around the industry of cuisine and dining. It still boasts health benefits and can act as a well-balanced meal of carbs, fats, and proteins if one tinkers with their menu choices slightly. Your best bet is to stick to sashimi – far less chance of going overboard on the carbohydrate intake – and vegetable based dishes. For now, however, here is a recipe you can try out for yourself – quinoa sushi. Completely fresh, with no added sauces or preservatives, and using the amazing amino-packed seed instead of heavy, sticky white rice you can transform a questionable dish into one abundant in health and benefits for your physique. Plus, its super simple to make!
Quinoa Sushi Recipe
Makes one roll – adapt ingredients to make more if you want!
- 40-50g quinoa (can be red, white, or both!)
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil/1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (pref. raw and organic – can use both oil and vinegar if quinoa isn’t sticking to the mat)
- 1 Sheet nori seaweed
- Filling of your choice (avocado/tuna/cucumber/sprouts etc.)
- Cook quinoa for about 20-30 minutes – you want it to cook longer so it gets more of a ‘s’icky’ texture rather than a grainy one, so it forms sushi. Allow to cool and mix in apple cider vinegar/coconut oil/both.
- Lay the nori sheet shiny side down on a bamboo mat (trust me I got this wrong the first time…not great)
- With a spoon, spread the quinoa onto the nori sheet, squishing it down evenly across the mat. You want to spread it all the way to the sides, leaving about 1cm gap from the bottom and 2cm gap from the top.
- Lay your fillings horizontally about 1cm from the bottom of your quinoa.
- Carefully roll the sushi. Pick the mat up from the edge nearest to you; a good tactic is putting your thumbs under the mat whilst securing the filling lightly with your fingers. Press it down a bit as you roll so everything stays in place. This bit is harder than it looks!
- The aim is to roll the mat up with the sushi – as the mat folds in half, the sushi automatically rolls up.
- Once rolled, squeeze the sushi tightly to make sure everything is nice and packed into the roll. Cut the sushi however way you like – if, like me, you tend to be bad at things like this/have poor coordination skills this might prove tricky, best bet is to get a sharp knife and cut very slowly so it doesn’t all spill out…or alternatively get someone else to do it for you…
For those with a sweeter craving or palette don’t forget to check our LDNM Protein Treat Pack.