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Why Sushi Isn’t As Healthy As You Think

Sushi is one of those foods that screams healthy. It’s always freshly made, it’s all about fish and seaweed, two health food superstars, and it’s light enough that you don’t feel like you’re carrying a rock in your belly when you head back to work from lunch. You’ve got your lean protein and your veggies, […]

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Sushi is one of those foods that screams healthy. It’s always freshly made, it’s all about fish and seaweed, two health food superstars, and it’s light enough that you don’t feel like you’re carrying a rock in your belly when you head back to work from lunch. You’ve got your lean protein and your veggies, all rolled up into a compact, perfectly packable roll. Easy, healthy gold. But, like everything awesome, there are some hidden caveats you might not know about when you’re calling in your weekly California roll.As small as those rolls may seem, they are sometimes loaded with less-than-healthy ingredients, and even though most people think of sushi as being low-calorie, Sarah-Jane Bedwell, R.D., L.D.N., tells SELF, “the per-roll calorie count can vary greatly from 140-500 calories.” So, is sushi healthy or not? Don’t get us wrong, it absolutely can be a good-for-you lunch or dinner option, provided you’re thinking critically about your choices and settling on a roll (or two) that will provide you with all the nutrients you need, without a ton of extra calories (that spicy mayo really adds up!). Because, if you aren’t careful, the healthy choice you thought you made might not be so healthy after all. Here’s what you need to know.Rolls contain more rice than you probably realize.It’s easy to discount how much rice actually fits into a sushi roll. Amy Gorin, M.S., R.D.N., owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, NJ, says that though it varies a bit from restaurant to restaurant, most sushi rolls contain a third of a cup of white rice, and some recipes call for half a cup. Most nutritionists say a single serving of rice is 1/2 cup (cooked), so more than one roll is sometimes double that recommendation.And it’s typically white rice, which isn’t the healthiest.If you’re having more than one roll, all those refined carbs might leave you with quite the 3 P.M. slump. That’s one reason Gorin suggests subbing in brown rice whenever you have the option. “Not every restaurant offers brown rice, but if it’s available it’s a great way to increase the fiber content of your meal a little bit.” It’ll taste a bit different, she says, but it’s a great way to make your sushi lunch an all around healthier meal.The “fancier” rolls can pack a lot of extra calories.At most sushi restaurants you have your basics like tuna and salmon rolls, and you also have your not-so-basic, fancy shmancy Dynamite and Vegas rolls. “A lot of times those fancier rolls end up being filled with tempura, cream cheese, or mayonnaise-based sauces, which can really increase the calories,” Gorin tells SELF. (Those spicy salmon and tuna rolls we love so well sometimes owe their deliciousness to mayo-based sauce.) “I was at a restaurant recently and one of those rolls contained over 1,000 calories.” One more thing Bedwell says to watch out for: If tempura or spider is in the name of a roll, that probably means it’s been fried.While not quite so extravagant, the simpler rolls are often the healthier ones. To fulfill your yen for creaminess, Gorin suggests opting for rolls that include avocado, which provides more of the healthy monounsaturated fats your body needs. That, plus its fiber content, will also help fill you up.A proper serving is probably one or two rolls (even though many of us can easily enjoy more than that).“The other mistake that a lot of people make is ordering a bunch of rolls,” she explains. “One roll, maybe two is fine, but if you get into the three or four category, those calories can really add up.” And this is especially true if you’re opting for those fancier rolls, she says.Now if you have selected a veggie- or fish-based roll that doesn’t load up on all the extras, you can comfortably order two, but Gorin prefers to get just one and pair it with something else to round out the meal. She explains that even the veggie rolls often don’t contain the full serving of vegetables you need, so what she likes to do is order one roll with a side of seaweed salad. (It provides more nutrition than your standard iceberg lettuce side salad.) If you’re not onboard with seaweed salad, another way to make a meal out of a roll is to tack on a side of miso soup or extra sashimi (or both!).Consider sashimi instead of sushi.The big difference between sashimi and pieces of sushi (nigiri) or sushi rolls is the absence of rice. You still get the great fish flavors—and all the omega-3s that come with it—but without the added simple carbs. Plus it means you can totally order more pieces. Gorin suggests simply ordering a bunch of sashimi with that seaweed salad and a miso soup. You can also get a small bowl of rice on the side, which will satisfy that carb need while also letting you keep a sense of how much you’re actually eating.And choose your condiments wisely.When it comes to sushi, soy sauce is a must…in moderation, of course. “Soy sauce can have a lot of sodium,” Gorin explains. “If you can ask the restaurant for a low sodium soy sauce, that’s your best bet,” but even then, she says you’ll want to avoid using too much.She has one amazing trick that helps her cut back on this condiment, and it involves another sushi favorite. “With wasabi, I personally think it’s hard to eat a lot, because it’s so spicy,” she says. So what she likes to do is mix a bit of wasabi into her soy sauce dish. That extra spice always keeps her from going overboard.You may also like: How To Make Healthy High-Protein Avocado Boats

