All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.

2015-05-28

Breakfast, May 21, 2015

Last week, Tom got off one of his three medications. His heart is pretty much functioning normally again (!) except for one condition that seems to stay with him.
The doctor complimented him on his diet, which made me happy.

  • Steamed rice with toasted sesame seeds (130 g in photo; 218 kcal; 1 mg sodium)
  • Kakitama oroshi no misoshiru / egg- flower and grated daikon radish miso soup, with seri water dropwort (51 kcal; 255 mg sodium)
  • Iridofu / scrambled tofu with bracken, burdock root, carrot, yu choy sum, king oyster mushroom and egg (137 kcal; 131 mg sodium)
  • Fuki to age no gomani / Japanese butterbur and thin deep-fried tofu in sesame-flavored broth (88 kcal; 102 mg sodium)

Total calories & sodium content: 494 kcal; 489 mg sodium  (For Tom: 594 kcal; 541 mg sodium)

We have a couple of dietary secrets, other than reduced-sodium meals. One is a glass of fruit juice with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in the morning. Tom also eats some kind of fruit after breakfast. Then with lunch, we have a cup of Japanese herbal tea made of dokudami Houttuynia cordata, which is known for its detoxification power. All together, they seem to have been working really well for us.

A filling Japanese breakfast features a number of vegetables, tofu and egg. The warabi bracken in iridofu scrambled tofu is the remaining portion of this year's harvest, a reminder of the end of one season and arrival of early summer.

For the fuki dish simmered in sesame-flavored broth, two small pieces of usuage thin deep-fried tofu were added for a change of pace and to increase the calorie content. Not so much for me, but total calories tend to be on the low side for Tom when we have a Japanese meal, so it is a small energy boost for him (and makes me feel better). As usuage absorbs broth and contributes to the rich taste of the final dish, I added more dashi than usual and cut back on tahini. It turned out very tasty.

The daikon radish grated into the miso soup was a bit too dry (old, in other words), and basically destroyed the harmony of the soup. Too bad. ... Another lesson on the importance of good, fresh ingredients.

Having prepared and eaten reduced-sodium dishes for nearly 20 months now, we both have developed a better sense of the amount of ingredients and end results for our food, and also physical consequences. We are often stunned at how salty food served at restaurants is, which just shows that our palette has adjusted to a reduced-sodium diet -- but keep in mind our reduced-sodium diet is based on 2,000 mg of sodium a day, which, in fact, is not "low" sodium at all. It is very doable, and probably very beneficial even for those who are not diagnosed with anything serious but worry about their growing belly (and we're not talking about pregnancy). Key point: Don't give up after 1 week or 10 days. Besides the health benefits, sticking to a reduced-sodium diet requires that you check labels of all food you buy and constantly calculate numbers, so it is good exercise for your brain, too.

We are also pleased to find that an increasing number of items at grocery stores say "no salt added." I hope to see more signs or labels saying "sodium free" instead of "gluten free" (how often do we see this on items that are naturally free of gluten?)! 

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