No doubt many of us have been in a Japanese restaurant and enjoyed edamame as a snack before the main course. But the world has caught on to the sweet, savoury, nutty and nutritious use of edamame as spaghetti and fettucine pasta. But why? Why has it taken off?

First things first: edamame is the Japanese name for immature soybeans and literally means “stem beans”. This is probably because they are traditionally sold with the stems still attached.

But why do we love edamame? Because like most beans, soybeans are sweeter and have more umami (the core fifth taste of glutamates and nucleotides, officially identified by scientists in 2002 which is literally translated as “pleasant, savoury taste”), due to higher concentrations of sucrose and amino acids before they are fully mature.

The other reason people love edamame is for the perceived health benefits. There doesn’t appear to be a study that correlates eating soy with the cure or prevention of an ailment. Rather, people enjoy the nutritional properties and taste of edamame.

For example, half cup of shelled edamame roughly gives you

  • 120 calories
  • 9 grams fibre
  • 2.5 grams fat
  • 1.5 grams polyunsaturated fat (0.3 grams plant omega-3 fatty acids)
  • 0.5 gram monounsaturated fat
  • 11 grams protein
  • 13 grams carbohydrate
  • 15 mg sodium
  • 10% of the Daily Value for vitamin C
  • 10% Daily Value for iron
  • 8% Daily Value for vitamin A
  • 4% Daily Value for calcium

You can see that edamame contains about 12% protein – which is great for a plant food and it’s a good quality protein source with all the essential amino acids.

With all that in mind, plant-based pasta makers like Slendier are now using edamame to make pasta because it tastes great, keeps its shape, is loved by the whole family, is gluten free (ours is also organic), looks great on the plate and adapts well to take on the taste of the pasta sauce it accompanies.

To get you started with your own edamame pasta dinners or lunches, you might try:

Winter vegetable pesto with organic Slendier Edamame Fettuccine

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup with Slendier Edamame Spaghetti or Fettuccine

Chiang Mail Chicken Curry Noodles (use Edamame Spaghetti or Soy Spaghetti)

Enjoy edamame as a main meal tonight!

We hear one of the hardest meals of the day to get right when you’re following a keto diet is dinner. What is you’re craving pasta? Is there such a thing as keto lasagne? Or what if you’re vegetarian and gluten free? Are there vegetarian keto recipes that taste good?

Dining Out

If live somewhere that now allows dining out again, you’re going to need to do a bit of planning and use some strategies for staying on track:

  • Ask the waiter to take away your bread plate to avoid temptation
  • Ask if you can substitute a lettuce warp for the bun
  • Say no to rice and ask for more veggies instead
  • Look at the menu ahead of time online and plan what you’re going to eat
  • Add a healthy fat where you can
  • Look for the cheese plate instead of a sweet dessert

Entertaining at home

One of the great joys in emerging from the pandemic is that, while we are all still being cautious, many people are starting to enjoy entertaining at home again. All the hard work on their homes during lockdown is something many people now want to share with friends and family. Some tips for home entertaining and staying keto-friendly include:

Note – Don’t forget if you cook something healthy and yummy at home you can take a photo of it and enter our Slendier Home Cook Competition until March 31, 2021. Details on Slendier Facebook and Slendier Instagram.

Planning a big event

Now that weddings and other big events are back on the cards, it’s hard to make sure you stay on track even on your big day.

What is shirataki? What is konjac? What are keto noodles? So many noodle questions and so little time. We’re going to try and lay it all out for you here. Slendier products are all examples of shirataki, konjac, konyakku or keto noodles, pasta and rice

Shirataki Noodles. These famous noodles started their humble origins in Japan. The noodles are made from a type of yam called the konjac plant. The noodles are made from yam like tubers that are made into a cake that is pushed through a wooden box with grids of sharp blades. This results in what is called shirataki noodles which is sold in black and white colours. Slendier noodles are made using traditional methods and we make sure the process we use is very simple. The noodles are typically made by mixing powdered konjac root with water and lime water, boiled and cooled, then solidified into noodles. Because they are typically quite fragile, they are sold in plastic bags along with accompanying water to ensure they stay intact.

Konjac. The Konjac plant is a perennial herb that belongs to the Amorphophallus plant family. It grows mostly in tropical and subtropical regions of eastern Asia, including countries like China, Japan, and India.  People also refer to it as konjaku, elephant yam, devil’s tongue, snake palm, and voodoo lily.

You can find Konjac growing in hilly areas and the plant takes up very little space. When the plant turns 2 or 3 years old, it’s transplanted and given more space to grow. This is about the same time period during which the plant reaches its maximum glucomannan levels. Once they’re fully matured, Konjac plants are cleaned and processed for selling and/or consumption. The plant’s underground tuber, called the corm, is harvested for its protein-rich fibre.  It is flavourless but can easily absorb the flavour from spices, herbs and other seasonings.