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Tabitha Brown and Other Black Personalities Focus On Joy Despite Crisis

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Happiness is an essential aspect of survival. For many Black influencers, promoting positivity among fans and followers, mainly during crises, is a must—that so-called reminder that there is still light at the end of the darkest tunnel.

Amid the ill effects of the present COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing debates regarding equality and racism, numerous Black celebrities and creators are offering the community a chance to laugh, reconnect, and heal. Tabitha Brown delights her audience with cooking expertise; Kerry Washington showcases yoga as a calming and reflective activity, and Rickey Thompson entrances followers with his dancing moves.

Brown and Her Cooking

The vegan actress provides both her Instagram and TikTok fans with motivational clips. She combines her southern cooking with inspirational narratives. She guides her millions of followers as she demonstrates how to cook a variety of dishes as she simultaneously calms her audience with her trademark expressions, including “’cause that’s our business” and “like so, like that.”

After her 2-year battle with chronic fatigue and pain, the actress turned to the web, posting motivational videos for fans. “I want to help people,” Brown shares in a recent interview. “I think my content has a responsibility to bring light every day, whether it’s in laughter, whether it’s in inspiration, whether it’s through food,” she adds.

Thompson and His Dancing Moves

Like Brown, Thompson has millions of followers on social media. He dazzles his fans with various dance clips coupled with relatable rants regarding relevant issues. His videos are bursts of color and gaiety, encouraging everyone to believe that things will soon be okay.

He shares that, after the terrible losses that he and his family encountered, he realized that he could use his voice to influence others. Nowadays, he provides his fans with comic relief through dancing, walking, and self-expression. “As a Black person, our whole journey is trying to keep all our emotions within because we’re supposed to be strong, we’re supposed to be these tough people,” Thompson explains. “But we’re also human… What’s important is letting other people know you’re not in this alone,” he continues.

Staying Positive amid Problems

Despite the current difficulties encountered by various Black and colored communities in the country, it is highly important to remain calm and steady. Laughter helps relieve the accumulated stress and pain brought on by the pandemic and increased racism, while motivational talks provide positive guidance on how to make the best of the situation.

Numerous Black influencers and personalities offer various stress relief options online, encouraging others in the community to hold on to each other, although virtually, as we all await the eventual cure to this present pandemic. “So that even if it’s for one minute, it’s an escape for whatever they have going on in life. They can laugh a little bit or cry if they need to, but they just feel like they have somebody at that moment,” Brown asserts.

Indeed, we may all be grappling with various issues at the moment, but hope must spring eternal as survival can only be possible for those who remain steadfast, strong, and happy.

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How To Determine A Food-Friendly Wine

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The language of wine can be romantic, mystifying, or nonsensical — sometimes all at once. Experts share their experience and research for some wines and winery in answering the question: “What makes a wine food-friendly?”. Some people are dependent on wine names and might seem self-evident, but frequently, they get deceived. 

“Food-friendly” is a common description that should seem obvious, but what does it mean?

Most people would say that wine is meant to be consumed with food. However, we usually drink wines as cocktails, or on their own, without thinking about what we eat to match the wine mood. Sometimes, people also enjoy them as trophies, for the experience of tasting a rare, expensive wine. In these contexts, food doesn’t matter. Wine is the highlight.

The concept of a “food wine” became a derogatory — a wine that didn’t taste good on its own and needed food as a counterbalance for its flaws. That’s not what we mean today by describing a wine as “food-friendly.”

