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Beverages Cuisine Ingredients / Other Natural Remedies and Herbs Recipes

The Health Benefits of Cooking with Black Cumin (Nigella sativa)

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, all this means is that Healthy Ronin receives a commission from purchases made using links on this page. This is at no additional cost to you, and only helps to keep the website running. For our full Affiliate Disclosure, you can click here. Enjoy your stay!


Black cumin has many names and many benefits. It’s been used since ancient times, and now you too can learn the health benefits of cooking with black cumin (plus two quick and easy recipes)!


If you are a lover of Middle Eastern foods, then you are probably acquainted with the distinct taste and aroma associated with cumin seeds. 

Although it may be difficult to describe the distinct aroma of this spice, the taste is a unique combination of onion, black pepper, and oregano with a little dash of ‘nut’ thrown in for good measure. And it is these different characteristics of cumin that make it such a great addition to most savory and even some sweet dishes. 

Cumin: The Origins

Cumin, more particularly black cumin, is the seed of the Nigella sativa plant. A member of the Ranunculaceae family, Nigella sativa is a native to a large area that includes the eastern Mediterranean, north Africa, Western Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. 

Historically, these seeds have been used not only as a food flavoring, but in traditional medicine as well. Indeed, the Bible refers to black cumin as a curative while the Prophet Muhammed’s references to this seed describes it as a natural universal healer of just about anything except death. 

Besides being known as cumin, the seeds of the Nigella sativa are also referred to as black seeds, kalonji, black sesame seeds, black onion seeds, and charnushka. There are probably many more. 

The Health Benefits of Cumin

Black seed oil, traditionally, is used to treat fevers, coughs, headaches, migraines, respiratory conditions, infections, inflammation, gastrointestinal problems, high blood pressure, and rheumatism, to name but a few, while the topical use includes a wide range of skin conditions.

Studies into cumin seeds, or more particularly, the black seed oil derived from the seeds, show it to have many of these traditionally claimed health benefits. It seems that neither the Bible, Prophet Muhammed, nor the practitioners of traditional medicine were wrong.

Studies show that Nigella sativa has strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and antihistamine properties. It also provides support to your immune system. These different properties are probably due to one of the many compounds found in black seed oil, namely thymoquinone.

Indeed, black seed oil may, according to various research literature, be of benefit when addressing numerous gut, respiratory, and nervous system disorders, as well as addressing thyroid conditions and even certain cancers. Used topically, black seed oil may help with acne and psoriasis and may also promote wound healing. 

In other words, the tiny cumin seed packs a lot of clout.

To learn even more, take a look here at a Healthy Ronin analysis of 21 black cumin seed health benefits.

Cooking With Black Seeds

Cumin seeds are used in cooking the world over. From the Middle East to Latin America, and from Northern Europe to the southern most tip of Africa. Each culture has lovingly adopted cumin seeds in their savory and sweet food dishes alike. 

Cumin seeds are found in stews, cookies, and breads, adding its unique flavor to all. The oil, however, is also making headway into the world of cooking, although it is most often used as a food supplement. 

Note: As a seed oil high in natural PUFA’s, black cumin seed oil should not be cooked with over heat. This oxidises the beneficial fats and creates harmful free radicals.

In short, experiencing the health benefits of cooking with black cumin is easy, but should be done right!

Black Seed Oil Drink

Many people find it difficult to drink a spoonful of black seed oil as a health supplement. In a drink, however, it may be so much easier to palate.

Ingredients:

  • 1 glass of milk
  • ½ teaspoon unpasteurised honey
  • 1 tablespoon black seed oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence

Method:

  1. Warm the milk in a pot on the stove or in the microwave till your desired temperature. Stir in the honey black seed oil, and vanilla essence. Drink and enjoy.
  2. Besides the goodness of the black seed oil, the milk and honey have their own benefits. Milk has high quantities of calcium, which is good for your bones, while honey is a natural antibiotic.

Cumin Seed Salad Dressing

We decided on a cumin seed salad dressing because most people enjoy tossing together a mixed salad, especially during the summer months. And what is a better accompaniment to any tossed salad than a creamy dressing?

To add insult to injury, you could double the quantities in this recipe and keep it in the refrigerator for a few days. It keeps well for up to a week. Just make sure to give it a good stir or shake before using.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, slightly toasted and slightly crushed afterward (for some extra punch)
  • ½ to one cup Greek yogurt (full fat is best)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (preferably extra virgin)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 1 finely chopped garlic clove (more if you love garlic)
  • Pinch of salt to taste

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together well.
  2. Pour over your salad ingredients and enjoy!

And that’s it! The health benefits of cooking with black cumin are numerous – very numerous, and it can be an excellent way to boost your culinary expertise and health.

Thanks for reading.

Categories
Cuisine Food Lists Natural Remedies and Herbs

8 REAL Benefits of Dandelion Greens – A Science-Backed Look at This Traditional Green!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, all this means is that Healthy Ronin receives a commission from purchases made using links on this page. This is at no additional cost to you, and only helps to keep the website running. For our full Affiliate Disclosure, you can click here. Enjoy your stay!


That weed you keep pulling out of the flower bed? Don’t throw it! The benefits of dandelion greens are as impressive as its ability to grow almost anywhere. Here’s what makes this humble herb a trending superfood.


Dandelion “Taraxacum Officinale” has been featured in traditional medicine and diets since ancient times… Really!

Our ancestors used the plant around the world to treat illness, as a food source, and in some amazing recipes. But, people still do today, and it’s seeing a resurgence!

Dandelion - The Health Benefits of Dandelion Greens a Traditional Diuretic Herb
Dent-de-lion “Lion’s Tooth” – The Old French name which entered Middle English (from Latin Dens leonis)

Today we’ll be focusing on just one part: dandelion greens!

These are the leaves, although the entire plant is edible and has health benefits. As the leaves are most versatile, plentiful, and easy-to-use, it’s worth knowing their benefits and how you can make use of this wonderful weed!

Plus, I’ll be sharing some quick tips at the end on how to forage your own.

You can also discover five top methods for how to cook with dandelion greens.

Let’s see just why so many people love this herb across the world.

Detoxes and Purifies

You’ll here of many “detox foods” and fad “detox diets”, but when it comes down to it, some things truly stand out.

Much like birch tea, dandelion tea is a traditional cleansing beverage.

Old Western herbalists began to recognise its use back in the 15th century.

In traditional Chinese medicine, all parts of the plant (pu gong ying) are used as a diuretic and liver stimulant.

The liver’s primary role is to cleanse the blood, and the diuretic use of dandelion helps to flush out the system’s toxins.

Fun fact: Its diuretic effects are so well-known so as to have earned it comical names like “pee-a-bed”, “mess-a-bed”, and “pis-en-lit” in France! Ew, right? (I learned this from the great ‘A Country Herbal’ by Lesley Gordon)

Research shows that dandelion possesses diuretic and bile-cleansing properties (^)(^), which help to eliminate toxins from the body – especially from the liver and urinary tracts.

P.S. These benefits make dandelion a “cholagogue” – a term worth knowing for other herbs.

Also, being a natural source of potassium aids in offsetting any excess potassium loss – which naturally occurs with diuresis.

Further Benefits for The Liver

In addition to stimulating healthy liver function and encouraging detoxification, research also shows dandelion to protect the liver from damage.

This is in part due to its powerful antioxidants, which scavenge free radicals and prevent cell oxidation.

One study shows interesting results: paracetamol-induced hepatotoxicity (liver toxicity) resulted in lower signs of liver damage and a reduced toxic effect, when dandelion leaf extract was administered in mice.

This supports its use as a liver-loving herb by demonstrating its potential to actually prevent damage to the organ! (^)

Stimulates Digestion and Supports Weight Loss

There are multiple ways in which the benefits of dandelion greens carry across into weight loss.

If you’re looking to support a healthy weight, leafy greens can be an excellent way to get in important nutrients and filling fibre.

Depending on how you use dandelion greens, they can add significant volume to meals with very little calories. For example, lightly steaming them with some salt and pepper could be a whole serving of greens!

The fibre helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied, as well, and regulates healthy digestion. Both of these are key in weight loss efforts.

In addition, dandelion is classified as a ‘bitter herb’.

What does this mean for weight loss? Well, eating herbs like dandelion encourages bile and enzyme secretion and promote the digestion of carbohydrates and fats (^)(^)(^).

The benefits of this are:

  • Healthy bowel movements and reduced gas and bloating (more efficient and comfortable digestion)
  • Improved protein absorption (further increases satiety, encourages a healthy metabolism, and has a higher ‘thermic effect’ (meaning protein burns more calories to absorb and use))
  • Improved mineral and fat-soluble vitamin absorption (which play essential roles in regulating metabolism, hormones, and overall health)

Don’t worry if you don’t enjoy bitter flavours – there are many ways to cook with dandelion greens. (Read our quick and easy guide).

Plus, it’s in our best interest to re-adapt to some bitterness in our diets (and reap the benefits our ancestors did) – (article by healthyhildegard), which I know from experience opens some very enjoyable and complex flavours.

Anti-Ageing Powers

Eating dandelion may encourage healthy ageing, and is in fact practiced by some of the longest-lived people in the world.

Healthy, long-lived older populations and centenarians are common in specific places around the world. Some of these we call ‘Blue Zones’. The Blue Zones include Ikaria, Sardinia, and Okinawa, to name a few, and their traditional diets have been the subject of much study!

Case Study: Ikaria – Story Time

The Ikarians (of the small Greek island) are an example of a culture who still enjoy dandelion greens. As a wild green, it’s an easy and plentiful food source that can be cooked, brewed, or enjoyed raw.

See ‘How to Cook with Dandelion Greens’ here!

Like other wild, bitter greens, dandelions are a potent source of antioxidants. The bitterness is a good sign of these antioxidants.

P.S. Other wild greens that we’ve (largely) forgotten in the modern diet include:

  • Grape Leaves
  • Amaranth
  • Garden Cress
  • Nettles
  • Wild Fennel
  • Endive
  • Purslane
  • Wild Spinach

The Ikarians still enjoy many of these, which is useful for understanding just how important traditional, real, wild greens are…

For most of us, dandelions are one of the most plentiful, easy-to-identify greens available, and they’re easy to pick!

IKARIA the health benefits of dandelion greens anti-ageing wild bitter greens antioxidants

How Do Dandelion Greens Combat Ageing?

By increasing glutathione (GSH) production, sulphur-rich greens like dandelion help to boost the immune system both directly and indirectly.

Glutathione is a small protein which is vital in immune system function – especially for the liver. However, it naturally declines with age, meaning our bodies aren’t as well-equipped to fight free radicals and protect our cells.

Glutathione combats ageing in several ways:

  • Supporting the function of other antioxidants – including vitamin C, which we also find in dandelion, and which can further boost GSH (^)
  • Directly eliminating free radicals (^)
  • Attenuating inflammation (^)
  • Improving immune system response to free radicals and viruses (^)

Other anti-ageing benefits of dandelion greens also come from its potent levels of antioxidants like terpenes, and include protecting cells from UV damage, and providing essential vitamins and minerals. (^)(^)(^)

Do you know what else becomes harder to produce as we age? Collagen! However, dandelion’s chicoric acid helps to prevent the oxidation (essentially breaking down) of collagen in cells. (^)

This helps to preserve skin, joint, organ, and skeletal health, to name a few benefits.

P.S. Collagen is vital for our entire body, and is hard to get from quality dietary sources. Fortunately, we have bone broth – a liquid gold serum of anti-ageing. I make my own, here are the benefits and how to make it.

Anti-virus Benefits of Dandelion

Remember how it is used in traditional Chinese medicine? Well, a 2011 Beijing study discovered that dandelion can directly inhibit flu infection and virus replication in human cells.

Not only that, but the researchers demonstrated the same effects on HIV-1 and AIDS. (^)

Both of these studies found no significant negative or toxic effects on the cells, and used extracts of the entire plant.

Therefore, dandelion – including the greens – shows potential as a safe and effective way of keeping viruses and disease at bay, which is evermore important as we age!

How about “some dandelion a day keeps the doctor away”?

Reduces Inflammation

So, we know that dandelions are a potent source of antioxidants like terpenes, bitter glycosides, flavonoids, and other phenolic compounds.

These eliminate harmful “free radicals”, which prevents inflammation and cell damage.

However, other anti-inflammatory nutrients are also abundant in dandelion greens – and in fact the entire plant. We’ll look at them more in-depth soon.

What studies show, is that this wonderful weed has therapeutic potential to reduce inflammation in different ways.

A 2015 meta-analysis from India’s Uttaranchal College of Science and Technology looked at the herb to analyse its use in Ayurveda.

By using extracts from the stem, flower, and root, they found potent anti-inflammatory components, with the most effective coming from the stem (^).

This is great for us using dandelion greens, as the leaves have the stems through the middle!

One study using ethanol extracts of the dried plant also demonstrated decreased expression of COX-2 (an enzyme which produces inflammation mediators). This is in fact the same action that NSAID’s like Ibuprofen exhibit to help control inflammatory symptoms like pain (^).

Another found dandelion leaf’s chicoric acid and luteolin to have further anti-inflammatory (and antioxidative) effects (^).

And another even suggests dandelion’s medicinal properties to be beneficial in the prevention of vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis (^).

… Which brings us right to another one of the great benefits of dandelion greens!

Protects Heart Health

Yep! Dandelion may make your heart race when it invades your flowers, but you can put it to use to keep your heart healthy!

We just learned that is could prevent atherosclerosis and inflammation in blood vessels.

Nextly, we turn to a Korean study, in which rabbits were fed normal diets, or those including dandelion leaf or root.

The study found the heart-healthy benefits of dandelion greens (leaves) and roots to include:

  • An increase in beneficial HDL cholesterol;
  • A reduction in LDL cholesterol;
  • A reduction in plasma triglycerides;
  • A reduction in lipid oxidation (a majorly damaging process, which we know occurs in many unhealthy oils and fats).

All in all, the researchers concluded that this oriental (and non-toxic) medicine could therefore protect us from atherosclerosis and reduce risk factors of coronary heart disease (^).

NOTE: The 2010 study mentions dietary cholesterol as a risk factor for these conditions. However, since then, more and more research confirms that in humans, this is rarely so.

May Fight Cancer

For some time now, dandelion has been considered by some as a cancer-fighting warrior of herbs.

There are even examples of dandelion cure testimonials and stories, such as John DiCarlio’s story.

At the same time, research is still limited. Whilst it shows encouraging potential, more clinical trials and studies are still needed yet to reach a solid conclusion.

Mostly, these anti-cancerous properties are associated with the root (^)(^)(^)(^)(^) – which is rich in powerful natural compounds. However, they’re also potential benefits of dandelion greens.

What the Studies Say…

Taraxinic acid is a compound found abundantly in dandelion leaves, and has been shown to help regulate inflammation and kill human leukemia cancer cells (^)(^).

In fact, it’s the very chemical that gives dandelion greens that natural bitter flavour we spoke about earlier – a good sign!

Additionally, a 2008 study examined the effects of dandelion leaf, root, and mature flower aqueous extracts on breast and prostate cancer cells.

The findings published in the International Journal of Oncology presented that dandelion leaf effectively prevented breast cancer growth and blocked the prostate cancer cells from invading type 1 Collagen.

This was an in vitro study – not conducted in actual human cases. This means that it could have potential in human treatment, but warrants clinical trials.

Now we look at dandelion polysaccharide (carbohydrate chains) in a 2020 Chinese study. Researchers from Xinxiang analysed recent research, and also conducted in vitro and in vivo research on mice.

The natural polysaccharide extracted from dandelion prevented the new formation of liver cancer cells in both outcomes.

What this publication lacks, however, is natural growth of the cells, as they were used on mice. Therefore, we cannot ascertain that the effects would be the same in human patients, so more research is needed again.

Overall, the potential is there. We need for human trials to be conducted, however. (Conclusion also reached by Victoria University of Melbourne, Australia).

As studies increase, hopefully the benefits of dandelion greens will be better understood and applied in potentially life-saving treatments.

Aids Blood Clotting

This actually relates to our next point, as well, about how nutrient rich dandelion greens really are.

One of the impressive benefits of dandelion greens is its high vitamin K content. In 100g of fresh, raw greens, there is about 770mcg of vitamin K – that’s almost 1000% of the USDA recommended Daily Value.

Comparatively, just one ounce (28g) has about 218mcg, or 272%, according to nutritiondata.self.

This helps us effectively clot blood, because dandelion offer us vitamin K1 (or “phylloquinone”) – the plant form of vitamin K (^).

When you get a paper cut or a nosebleed, it’s vitamin K1 that stops it from becoming dangerous by helping us to stop the bleeding.

Note: If you are on anti-coagulation drugs like warfarin, it is vital to consult with your healthcare professional before taking any medicinal dose of K1. However, dandelions are no more “risky” than other healthy greens.

Vitamin K1 vs K2 (And Why It Matters)

Vitamin K1 differs from K2 (which we get from animal sources), and both are important for different aspects of health.

The sources of vitamin K1 are leafy greens, also including brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, chard, and broccoli.

Understandably, deficiency is uncommon.

K1 is not as bioavailable as K2, and doesn’t exhibit the same benefits. This “bioavailability” refers to our body’s ability to absorb and use the nutrient.

As K1 is a fat-soluble vitamin, we need fat to absorb it effectively.

For this reason, it’s important sometimes to enjoy leafy greens with some source of dietary fat, like a healthy olive oil dressing, some grass-fed butter, or even some cheese (which would also give us vitamin K2).

Vitamin K2 refers to a group of related chemicals (“menaquinones”), which on the other hand, don’t aid blood clotting, and are more easily absorbed (but still fat-soluble).

The roles of vitamin K2 are mainly to (^)(^):

  • Aid calcium absorption and direction (so it goes to the right places, like bones);
  • Support heart, bone, and brain health.

Example sources include fermented foods (like my deliciously easy homemade pickle recipe), pastured egg yolks, organ meats, and grass-fed dairy.

Deficiency is fairly common in the Western world, even though we do convert some dietary K1 into K2 (^).

Nutrient Density

In an NPR interview with best-selling book ‘Eating on The Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health’ (Buy Here) author Jo Robinson, (and in the book itself), the famous journalist mentions dandelion greens to have eight times more antioxidants than spinach!

Eight times!

And if that’s not enough, she goes on to reveal that they have five times more Vitamin K and E, three times as much Vitamin A, and twice the Calcium.

Like vitamin K, vitamins A and E are also fat-soluble.

In its plant forms, vitamin A refers to a group of carotenoids – antioxidants which we can convert to the active form (which we would find in animal sources), though not efficiently.

Additionally, dandelion greens are a good source of potassium and manganese, which work to regulate hormone production, balance fluids, aid bone development, reduce inflammation, and support muscle contractions and nerve signals.

Quick Foraging Tips

So you’re convinced… I knew you would be!

Dandelion greens are awesome, and you want some.

Well, just get out there and get picking, right? Yep, but here are some things to keep in mind…

P.S. Click here for a complete, one-stop guide by fellow writer Colleen from GrowForageCookFerment (hi!).

dandelion vs catsear - Healthy Ronin The Benefits of Dandelion Greens
health benefits of dandelion greens - dandelion leaves

For now, here are the aforepromised quick tips:

  1. Look for the bright flowers – they should be yellow, and distinct when open.
  2. The leaves should be smooth and lobed (often pointy) – not hairy.
  3. Don’t mistake it for catsear (although both are safe) – catsear has:
    • Thinner, solid stems, whereas dandelion’s are hollow;
    • Generally smaller flowers;
    • More lacy seed heads;
    • Hairy / furry leaves;
    • Branched stems (with flowers), whereas dandelions will only have one flower on each straight, single stem.
  4. Forage away from paths and roadsides – this prevents picking polluted plants or those that dogs may have “marked their scent” on!
  5. Always wash the plants before use.

Conclusion

All in all, getting a daily serving of greens is brilliant – but we all know that already.

Dandelions have been used for centuries in Asia for medicinal purposes, and later in Europe. In fact, all parts of the plant are edible and have different benefits, and today we’ve looked at the leaves in particular!

Today, some of the world’s healthiest people still enjoy them regularly – and it’s no wonder why.

The benefits of dandelion greens especially include:

  • Detoxifying the body
  • Boosting liver function and protection
  • Supporting healthy digestion and weight loss
  • Combating the effects of ageing
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Protecting the heart
  • Potentially fighting cancer (including with its abundancy of nutrients)
  • Aiding blood clotting
  • Being a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Plus, it’s incredibly easy to find and forage.

For some ways to use this amazing leafy “weed” – which is also practically a superfood – take a look at our post: ‘How to Cook with Dandelion Greens: A “Weed” Superfood!’.

Also, subscribe here to get notified every time we release new free content to help all your healthy eating needs:

Dandelion greens are truly special. Show this nearly-forgotten herb some love! And, as usual…

Until next time, stay healthy

James


Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Dandelion Safe?

Three words: yes, but beware… Yes, dandelions are safe for most, and extremely healthy. But beware, some people react allergically, mostly those allergic to latex or related ragweed plants, daisies, marigold, and chrysanthemums. Symptoms can be mild or severe, depending on your sensitivity and exposure. If you have related allergies, avoid dandelion, and consider getting a safe skin-patch test and speaking to a practitioner about immunotherapy. Little is known about its safety whilst breastfeeding – safety first, avoid it if this applies to you.

Can I Eat Raw Dandelion Greens?

You can absolutely eat raw dandelion greens! Providing you’re not allergic (see above), eating them raw is an excellent way to add variety to salads, snacks, and table meals. The taste is naturally bitter, which isn’t most palatable for many Westerners, but you’ll quickly get used to it and happily reap the benefits of dandelion greens.

Is Dandelion Good for Kidneys?

Whilst not being a primary benefit of dandelion greens, the leaves are indeed good for the kidneys. The diuretic properties help to stimulate kidney function, and the abundance of antioxidants helps to protect the kidneys (just as the rest of the body).

Categories
Breakfast Cuisine Food Lists Recipes

Savoury Oatmeal with Cheese – 3 Irresistible Recipes

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, all this means is that Healthy Ronin receives a commission from purchases made using links on this page. This is at no additional cost to you, and only helps to keep the website running. For our full Affiliate Disclosure, you can click here. Enjoy your stay!


Enjoy your oats? Enjoy cheese (who doesn’t)? How about oatmeal WITH cheese? Here are 3 creative ways with this delicious combination.


Savoury Oatmeal (with Cheese or without) Is Awesome

In this post:

  • Why Savoury Oats are AWESOME!
  • The Best Way to Eat Oatmeal (Proper Preparation Is Important).
  • Savoury Oatmeal with Cheese and Mushrooms Recipe.
  • Mexican-inspired Spicy Oatmeal with Cheese Recipe.
  • Creamy Cauliflower Cheese Oatmeal Recipe.

So, I’ve spoken about this a little before (such as in my 5 best oatmeal recipes for breakfast post).

A lot of people view oats as “plain” or “boring”, or maybe don’t like it plain but also get bored of adding fruit.

It’s not their fault. In a way, it’s like saying broccoli is boring when we have dishes like classic roasts, Mediterranean salads, Chinese fried rice, vegetable curries, and so many more that wouldn’t be the same without it.

Savoury oatmeal with cheese and mushrooms recipe image - article

You can be as creative as you want with oats! Really, just like bread and rice (when made / prepared traditionally), it is an amazing staple for any meal of the day.

If across Asia people eat rice for breakfast and dinner, the Italians their pasta, and the French their croissants, we are entitled to our oats! Okay, I am being a little silly, but oats are overlooked.

Much like their staple counterparts, oats are an excellent option for savoury dishes. That means any time of day, and an endless selection of ingredients.

Personally, I’ve enjoyed oatmeal with cheese, vegetables, tuna, sardines, potatoes, herbs, spices, salt, pepper, and more!

I’m not against the simple “fruit and nut”-style pairings on occasion, but there are just so many ways to get more nutrients and higher protein than a banana and some chia seeds.

The Best Way to Eat Oatmeal (Important)

If there’s one thing I want you take away from this article apart from the recipes, it’s this. Even if you change the recipes, learn how to prepare your oats properly.

Properly? Well, I mean how we used to prepare all grains.

Traditionally, our ancestors knew to harness the power of nature, and depended on it! All seeds (including grains) have been soaked, fermented, or sprouted for thousands of years across the globe.

This maximises nutrition and removes harmful compounds designed to protect the seed from digestion!

Also, fermentation – the method we’ll focus on – preserves foods. It’s another reason why fermenting has been a vital skill for our species’ success!

You’ll thank me later. Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Complex flavour
  • Improved digestion
  • Boosted gut health and immunity
  • Increased nutrition (B-vitamins, minerals, protein)
  • Fun (plus an awesome new skill)

Discover how you can easily benefit from the best way to eat oatmeal using our article ‘How to Ferment Oats’* by clicking the link* or button below!

Feel free to Pin these recipes, share, or even print them out if you really like them!

1. Savoury Oatmeal with Cheese and Mushrooms Recipe

This one is my favourite oatmeal with cheese recipe (hence number 1)!

I honestly look forward to making any sort of oatmeal, but they work so well with mushrooms that I had to experiment and try this when I wanted cheese, too!

It’s savoury and works perfectly for an easy, even hearty breakfast. For the best texture, make sure you chop the mushrooms into smaller pieces.

You can use any kind, but classic white button mushrooms never go wrong.

A Few Health Benefits – Mushrooms and Herbs:

This is a great recipe for the immune system (for those who tolerate dairy and grains).

Oatmeal is packed full of immunity-boosting minerals like zinc, magnesium, and selenium, as well as beta-glucans.

Beta-glucans are a type of beneficial fibre which also support your gut microbiome, digestive health, metabolism and blood sugar control, heart health, and more (^)(^)(^).

What’s even more impressive is that mushrooms contain yet another kind with other benefits.

Add to that the vitamin C and other antioxidants provided by plenty of herbs, garlic, mushrooms, and the tomato, and this recipe becomes a great way to help fight and prevent infection, inflammation, free radicals, and support a healthy metabolism, digestive system, and bodily functions.

By the way, mushrooms are literally one of the healthiest foods on the planet! The ancients knew it, we know it, and science proves it.

Read More: ‘Why Are Mushrooms Good for You? Are they MAGIC (wait…)?’

Serving Suggestion:

My favourite way to enjoy this recipe is like a classic breakfast: complimented with a hot, black coffee!

… But that’s only a recent thing. In fact, the past week has been the first time I’ve had coffee for over two years!

Not because coffee is “bad”, but it’s not always for everyone (more on that another time, but Chris Kresser offers a couple of reasons why, for example). However, as I now have less personal worry about the caffeine and antinutrients, I decided to reintroduce it into my diet and I feel fine.

Some people prefer not to, others don’t worry and don’t have to.

Anyway, enough about coffee! Let’s speak oats! There are two main ways to seriously boost this recipe.

What My Recommendation Comes down to:

  • Any Simple, Classic Breakfast Beverage (green / black tea, coffee, etc.).
  • Protein of Choice.
    • Tuna
    • Sardines
    • Bacon
    • Pancetta
    • Diced chicken breast
    • Diced red meat or even pork
    • Eggs
    • Etc.

Definitely don’t be afraid to add in any protein you might if this were pasta, for example. I chose tuna, but you go for what you like, maybe a couple of eggs, etc.

This will provide all-important long-lasting energy and a balanced nutrient profile.

2. Mexican-inspired Spicy Oatmeal with Cheese Recipe

Three things:

  • Spicy Oatmeal
  • Oatmeal with Cheese
  • and Mexican food!

You may look at that and see a mismatched fusion of great ideas that come to create one of those not-so-great ideas after a few drinks…

BUT, that’s what this post is about! Oats are amazing. They’re versatile. And yes, they work just as well as other starchy staples (and often with more nutrition)!

If you don’t believe me, only you can try it for yourself. Fun and new ideas make healthy eating exciting, so what are you waiting for?

Here’s the next oatmeal with cheese recipe, turned into a spicy oatmeal recipe. The pro point: Mixing in delicious cheese balances the spice perfectly, so you can enjoy this for any meal (but we’ll call it breakfast)!

A Few Health Benefits – Chillies:

Understandably, this recipe will also have the same benefits of oatmeal as the first recipe (see above). But that’s not all.

In general, spice is a good sign when it comes to food! Chillies contain a beneficial compound called capsaicin. This is actually what gives them their flavour, and it has been shown to have potent medicinal effects:

  • Aid weight loss (^)(*)
  • Reduce inflammation (^)(*)
  • Protect heart health (^)(*)
  • Improve metabolism (*)
  • And more (^)*

In fact, the link study above on inflammation compared the the anti-inflammatory properties of capsaicin to that of the NSAID diclofenac (often sold under the brand name Voltaren), but without any adverse effects.

Basically, don’t shy away from chillies!

If you still want all the health benefits and can’t handle spice very well, you could even use dairy milk or a slightly sweet tasting, unprocessed alternative milk like coconut milk (avoid those with additives).

Either way, I’d highly recommend anyone up their spice tolerance so they can include more in their diet – it’s worth it.

Serving Suggestion:

As I said above, there’s an option those who don’t tolerate spice well but still want to experience the health benefits of chillies and capsaicin!

You could replace the water with a healthy milk in the recipe, but that might not work if you’re going to add in extras like vegetables.

In that case, simply enjoy it with a glass of milk!

Other than that, it’s always great to combine spicy food with something slightly sweet, as the flavours naturally balance each other. In India, this is a well-known practice, where something slightly sweet (maybe something with dairy, coconut, or a small amount of jaggery) often follows a spicy meal!

Sticking to the Mexican theme, a traditional ‘Café con leche’ (coffee made with warm milk) can be the perfect way to accompany a nice, warm breakfast. Sprinkle over a small dash of cinammon and you’ll be in for a treat.

To get some more protein into the meal, a couple of 4-5 minute soft-boiled eggs complement the flavours wonderfully.

What My Recommendation Comes down to:

  • Spicy Oatmeal with Mixed Veg of Choice.
  • 2-3 Soft-Boiled Eggs.
  • A Glass of Milk (Or a coffee made with warm milk ‘Café con Leche’).

Feel free to enjoy this as you like, experiment, and maybe have a siesta!

Mexican Spicy Oatmeal with Cheese Recipe with Sardines (HEALTHY RONIN)
Okay, so it’s an acquired taste, but I actually enjoyed the one in the recipe image with… Sardines. It’s delicious if you enjoy sardines and, in fact, is one of my 21 Awesome Healthy Ways to Eat Sardines!

3. Creamy Cauliflower Cheese Oatmeal Recipe

Satisfying. Satiating. But not heavy and filling. That doesn’t just sound good, it is, and this recipe is perfect if your looking for a guilt-free, feel-good meal.

This is a recipe that nourishes the body and mind – especially with the serving suggestions below!

A Few Health Benefits – Cauliflower:

Again, this recipe will have the same benefits of oatmeal as any oatmeal recipe (see recipe one for more info).

The second main ingredient is cauliflower. This cruciferous vegetable is sometimes overlooked, so let’s learn about some of its most impressive health benefits.

Number one is nutrient density. Despite being very low in calories, cauliflowers are packed full of vitamins, antioxidants (like glucosinolates and isothiocyanates), and minerals!

They’re a particularly good source of vitamins B6, B9, C, and K1. These support natural and healthy growth, immunity, metabolism, and blood clotting, whilst also preventing chronic illness and degeneration.

Regarding minerals, cauliflower is a considerable source mostly of manganese and potassium.

Here are just a few more reasons to eat this veggie more:

  • Cancer Prevention (^)(^)(^)
  • Improved Digestion due to Fibre Content
  • Weight Loss Potential (Fibre is filling, and cauliflower is low in calories)
  • Brain Development and Protection (^) (Cauliflower is a good source of choline, which many people are deficient in)

Serving Suggestion:

Grilled chicken! “Seriously, chicken with oatmeal…?”.

Yep! It’s an excellent combo here because of how well this white meat goes with cauliflower (and pretty much any cheese)!

It’s not the only choice, though. Fish is a classic for cheesy dishes like this! Just take a look at the recipe image – that’s a delicious flaky pollock fillet right there.

Now I know chicken won’t make your oatmeal won’t look all that colourful and exciting… But, nor do cauliflower cheese, chicken soup, or oatmeal in general!

Usually, the more colour the better when you’re looking at nutrition, but this time we can skip that because we already know the foods are well-diversified.

Although, you can always season with some spices if it suits your fancy!

So what kind of chicken is best? Any chicken cut will work well with this recipe. To make the most of it, grill gently with a dash of olive oil and shred into pieces before stirring through.

As for a drink, this one’s down to you… I can’t think of any one hot or cold beverage to compliment this as a breakfast or other meal in particular.

However, if you’re one of the many who enjoy sipping on bone broth (it’s easy to make or buy, uniquely tasty, and seriously good for you), it’s perhaps the best choice I’d recommend!

The abundance of collagen-building proteins in bone broth will be boosted by the cauliflower’s vitamin C and vitamin B6! It’s savoury (umami-rich), makes you feel good, and is certainly a great way to relax.

What My Recommendation Comes down to:

  • Cauliflower Cheese Oatmeal.
  • Shredded Grilled Chicken (Chicken breast, leg, wings, etc. – they’re all good pairings with cauliflower).
  • Steamed or Raw Cauliflower Leaves (Don’t throw them!).
  • Beverage of Choice, but Bone Broth Is Best!

The Verdict on Oatmeal with Cheese Recipes

If you’re not convinced by now that oatmeal with cheese, and in fact any savoury oatmeal, is an amazing idea, I’m lost!

In this post we covered just 3 recipes, but they’re purposely quite different. Taking inspiration from different cuisines, incorporating distinct flavours, using bold and mild ingredients, there are countless possibilities.

I encourage you to try this, and don’t be afraid to enjoy your oatmeal like any other grain or starchy food!

Please rate your favourite recipe, comment below, and share with friends or family!

Oh, and if you like these healthy oatmeal recipes, why not look at 5 more of our best oatmeal recipes for breakfast (sweet, savoury, and fun)!

Oatmeal with Cheese! 3 irresistible healthy oatmeal with cheese recipes (savoury oatmeal, mexican oatmeal, mushroom oatmeal))

Until next time, stay healthy

James


Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Oatmeal a High Protein Food?

Compared to most grains, oats are a great source of protein at around 6g protein per 50g raw oats (on average). However, oatmeal is best served with an extra protein source for a more balanced meal, higher energy, longer-lasting satisfaction, and for delicious recipes.

Are Oats Good for Dinner?

After seeing just how versatile oats are, it’s easy to enjoy oats for a healthy dinner, substituting recipes like pasta, noodles, rice, and other starches. They’re perfect for all sorts of savoury combinations, including with meat, fish, vegetables, herbs, spices, and beyond. So yes, oats can be great for dinner!

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Cuisine Products & Services

9 Best Healthy Cooking Utensils – The Essential Kit

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, all this means is that Healthy Ronin receives a commission from purchases made using links on this page. This is at no additional cost to you, and only helps to keep the website running. For our full Affiliate Disclosure, you can click here. Enjoy your stay!


Good health starts with a good diet: in the kitchen. That said, some essentials can really make it a LOT easier! Here are the 9 best healthy cooking utensils to help you make delicious, good-for-you food, every day.


1. A Good Knife Set

Without a doubt, you’ll be needing one of these. Don’t overlook the power of a good knife and the limitations of a poor-quality or blunt set.

No one has to own the fanciest, Japanese-grade chef’s knives (unless you really are a pro!), but a budget-friendly set with a few types types and a sharpener will do wonders for almost any need:

  • Cutting meats: Whole joints, steaks, poultry…
  • Filleting fish: Creating fillets, removing bones, descaling…
  • Dicing: Potato cubes, onions,
  • Chopping: Salads, veggie sticks, pickles, fresh herbs…
  • Slicing: One-pot dishes, vegetables, fruits, cheese, deli meats…
  • Mincing: Herbs, spices, garlic…

The disadvantages of a poor knife set are:

  • Safety: Blunt knives one of the most common causes of accidents in the kitchen, being hard to control and requiring more force.
  • Durability: Some knives can easily become blunt or even get loose handles over time. Not great for something we use so much.
  • Frustration: I stand by a strong fact: Cooking should be fun! If you can’t enjoy making healthy food, how can you expect to really want to do it? Some inconveniences in the kitchen are normal, but don’t let your knife set be one of them.

Honestly, I think it’s almost always best to get a set with a sharpener. It keeps things more organised and saves money on buying extra tools.

I recommend Keenair’s Highly Rated 15-Piece Set. With 7 types of mixed-size all-purpose and specialised stainless steel knives, kitchen shears, and a built-in sharpener, it’s complete with all the essentials.

Personally, I’ve never needed more than that. That’s for all of the purposes above and even more; I’m free to cook up almost any meal I can with this kind of set!

100% Money Back Guarantee: 2-Year Warranty Included

2. Weighing Scales

These have been a lifesaver for me! Okay, not literally… But getting accurate measurements for ingredients has really helped me in many ways:

  • Following recipes
  • Creating my own recipes
  • Making homemade pickles (getting the right water:salt ratio)
  • Measuring servings of meals
  • Tracking my calories and macronutrients (for fitness goals)

More than that, weighing scales are useful if you’re interested in following recipes that require more precision. Think sourdough breads and other baked goods, fermented foods, meal prep, etc.

You may even want to perfect your fancy Italian or exotic Indian cooking skills (for example), and copying time-tested recipes can mean you’ll hit the ground running!

For me, using scales has helped me develop a better understanding and appreciation for food.

This is because they taught me just where my nutrition comes from, and how to change portions and proportions to suit my own fitness goals.

Of course, we all know there’s much more to food than that. The most important thing in any healthy diet is food quality: varied, real, whole foods, and no / minimal processed foods.

But when you’re looking to up your cooking game and achieve awesome recipes (and health goals), a simple set of scales can’t do you wrong.

Etekcity provide Amazon’s #1 Best Seller for only $9.99! A small investment for big benefits, well-reflected in over 500 ratings.

Amazon’s Choice: 4.6 Stars

3. Tea Strainer

Oh my! If I could express how much I use these… Without a doubt, a tea strainer is one of the best healthy cooking utensils you can own.

I like to make fresh ginger root tea (4 easy recipes) the most, but you can use it for countless recipes and ingredients.

Perhaps you like to forage. It’s an unbeatable way to get so many foods and herbs that make delicious teas, including nettles, dandelions, birch, bramble leaves, and cleavers, to name a few.

Although they mostly have one purpose, I think it’s fair to say that we could all do with a nice “cuppa” to keep infections away, refresh the spirits, boost our health, or relax at the end of the day.

Pick up your own simple tea strainer at the supermarket and you won’t look back.

(Or, for more selection and convenience, you can check out the different types available on Amazon).

4. Pestle and Mortar

What is this, the Stone Age? Why would I use a pestle and mortar?

Great question! (No, not the first one)… Sometimes going a bit “back to basics” is better than buying pre-made food skipping them all together.

There are certain things you can do in a pestle and mortar easier than with a food processor or blender (like the NutriBullet). They’re unrivalled for making homemade and authentic:

  • Spice blends and pastes
  • Pestos
  • Hummus
  • Guacamole
  • Marinades
  • Crushed nuts
  • Simple ground ingredients (like oats for fermenting)

For a couple of these like hummus, a blender definitely speeds things up. But it also won’t be as “rustic” – if you like that.

Personally, I feel that relying a little less on technology and immersing yourself in fun and healthy recipes is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy relationship with food.

In a way, that’s what makes a pestle and mortar deserve a place here with the other best healthy cooking utensils.

Whether you’re cooking up steaks, grilling vegetables, having a roast, or enjoying a full barbecue (when the weather’s right), making quick marinades with freshly crushed herbs and olive oil creating the perfect dry rub can be done in seconds without the need to set up yet another appliance.

Solid granite, compact, and high-quality, HealthSmart’s 9-ounce set comes almost $10 cheaper than most similar competitors.

Amazon’s Choice: 4.7 Stars

5. Steamer Basket

Steaming is one of my favourite cooking methods.

Not only does it preserve a high amount of nutrients and cancer-fighting antioxidants in vegetables (like broccoli), but the moisture results in tender and delicious fish (and even meat)!

Nowadays, a lot of people prefer an electric steamer, generally being multi-tiered is adjustable settings.

However, a simple steamer basket can work just as well and costs less.

For such a simple tool with healthy and delectable results every time, I’d say they’re some of the best healthy cooking utensils.

Other benefits include less chance of overcooking (and therefore less carcinogens), and less need for oils or sauces if you’re trying to cut calories.

You can use a steamer for many foods and dishes, like:

  • Vegetables (whole, sliced, diced, stuffed, etc.)
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Fish
  • Meat and poultry (chops, steaks, cubes, etc.)

Check out this 15 minute ‘Steamed bass with pak choi’, for example! (I wouldn’t usually use the BBC’s recipes, but this one sticks to whole ingredients).

There are two types of steamer basket: Bamboo or metal. Bamboo steamers are more expensive and come with a lid, whereas metal ones are cheaper, but require a pan with a lid.

For a budget-friendly, healthy utensil, go for stainless steel.

P.S. For a DIY hack, item number 7 also lets you steam some foods!

(Most steamers aren’t very different and will get the job done).

6. Durable Tin Opener

Yes, a tin opener for healthy food. Eating a natural and whole food-based diet that’s packed full of nutrition doesn’t mean everything has to be “fresh”.

Sure, if you can afford it and it’s readily available, fresh is the best way to go. However, we shouldn’t skip out on nutritious and convenient foods like:

  • Tinned fish (sardines, tuna, etc.)
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Coconut milk
  • Beans / legumes (if you tolerate them)
  • Sliced vegetables (best if preservative free)

Not to mention, it’s great to try new cuisines and recipes – it’s a passion many of us share! You’ll have a tough time opening that tin of coconut milk or chopped tomatoes without a tin opener. No more Thai curry or Goulash…

The biggest problem with these is how easily they break.

Even the electric ones don’t seem to last very long! Personally, I stick to the old-fashioned butterfly tin openers, (I guess I prefer the feel).

The durable ones are typically a bit more robust, though. With over 7,000 positive ratings, KitchenAid’s KC130OHERA Opener is one of the best rated on Amazon.

I haven’t tried it myself, but the included free 1-year replacement and lifetime limited warranty do add a nice “back-up”.

P.S. There are several designs available including some with a built-in bottle opener. The prices do differ depending on the design and discount, though.

Amazon’s Choice: 4.5 Stars

7. Mesh Kitchen Strainer (/Sieve)

A lot of us probably have one of these lying around somewhere amongst the pots and pans already.

Although a colander can be used in much the same way, the smaller holes of a strainer sometimes make life easier.

If you soak, ferment, or sprout any of your foods, this is especially true.

For example, I’d likely lose some of my carefully prepared, delicious fermented oats to most colanders. Sure, it wouldn’t be a lot, but it also wouldn’t be ideal.

Another example is making stocks and broths. Since I make my bone broth in a slow cooker and like to add vegetables, herbs, and spices, a colander might not catch all the small bits and pieces.

Instead, I can use a mesh strainer to get a nice, clear broth.

Other uses include rinsing vegetables and herbs or tinned beans, straining boiled potatoes, rice, quinoa, beans, vegetables, meats, fish, yoghurt, filtering teas, sifting flours, and so on.

Also, here’s a nice little “hack”: You can even use a strainer to steam foods in a pan. In principle, as long as the food is above the water and you have a lid to circulate steam, you’ve got a DIY steamer!

Picking one up from the supermarket shouldn’t cost more than a few dollars, if that.

You can look online, and I’ll provide a quick link below for you as I have with the other items, but you’ll probably save more in-store.

(eBay generally has the lowest prices, and a strainer doesn’t need to be as ‘high quality’ to work well)

8. Measuring Jug

How many times have you seen a recipe measuring like this: “1 cup A, 2 litres B, 1.5 litres C…”?

You’ll see the difference it makes in many recipes when we don’t measure volume correctly, but it can be even more confusing when multiple types of measurement are used.

Instead of guessing amounts, a basic measuring jug with different units is great because a), we can ensure better results in all sorts of recipes (fermenting, baking, etc.), and b), we know what we’re eating with more precision (useful for certain fitness goals and also tracking recipes to make adjustments).

The benefits over weighing scales or guessing especially true when recipes serving sizes are measured in volume rather than weight.

Think of the “1/4 cup rice per person”, or “400ml soup per serving” you’ve probably seen on packets, online, or in recipe books.

I personally use measuring scales even if I decide to weigh a recipe sometimes.

If I’m adding water or other liquids, it’s easier to measure in volume rather than weight because the conversion of ml to g is a 1:1 ratio.

Cheap. Trusty. Convient. That’s why I think a measuring jug can be one of the best healthy cooking utensils to keep hold of.

P.S. Glass is most useful for fermenting or cooking in the jug itself.

9. Grater

The final item on our list of the best healthy cooking utensils is a standard grater.

Most graters come with multiple gradients and faces / blades. This means you can use them for the whole bunch of purposes!

  • Peeled vegetables and fruit
  • Vegetable strips for stir-fries, soups, and stews
  • Vegetable noodles
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Potato Rösti (Swiss potato pancakes)
  • Grated cheese
  • Grated herbs like ginger, nutmeg, and garlic
  • Citrus Zest (Lemon, lime, orange, etc.)

Box graters are the best way to go in terms of variety, storage, and less mess.

Apart from that, they’re also safer. Since they have a sturdy design and can be used on surfaces, it’s easy to stay steady and you don’t need to apply as much force.

Spring Chef offers one of the highest rated graters across Amazon. There are almost 3,000 positive reviews on durability, material quality, ease of use, ergonomic design, and more!

Get yours today with the button below.

Bonus LIFETIME Warranty included.

Conclusion: Healthy Cooking is Easy!

This list covers some of the best kit – the best healthy cooking utensils – for any kitchen. You don’t need to invest in in all sorts of electrical appliances in order to get amazing and creative results with ease.

Do you think our ancestors needed food processors? Or that the Italians blended their sauces and the Indians their spices and the Chinese used electric steamers for bamboo shoots?

Yep! (Oh wait, I meant to say no)…

Anyway, the point is that with just a few simple, small tools, the possibilities are endless and the limit is your imagination!

If you like this list or learnt something new, comment below and feel free to share with your “chef” and “house cook” friends & family.

Until next time, stay healthy
James


Frequently Asked Questions:

What Are the Healthiest Cooking Utensils?

Including these top 9 essentials, the healthiest cooking utensils are made from safe materials. Stainless steel is generally the best, being less reactive, more durable, and versatile. Go for at least 304 grade to reduce the risk of leaching chemicals. Metals like copper and aluminum can react with acidic foods, so avoid mixing the two (including when fermenting). Other than that, glass, ceramic, and food-grade LDPE, HDPE, or PP plastic utensils are good choices. Avoid BPA and PVC.

Are Digital Kitchen Scales Accurate?

Yes. Digital kitchen scales, as long as they’re working correctly, provide a high amount of accuracy. Most will state how accurate they are on the scale, and this will be how measurements are shown. Increments of 0.1g or 1g are common, and many scales convert between grams, ounces, and pounds.

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Breakfast Cuisine Dinner Food Lists Lunch Recipes Snacks and sides

Keto Korean Food – Top 10 Low Carb Dishes to Try!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, all this means is that Healthy Ronin receives a commission from purchases made using links on this page. This is at no additional cost to you, and only helps to keep the website running. For our full Affiliate Disclosure, you can click here. Enjoy your stay!


Keto Korean food? You mean it’s not all rice and noodles? Far from it! Here are the best low carb dishes to enjoy at Korean restaurants (or make yourself).


“Annyeonghaseyo 안녕하세요” everyone! Today we’re back in the oriental land of Asia.

I got thinking the other day… I love to explore different cuisines, and my post on keto Japanese food got a great response (thank you all).

It didn’t take long for my imagination to lead me to Japan’s close cousin – South Korea! With many cultural parallels, and yet unique food and traditions, there had to be something fun to learn about Korea’s cuisine…

Without further adieu, here are the top 10 low carb Korean foods for everyone to enjoy. Make the most of your culture trip, restaurant, or home cooking!

1. Seolleongtang (Ox Bone Soup)

keto korean food milky ox bone seolleongtang soup

Seolleongtang 선릉 탕 is the ultimate keto Korean food, much like any other bone broth.

It is thought that ancient sacrifices may have been the origin of this soup (made to feed many people with few ingredients)! However, we may also have to thank the earlier Mongols for its invention – no one’s quite sure.

Anyway, broth made from bones or other connective tissue is easily one of the best ways to boost your your connective tissue and joint health, bursting with beneficial collagen-building glucosaminoglycans and other proteins.

What really sets this Korean masterpiece apart is the method!

Real seolleongtang is a milky broth, made by slowly simmering ox bones in cycles. This concentrates the nutrients and deep flavour into one single batch!

To complete the soup, beef is often soaked and then cooked in the broth alongside herbs and vegetables.

Maangchi’s easy traditional recipe uses just a few simple ingredients so you can make your very own. Some recipes add starch noodles, not this one. If you like noodles anyway, try some keto-friendly options:

  • Courgette / zucchini noodles (best option: light flavour and delicate texture) (recipe)
  • Butternut squash noodles (recipe)
  • Enoki mushrooms

If eating out, definitely look for this dish, but opt for no starch noodles!

2. Galbitang (Beef Short Rib Soup)

Similar to seolleongtang, galbitang 갈비탕 is a warming, hearty soup made by simmering bones, meat, and vegetables.

However, instead of simmering bones to make a broth and then adding meat to create a soup, galbitang cooks the meat on the bone.

You’ll find this satisfying short rib soup made with Korean radishes as the main vegetable. In addition, a sharp infusion of refreshing vegetables like leeks, onions, and garlic create the base, but these get discarded before serving.

Make it yourself with Kimchimari’s Beef Short Rib Soup Recipe. Thanks JimJoo!

Keto Korean Food - Galbitang and Rice Korean Side Dishes

Traditionally, this may be served as a standalone dish with various sides, but may also be made with starch noodles in the soup.

If you’re ordering this at a restaurant, make sure you ask for it without the starch noodles (if they add them).

On the other hand, feel free to use keto-friendly noodles (like courgette / zucchini noodles).

3. Gui (Korean Grilled Food)

You sit around the table, everyone excited with chopsticks in hand. Out come the dishes.

One by one, delicious meats and veggies are laid on a central grill, searing as they release mouthwatering scents into the air.

If you want to enjoy low-carb Korean food with friends and family – especially those who are not on the same diet – look no further.

‘Gui 구이’ simply means grill in Korean. However, this isn’t just any grill. This is often a traditional table grill, where the food is cooked right in front of you.

In fact, you’ve probably heard of it. The world-famous ‘Korean BBQ’ (as described above) is often called ‘gogi-gui 고기구이’ (meat grill)!

This is some of the finest keto Korean food. With a wide variety of meat and vegetable options, it’s perfect to keep you satisfied and within your carbohydrate limits!

Best Keto-friendly Options

The beauty of gui is the freedom to make your own choices! From fatty cuts of tender beef, to a range of nutrient-dense offal, seafood, and vegetables.

Samgyeopsal (Grilled Pork Belly) 삼겹살 is probably your best bet on keto! High-fat, low-carb, and absolutely mouthwatering. Be prepared to race for it.

The best part is it’s traditionally unmarinated, meaning you can avoid added sugars.

A few more great choices (low-carb and/or high-fat) include:

Meat / Offal ‘Gogi / Naejang’

  • Gopchang gui* (small beef intestines)
  • Galbi gui (pork or beef short ribs)
  • Jumulleok (pork or beef short steak, marinated in sesame oil)

Seafood ‘Saengseon / Seokhwa’

  • Godeungeo gui (mackerel)
  • Jangeo gui* (sliced eel)
  • Garibi gui (scallops)
  • Jeongbok gui (abalone sea snails)

Vegetables

  • Beoseot gui (mushrooms)
  • Gim gui (gim seaweed / nori)

*Some gui are marinated before cooking, and could contain sugar. See below for more information.

korean bbq gui gogi gui keto korean food samgyeopsal

Watch Out for Marinades

Some popular grilled meat dishes at a Korean BBQ are marinated before cooking. The marinades used may contain sugar, however.

If you’re ordering your gui, watch out for these options in particular:

  • Bulgogi: Thin pieces of marinated beef (so bulgogi 소불고기), pork (dweji bulgogi), chicken (dak bulgogi), or other meat or seafood. The marinade is soy sauce-based but is sweetened with sugar.
  • Galbi: This is similar to bulgogi, but thicker and most often made with pork rather than beef. Some varieties may be unseasoned, so it’s best to ask first.
  • Jangeo gui: As we saw above, this means grilled, sliced eel. To add flavour, it is typically marinated in one of two options: gochujang or ganjang (soy sauce). Gochujang is a Korean fermented spice paste made from rice flour, and sometimes contains extra sugar or syrup. If you’re strict on keto, stay away from gochujang. Ganjang is otherwise a great option!

4. Kimchi (Fermented Cabbage)

Everyone’s heard of this one. Kimchi 김치 is no doubt Korean cuisine’s biggest claim to fame, becoming a popular food across the globe.

In simple terms, it’s a pickled (fermented) spiced cabbage dish.

As an excellent source of gut-boosting probiotics and antioxidants, health enthusiasts (like me, I admit) boast about its benefits:

  • Improved digestion (^)(^)*
  • Immune system support (^)(^)(^)(^)*
  • Boosted mood and mental health (^)(^)*
  • Supported heart health (^)*
  • More (^)(^*)

The studies linked above include those about kimchi directly, and also dietary probiotics in general.

You can easily make kimchi at home, or find it online, in restaurants, and at some supermarkets! Make sure you get a fermented type if you purchase it.

On a ketogenic diet, kimchi is one of the best vegetable sources you can have. It uses low carb vegetables, ferments them (reducing carbs further), and packs in nutrients, including the following (^):

  • Vitamins (especially A, B vitamins, C and K)
  • Minerals (especially manganese, iron, and magnesium)
  • Other Antioxidants and phytochemicals
  • Fibre

I recommend Mama Kim’s Kimchi (buy here), being traditional, cheaper than others, and Amazon’s best seller!

P.S. Try out my easy homemade pickles if you’re new to fermenting! The same principles will apply to making kimchi (and sauerkraut).

What Is the Difference between Kimchi and Sauerkraut?

Most of you probably think sauerkraut when you hear “fermented cabbage”. But, there are some interesting differences between sauerkraut and kimchi.

The obvious difference is that Kimchi comes from Korea, and Sauerkraut most likely from the Mongols or Chinese (believe it or not). Sauerkraut came to quickly thrive across Europe and the Germanic peoples, hence the German name ‘sour cabbage’.

Most of the time, sauerkraut is purely shredded white or red cabbage and salt. On the other hand, kimchi almost always uses Napa cabbage and incorporates more ingredients.

These include a wide variety of spices and even other vegetables such as radish.

This provides two rather different taste experiences: Traditional sauerkraut has a powerful (and addictive) tangy flavour, but kimchi is often also aromatic and spicy.

5. Gyeran-jjim (Steamed Egg)

Yep, steamed egg! It sounds weird, but gyeran-jjim 계란 찜 certainly looks delicious.

If you enjoy a good omellete, imagine that, but more “cake-like” and fluffy! You can essentially dig into steamed eggs like an umami-rich souffle.

This can be a main dish or a side dish (called ‘banchan’ 반찬 in Korean). As you can imagine, when it comes to keto Korean food, eggs being a staple of the diet makes the dish a perfect way to enjoy this exotic cuisine.

Finally, to serve, the Koreans finish their soft and silky gyeran-jjim with sliced scallions. It’s one of the easiest Korean recipes to make, definitely try your hand at it!

I think this dish has to be one of my favourite keto Korean food ideas: simple, unique, and it has eggs!

Recipe by Maangchi: View the web version here.

6. Cauliflower /Miracle Rice Bibimbap (Rice Bowl)

You know what I like about bibimbap? You can never get bored of it.

Bibimbap 비빔밥 is Korea’s famous traditional mixed rice bowl.

It’s fun to say, fun to make, and endlessly customisable! (A bit like Japanese “shabu-shabu”, one of the best keto Japanese foods).

Bibimbap essentially means mixed rice, and can include cooked vegetables, kimchi, meat, and eggs. Since white rice will quickly send you out of ketosis, you can simply substitute it with cauliflower rice.

Another popular rice substitute for weight loss and keto especially is Miracle Noodle’s “miracle rice”. Also known as “shirataki rice”, this is made from konjac root, and comes in at just 10 calories and 1g net carbs per 3oz serving!

As it’s unlikely you will find such preparations in restaurants, you’ll probably have to make this one yourself.

That’s the good thing, though: You get to choose the meats, veggies, eggs, and whatever else to suit your needs and taste!

I put together some ideas to inspire you (combine, mix, or substitute as you like):

  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • Sauteed leafy vegetables
  • Bean sprouts
  • Yukhoe (see below)
  • Raw egg yolk
  • Sesame seeds
  • Chili peppers
  • Salt
  • Soy sauce ($2.99)
  • Sesame oil ($13.00)
  • Kimchi (bulk $23.99)

7. Yukhoe (Raw Beef)

If you’ve ever seen or tried steak tartare, yukhoe 육회 is basically Korea’s way! Served as raw beef mince and topped with an egg yolk, the dishes are almost identical.

What better way to enjoy beef on keto? This simple combo comes packed with healthy fats and protein, along with essential minerals and vitamins!

In Korea, they enjoy yukhoe topped with sesame seeds. The marinade is usually based on soy sauce and sesame oil, mixed with garlic, spring onions, and a little honey.

Tips for the Marinade

On the other hand, some recipes unfortunately will include sugar. Restaurants will likely let you know if you ask them.

Here are a few ways to work around a sugared marinade:

  • Go marinade-free
  • Use just soy sauce or sesame oil
  • Make your own, omitting the honey!

Enjoying this on keto as a low carb Korean food is easy either way, with only a small carbohydrate content from the marinade.

Also, traditional soy sauce is much healthier. This is brewed using natural fermentation. Kikkoman’s ($2.99) is a popular choice you can find online or in most supermarkets.

Is Yukhoe Safe?

Because yukhoe is raw beef, some people have concerns about trying it.

We know supermarket meat raw, especially if it’s already been minced, as this could contain harmful bacteria and lead to food poisoning.

In particular, the largest risk is salmonella. However, it’s also quite well-known beef and lamb can often be – and are – eaten raw.

The main factors which affect the safety of raw beef are the following:

  • Freshness
  • Processing (minced, sliced, whole, etc.)
  • Preparation and hygiene
  • Beef quality (farming standards and feed)

If you order yukhoe at a trustworthy restaurant, you can guarantee that the beef will be as fresh as possible and carefully sourced and handled.

If You’re Thinking about Making this Yourself, Here’s What to Know

First of all, you’ll want to find a good source.

Speak to your butchers, not the supermarket, and tell them your plans. They should then be able to advise and give you the freshest meat available.

If you can, go for local meat, and preferably grass-fed.

Secondly, you’ll want to use a whole piece of meat – not premade mince (which uses multiple cows and encounters more bacteria from tools, machinery, handling, and packaging).

For yukhoe, lean cuts work best, such as eye of rounds or top rounds, but you can use fattier cuts, too.

It’s important you get that meat on the same day you intend to use it. This limits storage time and prevent bacterial growth. Keep it refrigerated and well-covered until you use it.

Before preparing, salt the outside of the meat well, wash your hands, and clean any tools. Now you’re all set (and it will be worth it)!

Click here for Food Republic’s recipe. This is the best one I’ve found.

P.S. For the egg yolk, use an egg which has been vaccinated against salmonella. In the UK, the lion mark is what to look out for. As always, free-range or pastured and organic is best.

8. Maeuntang (Spicy Fish Stew)

This one works up an appetite! I loooove fish, but add spice and there’s something spectacular!

The Korean word ‘maeun’ 마은 means spicy, and you’ve probably noticed that ‘tang’ 탕 means soup / stew by now. This Korean main dish is always made with fish.

At a restaurant or in South Korea, you could be lucky enough to find it made with traditional fish like Domi (red snapper) or Nongeo (black sea bass).

Maangchi’s recipe uses nongeo, but lean fish like pollock can substitute well.

Making this yourself let’s you limit the amount of carbohydrates from soju, bean paste, or vegetables (but you may not need to).

On keto, you’ll want higher fats, too. The best way to get more fats with maeuntang is to enjoy it alongside keto Korean food like gyeran-jjim.

You can also directly add in extra healthy fats or oils, (or stir them into the gyeran-jjim egg mixture)!

9. Nakji Bokkeum (Spicy Stir-fried Octopus)

Getting a little more exotic, here we have octopus! Going for another great spicy seafood dish, Nakji Bokkeum 낙지볶음 is well worth the try.

This is another lean source of protein, the dish itself doesn’t have to be – it’s a stir-fry, after all!

In addition, octopus is extremely nutritious. According to nutritiondata.com and other sources, here are just some of the beneficial nutrients that are abundant in octopus meat (85g cooked):

  • Protein 51%
  • Selenium 109%
  • Zinc 19%
  • Copper 31%
  • Iron 45%
  • Vitamin B12 510%
  • Vitamin B6 28%
  • Vitamin B3 16%

(Percentages listed as per standard USDA daily values)

I want to mention here that the red spicy sauce tends to contain a small amount of added sugar. This is around 2 tbsp (or 25g) per 4 servings, on average.

On top of that, the dish traditionally contains vegetables like carrots.

Here are some ideas for getting around this:

Firstly, if eating out, ask waiters or the chef about the ingredients. If you’re ordering this somewhere where it’s freshly made, perhaps you could ask for no added sugar.

However, you can always use an online recipe and alter it to your needs.

I still decided to add this as one of the best keto Korean foods because of the nutrient density, availability for high fat and protein, and relatively low carbohydrate content compared to a lot of alternative dishes.

By taking the time to make small changes, you can still experience authentic Korean cuisine to its very fullest!

10. Tempeh

No, I’m not crazy! Tempeh is fermented soy beans, but it’s surprisingly low in carbs.

In a 100g (3.5-ounce) serving of tempeh, there is typically 9.4g of carbs, according to nutritiondata.self.com.

Along with this, there’s plenty of healthy fat (10.8g) and protein (18.5g). Don’t forget that 100g of tempeh could also contain a few grams of fibre.

Because ketosis is different for everyone, some people will be able to consume more than others and maintain their metabolic state. The limit is typically from below 50g per day, but can be as low as 20g per day for some.

Tempeh can still fit into these allowances as a keto Korean food. My recommendation is enjoying it as a delicious banchan (side dish) with a high-fat dish like galbitang! Marinade it in cold-pressed sesame oil for an extra boost of fat.

Can You Make Your Own Tempeh?

Yes, you can absolutely make your own tempeh. It’s an excellent way to learn about fermenting, and is no doubt the freshest you’ll get!

If you’re thinking about making your own (which you definitely should!), Cultures for Health has a great guide you can view here.

By the way, you have more than soybeans at your disposal…

To avoid soy, be it due to the carbs or an allergy, you can simply make tempeh without them. How?

Well, we’ve all heard how great seeds are for keto! They’re similar nutritionally to nuts, and are excellent sources of healthy fats. What you might not have known is how versatile they really are.

Recipes like this creative one by Emillie at fermentingforfoodies.com use seeds just like their legume cousins to create wonderful tempeh!

The recipe above is for sunflower seeds, but you can use almost any kind.

Within just 1-2 days, you can enjoy the complex, nutty flavour and soft texture of your very own homemade tempeh.

Like what you’re learning? Subscribe for more like this!

Keto Korean Food is Easy!

As we’ve seen in this post, enjoying low carb Korean food, that’s authentic, delicious, and varied isn’t as hard as it seems.

Sure, they have noodle and rice dishes, and even high carb sauces. But that doesn’t stop anyone on a ketogenic diet from making the most of this fascinating and unique cuisine.

Rice and noodle alternatives are even an option, such as cauliflower rice and courgette / zucchini noodles!

When it comes down to it, South Korea has a fascinating culture and cuisine. They really know how to make the most of every ingredient (just look at seolleongtang), and that’s something we can all learn to do more!

To enjoy your trip to the country, feel confident at a restaurant, or up your cooking game with new skills, and still stick to a keto diet, these 10 dishes are the best way to start.

That’s all for this post, share your favourite Korean foods below, check out our other articles, and “najung-e boja 나중에 보자” (see you later)!

Until next time, stay healthy

James


Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Korean food Keto friendly?

Enjoying low carb Korean food that’s authentic, delicious, and varied isn’t as hard as it seems. On a keto diet, there are many options available to enjoy this traditional Asian cuisine. These top 10 foods are the perfect place to start.

Is Korean food good for weight loss?

Korean food is typically very high in filling foods like vegetables and soup. Along with high protein dishes (such as the Korean BBQ), this is great for reducing appetite. So yes, sticking to whole foods and low carb Korean dishes can help to your weight loss goals on a keto diet.

Categories
Cuisine Dinner Recipes Slow Cooker Recipes

Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, all this means is that Healthy Ronin receives a commission from purchases made using links on this page. This is at no additional cost to you, and only helps to keep the website running. For our full Affiliate Disclosure, you can click here. Enjoy your stay!


Want an exciting go-to curry recipe? Make the most of your slow cooker for this Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Curry – it’s sure to raise some eyebrows.


Hey, let me guess! You want a recipe that you know you can count on?

In this article, I’ll share one of my favourite slow cooker chicken recipes for any night in! Perfect for all occasions, easy to put together, and an impressive to zest up your kitchen…

We’ll discover the best ingredients to use (and why), how to make your own spice blend easily, and one of my top recipes (with serving suggestions).

In fact, I stumbled upon it simply by experimenting with different spices and herbs to make new combinations.

The reason I’m telling you this? It’s because it goes to show that adding variety and seeking new experiences is important both in the kitchen and in any healthy diet!

Making food you truly enjoy and eating healthily are not separate tasks, but instead a wonderful combination.

With that in mind, let’s get into it. Here’s how to take advantage of quality ingredients, some great ways to personalise this slow cooker Indian chicken curry, and of course the recipe itself.

P.S. If you’ve found yourself here without a Slow Cooker of your own yet, Here’s Why to Use a Slow Cooker (and which ones I recommended).

Making Your own Curry Powder (Why Most Blends are Bad)

Before I say any more, this is an easy slow cooker chicken curry.

Making your own curry powder on a simple level is quick and will truly make a difference to your cooking.

For this recipe, we use a few key spices to make a mixture and supplement with a few fresh herbs and spices. (You may even have them around).

By doing this in your own healthy recipes, you get to learn how spices and flavours interact more. And then preparing your own curries and everything else becomes much more fun.

Not only do you get to decide what does go into it (spicy, salty, sour?), but also what doesn’t!

easy slow cooker chicken curry making your own curry powder

Why Not any Indian Curry Powder?

Unfortunately, a lot of the spice mixes you’ll find on the supermarket shelf have added sugar, seed oils, and chemicals. Amongst the countless ways in which these are bad for us, here are a few:

  • Inflammation (^)(^)(^)
  • Disrupted hormonal systems (^)
  • Increased risk of illness and disease (^)(^)
  • Reduced brain function (^)(^)

Naturally, many of these effects and their studies overlap.

Of course, use spice mixes if you’d prefer, but look out for these ingredients if you do.

Ingredient Selection – The What’s and Why’s

Of course one of the best things you can do when buying fresh produce and meat is to go organic. Getting organic meat can be hard sometimes, but at least opting for some same quality vegetables can go a long way.

The benefits of using organic produce in recipes such as this healthy slow cooker chicken curry are numerous. Most obviously, you will get to reduce your intake of pesticides and toxic chemicals. The produce and meat also get to thrive naturally and develop a more beneficial nutrient profile.

And what this means for your cooking? Flavour! Real food, nutrition, and flavour have a strong correlation.

Remember you’re doing the planet a favour, too.

What is the Most Ethical Meat to Eat?

Chickens raised ethically have access to the outdoors and get to feed on a natural diet, access free space, grow naturally, and are exposed to less chemicals. Not only do these live happier lives, but they develop healthier nutrient profiles. The same goes for all meat, dairy, and eggs.

As the main ingredient in this is chicken, its quality is also worth considering.

In the US, the best practice is to opt for organic pasture-raised chicken. Whenever reasonably possible, it’s worth avoiding conventional options.

In the UK, go for Soil Association organic approved if possible, as they provide the most humane living standards.

Australia has the Australian Certified Organic (ACO), Humane Choice, and PROOF as high quality standards. Learn more from an interesting article from Choice (worth a short read for Australian residents).

Personalising the Recipe

Being a healthy Indian chicken curry recipe, you may expect it to be spicy. However, the recipe I’ve prepared actually is quite mild, and uses more aromatic and fragrant spices instead.

But if you’re like me, you might be partial to spicy foods – they add heat to the flavour and the experience! In the recipe template below, the notes provide a good guideline if you want something more spicy.

I don’t add any salt into this recipe, either, as I personally don’t think it needs it.

What are Some Good Side Dishes for Curry?

If you’re having this slow cooker Indian chicken curry alongside something else, there are some great options!

Don’t overdo it. Some potatoes, brown rice (fermented), perhaps some cauliflower rice or vegetable noodles for low calorie / carb or keto diets. A small touch of salt and pepper (if desired) and you’re set!

healthy slow cooker chicken curry - cauliflower rice What are Some Good Side Dishes for Curry

Cauliflower rice is easy to make and literally takes 5-10 minutes. Here are 2 easy step-by-step methods with 6 delicious recipes from Downshiftology’s Lisa Bryan.

(P.S. Check out my Turmeric Brown Rice Recipe below)

Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Curry – The Recipe

Here it is, our easy-to-follow slow cooked chicken curry recipe. And by this point you know how to make the most of it!

Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Curry fresh vegetables, spices, chicken, and coriander

That’s it for our healthy Indian chicken curry recipe!

This should be served in a bowl or a dish due to the liquid content from the tomatoes and water.

Alternatively, incorporate your own ingredients such as potatoes instead of beans.

Once again, an excellent accompanying side to this is my Turmeric Brown Rice recipe.

For those restricting the extra carbs or calories, making cauliflower rice is quick and easy and works well with this kind of curry.

Feel free to personalise the slow cooker Indian chicken curry recipe to your liking (Read above for guidelines).

I hope you enjoy this recipe! It’s a simple go-to for nights in, enjoying with the family, and social occasions.

To learn about more healthy food from India, Check out Our List of the Best Healthy Indian Dishes!

If you tried it out, have any of your own ideas, or enjoyed the article please do comment below and I’ll be eager to respond! Have a nice day.

Until next time, stay healthy
James


Frequently Asked Questions:

Can You Make Chicken Curry in a Slow Cooker?

You can absolutely make chicken curry in a slow cooker! This results in much more tender meat, improved nutrition, retained moisture, and allows flavours to develop. A slow cooker (like this one) makes rich, healthy meals easy.

Why is Making Your own Curry Powder Better?

Unfortunately, a lot of the spice mixes you’ll find on the supermarket shelf have added sugar, seed oils, and chemicals. Making your own curry powder and spice blends avoids unhealthy additives and gives you freedom to experiment!

What are Some Good Side Dishes for Curry?

Don’t overdo it. Some potatoes, brown rice, perhaps some cauliflower rice or vegetable noodles for low calorie or low carb diets will really let the curry’s flavours shine. A small touch of salt and pepper (if desired) and you’re set!

Categories
Breakfast Cuisine Dinner Lunch Recipes Snacks and sides

Delightfully Healthy Sauteed Mushrooms Recipe

Who doesn’t enjoy quick, healthy side dish recipes? Treat yourself to some Healthy Sauteed Mushrooms. This is a personal favourite worth remembering – read on!


A versatile side dish or main ingredient, this healthy sauteed mushroom recipe is a perfect addition to fish, eggs, salad vegetables, and especially a full breakfast!

Mushrooms can make a meal heartier and are a low calorie, Highly Beneficial substitute for main meals. Let’s get into it!

This is how to saute mushrooms, healthy…

Healthy Sauteed Mushrooms Recipe – Anytime, Anywhere!

There are all sorts of healthy sauteed mushroom recipes, and you can feel free to modify this one to your liking! You could make a spicy sauteed mushrooms recipe, and enjoy your variations in many ways.

This recipe works almost all the time – breakfast mushrooms, delicious lunches, or well-rounded dinners!

Healthy Sauteed Mushrooms Recipe - healthy recipe served with sweet potato, herbs, and spices

I’ve enjoyed this for breakfast alongside sardines with a mix of vegetables. For a lighter dish, opt for vegetables like salad greens, cucumber, courgette, and bell pepper. A fun idea is to grate courgette or carrot, creating a veggie spaghetti (vegetable noodles)!

