Browsing Category: Healthy Living

Kelp Noodle Japchae – Low Carb Noodle-mania!

Okay folks, I admit, I’ve been a little distracted by the glorious Pacific Northwest summer, traipsing about in the mountains. Between that, work, and other personal projects, feeding the Internet Blog Machine has gotten a little backlogged. So without further ado, here’s one more..

 

Quite some time ago, I went to school in the other Washington -the District of Columbia. While there, I was exposed to the experience of an even more humid climate than my native Midwest summer. Wandering the concrete jungle blocks from my job at a nonprofit and nerd-exciting statistics classes, I was exposed to my first taste of Korean food ever. It was ironically a vegan Korean shop, and my favorite dish was tofu japchae. In retrospect it was an easy gateway crossover from my beloved childhood Cantonese restaurant dish of beef chow fun (see fellow pun lovers’ recipe at Woks of Life, and really, anything noodle. That first taste opened me up to a whole other cuisine full of spicier, more vegetable-filled and bbq-beef-laden meals like dolsot bibimbap and tofu soup!

Fast forward to years later on a warm Seattle summer day, living with some one who eats low carb, and here is my experiment in turning Japchae paleo friendly.

Japchae Ingredients
Japchae Ingredients

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Tricking Yourself into Exercise:
Recipe for an Active Day on Two Wheels with City Fruit

Apple trees in Meridian Park, approximately 100 years old. Netted by City Fruit to protect fruit from pests.

I really wanted you to know this:

Apples most likely originated in Kazakhstan from the Malus sieversii and brought over to America with European colonists then became a part of American culture with a little help from Mr. Appleseed himself, John Chapman. Around the turn of the 19th century, Johnny Appleseed bought some apple seeds from a Pennsylvania cider mill and headed to the Midwest to develop his orchards. At the time, the Homestead Act required settlers to plant 50 apple trees within the first year of holding their land and soon the apples, along with the settlers, began to establish their roots in America.
Layla Eplett, Scientific American: Food Matters

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What is healthy to eat? Nutritionists vs American Public

 

Twenty years ago, I think we knew about 10 percent of what we need to know” about nutrition, said Dariush Mozaffarian, the dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. “And now we know about 40 or 50 percent.”

Read more at the NYTimes’ The Upshot:

Is Sushi ‘Healthy’? What About Granola? Where Americans and Nutritionists Disagree

Interesting items included in summary:

  • Coconut oil
  • Granola bars
  • Quinoa
  • Shrimp
  • Butter
  • Apples

Just kidding on apples, everybody agrees apples are good for you (except my unique friends who are allergic to raw apples, of course).
Thanks for reading while I try out different formats and topic areas!

y

Exercise vs Food: which one wins?

Per the poll a while ago, random musings on exercise vs. food was one of the high-ranking elected topics.

Honestly, folks, I got a little stuck on this one.* Apparently, I felt two ways about this enough that when I went back to try and finish this post, I discovered my Past Self (she’s more reliable than me) had started not one but TWO drafts of this post. One titled, ‘Food vs. Exercise: Which one wins?’ and the other titled, ‘Exercise vs. Food: Which one wins?’ These were spaced just four days apart. Hmm.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified dietition or personal trainer, only a meticulous person who tends to over/extra-analyze things.

Exhibit A: Bored Panda: What 200 Calories Looks Like
Remember that meme that went around the Internet a couple years ago? I think it was this one, or one like it. It features photos of the same-sized plate, loaded up with different things that are 200 calories. Such contrast, from 2 tablespoons of butter to a giant plate of celery, to an avocado. It seems clear from this wide variation, that it’s much easier to eat a wide variety of calories than the burn off those same calories through exercise.

Exhibit B: Real Simple: Diet or Exercise?
If you want to weigh less, focus on diet. If you want to feel better, increase energy, and other great quality of life factors, do both but focus on exercise. One motivation for me to exercise is certainly so I can eat a bigger variety of delicious foods, but I fully admit I’m always struggling a bit on the diet side, which doesn’t feel like a pressingly urgent need to fix at present. Novelty and rich food is just so delicious, and when 3 days of 7 in the week are weekend-style eating, it can be a bit much. Also, the more I exercise, the hungrier I get. What a conundrum.  Note: a convenient limiting factor in food for me is that I eat slow, and also I tend to notice the next day if I have eaten badly, so it deters me from eating badly extra frequently.

Exhibit C: The Center for Disease Control (CDC) on the benefits of exercise.
Recent awkwardly-phrased statements on alcohol, women, and pregnancy in the news aside, the authority of the CDC states that exercise reduces all kinds of risk for poorer health.

