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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Udon for Breakfast

My new favorite breakfast: Udon

I know I've mentioned in the past that I still practice elements of Macrobiotics. Here are a few bits of info about some of my favorite Japanese and macrobiotic foods that I try to incorporate into my day to day diet.

1. Udon: Wheat flour udon digests more quickly then typical western/italian pastas. It does not require large amounts of blood to be rushed to the stomach to aid digestion, so the rest of the body retains heat. It's also been shown in research that udon creates body heat that lasts longer than then most other "enriched" pastas. This makes udon a good winter food choice for those who live in colder climates.

2. Daikon Radish: The enzymes in daikon are said to aid in digestion and acts as a diuretic. It contains vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and folate, as well as sulphur, iron and iodine. It also contains phenolic compounds which may inhibit the development of certain cancers.

3. Umeboshi Plums: These dried and pickled plums are both salty and sour. They are acidic but possess an alkalining effect on the digestive tract stimulating digestion, while promoting the elimination of toxins.

4. Brown Rice: The process that produces brown rice removes only the hull, leaving the nutritional value of the rice intact. This is shocking statistics from the Whole Foods website: The complete milling and polishing that converts brown rice into white rice destroys 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids.

Fully milled and polished white rice is required to be "enriched" with vitamins B1, B3 and iron.

5. Dashi: This is where I cheat a little. Macrobiotic dashi is made of spring water, tamari sauce and kombu seaweed. One can add a little dried bonito (fish) flakes, grated ginger or daikon radish for additional flavor. I cheat here by using a bottled store brand that among other things contains sugar. But I only use about a tablespoon per serving of udon (and dilute with water) so I don't think that's too bad.

6. Sardines: Are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, B12, and protein. What sardines don't have a lot of is mercury. They are convenient, inexpensive and if you select good to high quality sardines there isn't a strong fishy odor or flavor. It's really a myth most often perpetuated in cartoons that depict sardines as smelly and unpleasant to consume.

7. Miso: A double fermented soybean paste that can be used in soups, sauces and dressings,, the list of health benefits associated with traditionally produced miso keeps growing. If you visit the Mitoku Macrobiotics website you will find information listed under "Health Benefits" and "More Health Benefits" listing the many healing properties of Miso. Included are: Radiation Poisoning, Chelating Heavy Metals, More Genistein, Heart Disease, Antioxidant, Anti-estrogen, Tamoxifin Therapy, Chronic Pain, Food Allergies, No Anti-Nutrients, Anti-Cancer, Osteoporosis, Anti Acid, Blood Pressure and more.

8. Sea Vegetables are one of the most nutrient dense mineral sources on the planet. Among other elements they often contain: iodine, vitamin K, B-vitamin folate, magnesium, iron, calcium, the B-vitamins riboflavin and pantothenic acid and lignans, plant compounds with cancer-protective properties.

The Udon Noodles only take 4 minutes to boil.

Minced Umeboshi Plum

I like to purchase Eden brand. They are pricey (around $13 per package) but are a must have. I would say people either love or hate umeboshi. Think like wasabi. It packs a ton of flavor so only small amounts are needed. Don't ever pop an entire plum into your mouth all at once but break off small pieces to flavor a mouthful of food.

Grated Daikon Radish also known as Oroshi Daikon

Noodle Dipping Sauce


  1. This looks so delicious! I like to eat some fish (saba)when I eat a Japanese breakfast.


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