These are excellent party food, too, no doubt. Guests over? Throw them on 10 minutes before, mix up a salad and serve alongside some Homemade Tomato Sauce.

GET CREATIVE - versatile quick healthy side dish recipe, keto, paleo, low calorie, vegetarian - Healthy Sauteed Mushrooms Recipe

Quality Food Comes from Quality Ingredients

This is a simple recipe, but if you really want to impress and get the most out of your nutrition, here’s the best information for how to cook mushrooms the healthy way (when sauteed).

Mushrooms

When selecting the mushrooms, there’s no need to go crazy. Organic is preferable, both for health purposes and for the planet. UV grown mushrooms are great choices because of the vitamin D content, but aren’t necessary. Any simple button mushrooms will be brilliant, provided they are fresh.

If you’ve ever bought mushrooms and kept them, you may have asked “are my mushrooms bad?”. The key to telling is most often whether they are slimy or not. Ideally they won’t be. If they have only a little bit of slime and are ever so slightly dark, they’re possibly okay to cook. This won’t produce the best results but it won’t be major.

If they have significantly darkened or developed slime, throw them. These signs means that the nutritional content that have deplenished, and it’s likely that is mould (especially if you can see any)!

Keep your mushrooms fresh by storing them in the fridge, and try to use within 5 to 7 days.

Olive Oil

When choosing olive oil for sauteing, extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) is your best buddy. In this healthy sauteed mushrooms recipe, we want to truly maximise flavour – and when it comes to whole food, that means maximising nutrition.

Extra-virgin olive oil is loaded with beneficial antioxidants and healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.

Always try to get some in a dark container, optimally glass or metal (although plastic is fine), and that hasn’t been kept right in the light.

You’ll want to store it in a cupboard, away from direct heat and light. This prevents any oxidisation and preserves its quality.

I’ve personally only used organic olive oil once or twice, however. If you can get your hands on it, you’ll be in for a treat. And of course, it’s better for the planet. 🙂

Really, are Sauteed Mushrooms Healthy?

The Many Health Benefits of Mushrooms!

Mushrooms are a diverse group of fungi, with many varieties and even more health benefits! Whilst not all mushrooms are edible, the kinds that you find in supermarkets are perfectly safe. This recipe works best with white button mushrooms, but feel free to mix things up.

As covered in our article all about mushrooms (see below), they are low in calories and high in beneficial nutrients. Typical macronutrients per 100g of white mushrooms are 22 calories, 3-4g protein, 2-3g carbohydrates, and 0.3g fat.

Did you know that they will also provide B-vitamins? B1, B2, B3, and B9, all found in mushrooms (especially vitamin B2 and B3), play important roles in efficient metabolism, supporting the heart, boosting the nervous system, and helping with proper development and growth.

Another fun fact is that mushrooms are one of the few dietary vegetarian sources of vitamin D. They certainly shouldn’t be relied on to reach the daily values, providing about 3% per 100g (and D2 as opposed to the easily-absorbed D3 found in animal products), but are still contributory. You can get mushrooms grown under UV lighting in most supermarkets which provide even more vitamin D!

Mushrooms also contain considerable amounts of selenium, potassium, copper, and pantothenic acid. These essential minerals contribute to many impressive health benefits of mushrooms, such as:

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Fighting free radicals
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Aiding hormone regulation
  • Supporting bone health
  • Fighting cancer
  • And more…

Read > Why Are Mushrooms Good For You? Are they MAGIC (wait…)?

Why are mushrooms good for you? Health benefits of mushrooms reduce inflammation, boost immunity with minerals and vitamins

What About Fats? Aren’t They Bad?

This recipe uses Olive Oil which is rich in Monounsaturated Fatty Acids, another good option. Click Here to Discover Olive Oil’s Health Benefits. Don’t be afraid to use other healthy fats, though.

Maybe you’ve heard that sauteing is unhealthy. Or that frying is. Or even that using fats like saturated fats is! Untrue. All of it. If you’ve been led to believe this, there are a couple of likely reasons.

The first one, especially if you’ve been told that saturated fats are bad for you, is outdated misinformation. Research overwhelmingly now shows saturated fats are important for overall health and may actually protect our hearts (^)(^)(^)(^).

For cooking, saturated fats are the most stable.

Secondly, you’re worried about calories. If you are trying to maintain a calorie deficit, for example, it may be tempting to avoid fats. I understand – it provides 9 calories per gram, as opposed to 4 for carbs or protein.

However, this is not the way to go and may cause adverse health effects (^). Fat is important for all healthy diets, aiding in metabolism, nervous system health, heart health, and much more. Besides, mushrooms are low in calories!

So sit back, relax! Enjoy your sauteed mushrooms as part of a balanced diet.

Healthy Sauteed Mushroom Recipe

This is a perfect mushroom recipe for weight loss, especially if you want to add some quality protein alongside it.

That’s it! A 15 minute, easy healthy sauteed mushrooms recipe. That’s not all I’m going to give you though. You know me better than that!

Here are some creative ideas – maybe you’ll fancy something different! Sure, a sauteed mushroom side dish as above is great, but it’s not limited. Why not try one of these (out more) out!

Healthy Sauteed Mushrooms Recipe - healthy recipe served with sweet potato, herbs, and spices

What Goes Well with Mushrooms? Some Food for Thought

Sweet Potato and Mushrooms

Sweet Potato pairs amazingly with umami-rich ingredients, which is why it’s so great for chilis, soups, and roasts!

Mushrooms, naturally an excellent plant source of this flavour therefore go hand-in-hand. When I had this recently, I served it on microwave-baked sweet potato (cooled and reheated), and enjoyed with sardines and goat’s yoghurt!

The photo above shows this pairing for you all.

Cheesy Mushroom Omelette

Naturally, this makes an excellent keto mushroom omelette, providing healthy fats and protein. Eggs are a superfood beyond doubt – particularly when pastured (US) and organic (EU), and cheese makes any breakfast better!

This way of cooking them is higher in calories, but mushrooms are naturally very low in calories.

Try sauteing mushrooms and cracking a few whisked eggs in for the last couple of minutes. Maybe throw in some diced tomato and herbs. Finally, sprinkle with cheese and let it melt – goat’s cheese and mushrooms are blissful – and season with black pepper.

Healthy Mushroom Sauce for Steak

A mushroom sauce isn’t as difficult as it seems! Especially if you’ve got some broth around. I use my slow cooker to make Bone Broth very often – it’s great for cooking, sipping, and your health.

To make this simple mushroom sauce, use a saucepan or wok and start with the above – sauteing. Slice the mushrooms thinly for best results, and use fresh garlic (crushed or diced). Also, omit the chili flakes for a traditional flavour.

You’ll want to add a little more cooking fat – butter is most suitable, olive oil’s still good. Reduce the mushrooms until golden.

Add a cup of broth, and stir in about a tablespoon of coconut flour to thicken. Bring to a boil, and simmer over low heat until desired texture. Season with salt and pepper, and serve hot over some juicy steak!

That’s All!

To conclude, mushrooms are extremely healthy, versatile, and easy to cook with. This delightfully healthy sauteed mushrooms recipe is sure to open up a whole new door to opportunities.

Savoury party food? How about a low calorie breakfast? You can even vary the ingredients and make it your own, or stick to the trusty guideline straight from us! I hope the last couple of ideas with inspire some creativity and get you creating new dishes to enjoy.

Comment below to share your recipe ideas, questions, or thoughts.

Until next time, stay healthy
James

Categories
Cuisine Food Profiles

Acorn Benefits for Health – (You Read That Right!)

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, all this means is that Healthy Ronin receives a commission if you make a purchase using links on this page. This is at no additional cost to you, and only helps to keep this website running. For our full Affiliate Disclosure, you can click here. Enjoy your stay 🙂

Ever wondered what acorns taste like? No? I expected that, but today we’re going to explore some acorn benefits that might surprise you, and maybe inspire you to give them a try.

It’s October and officially the start of our journey into winter… Autumn. Many people don’t like this time of year, despite the colours and the magic of it all, we know that there’s a long Winter up ahead. Personally, I love it! The variety, and the rainy weather, and the colours, and also the harvest…

What harvest? Well I’m so glad you asked, because there is a surprising variety of things to forage for in the Autumn. One none other than the humble acorn itself!

And before you ask, no, I’m not “nuts!” (get it?)


Acorn Benefits, Intake, and Side Effects

Scientific Name: Quercus (Robur, Rubra, Velutina… all others), Lithocarpus

Family: Fagaceae

Distribution: Great Britain, Europe, The Americas, Parts of Africa and Asia.

Identification: Red stems and (sometimes slightly
reddened) palmate sets of leaves, divided in 3. Distinctive bright
pink flowers appear throughout Spring, Summer, and Winter.

Nutritional Composition*: B-Vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9), Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Phosphorus, Copper, Zinc, Magnesium, Manganese, Omega-6, Omega-9 Carbohydrate, Fat, Protein (Limited Information Available*)


Fun Fact: The (re)rising popularity of eating acorns has its own name! Acorn eating is also called “Balanophagy”.

In the past, acorns were once an appreciated food source. They have been used in World War II by the Japanese as an alternative to rice, by the almighty Ancient Greeks (especially the Arcadians) (^), and extensively by the (super) tough Native Americans!

Now, some people enjoy them roasted, as a coffee alternative, and even ground as a useful, healthy flour substitute. In ancient times, some cultures even made bread with the stuff. Don’t underestimate their versatility, they make excellent additions to allsorts of recipes for dinner, breakfast, and more! There are many applications that I’m sure you’ll have a use for, and they’re just as easy to find!

If you’re busy or can’t find any, then you can always Grab Some Refreshing Acorn Coffee to try them out for yourself!

They’re an excellent food source with versatility and beneficial nutrients and phytochemicals (^).

Health Benefits of Acorns:

Let’s kick this list off and explore some impressive ways in which acorn benefits health. I hope that by the end of this you’ll realise that acorns should be a welcome Autumnal treat, just as they once were in the past!

As mentioned above there are a variety of ways to use acorns, some of which I’ll be covering in future posts. Here are some useful links about how to find, prepare, and enjoy the fruit of the mighty Oak:

*An easy-to-read, in-depth source of information on all things acorn – it’s a long foraging season after all!

Improve Metabolism

The first benefit that I’d like to mention is how acorns can help to improve metabolism. Being a good source of manganese, several B-vitamins, and also fibre gives acorns metabolic benefits similar to those of other nuts.

Fibre

Nuts in general contain mostly insoluble fibre, which does not dissolve in water. Lost most fibre has similar effects overall, distinguishing can be helpful sometimes. Some insoluble fibre intake with meals can help to reduce blood sugar spikes (glycemic response), and additionally helps to reduce appetite lost requiring longer to digest (^).

This can also reduce calorie intake (therefore possibly benefiting weight loss), and gives your digestive system a better chance to properly digest food and absorb nutrients.

B-Vitamins

Acorns are a good source of B-vitamins, mostly B6 and B9, but also some B1, B2, B3, and B5. These vitamins all play important roles in metabolism and energy. They’re also essential in maintaining the health of your nerves, muscles, brain, and heart!

Without Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), we would not be able to even synthesise our cells properly (^). Having adequate B6 in the diet helps us to efficiently metabolise and digest carbohydrates, proteins, and fats(^)(^). It can help to prevent inflammation, atherosclerosis and heart disease, and improve brain health (amongst many more benefits).

By improving metabolism, this vitamin helps to make sure that we are properly digesting and absorbing nutrients. In turn, this prevents abnormal disposition or uptake of fats, carbohydrates (sugars), and protein throughout the body.

Vitamin B9 (Folate) has some similar properties to B6, and helps to regulate healthy cell metabolism in organs (^). In the body, this vitamin has a significant effect on protein synthesis, therefore being vital for proper cell formation. It also benefits white blood cells (T cells) (^). Getting folate from food sources is much better for us than taking folic acid supplements.

Manganese

In dietary levels, manganese is a trace element required for several metabolic processes.

For example, our ability to efficiently metabolise carbohydrates, proteins, and fats depends on enzymes which manganese actually helps to manufacture and regulate (^)(^)! It also plays important roles in energy and bone cell metabolism (^), and proper immune function, such as by fighting free radicals.

100g of raw acorns would provide almost 50% of the proposed adequate manganese intake for adults by the EFSA (^). That is a significant amount of acorns, but does go to show its potential.

Support Digestion

Acorns could also help to support a healthy digestive system by providing beneficial fibre. Insoluble fibre benefits digestive health by increasing efficiency and helping with bowel movements. It does this by adding bulk and attracting more water. Therefore, we find that it helps prevent constipation, bloating, cramping, and even haemorrhoid formation.

Fibre is actually a type of carbohydrate, but is often largely indigestible. As mentioned above, these carbohydrates can actually reduce appetite, and they also require a bit more work to “process”.

Now consider that this could prevent the chance of overeating or eating too quickly… Your digestive health will benefit further by including fibre in your diet, giving it an easier time.

Stronger Bones (and Bone Connective Tissue)

So, bones! They’re important. But you knew that… And you probably know that calcium is good for bones (as long as you don’t have too much)! Whilst I can tell you that acorns do contain trace amounts of calcium, it isn’t a significant amount.

What then, makes acorns good for bone health? Once again we turn to manganese, which is important not only for bone mineralisation, but also in the formation of bone cartilage (^)(^). Because of this, there are several key properties at play (^).

We also need other nutrients found in acorns for proper bone health, such as copper, B-vitamins, and phosphorus (^)(^). Overall, having some acorns now and again when the time of year comes is a good idea! The nutrients they provide support stronger bones and could therefore help to prevent osteoporosis and other problems.

acorn benefits - acorn nuts and minerals support bone health

Boost Energy

We already know that acorns are good for metabolism, which can help to boost energy levels. But, they also prove to be an energy-dense food. 1 oz raw acorns can provide 110 calories alone, and although they’re not eaten raw, the macronutrient composition but not differ significantly in properly prepared whole nuts.

Overall, about half of their calories come from fats, a significant amount from carbohydrates, and a small amount from protein. The majority of the fat content comes from beneficial monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), specifically oleic acid. If you’ve read my article on ‘The Mediterranean Gold’, you might know that this healthy fat is a major constituent of Olive Oil. Acorns also provides some polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-6), and saturated fatty acids.

Gram-for-gram, acorns have more carbohydrate than fat, but some of this is fibre, and naturally carbohydrates provide less energy than fats.

Antioxidants Fight Free Radicals

Several nutrients found in acorns antioxidative properties which help to eliminate harmful free radicals in the body. In effect, reducing free radicals has many beneficial and preventative effects which help to combat ageing, cellular damage, inflammation, and illness.