Konjac corm is used to make several different including:

  • Konjac flour: Producers make this by grinding down dry konjac corms to make flour. People can then use this to make noodles.
  • Konjac jelly: After further processing, konjac flour can form a jelly or gum. This can serve as an alternative to gelatine, which people can use as a food thickener.
  • Konjac soluble fibre: Purifying konjac jelly further turns it into a soluble fibre that serves as a dietary supplement.

Konyakku or Konjaku. This is the Japanese name for konjac

Keto Noodles. One cup of cooked spaghetti noodles made from refined wheat flour typically contains more than 40 grams (g) of carbs and less than 3 g of fibre (at least 37 g of net carbs) per serving. Keto noodles are low which means the net carbs (or carbs minus fibre), are 10 g or less per serving. Slendier Konjac Spaghetti is 11 calories per serve and under 1 gram of carbs.

Glucomannan. The soluble dietary fibre that naturally occurs in the konjac plant. It has several potential health benefits such as diabetes management, weight management, cholesterol, constipation, healthy skin and wound healing.

Preparation of konjac noodles. Slendier always advocates for simplicity! All you need to do is drain the noodles, rinse and they are ready to serve. However, some people like to dry fry the noodles over a medium heat until the liquid evaporates completely (appro 8 minutes). Some people then pour olive oil over the dried noodles.

Like many Australians, I made a pledge to myself to lose weight this year. I’ve been down this path before and end up shredding like crazy, then putting it all back on and more.

It got me thinking about why I actually want to diet.

On the surface it’s about health. Better heart, living longer, more energy, less scary stuff later in life. But I saw something in a book about weight loss surgery and the desire to fit in or be “normal” — rather than improving health — is the primary motivation for many people who undergo weight-loss surgery. So perhaps the motivation to diet is not that simple. I’ve been looking into reasons to lose weight and the internet generally says they fall into these categories (source: verywellfit.com):

Weight

Eating a healthy diet that includes lots of fresh, nutrient-dense fruits and veggies, high-fibre foods and lean protein sources will help you lose weight. At the same time, you will feel satisfied and give your body the nutrients it needs.

While weight loss attracts a majority of the headlines, some people need to gain weight lost due to illness or for other reasons. Choosing healthful, energy-dense foods like nuts, seeds, and dried fruit can help you gain weight without resorting to foods that offer calories, but little or no nutrition,

Health and appearance

There are myriad diseases that seem to relate to poor diet and obesity: type 2 diabetes, heart health and cancer to name the main ones. As well as helping to stave off disease eating a well-rounded diet provides you with the carbohydrates you need for energy, along with enough B-complex vitamins to help the process keep moving in positive cycles. A healthy digestive system helps to maintain normal cholesterol and blood sugar levels and fibre helps you feel full, so you’re less likely to overeat. Eating right for your digestive system includes lots of fibre sources, such as fruits, vegetable and whole grains.

Finally eating a nutrient-dense diet helps you look your best by supplying the nutrients your skin needs to stay supple and smooth. Also, your hair needs good nutrition, including plenty of protein, to be soft, shiny, and healthy.

Role Modelling

It’s unrealistic to expect your kids to eat broccoli if you don’t eat anything green yourself. Setting a good example for your child when it comes to healthy foods shows them that you value good nutrition and lets them see what healthy eating really looks like.

I also saw an interesting article this week on the way diets have changed in Australia over the past thirty years. In the 1990s there was far less choice on the supermarket shelves, Uber Eats wasn’t a thing and fast-food options were limited; it’s so much easier now to grab a lot of kilojoules. However, nutrition science has seen a few new trends emerge in the last 30 years:

  • Guts are important! One of the most exciting frontiers of nutrition science is the microbiome – the collective term for the colonies of bacteria that populate our digestive system – and pro- and prebiotics, or the foods we eat to keep it healthy. We’ve taken on board this information in a big way and developed a range of smoothies that are prebiotic (they contain konjac which is a special type of fibre that supports your gut and digestive health).
  • Looking at patterns in what we eat. We have a greater understanding of the way food and its component elements work as a bundle
  • The importance of omega-3 fatty acids. Nutritional science has shown the benefits of DHA and EPA important in preventing and managing heart disease.

No matter what you decide to take, not take or change in your diet please make sure you consult your doctor to make sure it’s right for you. It’s also important to define what healthy eating means for you and what will best motivate you to reach your personal health goals.

First of all, let’s just say that we’re not here to tell you to go on a diet. It might not be right for you and you should seek medical advice before embarking on a keto diet – or any other diet. However, if you have decided to follow a keto diet, we’ve assembled some important tips. These tips focus on some of the aspects of keto that some people may not know.

