Sushi – things to make and do

17 Sep

I’ve always been a bit of a Japan-o-phile and as such, a lover of sushi. I’ve tried many different places and if you’re looking to get some great and affordable food you could do a lot worse than go to the Japan Centre in London.

But how healthy is sushi and is it easy to make I asked myself. It looks pretty healthy and simple enough…

Well thanks to a sushi making class at Suzu and some desk research I have the answers I was looking for. 

Firstly the health.

On the up side:

Very loosely speaking, sushi is a combination of rice and seaweed topped off with raw fish and/or veg, so far, so good.

Fish is a great source of protein and is lean and low in saturated fats and cholesterol, making it good for your heart. Salmon, mackerel, herring and tuna are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure.

Nori, the pressed seaweed sheets wrapped around the rice contain iodine, which is good for hormone function, magnesium, which helps build strong bones and iron which is used in the production of red blood cells  and helps stave off fatigue.  

Things to consider:

While a lot of sushi is healthy you need to watch out for mayonnaise and tempura  which are a source of hidden calories and fats. Also keep soy sauce to a minimum as it’s high in sodium, which counteracts the omega-3’s positive effect on the heart. Wasabi is OK, so if you like spice pile it on.

Fish can also contain high levels of mercury, which is a toxin, however the health benefits of fish far outweigh the risks, just don’t go overboard and be careful if you are pregnant.

Now the cooking, or not as the case may be…

I arrived at the class of around 15 people and sat at a place, which was set out with a rolling mat, some nori, salmon, avacado and cucumber, everything we needed to get started, well nearly.

After a brief introduction from our teacher, we were told how to make the sushi rice.

Making the sushi rice:

Start with three cups of rice, 660ml of water and 120ml of sushi vinegar

1. wash the rice some cold water

2. leave the rice in a sieve for a minimum of 30 minutes

3. put the rice in a pot with the water

4. cook on a medium heat for 10-13 minutes

5. Once the water has boiled turn down the heat and cook for 30 seconds

6. turn off the heat and leave for 10-15 minutes

7. drain rice

8. add the sushi vinegar spoon by spoon gently stirring

9. once the vinegar is completely soaked in leave the rice to dry

10. leave for a final 10 – 15 minutes

Preparing the sushi

We started with the seaweed on the sushi mat and spread a thin layer of rice over the nori, making sure it was evenly covered, with a gap at the top the width of our little finger. We then placed the cucumber horizontally along the middle and rolled the edge which had been covered in rice just over the cucumber so that it touched the rice. We then placed the mat on top of the rolled section holding the end with our left hands and pulling it away from us while pushing it down with our right hands, thus making a full roll. From there we simply cut the large roll into smaller maki.

The next lot of sushi was much more simple. We took a cherry sized lump of rice and put it into the crook of our fingers and squeezed it into a small oval shape. We then put a thin slice of salmon in the crook of our finger and put the rice on top and pushed the two together using the other hand.

We also went onto make california rolls, which were very similar to maki, but turning the nori and rice strip over before laying on the toppings.

So that’s what I’ve found out about sushi

Hope you like it

Good luck and good health,

Ni, the Supplementer

My fastest run home! RESULT!

16 Aug

That’s right, I managed to cut my personal best for running home from work (5-6km) to 23 minutes. I’m really happy with this as it’s got me to the -25mins that I wanted to get to.

I also didn’t get any problems with my shins which is also great!

Ni, the Supplementer

The not quite naked foot

15 Aug

So the running continues, this time for a 10k run with a difference – I went barefoot. well almost, I tried out my friend’s barefoot running shoes (pictured above).

After a few minutes of fumbling around putting these ‘foot gloves’ on and realising that I had no ideas where my toes were, I was ready to start pounding the pavements.

Ideally you should walk around in barefoot running shoes for a few days to wear them in, but I only had limited access to them, so I went straight into running and no real harm came to me. That being said, I would not suggest anyone do this – make sure you learn how to run barefoot first.

We live in shoes most of the day, they provide us with support, which allows us to develop bad habits. Losing the support of a good shoe can expose these bad habits and cause injury…

…Anyway, back to the run. Having done the 10k,  I can definitely see the appeal of these shoes. For me they helped in understanding my gait and in feeling out how my feet were contacting the ground.

The sensation of feeling the different running paths under my feet was also a revelation and helped me see just how bad my heel striking was. In the long run (no pun intended) I think running with these shoes will help reduce my heel striking – so I may just go out and get my own! Also I can imagine they would be great to take back home for beach running!

I’ll definitely be getting my mits on a pair of minimalist shoes and learning how to use them properly.

There’s a great article on the Runners World website by author of Running for Mortals and Marathon Running for Mortals, Coach Jenny Hadfield, which gives advice on learning how to run with minimalist shoes.

Live long and prosper,

Ni The Supplementer

200 Followers!! Thank you Twitter!

10 Aug

 

Thanks to all my @HealthSupp followers , there are now 200 of you!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the tweets so far and stick around for some more!

Health be with you,

Ni, The Supplementer

 

Running pains: Shin Splints

7 Aug

After spending two weeks hitting the pavements in a bid to get back into running, I’ve developed pains in my shins. These pains start as soon as I begin a run and dull down until I stop running. Having done a little research it would appear I’m suffering from shin splints or, more accurately, tendinitis.

According to the NHS the condition is commonly associated with long distance running and sports that put pressure on the bones through continued pounding on hard surfaces, or rapid stop-starting and changes of direction. Running down hill and over pronated running style can also be a cause of shin splints.

There are a few theories as to the cause of the pain, with the most common ones being that the calf muscles don’t keep up and put extra strain on the shins’ tendons, that the membrane between the bones in the leg becomes damaged, or that tiny fractures appear in the bone of the shin (tibia).

Whatever theory you subscribe to, the overriding advice is the same. Most importantly, DON’T run through the pain and ice the area after running. Rest the lower legs for two weeks, you can still do other exercises, but avoid sports such as swimming and tennis. If you haven’t already, try getting your gait analysed and buying some supportive trainers. See New Trainers… What to Look For re: more information on buying trainers.

You can also exercise your lower legs by strapping small weights onto your foot and flexing your ankles. Always remember to stretch before and after any exercise and to seek medical advice if you experience long term pain.

Hope that helps,

Ni, The Supplementer

 

Supplementer Challenge 1: Results

6 Aug

So it’s two weeks since I declared that I was going to run the 5-6km home from work every day (well except the weekends). The idea of the challenge was to supplement my lifestyle with a little exercise to get me back into running, having not kept to a regular running schedule for many months now. The second and most important role of this challenge was to help me get some sleep, having gone through a spell of bad sleep and more often plain old fashioned insomnia.

I’ve found out a few things about working exercise into your day from this challenge such as…

Life gets in the way

Life and more likely work, gets in the way. When you stay in he office until 9pm you can’t really run home and expect to achieve a good night’s sleep. Which brings me onto my next point

Be flexible

If you have to attend to social affairs after work, or at any time you have earmarked for exercise, improvise. I was caught out when I had to attend a friends leaving meal after work, so I popped into my gym on the way to the meal and knocked out a quick 20 minute run and 10 minute work out on the mats – some exercise is better than none. Even if you make time to walk to the event your attending you’ll be doing something.

It’s not as simple as lacing up your trainers and hitting the streets

Sadly it would appear that my legs were completely out of shape at the beggining of the challenge, which lead to shin splints as my calf muscles strained to keep up. I’ll be blogging shortly on how to combat this, but it’s definitely something to bear in mind if you try and pick up running after a long break.

So that’s the main things. Having finished the challenge I’m defintely getting back to the fitness I used to have and think that I look a lot more in shape than I did before. I’m also sleeping a lot better and am more enthused about fitness in general. I think I’ll keep this up, so expect more running blogs in future.

Now onto the next challenge…

Live long and prosper,

Ni, The Supplementer

Music to work out to: Janelle Monae

4 Aug

Janelle Monae: Up tempo music for a good run

I’m not a big fan of working out with other people. Call me antisocial if you will, but working out with someone else usually turns into talking with someone else. So without someone urging me on to push that extra weight, or run those last few kilometres, I turn to music to get into ‘the zone’.

At the moment that largely means I’m listening to ‘funkstress’, Janelle Monae, who describes her latest album, Archandroid, as a mix of scores from films such as Goldfinger, epic albums including Stevie’s Music of my Mind, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, and jamming experimental hip hop stuff like Stankonia.

The result of all this and her first EP, Metropolis, is a set of up-tempo tracks that have a great energy and are engaging enough to immerse yourself in, without losing focus. They’re great for running along to as the beat is nice and steady without being too quick.

Of special note are:

Many Moons – This song is brilliant for getting into a run, but gives you a bit of a tail off to catch your breath.Although the album version doesn’t tail off for as long.

Cold War – perfect for putting it up a notch, play it loud and make sure no one is in your way, or use it for pushing out that final set of those high repetition, low weight reps.

I hope you enjoy Janelle’s music as much as I do. Not all of it is suitable for working out to, but I hope you find these songs useful in your fitness endeavours. Check out her other songs Violent Stars Happy Hunting and Faster.

Health be with you,

Ni, The Supplementer

The challenge: week two

1 Aug

Time to lace up my trainers and hit the streets!


So, last week I began my first challenge to run home from work every day. Not the hardest task in the world, but I am just starting out in getting my health back.

Well at the end of week one I had run home four times and completed a 10k run, which, although not as fast as when I was in my best shape, were still not that bad.

I’ve now finished my first day of week two and have shaved nearly four minutes off my time. I’m now down to 26 minutes for the 5-6k run.

I really want to get down to under 25 minutes so will have to really put in the effort over the next week.

Wish me luck,

Ni The Supplementer

New trainers… what to look for

30 Jul

 

With so much running going on, I realised it was about time I got a new some new trainers. So off to Runners Needs I went to have a gait analysis done, wallet in hand.

The analysis was very quick, just a few minutes on a treadmill and they had taken a selection of images of my feet and were able to tell me about my running style and advise on which trainers to get.

So what do you need to look out for when buying running shoes?

Over Pronation – Flat foot

This is where the foot rolls too far in, leaving a full footprint without any sign of the arch. In this running style the foot lands on the heel and then follows through more squarely, overworking the big and second toe. The knee and ankle are also put under pressure as they try to keep balance.

To counteract this ask for a trainer that has extra support for the inner arch of the foot. This will reduce the amount of pressure your knees and ankles come under when stabilising the body and stop you overworking your big and second toes.

Under Pronation – High arch

This is, as you may have guessed is the opposite of flat foot. This type of foot placement looks fine to the casual observer, but the key difference is that the arch is too large. With under pronation the foot doesn’t roll in enough, relying too heavily on the smaller toes for stability and relying on the lower leg to deal with shock. Under pronators are susceptible to shock injuries such as stress fractures.

To protect against this you will need extra cushioning to help absorb shock.

Normal gait (Natural pronation)

This is the ideal, the foot lands on the outside of the heel and comes down along the outside of the foot turning inward to incorporate the middle and ball of the foot. The motion finishes with the foot pushing off the ground from the big toe.

For this type of step you’ll need a trainer that supports your natural pronation, often called a stability shoe. This shoe will provide support without working against your step.

So what did I get?..

Thankfully I have a nice normal gait and have since bought a nice new pair of Nike Pegasus 27 trainers in grey and luminous green (I’m not getting run over any time soon!).

RANT ALERT…

I also managed to get them in the sale as they were and I quote “last seasons colours”… I’m sorry, but these are trainers! I am literrally going to run them into the ground… Though I shouldn’t complain, other peoples’ vanity has lead to me getting 20% off my trainers.

RANT OVER

Now I’m off for a run!

Ni The Supplementer

 

Supplementer Challenge: Running out of time

28 Jul

Time to lace up my trainers and hit the streets!

So we’re only a few days into the challenge to run a minimum of 6k (the distance between my work and home) and we’ve already struck a snag, namely work.

My first few runs have been fine, if a little slower than they used to be. However, yesterday I was stuck at the office until 9pm, which is no time to be going for a run when your bed time is 10pm.

The only way around this was to walk home. I managed to do some exercise, while not giving my body any reason to stay awake. I also managed to pick up a few ingredients for my next healthy meal on the way. Not a bad compromise all in all… Back to the running today though!!

Ni