Yes – sushi is a great alternative to other lunch foods, although like most takeaway foods, it does contain some nasties and NO the vegetarian sushi rolls are not vegan because of the sauces used in the sushi!
Did you know bought sushi contains a lot of saturated fat and preservatives that aren’t so good for us? The mayonnaise used in sushi contains milk and egg products as well as extra additives containing saturated fat [Soybean Oil, Egg Yolk (9.5%), Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Rice Vinegar, Water, Flavour Enhancer (621), Flavouring (contains mustard), Preservative (3135)]. Like everything, in small doses this is totally fine, but I have provided a quick and easy recipe below that contains healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as well as a great source of wholegrain, protein and veggies! The good thing about this recipe is that the base of the recipe is vegan so swap out the tuna with tofu or more veg, and it still has that creamy taste bought sushi gives you.
I will say, if you decide to create vegan rolls – avocado is a great ‘binding’ ingredient that is good to stick all the ingredients together which the tuna does very well.
I found using a bamboo sheet to help roll the sushi was great, you can purchase these in the same section as the nori rolls at the supermarket or Asian store.
Ingredients (serves 3)
1.5 cups of brown rice (I used a brown rice & quinoa mix but either will do)
Pinch of salt
3 tbl rice wine vinegar
3 seaweed nori sheets
1/2 an avocado
2 tins of tuna, drained (or tofu for vegan/vegetarian)
1 tbl hulled tahini
1 tbl olive oil
1/2 a cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 a carrot, thinly sliced
Cook the brown rice in a pot of boiling water with a pinch a salt for approximately 30 minutes or until cooked (not mushy)
Drain the rice and add the rice wine vinegar and set aside to cool before using
Thinly slice the carrot and cucumber and set aside
Drain the tuna and scoop both tins into a small bowl. Add hulled tahini and olive oil to the tuna and mix thoroughly
Lay out the nori sheet (shiny side down) and layer the cooled rice on the sheet leaving about a 2cm space on both the top and bottom ends but dragging the rice to cover both sides of the nori sheet
Layer avocado, carrot, cucumber and tuna on the sheet until enough to create a roll – but do not over fill
Tightly roll the nori sheet preferably using the bamboo sheet and using a small bit of water to dampen along the end of the nori sheet to allow it to seal the end
This vegan choc brownie recipe is so rich and delicious! It has no added preservatives, no gluten, no dairy products and no meat products! I often find it hard to create particular recipes without eggs and excess buckets of sugar to make it tasty, but honestly you don’t need it!
Iron is a very important micronutrient for the body helping with oxygen transport around the body, immune health, metabolism and overall energy. Anemia is a consequence of prolonged iron deficiency which can be caused by a number of reasons and those who suffer from iron deficiency will feel tired, lethargic, have a poor immune function and basically no energy.
We often associate iron-rich foods with meat – which is for a reason – red meat particularly lamb and beef are a great source of iron which is in the “haem form” most easily absorbed by the body. Other meat, chicken and fish are also great iron-containing foods. Plant-based sources of iron contain “non-haem iron” which is less readily absorbed by the body, but this doesn’t mean its any less of value! We can get discouraged from eating non-meat sources of iron because we may think there is no point if I cannot absorb it as well, but this is where the myth goes a little bit wrong.
Sure, meat has been shown to contain the haem iron which is more readily and efficiently absorbed by the body as the meat contains all the necessary enzymes and cofactors for efficient breakdown and uptake of iron into the bloodstream from the gut. Plant-based non-haem iron sources such as legumes, nuts, seeds, breads and cereals (more shown below) have to undergo an extra step to allow the uptake of iron into the bloodstream, but this can be done more efficiently and effectively with a few dietary changes. Non-haem iron-containing foods are not any less value, if your body needs iron it will increase its absorption of these foods but it just takes a little bit extra effort, so there are some things you can do to help your body out around meals.
Including dietary sources of vitamin C before, during or after iron-rich meals can increase iron absorption as the vitamin C assists with reducing the iron into its absorbable form. Things such as tomatoes, berries, strawberries, kiwi fruits, broccoli, squeezing lime and lemon juice on meals can all help increase the iron absorption. Take a look at my vitamin C post for more information on foods rich in vitamin C. Also, eliminating things like tea, coffee and even green tea ~2 hours before and after meals can help iron absorption as these contain tannins that block the absorption of iron.
Overall, make sure you include a wide variety of iron in your diet and if you are ever feeling tired or lethargic for a long period of time, a blood test from your doctor can be really beneficial to see where your iron levels are sitting. Whether you are a meat-eater or a non-meat eater that honestly does not matter, but remember some of these tips and tricks to enhance your iron absorption if you think you might need it!