 

Know your food

Keto foods are foods and ingredients that are very low in carbs. What “very low in carbs” means exactly will depend on your daily carb limit. For example, we recommend keeping total carbs below 35g and net carbs below 25g (ideally, below 20g) so that you can reap the benefits of eating highly satiating foods and ketosis. (To figure out your net carb consumption, simply subtract total fibre intake from total carbs.)

To have such a small amount of carbs, you must be vigilant about your food choices. You may find that many of your favourite foods will put you near your carbohydrate limit for the day with just one serving. Even healthier foods like fruits and vegetables are packed with sugar and carbs, but don’t get discouraged — there is plenty of delicious food you can eat on the ketogenic diet.

To see more specific advice on what (and what not) to eat, click here.  (From ruled.me)

 

Conquer the plateau

You might have some weeks where it seems you haven’t lost anything — then you’ll weigh yourself a week or two later and be down 3-4 pounds. The key to long-term weight loss is to stick with your plan, be patient, and don’t get discouraged.

If you find that your results have been stalling for over a month, then you will need to make adjustments to your diet and lifestyle so that you can break through your plateau.

Here are some of the strategies that work the best for most people:

Calculate your macros with an appropriate calorie deficit (aim for a higher deficit if you have more body fat) and track your food intake.

Recalculate your macronutrient needs every month and follow those instead of your earlier estimates.

Take breaks from being in a calorie deficit every two weeks.

Stay consistent with your ketogenic diet by diligently tracking the foods you eat and never cheating.

Investigate intermittent fasting.

 

Pick your favourites

When you’re hungry and stressed out over being hungry, your mind will inevitably draw a blank. If you have a list of keto-approved snacks, it’ll be that much easier to grab something you won’t regret later. It’s also a good idea to keep snacks pre-portioned, especially ones that are easy to overeat like nuts, seeds, pork rinds, etc. Some more snack ideas include beef or turkey sticks, sandwich meat (1 carb or less per serving), cheese, fresh vegetables, and of course some Slendier zero net carb crackers!

It seems we are a nation of snack lovers. Whether it’s a salty cracker, a rice cracker, a vegetable chip, some cheese, cucumber with a sprinkle, a crispbread or a juicy fruit snack – we’re into it!

Roy Morgan reported that more than a quarter of Australian is considered heavy snackers (eating 7 or more different snack items in a week) and that the most popular packaged snack items are Savoury Snacks eaten by 66% of Australians followed by Healthy Snacks (54.7%).

In fact, the biggest growth category in the last decade is healthy snacks; the figures show a 3.2 per cent increase in the past ten years. Interestingly, the popularity of sweet biscuits has gone down by 8.2 per cent in the same timeframe.

So, it seems Aussies are increasingly craving healthy snacks. But the question remains: “What kind of snack person are you?”

Little lunch morsel for kids and grownups

This snacker needs a little something to tide them over until lunchtime. Filling up before lunch is not an option so a light fruit smoothie or a healthy snack bar and some juice to keep the hydration up is ideal for the lunchbox.

After school munchies for the littles

Everyone still needs to eat their dinner, but it does seem like a treat is needed as a reward for getting through the day. A healthy snack bar or a fruity smoothie are the rewards to have in the pantry for little people who have grumbly tummies and simply can’t last until dinner.

That 3.30pm fix for the worker

There’s nothing like that low blood sugar low at 3.30pm. It can drive you to hover around the vending machine like a moth to a lightbulb, or to rummage into the desk drawers looking for junk food. Keeping the calorie count under 200 for a snack is a good idea for most people and so a fruity smoothie, a healthy snack bar or a cracker with some cheese or hummus might be in order.

Post-workout snack for the sweaty

This snacker needs a good hit of protein. If you’d rather eat whole food than grab a protein shake you could snack on a low carb crispbread or cracker with some poached chicken breast and spinach or a handful of nuts.

Pre-dinner snack for adults

Let’s face it, there are times when all you want is a delicious white wine, a cocktail, beer or mocktail with a salty snack, a laugh and a chance to watch the sun set on another day. This is where some nuts, olives, a sliver of prosciutto and a little slice of cheese on a yummy cracker is just the ticket.

 

No matter what type of snacker you are, Slendier Snack Range got you covered, as we hope you keep it healthy and keep it delicious!

Where you can buy Slendier products

Slendier products are available in the health food aisle of major supermarkets such as Coles, Foodworks, IGA and Woolworths throughout Australia and New Zealand.

From time to time you can also find our products online at catch.com.au

We sell all of Slendier products online here and offer free delivery for all orders over $100

Coles
Woolworths
Iga
Foodworks
Catch

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