Hello everyone! This is Rose.
Christmas and New Year, family gatherings and get togethers with friends, December is supposed to be filled with many festive events. But with the Corona pandemic this year, we are changing our approach to those festivities and keeping ourselves and everyone else safe. This is not the usual December, but spending quality time at home revisiting what we have accomplished this year and setting new goals for the next year isn’t that bad.
Cooking and celebrating with home-made meals is something special we can enjoy this year. But when feasting at home, it can be so easy to over-eat and drink sometimes.
In order for us to end this year and begin the new year with a fresh mind and body, it’s good to reset and neutralize our overworked stomachs and bodies without delay. Let’s take the time to care for our hardworking bodies and enthusiastically welcome the new year!
Veganism is gaining popularity in Japan. The definition of veganism is a lifestyle choice that cuts out everything containing animal-derived ingredients and only chooses things that are plant-based. It takes 5 to 8 hours for our body to digest animal-based foods compared to just 1 to 2 hours for plant-based foods. This means that when we eat plant-based meals, our body doesn’t have to work long hours for digestion and can direct the saved energy toward cell recovery and reproduction instead. This is why choosing plant-based foods to nurture our bodies at times when we feel fatigue is so good for us.
It might seem like a recent trend in Japan, but a vegan lifestyle and Japanese tradition/history actually have a pretty close connection. Macrobiotics, for instance, is widely used in many vegan restaurants and delis in LA, and does in fact, have its origins in Japan. Traditional “shojin” meals from Japan are absolutely vegan as well. There are many recipes that use ingredients familiar to Japanese people such as tofu, wakame, sesame, seaweed, soba, kelp and more. The word “vegan” might sound foreign but it’s actually quite close to what Japanese people are used to.
Plant-based meals have many benefits such as weight control, intestinal regulation, improved mind and body balance, and significant contributions in reversing our current environmental issues. Did you know it takes as much as 2,500 gallons of water for a cow to produce one pound of beef? We can’t even imagine how much water and crops are used in producing all the meat products around the world. But if everyone ate a plant-based diet, we could feed two planet earths.
Of course, cutting out all animal-based foods is not an easy task for everyone. But what counts is to “know” a plant-based lifestyle and its effects on our bodies and environment. Just “knowing” enables us to make choices to eat more fruits and vegetables while eating less animal products whenever our bodies call for it. Such little changes make significant differences in the long run. And together, many people’s small changes can create dramatic impacts on the world.
Many people might imagine that salads are all you can eat in a vegan lifestyle. But vegan food consists of all kinds of delicious, filling, and comforting dishes that are totally compatible with standard dishes.
The staple Japanese dish of rice, miso soup and natto is a perfect vegan food. But in this issue, I’d like to introduce two easy and delicious recipes for you to try whenever you feel fatigued or tired. NEUTRALWORKS is also releasing yummy hot smoothies perfect for this season! Delicious, kind to our earth and good for our bodies! Go ahead and indulge in them.
The staple Japanese ingredient “tofu” has many lovely benefits! It is filling and packed with proteins. The iron, vitamins and calcium in tofu help prevent osteoporosis, help with kidney and liver functions, and fight inflammation and anemia. Turmeric, also included in this recipe, is another strong anti-inflammatory.
This recipe does not contain eggs yet looks and tastes like scrambled eggs. It’s a perfect recipe to add to your breakfast meal options.
Firm Tofu ½ block
Avocado or Coconut Oil 1tbsp
Red Onion one quarter
Turmeric Powder ¼tsp
Salt（Himalayan is best） little pinch
Red Paprika ¼
Nutritional Yeast（only if available） １tbsp
Pepper little pinch
Parsley, Basil or Cilantro for topping
- Drain the water out of the tofu by wrapping it with a paper towel. Squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. Then crumble the tofu with your hands. Cut all the vegetables into small pieces.
- Pour oil into a saute pan and turn the burner on to medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the crumbled tofu and saute for about 10 minutes until the water evaporates completely and the tofu is slightly brown. Add turmeric and salt and mix until the tofu is evenly coated.
- Add the vegetables and cook until they are tender. Add the nutritional yeast right before serving. (Nutritional yeast gives the recipe a cheese-like taste but it is totally fine without it.)
- Season with pepper to taste and garnish with fresh parsley or any greens you like.
Carrot Ginger Soup
Ginger and carrot are anti-bacterial, help digestion, relieve fatigue, suppress nausea, lower bad cholesterol and fight inflammation. Your can feel your body warming and relaxing from within when you have this soup. It is a definite comfort food. Adjust the amount of ginger if you prefer less spiciness.
Garlic 2 cloves
Ginger a 2-inch piece
Olive oil ２tbsps
Vegetable Broth 1 ½ cups
Salt little pinch
Parsley, Cilantro, Pumpkin or Sunflower seeds for topping
- Finely chop the onion and ginger. Peel the garlic. Pour oil in a pot, add the onion, ginger and garlic, and saute at medium heat until tender.
- Add the chopped carrots, broth and a little salt and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the carrots are tender.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool down. Add everything into a blender and mix until smooth.
- Return to a pot and heat, and its ready to serve!
- Add extra broth if you prefer a thinner soup. Garnish with greens and the seeds of your choice.