Friday, September 26, 2014

Eating Real Food, Staying Healthy

"Your body was meant to run on good food: fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and lots of water. Eat good food!” Tom Giaquinto

I just finished watching a documentary called "FedUp" and mamma mia!  how sad it is to see the way people's poor eating habits affect their health and most importantly that of their children.  Let me back up for a second and explain my observations about the American obesity epidemic after living overseas for so long.

We've been living abroad for a while now and every time we went back to the U.S. it was impossible not to notice how America has changed over the last decades.  It was like seeing a child after a few years and noticing how much he has grown.  Our perception of America was heightened by the fact that we were not living in it and seeing it get larger every day.

I noticed our compatriots' growing waist size by realizing that every time I went back to the U.S. and bought a pair of jeans I had to reach for a smaller size even though my body was certainly not getting smaller.  Portions at restaurants were getting so overwhelmingly large, we had a hard time finishing any meal.  I had to order only one plate of the kid's menu and split it between my two boys and even then, I had leftovers to take home.  Soon, I also started splitting meals with my husband.  At the grocery store, choosing fruits and vegetables was always more expensive than buying processed foods.

This is how real food looks like, no wrappers, no brands!

Another simple observation was the super scientific fact that every time I went back to the U.S. I gained weight.  That is a recurrent comment from most visiting foreigners.  They laugh about the super large sizes found in the U.S. and talk about how much they love America's junk food.  Their advantage is that they get to go back home, eat better food and loose the weigh efforlessly.  Americans are in that respect "trapped".  The movie #FedUp opens your eyes on the subject.  I highly recommend it to every person living in America.   Hopefully you'll make better choices when it comes to what you put in your body.

A point that was highlighted at the end of the movie was that cooking home meals from real ingredients was basically the answer, and I couldn't agree more.  So, to be consistent with my wish to eat better in order to be healthy and to teach my kids to eat real food, I try to learn fun recipes and involve my kids in the cooking process.

I learned this recipe from a Japanese friend of mine, and it was approved by my teenagers.  So here it goes:


  • Buy thinly sliced meat (you can look for carpaccio meat);
  • Cut carrots and string beans into long finger-size strips;
  • Steam the veggies;
  • Lay the meat flat and season it with salt pepper;
  • Place the veggies on one end of the meat and roll;
  • Once you finished rolling all your meat, season the outside of your rolls and sprinkle flour on top; 
  • Pan fry them, making sure all sides are fully cooked.
  • The veggies inside are already cook so you are looking to brown the meat which only takes a minute when it is carpaccio meat (very very thin).

This part is my spin on the recipe:
  • Take the rolls out of the pan and set aside.  Add chopped onion or scallions to the hot pan;
  • Cook until translucent;
  • Season with salt pepper and a splash of soy sauce, stir for a couple of minutes;
  • Pour onions over rolls and serve.  You just made Nikumaki!

Serve with a side of rice and salad.

Enjoy! And don't forget to eat real food, make the time to cook at home and reap the benefits.  Do you have a healthy recipe to share?

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