This past summer, I got the chance to read The Asian Diet: Simple Secrets for Eating Right, Losing Weight, and Being Well, and it struck a very deeply rooted cord within me. Back in July, I found myself hooked on this book and finished it within an hour and a half at Barnes & Noble, all in one sitting! Shocker. I can read. Well, I can do anything if I really put my mind to it.
Anyways, I never felt so enlightened about my personal relationship with food and my body (NOT body image), ever in the same way as I did after reading Bussell’s book. There were obviously some pockets of mantras that I disagree with (ex: white rice > brown rice, vegetarianism = bad idea, microwave = bad form of cooking), but overall, I gained so much insight of what I’ve overlooked about nutrition along with what I’ve adapted to in our American society in regards to diet and lifestyle.
There is such a misconstrued idea of what the Asian diet looks like; according to Bussell, in reality, the Asian diet is relatively based on whole grains and vegetables with little portions of other whole foods such as meats, fruits, nuts, seeds, and other cooked foods such as soups, beans, tofu and even eggs. Dairy is the only food group that is omitted in this diet, which I find extremely helpful for those who are lactose intolerant. What’s most important is that “balance and moderation are the keys…too much or too little is not good” (Bussell, 73). As I may have said before, I have a very extremist personality type, which can work either as my biggest vice or my biggest advantage. Balance and moderation are two major factors that I’m seriously working on for my life and my personal well-being. I’ve learned that branching out of my routine in many ways have been terribly challenging, but underlying rewarding.
With my takeaways from The Asian Diet, I’ve decided to set a couple of challenges for myself in relations to my diet. Firstly, I want to experiment with more creative vegetable dishes as well as try new exotic fruits and vegetables such as Romanesco, taro, jackfruit, juneberries, and my favorite: chocolate sapote (Seriously. Let me know where I can find it!)! My second challenge is to up the carbohydrate intake all while ensuring that I’m getting enough of everything else and that I’m continually moving my body to use the glucose I’m tackling on from beans, whole grains, sweet potatoes, starchy vegetables and fruits. The last is to decrease the size of my meals, but increase the frequency–so instead of having four small sweet potatoes at 12 P.M., I might have two at 11 A.M. and the other two at 2:00 P.M.–in order to improve my sensitive digestion. I find that following Bussell’s rule of “fill(ing) your stomach half full with food, a quarter full with fluids (including soup) and leave the last quarter empty for processing” (Bussell, 57) has helped my stomach immensely.
This recipe aims to please challenge #1 since you cannot get any more creative with eggplants, minus the eggplant sculptures you can admire on the Internet–but is that really food? Anyways, a while ago, I made an eggplant recipe that infused the composition of my homemade eggplant bharta and the flavors of my eggplant stir-fry, all ironically before both of the last two recipes even came out. Except, I also had to add a Japanese element in honor of The Asian Diet. I even served my share with a kale quinoa detox salad as well as some bacon-flavored TVP (an old favorite of mine!). However, I do find that this recipe complements brown rice, steamed vegetables, baked tofu and beans the best.
RECIPE (serves 5-6)
- 3 large eggplants or 8-10 Japanese eggplants
- 5 green onions/scallions
- 1/4 cup miso paste
- 1 tsp gluten free tamari or soy sauce, preferably low sodium
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- Pepper to taste
- Opt: coconut sugar, white onions, sesame seeds to garnish, etc.
- Preheat the oven to 450F.
- Rinse and scrub your eggplants thoroughly and poke holes on each of their sides.
- Line a small baking tray with nonstick parchment paper, a silpat sheet or sprayed aluminum foil.
- Spread the eggplants on the baking tray and bake the eggplants for 45-60 minutes, or until the eggplants are mushy and the skin peels off easily.
- Allow the eggplants to cool completely.
- Peel all of the skins from the eggplants.
- Chop the eggplants into very fine pieces and place them in a bowl.
- Repeat with your scallions and place in the same bowl.
- Add the scallions, miso paste, tamari, rice vinegar, sesame oil and other seasonings.
- Mash the eggplant while stirring everything evenly in the bowl.
- Garnish any additional toppings if desired.
- Reheat the mash in the microwave and serve warm, or serve at room temperature.
The Asian Diet: http://www.theasiandiet.com/
Have you ever heard of the Asian diet? How do you plan to challenge yourself diet-wise?