Therefore…

Doodle #1:

Exercise & Eating: doodle by Y. Wong.
Exercise & Eating: doodle by Y. Wong.

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The Lemon Concoction You Want to Try Next Time Your Throat Hurts

Finally over it, but I caught a cough a few weeks ago and fought with it for almost two weeks. Started a new job, so it didn’t seem like I could really just call in sick my first day. It was downhill from there. My friend Yvonne recommended making this tasty concoction to mix in with hot water and drink. After a week or so of drinking luo han kuo (a.k.a. monkfruit) beverage* and so much pho I felt pho’d out, it was nice to try something different. It was really nice on the throat, and I just wish I’d managed to get up the gumption to start making it sooner so my sore throat could enjoy it for longer.

Lemon, Honey, and Ginger Soother for Colds and Sore Throats
Originally from Lana Stuart’s blog.

Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 24 hours

Ingredients
2-3 lemons
1″ piece fresh ginger root**
1/2 to 1 cup honey
I pretty much winged it on the portions here to taste. Continue Reading

Exploring Seoul! Day 3
out to the ball game

Good morning Seoul! Pretty as a picture..
Good morning Seoul! Pretty as a picture..
Wandered Garogusil, a shopping street in Gangnam. Wasn't terribly impressed, maybe I've been shopping too much..
Wandered Garogusil, a shopping street in Gangnam. Wasn’t terribly impressed, maybe I’ve been shopping too much..

image

At Take Urban: apparently, if you show up just before breakfast ends you get tons of carbs with your coffee order (a.k.a. Free "smile time"). That's olive bread on the right.
At Take Urban: apparently, if you show up just before breakfast ends you get tons of carbs with your coffee order (a.k.a. Free “smile time”). That’s olive bread on the right.
2nd round: tastier.
2nd round: tastier options.
In Gangnam: a big fancy plastic surgery shop. Wow.
In Gangnam: a big fancy plastic surgery shop. Wow.
On the subway! A little excessively proud of having obtained a T-Money card (well, a competing product) to pay for the subway. If you google addresses in Google Maps, it will give you subway and bus routes (but no walking or driving), with lots of Korean..
On the subway! A little excessively proud of having obtained a T-Money card (well, a competing product) to pay for the subway.
Fun mirror art for silly tourists.
Fun mirror art for silly tourists.
At Geongbokgung Palace: these gents march around in costume in the hot, humid sun for a sense of going back in time. Kudos.
At Geongbokgung Palace: these gents march around in costume in the hot, humid sun for a sense of going back in time. Kudos.
Next to the marker for "bureaucrat #1" who would stand there to receive people if they didn't see the lower level bureaucrat numbers two through nine.
Next to the marker for “bureaucrat #1” who would stand there to receive people if they didn’t see the lower level bureaucrat numbers two through nine.
At Geongbokgung Palace: throne room ceiling.
At Geongbokgung Palace: throne room ceiling.
At Geongbokgung Palace: top left: food storage and fermenting area, right: palace grounds, bottom: entrance courtyard, middle left: royal throne!
At Geongbokgung Palace: top left: food storage and fermenting area, right: palace grounds, bottom: entrance courtyard, middle left: royal throne!
At Geongbokgung Palace: age-old man-made pond and structure.
At Geongbokgung Palace: age-old man-made pond and structure.
At Geongbokgung Palace: looks like the Koreans know a good napping bench when they see one too, just like in Seattle.
At Geongbokgung Palace: looks like the Koreans know a good napping bench when they see one too, just like in Seattle.
Outside the palace: not sure why there were tons of fresh-faced police swarming here..
Outside the palace: not sure why there were tons of fresh-faced police swarming here..

At the baseball stadium box office:
Will Call Attendant: Hmm, is your name Park?
Me: yeees…?
Will Call Attendant: When is your birth date?
Me: Well…S______ Park reserved the tickets for me.
Will Call Attendant: Do you have her phone number?
Me: (procures hotel business card with number)
Will Call Attendant: Aaaah, the hotel reserved the tickets for you?
Me: Yes!
Will Call Attendant: Oh, okay, here you go. (hands me tickets for outfield seats)
Me: 고맙습니다!
..Phew! Was looking dicey for a minute there!

Founds some KS Wyverns vs. LG Twins playing baseball! Had to stop for some fried chicken next to the squid.
Founds some KS Wyverns vs. LG Twins playing baseball! Had to stop for some fried chicken next to the squid.
So excited for the game! and the constant cheering! Too bad the LG Twins lost..
So excited for the game! and the constant cheering! Too bad the LG Twins lost..
Beer was good, spam musubi looked good, until I opened the package...some how the more normal ham color put me off.
Beer was good, spam musubi looked good, until I opened the package…some how the more normal ham color put me off.
At the LG Twins v. KS Wyverns game!
At the LG Twins v. KS Wyverns game!
Pork skewers for a late dinner, slowly rotating on the spit, nom nom nom.
Pork skewers for a late dinner, slowly rotating on the spit, nom nom nom.

(Insert Protein Here) Lettuce Wraps!

Lettuce wraps with chicken , orange and cashews.

These days, my household tries to eat less carb-heavy things on a regular basis, and I’ve taken to making lettuce wraps regularly. One of the first google search results will give you a copycat of the P.F. Chang’s recipe, so that was my jumping off point. Frankly, that is where I’ve eaten most of the lettuce wrap dishes in my life. Not vouching for the authenticity of it here, going there kind of drives me nuts sometimes (okay, every time). I also halved all the sauces from original recipe for a full one pound portion of pork. You’ll want to adjust it to your taste, other people probably like more sweet, oozy sauce than me.
From there, I added things I actually wanted to eat..

(Insert Protein Here) Lettuce Wraps
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings Continue Reading

Sweet Potato Pesto Pasta

Thanks to Abby for loaning me a spiralizer so I could try it out!

Spiralizer!
Spiralizer!

Thanks to Fitnessista for this recipe combo, the proportions I made up from my trial.

Ingredients:
For the pesto:
1/2 cup raw shelled sunflower seeds
1 tsp garlic
1 cup spinach
1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon goat cheese
Kosher salt

For the rest:
1 large yam, peeled
your protein add of choice (shown below are seared scallops, made the Alton Brown way).

Sunflower seed pesto - cheaper than trekking to Afghanistan to harvest your own pine nuts.
Sunflower seed pesto – cheaper than trekking to Afghanistan to harvest your own pine nuts.

Steps:
Purée sunflower seeds, garlic, spinach, basil, oil, goat cheese and lemon zest and juice until smooth. Season with salt. Thin pesto with water if too thick.
Cut off ends of sweet potato and install flush against spiralizer, spiralize to your heart’s content.
Boil sweet potato spirals in water no more than 3 minutes.
Combine with pesto.
Serve with blindfold on.

Peel, spiralize, clean spiralizer, boil.
Peel, spiralize, clean spiralizer, boil.

Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
4 of 5 stars.
Extremely novel.
Likelihood of Repeat: 50%
I couldn’t get my ‘roommate’ to eat much of it, but I’d like to try it again -next time with the julienne blade of my food processor.
Lesson Learned: If you boil it too much the ‘pasta’ crumbles fast (similar risk with reheating). Yes, you could buy a single-purpose tool like a spiralizer if you think you’ll eat a lot of spiralized things every week, but a food processor might work just fine for a rare occasion. Also, I always forget how easy it is to make pesto, I need to do this more, especially since you can make cheaper versions without pine nuts! Yum! I have read that real sweet potatoes are more dense and jam up the machine, better stick with the soft orange ones –yams? Whatever they are called..

I ate this with seared scallops, but the color combo was still a little disconcerting..
I ate this with seared scallops, but the color combo was still a little disconcerting..

Cranksgiving Seattle 2013

Gasworks Park, Seattle, WA

In the last few years, through a dramatic health-related life event, I have (a)become a little more acutely grateful of being alive at all, and (b)felt a more urgent need to put in the time investments now to ensure a longer and healthier life. So in that vein, after the unhappy consequences of Reduced Sugar Challenge October, November is Sustained Exercise Month, with a weekly minimum goal of 150 minutes of exercise activity (also smaller portion month, but that’s a different post). It feels like an uphill battle with the increasingly dreary overcast weather outside and waning hours of daylight, but also a necessary one to get a jump on holiday eat-o-ramas (not to mention snowboarding season).

I prefer tricking myself into exercise, like getting outside running before you are awake, so you have no choice but to continue running, or accidentally agreeing to long hikes with friends when you imagined a 2-mile flat path. Happily, this weekend a good friend of mine agreed to try out Cranksgiving Seattle 2013, a charity bike scavenger hunt that donates to the Rainier Valley Food Bank. So I got to fulfill my remaining 30+ minutes (bike commuted to and from work once, and yes, I counted the 40 minutes of raking too) while getting some sun, and helping some other folks who need it more get fed.

It was a pretty nice day for a ride, a little chilly but sunny. I like to tell myself that trying new routes (a.k.a. getting really lost) helps exercise your brain cells to ward off Alzheimer’s later too. The gathering place was Gasworks Park, and it was darn scenic:

GasworksnBike
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