  • Every good wine will be friendly with at least some food. A positively food-friendly wine plays nicely with a broad category of foods, from sweet to savory to spicy, from meat to fish to veggies.

“I’ve had A-plus perfect pairings, where every note in the wine and dish sync and amplify each other, but those are rare experiences, and I don’t think they are the point most of the time,” says Matt Stamp, a master sommelier who used to try to orchestrate such pairings at the French Laundry in Yountville, in Napa Valley.

  • Along with Rosé, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Barbera are wines noted for their acidity and versatility with food. This can result in surprising pairings. Beef braised in Riesling is a traditional German dish, and pinot noir makes an exciting partner to sushi, roast chicken, pork, or grilled salmon. 
  • When in doubt at home or in a restaurant, look for these types of wines for challenging food pairings or find some bubbles, the second characteristic that defines food-friendly wines. Bubbles go with everything. The sparkling wine’s enthusiasm effectively cleanses your mouth and prepares you for the next bite of food or a sip of wine. Sparkling wines also manage to be refreshingly acidic. We do ourselves an offense by relegating champagne and other bubblies drinks, such as Italian prosecco or Spanish cava.

“Champagne can be had throughout a meal, even with the right steak,” says Nadine Brown, former sommelier at Charlie Palmer Steak in D.C. “Fried chicken and potato chips with grower champagne is hot right now,” Brown says, pointing to the ultimate combo of extravagant wine and poor vittles.

I usually don’t agree with the “drink the wine you like with the food you like” school of view because it can be lazy. But if you pay attention to the wines you drink and the foods you pair them with, you’ll develop your group of wine styles to draw on when wondering, “What on earth should I drink with this?”

And as Brown advises, “Stay curious.” You might find something unique and surprising.

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Turn Your Extra Rice Into Something More

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Rice is best paired with any of the viands you can think of, whether it’s vegetables or meat. It goes so well with anything. Without rice, sometimes, we feel unsatisfied; thus, we still feel hungry. However, you can turn rice into something you want it to be! Fried rice, for example, yet, it is not the basic ones; you can add something into it to make it more delicious and mouth-watering.

Depending on your position, leftover takeout rice can be the bane of your existence or a blessing. For most of us, it’s the latter. Extras such as these are the foundation for a superb reinvented supper, namely fried rice.

Fried rice is an excellent weeknight feed, whether you want to extemporize with what’s already in your kitchen or have a specific project. Here are some recipes from our archives, which are great as written and easy enough to achieve. They’re so great; you might find yourself ending up ordering more rice just to make them. 

Fried rice with broccoli and mustard greens

A vegetable-loaded version uses a sharp technique that has you cook the ingredients in steps, which is especially helpful if you don’t have a wok or large skillet.

Better than takeout fried rice

Sometimes, there are similarities between what you might get if you ordered fried rice, but we prefer the freshness and crunch of homemade. The ginger and red pepper flakes are making it sound, too.

Sesame fried rice with spring vegetables and egg

Brown rice binds more nourishment into the stir-fry, and fried eggs mean you can mix in a runny yolk for an extra-luxurious texture.

Garlic fried rice (Chahan)

This is for garlic lovers; celebrate because you’ll fry a few cloves for this recipe. It calls for short-grain Japanese rice, so here’s an ideal recipe for making a cut in any sushi rice you may get. 

Vegetable fried rice

This recipe helps you with extra brown rice. Other than that, it will also get you to reinvent those broccoli stems instead of throwing them away or doing the same recipe over and over again. 

Quick ham-fried rice with lavender

This is clearly off the hidden path, but the floral flavor plays well with the pork, ginger, and raisins. 

Spicy basil tofu fried rice

A stir-fry for one that recommends making a baked marinated tofu for extra flavor and thick texture. You can also swap in plain extra-firm tofu. 

African soul fried rice.

Food writer and culinary historian Michael Twitty is the source of this vivid dish that includes traditional or indigenous ingredients to West and Central Africa. 

Those are just some of the recipes you may use for converting your plain rice into something more tasty. Avoid food waste, get what you can consume. If we can’t avoid leftover foods, let’s not leave it. Let’s transform it.

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