Acorns are not the most potent source of antioxidants, in part due to the lack of certain phytonutrients and vitamins (e.g. A, C, D, E). However, minerals in them such as copper may provide a small boost.

An interesting meta-analysis by researchers from India and Korea on free radicals and antioxidants made point of the important roles that metal ions play in supporting the protective effects of antioxidants and flavonoids (^). Beneficial enzymes require certain minerals including copper in order to efficiently convert to Radicals into to safer compounds.

Furthermore, oleic acid has also been demonstrated to reduce inflammation and support immune function (^)(^), whilst also supporting overall health. Many studies have attributed this fat to anti-inflammatory and antioxidative health benefits, including in herbal remedies (^).

Heart Health

Believe it or not, you might just be doing your heart a favour time to enjoy acorns now and again! They contain heart-healthy fats, fibre, and minerals which explain how acorn benefits heart health in multiple ways.

Copper, The Heart, and Acorns

Additionally, copper, as an antioxidant, could benefit cardiovascular health (^).

On the other hand, one review of different studies found an interesting link between copper serum levels and and coronary artery disease (^). Their findings indicated that copper is found in high amounts in those with this condition.

The significance of this is not yet fully known. One possibility suggested by some studies is that too much copper plays a role in the formation of atherosclerosis.

Fortunately, in western diets, copper often isn’t very abundant, and higher intake could provide more health benefits than any risks. The upper limit set by the EFSA is 5mg per day (and the United States IOM even 10mg). To put that into perspective, the world Health Organisation recommends a minimum of approximately 1.3g per day (^). To get even that much from raw acorns, you’d need to eat about 209g!

Not only is that a lot, but natural antinutrients found in the nut, even when leached, reduce the amount of that which we absorb. And, if your diet is High in Zinc as well, you’ll be much better off at naturally regulating copper levels anyway.

Not to forget, copper deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (^).

To conclude: The amount of copper found in acorns is beneficial for health, particularly for western populations and those with low copper serum levels or diets.

Heart-healthy Fats

Remember those fats in acorns that provide some of its calories? Not only do they provide us with energy, but oleic acid (the main type) is comparatively better for heart health than unhealthy fats (^)(^), and also than refined carbohydrates.

As a monounsaturated fatty acid, this beneficial fat may help to improve cardiovascular health (^)(^)(^). These benefits are particularly true if this fat replaces unhealthy TRANS fats such as those found in seed / vegetable oils (^).

Removing unhealthy fat from your diet will have many similar effects anyway, and is always recommended. However, it’s important not to replace them with something else detrimental, and this MUFA is a great choice.

(Don’t be mistaken into thinking that saturated fat is bad, though!)

The FDA has made health claims about oleic acid, and although they recommend reducing saturated fat, an overwhelming amount of research now dispels the myth that it is bad for us or our hearts. The practice of replacing these fats, especially with refined carbohydrates, has highly negative impacts on cardiovascular wellbeing.

Oleic acid is thought to be one of the main reasons that olive oil is so good for us (^)(^)(^). Much as this oil (important in the Mediterranean Diet) is beneficial, oleic acid from acorns might have similar effects.

Fibre Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Remember how we mentioned insoluble fibre? Well, here it makes another appearance, too! A range of meta-analyses and studies demonstrate that the higher fibre intake is correlated with lower cardiovascular disease risk (^).

It’s not just insoluble fibre that helps, though. Both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre effectively improve cholesterol profile, especially by reducing LDL levels (^). This is important for many people who have large LDL cholesterol particles (often due to diet).

One study found that patients with cardiovascular disease, when compared to those without, had lower intake of both fibre and MUFAs (^).

acorn health benefits for heart health, oleic acid copper and fibre - improved cvd risk and cholesterol

Brain Health

Acorns contain brain-boosting fats, as in most nuts. If you read about my best foods for brain health, then this to come as no surprise. Certain foods have impressive benefits for our brains, and nuts are a whole category!

Read: What Is The Best Food for Brain Health?

Now, you’re probably expecting to hear more about oleic acid. And although I don’t want to sound like a broken record, I’ve got to go by the research!

Before I carry on, do note that anything in too high amounts is negative. You’re unlikely to get too much of this from nuts, but you shouldn’t go binging on olive oil in unnecessary amounts, for example.

Back on track: Monounsaturated fatty acids

MUFAs, including oleic acid specifically, have been demonstrated in studies to benefit brain health.

One study published in the American Academy of Neurology brought light once again to the traditional Mediterranean diet. In Southern Italy, they found that increased MUFA intake appeared to help protect the elderly population from cognitive decline (^).

Another study conducted in France, once again on behalf of the same Academy, found some impressive results. Olive oil consumption and also plasma oleic acid was measured in participants, and the correlation was found in the amount of stroke incidents that occurred (^).

According to the data, higher plasma oleic acid was associated with lower incidence.

As we can see, it’s noteworthy that oleic acid could mean that the acorn benefits brain health. One study noting the content of this MUFA in acorns mentioned the content, and commented on this nut’s health benefits (^).

Acorn Side Effects

Above we have listed some of the Acorn benefits for health. As with any food, though, especially a new one, there are potential adverse effects or reactions worth knowing of.

Allergies

First and foremost, if you have a nut allergy of any kind, you should not try to eat acorns. They are a true nut, and therefore may cause an allergic reaction and some people. If you would like to try them, always make sure that you have confirmed with your healthcare practitioner that doing so is safe.

Tannin Content – Why To Prepare Acorns Properly (It’s Easy)

Toxicity is also a possibility from raw acorns due to the high tannin content.

Tannins (i.e. tannic acid) are found in acorns and oak leaves alike, and are responsible for giving them a notably bitter taste. To get rid of the bitterness and the tannins, acorns should be leached, which makes them edible (^).

Most of the time, leaching means soaking or boiling the nuts, and is a straightforward process which is well worth the effort. You can find some great information on it from Honestfood.net: ‘The Mechanics of Eating Acorns’.

Whilst eating a few raw acorns shouldn’t have any adverse effects in those without medical conditions or allergies, it’s still not recommended and it won’t taste very nice. Tannins also bind to iron, so which prevents iron from being efficiently absorbed in the body.

Therefore, consuming too many tannins, especially with or around meals, could be a risk factor in anaemia. Doing so is associated with digestive upset such as constipation, and nausea. Forage only the ripe, brown acorns, as the younger green ones have a higher tannin content.

Also, just be aware of worms. Wild food is fun, but sometimes we’re beaten to it – that’s part of the adventure. You should be able to spot worms if there are any holes in the shell. If you find any of these acorns, leave them be (or discard them).

Recommended Intake

There is very little information on a recommended intake for acorns. For the most part, it should just come down to using your own judgement. You wouldn’t eat more than 300g of almonds (for example – and that’s still a lot), so why would you acorns?

As long as you’re leaching them properly, the tannin content shouldn’t cause a problem. If you are concerned about too much copper, remember that is unlikely you would even consume the amount necessary for the daily minimum intake. To get to the EFSA’s upper guideline for copper intake, you would have to eat over 800g of acorns on average. Yeah… No thanks!

There is very little information on a recommended intake for acorns. For the most part, it should just come down to using your own judgement. You wouldn’t eat more than 300g of almonds (for example – and that’s still a lot), so why would you acorns?

My Recommendation?

The classic saying of “moderation in all things” is a good example for certain foods, and is probably good advice here, too. That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy them, now, does it?

So go out there, I encourage you, and try something new this autumn. Who knows? You might just find an interest in acorns the last you until Summer (and then again), or even better, an interest in foraging! It’s a great way to connect a nature and explore or a new world of cooking, nutrition, flavour, and good health and mindfulness.

Remember To Forage Sustainably and Responsibly

You can always simply Get Some of Your Own Acorn Coffee, if that’s what you’re after. That is a preferable process for some, and still allows you to enjoy the benefits.

In a Nutshell (I made this pun before, too!)

Acorns are today perhaps an underappreciated food source, and at least misunderstood. They have a very interesting history and have been enjoyed by many healthy cultures, including the Native Americans and the Ancient Greeks!

The humble acorn benefits health in a number of ways, just as these people knew. They provide a wealth of nutrition, including healthy fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Remember to avoid them if you have a nut allergy, and always prepare and forage for them properly.

It’s October, and the new Autumn, so why not try something seasonal, and something new! You can porridge for acorns right up until Summer, and then you’ll have to wait. But, summer is just an open door to more things to enjoy!

Until next time, stay healthy
James

Categories
Cuisine Dinner Recipes Snacks and sides

Turmeric Brown Rice Recipe – A Wholegrain Superfood

Want an easy and healthy dish to accompany your favourite meals? This wholegrain recipe makes the most of turmeric’s flavour and benefits.


Good day all, I hope you’re well! Here is a recipe everyone who wants to really know how to get maximum benefits when using brown rice: Turmeric Brown Rice…

There are many reasons to add turmeric into the diet. The powerful spice is one with many researched health benefits, and it even made it onto my lists of:

And what better way than to incorporate it with nourishing, hearty, brown rice? I like to make this turmeric brown rice recipe to go alongside any type of curry (especially Indian)!

(P.S. Take a look at my Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Curry for the perfect pairing!)

This recipe reminds me a lot of Pilau rice, as it uses many similar spices. You can customise this recipe to your liking, and even mix in other types of rice (or spice)!

I find that it works just as well with red rice, and has an amazing flavour if you mix the two.

This is one of my favourite ways to have rice, and I hope it will be for you too! Let me know if you enjoy this, and if you did, it would mean a lot if you shared it.

Let’s get into it!

Proper Preparation is Important

Before you you get straight into it, please take a moment to familiarise yourself with the proper way that this should be prepared: Fermented.

Now, that word seems unpleasant to some, but without it we would have no coffee, chocolate, cheese, vinegar, traditional pickles and sauces, or even alcohol as we know them! In short, fermentation has been a vital tool to human civilizations since the dawn of our time!

This is a process that is important for all grains, nuts, and seeds alike. I always ferment my oats, and it’s extremely straightforward, and doesn’t take long to get used to (or make a habit of!) at all.

Why to Ferment Brown Rice

By rinsing and fermenting brown rice and other grains, we partially germinate the seed and reduce components such as phytic acid (an antinutrient) and arsenic. These prevent us from absorbing nutrients and may have other effects (such as on the thyroid), so reducing them in wholegrain rice is important.

The fermentation process also slightly reduces carbohydrate content, and introduces a whole new spectrum of nutrition. This means probiotics to help the immune system (even when cooked), and increased nutrient absorption.

(P.S. I covered this in detail, and a very easy way to do it in a previous post. Click the link below to take a look.)

Read: Let’s Ferment Brown Rice! Nutrients and Removing Antinutrients

An Alternative Option?

You can also soak the rice. This won’t have as strong an effect though, so if you soak it, try to follow these two guidelines:

  • Soak for at least 12 hours, but even 6 will make a slight difference
  • Try to use dechlorinated (or boiled & cooled, room temp. – lukewarm) water

Selecting the Best Ingredients

When it comes to brown rice, any type is good really. However, some types are better than others, and if you can get them it will make a difference nutritionally and taste-wise. 

On top of the list is brown basmati (bonus points for organic)! This has a lower glycemic index than other rice and higher fibre content along with it. At the same time, you’ll get a nutty version of the aromatic flavours of white basmati, which makes it versatile.

For any turmeric basmati rice recipe, brown basmati rice is a suitable candidate.

We’ll also be using spices, including turmeric. It is ‘turmeric brown rice’, after all! The easiest way to do this for this recipe is with turmeric powder. You can make this with fresh turmeric for the best results, but otherwise simply go for a powder without any additives (this should be easy to find). Once again, organic is better.

If you want to make it with fresh turmeric root, here’s what to know:

  • Pick a firm root: It should not be squishy
  • The root should also feel smooth
  • Colour is good: Try to get a light orange / brown root (with skin on), and the flesh should be vibrant. Some turmeric is more yellow, which is fine.
  • There should be no mould present
Turmeric Basmati Rice Recipe - Healthy Fresh Turmeric Root (Orange)

Here is a good simple recipe on how to make the traditional powder.

We use other spices and herbs to add to the flavour, add turmeric by itself has an earthy, slightly bitter flavour. If you like fragrant dishes and Indian food, I can guarantee you enjoy this dish!

I prepare this in advance if I can, and use some coconut oil or other fat and then cool and refrigerate the rice.

Done this way at least 10 – 24 hours before using it well reduce the carbohydrate content further, and create beneficial prebiotic resistant starches (^). Resistant starches have been linked to numerous health benefits, including improved glycemic response and insulin sensitivity (^)(^). This is completely optional.

Here is My Easy Turmeric Rice Recipe:

Serving Suggestions!

I find that this dish works best as a side to meals like curries. But don’t forget that it can also be substituted as a main dish, especially if you add some vegetables, onion, or even egg!

This Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Curry is a mouthwatering accompaniment that you can make in 15-20 minutes!

Nutritional Benefits of Turmeric and Brown Rice

Brown Rice Nutrition

turmeric brown rice recipe - brown rice health benefits and nutrients

Brown rice offers some significant benefits over white rice. Factoring in proper preparation, the higher nutrient content is an excellent reason to eat more brown rice.

White rice is more processed and has had the hull, bran, and cereal germ removed. On the other hand, brown rice keeps the bran and the cereal germ, which means it provides more fibre, vitamins, and minerals.

Most notably, brown rice is very rich in manganese. One cooked cup can provide over 70-80% of the recommended daily minimum (according to the World Health Organisation).

This essential mineral supports bone and connective tissue formation, brain and nerve function, and an overall healthy metabolism. It is important for regulating blood sugar and acts as a free radical. Overall, getting a proper amount into your diet can support health in the long run.

Additionally, brown rice is a good source of selenium (which is good for the immune system), zinc, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and a small amount of iron.

In terms of vitamins, its content is made up almost entirely of B-vitamins. It provides us with over 10% of our B1, B3, and B6 values.

The Benefits of Turmeric

This is the co-superstar of our easy turmeric brown rice recipe.

Over the years, research about turmeric has increased, and with it has the amount of people enthusiastically talking about it.

Health experts from around the world and thousands of studies support the benefits of turmeric and its components (^). This traditional spice often used in Indian cuisine (known as Haldi) is responsible for the vibrant yellow orange colour of many curries.

In India, Ayurvedic practitioners and people all over still use it as a traditional remedy today. A delicious example is turmeric milk (or golden milk), which is used for common ailments like the cold.

Here are some of the research-backed health benefits of turmeric and curcumin:

  • Anti-cancer
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Powerful Antioxidant (prevents cell-damage, including with ageing)
  • Neuroprotective (helps to prevent and benefits those with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.) (^)(^)
  • Boosts overall brain function
  • Benefits Arthritis

One fascinating example of this, is one study in which participants that ate curry more often demonstrated significantly higher cognitive ability scores (^)! And, Alzheimer’s occurs in India (ballabgarh) at a much lower rate than in the USA, according to this study.

I believe this superfood should be mixed into your diet whenever you can make it work!

I Hope You Enjoy!

That’s all for this recipe! I love to make this, and the family seem to like it too. I’m sure you’ll have the same experience!

This healthy brown rice recipe is great alongside all sorts of dishes, vegetarian, meat, seafood, and more. That doesn’t mean you can’t be creative, though. Lightly fried with some onions or mixed in with vegetables, it substitutes a nice main dish in itself.

Leave a comment below with any questions you have, and share with me your favourite ways to enjoy brown rice! I look forward to hearing from you all.

Until next time, stay healthy
James

Categories
Cuisine Food Lists

Keto Japanese Food – An Easy Guide to Low-Carb Japanese Cuisine

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, all this means is that Healthy Ronin receives a commission from purchases made using links on this page. This is at no additional cost to you, and only helps to keep the website running. For our full Affiliate Disclosure, you can click here. Enjoy your stay!


Gone keto? Think you’ll be missing out on your favourite Japanese food? I know the feeling. Today I’ll show you the best keto Japanese food that’s still easy to enjoy.


I. Love. Japan. A place with such deeply embedded culture and traditions, that unify an archipelago of fascinating people, history, and cuisine, is one not to be missed.

For people following the keto diet, it is important to eat low-carb, which unfortunately means missing out on many Japanese staple foods. Never fear, for here is a handy list of “Keto Japanese Food” so you can still enjoy restaurants, the country, or even make your own Japanese food!

In this list, we dive deep into Japanese culture, and discover authentic Japanese food that still lives on today to create healthy low-carb meals. These are great for keto diets and other carb-restricted diets. Let’s get into it!

A Quick Introduction to Keto

The ketogenic diet (keto) is one with a simple goal: maintaining a state of “ketosis”. This is a metabolic state in which our natural and primary source of energy comes from fat. For this reason, it is often followed by those trying to lose body fat, as ketosis will draw from fat deposits in a process known as “gluconeogenesis”.

A low-carb high-fat diet like this has been shown to have multiple health benefits (^).

  • Boosted Weight-Loss (^)
  • Ketone Production Improves Brain Health (^)(^)
  • Reduced Appetite and Hunger (^)
  • Improved Cholesterol (^)
  • May Benefit Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes (Under Supervision) (^)

Understanding that a keto diet is a highly different state of our bodies from most people in the Western world is important. Low-carb and ketogenic diets are drastically different to typical diets encouraged by authorities and others, and can boost health.

In general, most people won’t follow this diet for longer than a few months to a year (maximum). Little research is conclusive on the health effects of long-term ketosis, and it’s not recommened for long-term sustainable dieting. Consulting a nutritionist or dietitian is recommended to follow this

So, at last, here are our recommened low-carb Japanese foods. Enjoy!

Sashimi 刺身

Starting off with the obvious choice, sashimi is raw sliced seafood. This most often includes tuna and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, but is also made with other fish and shellfish.

It is an important part of sushi and onigiri, but works excellently by itself. In Japan, people often dip sashimi in soy sauce or ponzu before eating it.

Beneficial Salmon Sashi - Keto Japanese Food - Sliced Salmon and Vegetables on Plate

Sashimi also made it onto our other food list: “Healthy Food from Japan“, where we cover in-depth its many health benefits, and also explore the risks.

The nutrients of different seafood and fish naturally vary, so sashimi will vary in nutrition, flavour, and health benefits.

Salmon, for example, is often boasted to be a superfood, providing heart and brain-healthy Omega-3 fatty-acids (^)(^), antioxidant astaxanthin, protein, and vitamins and minerals. Being a source of selenium makes salmon excellent for our immune system, as well! Providing about 30mg per 3oz serving, it is easy to reach the recommended amount of selenium (55mg for most adults) by including salmon in the diet.

Astaxtanthin may even promote longevity by activating FOXO-3 Genes!

To learn more, read: Healthiest Foods for Longevity – From Genes to Greens!

Phosphorus, Potassium and B-vitamins also support, the nervous system, musculoskeletal system, promote healthy hormone balance, reduce inflammation, improve metabolism, and help to prevent kidney stones, lower blood pressure, and more.

Other fatty fish have similar nutritional composition, but are each unique and have different tastes entirely! That makes enjoying them exciting and even easier for most people.

For example, tuna has a lower amount of omega-3s and copper, but contains higher levels of selenium and protein.

More healthy seafood options include mackerel, cod, black cod (sablefish), and squid.

Safety Information: Sashimi is Raw Fish

To be clear, you shouldn’t just go and eat any raw fish.

The reason it’s so popular in Japan is because the country has very strict, high quality standards for seafood. Paired with a high level of experience carried on from ancient times, Japan takes great pride in the level of expertise carried by their fishermen.

Eating sashimi outside of Japan should be done in restaurants with good reputations, so they can be trusted. If you decide to make your own, please refer to this article for more information about sourcing and using fresh seafood.

Miso Soup 味噌汁

Gut-friendly, rich in umami, and oh so relaxing. Once again we have another popular item from our healthy food from Japan list!

Technically fermented soy bean paste, miso would seem to be high-carb
at first glance. But in fact, only a small amount is needed to make
a deep, rich soup.

Miso soup comes in many varieties and is easily customisable to your liking. You can get miso pastes with different strengths, colours, and flavours, such as a light white miso (shiromiso) or the more intense red miso (akamiso). Interestingly, this beloved dish is thought to have first come from the Jōmon era, which likely means over 3,000 years ago!

Some of its main health benefits come from the fact that it is a fermented food, meaning that it’s probiotic, providing us with healthy bacteria to support our own gut bacteria. Believe it or not, these beneficial bacteria (collectively our ‘microboime’) play vital roles in our immune system, brain, organ, and digestive health!

If you make it at home (which I highly recommend – it’s delicious), follow the instructions and do not boil the water! This would kill the healthy bacteria and as such reduce the health benefits.

Shabu-shabu シャブシャブ

Not only is it fun to say “shabu-shabu” (which is in fact onomatopeoia), it’s fun to make, eat, and is low carb. Often being fairly high in fat, if you get the opportunity to eat this dish, it is an excellent addition to the keto diet.

Picture the setting: you, maybe a few friends, maybe family, sitting around a table at a Japanese restaurant. Then over comes a large pot of hot broth (probably kombu dashi*), along with a plate or tray of extremely thin, well-marbled raw meat.

At first you’re confused, but pick up your chopsticks nonetheless. As your waiter gestures, you quickly figure out what’s going on…

You pick up the meat and begin stirring it in the broth, the name “shabu-shabu” comes to make sense, as you hear. And soon you find yourself enjoying delicious meat cooked exactly to your liking!

That, is shabu-shabu.

(*kombu dashi is a light broth made with kombu kelp [get some here] – a highly beneficial source of iodine providing a tempting umami flavour).

Marbled Beef for Shabu Shabu Keto Japanese Food - Thinly Sliced Meat in Tray

The benefits this provides will depend on the type of meat and the quality of the meat. Those of you with a little knowledge of Japan probably know about Wagyu beef. If you can get that or any grass-fed (free-range/pastured) beef, then you’re in for a treat.

Another interesting choice, though not the highest on some people’s lists, is “sakuraniku”.

This translates to “cherry blossom meat”, and describes the resonant pink colour of… Horse meat. Yep!

An apparently flavourful meat, horse is actually eaten across Japan. Most famously, people enjoy it in the prefecture of Kumamoto. Most often, it is served just like sashimi, but also can be eaten in the form of shabu shabu.

P.S. This method of cooking reminds me a bit of gogi-gui, the famous Korean BBQ! It also made it onto our list of the top 10 keto Korean foods to try.

Japanese Pickles つけもの

Pickles in Japan, (called ‘Tsukemono’) are delicacies enjoyed with many dishes and on many occasions. Tsukemono come in many different types, and are basically any traditionally-pickled vegetable or fruit pickles!

On a keto diet, you’ll want to avoid most fruit pickles such as Umeboshi. It’s okay to enjoy more of the vegetables when fermented though, because bacteria feed off of the starches and carbohydrates, essentially “pre-digesting” them and lowering the levels.

These lower carbohydrate levels make for great keto Japanese food.

A great choice to go for is salt pickles (Shiozuke 塩漬け), which are fermented in a salt brine. Most often people make these pickles with cucumber, carrot, or cabbage, but almost any vegetable will work if you make them yourself! You might also find nukazuke 糠漬け, which are pickled vegetables fermented in rice bran. You’ll also come across some low-carb miso pickles if you’re lucky!

P.S. You can also make your own Tsukemono! I made some easy carrot and daikon pickles in this recipe which is perfect for getting started.

There are other common types of non-fermented pickles in Japan, which are still delicious side dishes. These include soy sauce pickles, vinegar pickles

You can even make them yourself! Hachisu’s popular ‘Preserving the Japanese Way’ is an in-depth traditional recipe book. Grab your own here.

Tamagoyaki 卵焼き

Tamagoyaki is a Japanese-style omelette. To make it, people typically use a square or rectangular dish to fry omelettes which they then roll up to one end, before adding the next layer of eggs and repeating the process 5 to 6 times until they have basically an omelette loaf! Slice into horizontal chunks and you have properly prepared tamagoyaki.

You can season this as you like, but soy sauce is a good option.

As eggs are an important staple of the ketogenic diet, so is this dish an awesome way to prepare them. Tamagoyaki is also great for bento (Japanese lunch boxes).

You could easily pair it with the pickles and mushrooms on this list, for example, and have keto Japanese food for on the go. Japanese meal prep made easy, right?

Use the Right Frying Oil / Fat!

Remember when frying to use a healthy fat! Stick to beneficial fats like grass-fed animal fat, coconut oil, dairy (butter/ghee), olive oil, avocado oil, and almond oil.

Sesame and peanut oil together is a good idea for gentle frying if you’re looking for that “all oriental” flavour.

At all costs, avoid oils high in polyunsaturated fatty acids such as soy, sunflower, safflower, canola, grapeseed, corn, and “vegetable” oil. These contain and form toxic compounds called TRANS fats.

For more information on healthy or harmful fats, there is arguably no better place than Dr. Cate Shanahan (learn more).

Simple Shiitake or Elegant Enoki Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms (シイタケ)are a famed health food from Japan, with a rich umami flavour and many proven health benefits. They provide 7g of carbs for every 100g, making them an ideal meal or side dish for those on a low-carb or ketogenic diet.

Powerful components found in shiitake mushrooms, such as Lentinan, exhibit impressive anticancer activities. Researchers from Japan have found Lentinan to be particularly powerful for against gastric cancer (^).

Additionally, one study conducted by American researchers demonstrates myochemicals in shiitake mushrooms to inhibit other types of tumor growth (^).

Low-Carb Shiitake Mushrooms for Ketosis - Growing Naturally On Tree Wood

Enoki mushrooms (えのき)are another type of mushroom from Japan, with a surprisingly elegant appearance. They’re extremely thin – noodle-like, in fact.

In Japan, people like to add this mushroom into soups. Why not try it in miso soup? They provide a light and yet satisfying flavour, making them easily enjoyable.

Enoki mushrooms provide 8g of carbs per 100g. Furthermore, studies show they have demonstrated anticancer, immunomodulatory, heart health-boosting, and anti-neurodegenerative effects (^).

Mushrooms are extremely rich in antioxidants, particularly Ergotheoneine. This unique polysaccharide impresses with a powerful ability to protect the mitochondria in our cells. This prevents aging and can help to protect us from cancer.

Read: Why Are Mushrooms Good for You? Are they MAGIC (wait…)?

A Yoshoku (Western-influenced Japanese food) dish you might like to try as a keto Japanese food is enoki and bacon rolls. You simply wrap these mushrooms in bacon strips and bake in the oven to create deliciously finger food!

Miso Black Cod 味噌ギンダラ

Not actually part of the cod family, black cod (sablefish) is a delicacy fish enjoyed in Japan.

It’s pronounced as “Gindara”, so this is dish “Miso Gindara”.

Mostly, people marinate it in a miso sauce and bake it… To make the sauce, people will typically mix miso, mirin, sake, and sugar. Clearly not a great combination for healthy eating or keto!

However, I stand firm by the rule that anything can be made healthily. Delicious food does not have to come at all from unhealthy sources. Do not lie to your taste buds!

Instead of using sugar, mirin, and sake, how about replacing them with lemon juice, ginger, or plain rice vinegar! This way you can create a marinade for your miso black cod which fits perfectly into this list of keto Japanese food.

Following a natural diet develops your palate to detect the deepest flavours within wholefoods. Milk is sweet, fruits are very sweet, overdone meat lacks that something special, and bitter isn’t always bad. Everyone finds this slightly differently, but it’s an instinctive way of detecting good nutrition.

By limiting carbs, we learn from a low-carb or ketogenic diet not to overindulge on foods like sweet fruits. (Too much provides excess unhealthy sugar in the form of fructose.)

Butajiru / Tonjiru 豚汁

Literally “pork soup”, Butajiru is a hearty pork dish often made with variety of vegetables, and Tonjiru is simply another name. People will sometimes refer to a larger serving as Tonjiru, though.

Pork, shiitake mushrooms and root vegetables like daikon, burdock, or carrots are often paired with a lightening scallion or onion. Those on a ketogenic diet usually limit the intake of starchy vegetables. This is important, so with this soup I recommend you seek alternative ingredients or you have a smaller serving as part of a larger meal!

There is no reason why this delicious dish can’t act as a healthy keto Japanese food.

An excellent way to make this is in a slow cooker! Check out my post to find some great slow cookers to use.

Read: Why to Use a Slow Cooker – Cheap and Healthy

In Conclusion – Japanese Food Can Be Keto-Friendly!

Much like the country and culture, Japanese cuisine is one not to skip out on! If you’re currently following a keto diet, there are plenty of options to choose from that you can enjoy as single serve dishes or alongside other dishes.

Now you can go to that restaurant, finally explore this oriental cuisine, and rest assured. It’s really quite simple to experience Japanese cuisine without all the carbs, after all.

For the true enthusiasts out there, don’t miss out on South Korea’s unique (and delicious) cuisine. Discover the top 10 healthy keto Korean foods here – you won’t regret it, especially if you like Japanese food!

Is there anything I missed out? Let me know in the comments below with your recommendations for this list. If you’d like me to make more posts like this other ethnic cuisines, send a comment my way and I’ll be sure to respond. 🙂

Thank you for reading and coming along on this low-carb journey.

Until next time, stay healthy
James