Doug Lerner reports from Tokyo and St. Louis, and points beyond…

Posts tagged ‘health’

The “E” word

I’m not a big fan of what the hospital euphemistically calls “cardio rehab” (hint: “exercise”), but I bought a bicycle and have been cycling along a nearby river, the Nakagawa. In fact, I just got back.

I can’t describe how much more fun it is, and how much quicker time goes by than it does on my indoor exercise bike (which is almost as boring as a treadmill).

Today I increased my distance and went on to the “second bridge” which is near Aoto. It really gets green over there. There’s a big sports field, and also a couple of small boat piers.

I actually left my house intending to go shopping, and then go for a bike ride in the late afternoon, when it got a bit cooler. But I found myself drawn to the river.

Also, I am definitely increasing strength. A somewhat daunting hill I had been stopping and walking up I took today with ease.

I can’t believe I’m saying it, but I’m actually looking forward to my cycling trips.


Eggplant, mushrooms and paprika in hot salsa over rice

I felt like something a little zestier this evening, so applied all my cooking skills to cutting up some veggies, opening up a jar of salsa and heating up some rice. 100% vegan. No added oil. Just 426 calories.


Today’s bicycle route

I cycled along the Nakagawa again today, even though the weather looked threatening. Here is a picture of my route.

It looks like past the first bridge, around the bend, there is a 2nd bridge. So weather permitting I’ll go to the next one tomorrow. Then there are more bridges and a confluence of rivers further on.

I was disappointed to find out that the round trip was just about 3 km. But I’m just starting. I’ll get it up to a more substantial distance as soon as I can!


Barley rice and pumpkin (could use some advice with this one)

Lunch today was another cooking adventure.

This meal was definitely filling, but I could use some suggestions as to seasonings, advice on how I made this and confirmation about whether these calories are for real or not.

Serves 1 (but is maybe “too much”):

1. Microwave one 200 gm package of barley rice (mugi gohan) for 2 minutes at 500 watts.

2. Take that out of the oven, put on the side and put a plate of cut, washed pumpkin in the oven. Cover with a glass bowl. Microwave on high for 5 minutes.

3. Arrange nicely on the plate, add seasonings to taste and eat. I seasoned with kumin, black pepper and a slight bit of non-oil dressing.

This was ok, but here are my discussion points and questions:

1. The way I made the pumpkin was easy, and the pumpkin came out nice and soft with a good texture. Unlike with the baked potato the other day, I covered this because I wanted to get a full steaming effect. One problem is that when you try to take it out everything is truly scaldingly hot beyond belief. And so was the steam after I removed the top bowl. I guess I need special gloves for that. Any suggestions on a better way to cook the pumpkin? This was quick and simple, and the pumpkin itself came out perfect. But if anybody has any better ideas…? Also better seasoning or sauce suggestions would be welcome.

2. Barley rice isn’t brown rice, but it is lower calorie and has just as much fiber because of the barley mixed it. I am guessing it is just as healthy?

3. I have to learn that just because I buy a package of something it doesn’t mean I have to eat it all in one meal. 🙂 In this case, the pumpkin came to 309 gm! That plus the 200 grams of rice means my lunch was more than half a kilo! It felt a bit too much. I am thinking I should have maybe just used a few pieces at a time and mix it in with the rice.

4. My big question. Are pumpkin calories really that low?! I entered 309 gm of pumpkin at MyFitnessPal and it logged just 101 calories in my food diary! I couldn’t believe this so checked with Calorie King and there it is just 26 calories per 100 gm, about the same. Is that really true? That’s less than one-third the calories of potatoes. But they are just as filling as potatoes. It just seems wrong somehow.

If the pumpkin calories are true, it means the entire lunch was just 387 calories. Seems unbelievable.

Anyway, comments are welcome.


The easiest way to cook a potato

Believe it or not, until yesterday I never cooked a potato.

But potatoes are great for a heart-healthy diet. They aren’t really high in calorie, have almost no fat and have a good amount of fiber. Yet they are very satisfying. They are great for a plant-based diet.

So I spent some time searching on the Internet, and found what has to be the most drop-dead (pardon the expression) easy way to cook a potato.

It really is this simple.

1. Scrub the potato (i.e. wash it really thoroughly), but don’t peel it.
2. Poke it 4 or 5 times with the tines of a fork.
3. Put the wet potato on a plate and microwave on high for 5 minutes (don’t cover it).
4. Turn it over and microwave for another 5 minutes.

Be careful, because it is VERY hot. But you have a perfectly cooked “baked potato” where the skin is firm, not soggy, but the inside is soft and moist, just like you like it. And you haven’t boiled out valuable nutrients.

I couldn’t believe it was that simple.

This is the potato I made yesterday. It was a good-sized medium potato weighing 200 gm, which is just 186 calories, almost no fat, and 4.4 grams of fiber.

I added some Japanese furikake to it for seasoning (that’s really meant for rice, so it must look strange to my Japanese friends) but it was very tasty. Next time I think I’ll top it with some salsa.


Mixed greens and beans salad with ume dressing

OK. I would hardly call this a “recipe” because it’s too simple to make. But please understand that I am a 55 year old male and “survivalist cook” who can barely make anything. Yesterday I cooked a potato for the first time in my life, and had to look up how on the Internet.
Serves 1:

  • One individual sized package of cut lettuce with sliced bell pepper mix.
  • One cucumber (a small, thin cucumber – not a giant one like in the U.S.).
  • One medium tomato.
  • One can of mixed beans (120 gm).
  • 4 T of non-oil ume (pickled plum) dressing.

Mix everything and eat. Extremely tasty and filling. The legumes give you that “protein satisfied” feeling. Only 219 calories and much less than 10% calories from fat. Be a little cautious in your dressing selection or you can end up with something relatively high in sodium.

Looks good, doesn’t it?


My heart-healthy supermarket basket

Eat and stay thin with tapeworms! I sense a revival of this amazing diet!


Sugar – only 18 calories per teaspoon!

And it’s all energy!

%d bloggers like this: