Kiku is a new high-end Japanese restaurant located at Duxton. My friends and I stumbled upon this place completely by accident. We were planning to eat Mexican food at Lucha Loco but it was closed on a Monday evening.
The restaurant was nearly empty when we entered. We were shown upstairs to a cosy tatami room and proceeded to order umeshu. I chose the ryokucha umeshu, which was made from green tea and Nankou plum. My friends ordered the yuzu lemon umeshu.
This was my first time tasting green tea and plum umeshu and I was so impressed by the flavours. I have a sour and salty tooth (as opposed to having a sweet tooth!) so I really enjoy the tartness of the plum in my drink. One small glass, however, set me back by $14. If only I can get my hands on a whole bottle somewhere in Singapore…
Resistant starch is the new buzzword in health circles. It started with Richard Nikoley unearthing research at his blog Free The Animal and the excitement surrounding resistant starch has been picked up by the paleo world as a type of good starch that can be eaten even as part of a low-carbohydrate diet. Resistant starch’s main role is to feed the good bacteria in our gut, and subsequently, help to reduce leaky gut syndrome, improve allergies and autoimmune conditions, reduce colon cancer risk and improve blood cholesterol. Dieters also have cause for cheer. Resistant starch can aid in weight loss by increasing satiety; it is a carbohydrate that with virtually zero impact on blood glucose.
What is resistant starch?
Essentially, resistant starch is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested by your body, but becomes food for your gut bacteria. Normally, starch is digested in your small intestine and absorbed by your body. The remaining non-digestible portion is called resistant starch and travels to the large intestine, where it is broken down by bacteria for energy.
What would you say if there was a food that would fill you up and contain practically no calories? What if there was a food that was not just good for weight management was also good for diabetes control and lower cholesterol levels?
I first found out about shirataki noodles from someone who was using it for weight loss. These are traditional thin and chewy Japanese noodles made from a dietary fibre called glucomannan, derived from the konjac root. Although they may look unfamiliar in this form, I found out that it’s essentially the same thing as konnyaku jelly, minus the sugar, which was very popular in Singapore in my schooling days. The shirataki noodles pass through your colon unchanged and unabsorbed, which makes them perfect for helping you feel full.
I got hold of two packets thanks to my cousin who was shopping in Liang Court. They came to me packed in liquid and I stored them in the fridge for a few days because I didn’t know if I could leave them out in the open.
The most common ways to eat them are to fry them or eat them in a stew. They absorb flavours very well and my cousin recommended that I put them in a beef stew or miso soup. With limited ingredients on hand, I decided to go for fried noodles instead. I cut up some vegetables I had on hand, included lettuce, mushrooms and tomatoes. For the sauce, I chose to mix together garlic, spicy bean paste and coconut aminos, which I used as a replacement for soy sauce.
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to prepare them for frying.
Step 1: Get rid of the smell
The noodles smell a bit funny when you first open the packet and the first way to get rid of the fishy smell is to rinse them quickly in hot water. Don’t cook them for too long as they will become rubbery. One or two minutes in hot water should be enough.
I gained 2 kg over Christmas and Chinese New Year from overeating. It was your typical case of holiday indulgences. I ate everything in sight and convinced myself that I was allowed to because the holidays were meant for merry making. Alas, my metabolism couldn’t keep up, given that I was no longer a teenager. I didn’t stick to paleo eating as well – bring on the pineapple tarts and Christmas puddings.
I didn’t realise I had gained any weight (because I don’t weigh myself) until my clothes starting feeling tight on me. My stomach, which was never really slim to begin with, started protruding out and I felt self-conscious about wearing fitting clothes. Even my bra was cutting into my chest.
Was running the answer?
I decided that I would run more. Since I enjoy running, it wasn’t a chore. It just took quite a lot of time because I wanted to go for long runs and I often didn’t have an hour a day to spare. This went on for about a month before I hurt my knee and couldn’t run anymore. The frustrating thing was that my weight didn’t budge at all. I didn’t understand why it was so difficult to lose 2 kg that shouldn’t be there in the first place. To me, I was 2 kg over my equilibrium weight. I wasn’t trying to be unnaturally slim.
At the same time, I signed up for the CFA exam – which is a really tough 6-hour exam covering financial topics – for my work. My spare time was further reduced. So I didn’t have time to go to the gym now and I didn’t have time to run. I decided to look for home exercise videos.
Home exercise videos
Friends recommended Beachbody’s Insanity workout by trainer Shaun T, which was touted to be the hardest workout ever put on DVD. But you get really good results, like so: