What’s for Dinner?

Home-cooked Japanese Dinner

The Menu

Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi and Daikon Sticks with Pollock Roe

Simmered Daikon with Seasoned Soy Sauce

Vegetable Tempura – Burdock, Celery and Shiitake


Mexican-style Tacos Stuffed with Crispy Pork Belly Served with a Tangy Salsa


twelve 5-inch fresh corn tortillas, warm
1 tablespoon canola oil
lime wedges, for serving

Pork Belly

One 2-pound piece of meaty pork belly
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup melted lard or shortening
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 white onion, coarsely chopped
2 morita chiles or dried chipotle chiles
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Pico de Gallo

1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
4 ounces tomatillos—husked, rinsed and finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 chile de árbol, crumbled
1/4 cup Mexican beer
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Kosher salt


  1. To braise the pork belly, preheat the oven to 250°F.
  2. In a large ovenproof saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Cover, transfer to the oven and braise the pork until very tender, about 3 hours. Transfer the pork to a plate to cool slightly. Set aside, discarding the braising liquid.
  3. To make the salsa, combine all of the ingredients except the salt in a bowl. Season with salt and mix well.
  4. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the canola oil. Add the pork belly, skin side down, and weigh it down with another heavy skillet. Cook over moderately low heat until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer the pork, skin side up, to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Slice across the grain 1/4 inch thick, then halve the slices crosswise. Top each tortilla with a few pieces of pork belly and a little pico de gallo and serve warm.

Makes 12 tacos.

Source: Food & Wine magazine

Coca-Cola Sued for Misleading and Deceptive Advertising of Sugar-sweetened Drinks

The Praxis Project, in collaboration with the Center for Science in the Public Interest, filed a lawsuit demanding that the Coca-Cola Company and American Beverage Association stop their misleading and deceptive advertising practices around the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks. It is our communities of color that are bearing the brunt of the profit-seeking marketing that is pushed by Coca Cola and the ABA.

Sugary drinks are the number one source of added sugar in the American diet, and are linked to increased risk of diabetes, heart and liver disease, obesity, and tooth decay. Diabetes cases in California jumped 50% between 2001 and 2012. Current trends predict that half of Latino and African American children will develop Type 2 Diabetes in their lifetimes. Additionally, obesity rates continue to skyrocket in our communities, with 9% of individuals considered obese in 1984 and over 25% today. This rate is expected to increase to 47% by 2030.

The Coca-Cola Company, with the help of the American Beverage Association, has long deceived consumers about the health impact of consuming Coke and other sugar-sweetened beverages. The complaint, filed in federal court in California, contends that the beverage giant and its trade association mislead and confuse the public about the science linking consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Deceptive advertising disproportionately harms our communities—Latino, African American, American Indian, and Asian Pacific Islanders– day in and day out, especially those communities facing a variety of other social and environmental setbacks. Advertising campaigns that emphasize energy balance are particularly devious, given that we know children rarely burn all of the extra calories through activity. Even if a child drinks one sugary beverage per day, that can result in almost 16 pounds of weight gain per year. For those kids drinking more than one soda per day, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to burn off the excess calories.

“We are tired of trying to counter the deep pocket advertising that misleads our communities regarding the dangers of regularly consuming sugary drinks” said Praxis Project Executive Director, Xavier Morales. “The price our community pays through decreased health, increased diabetes, and amputations is too high. Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Industry need to stop their predatory marketing and they also need to stop misleading our communities through their false health claims and continued masking of the insidious health effects of consuming sugared water.”

The lawsuit was filed today in United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Praxis Project, the plaintiff, is a nonprofit dedicated to building healthy communities by supporting policy advocacy and local organizing for community change. Praxis is represented in court by Maia C. Kats, litigation director of nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest; Andrew Rainer of the Public Health Advocacy Institute; and Michael R. Reese of the law firm Reese LLP.

The suit seeks declarative and injunctive relief that would, among other things, stop Coke and the ABA from engaging in the unfair and deceptive marketing of sugary drinks.

Source: Praxis Project

Opinion: The Healthiest Food Trends for 2017

Trisha Calvo wrote . . . . . .

As we enter into each new year, various prognosticators present lists of trends that will be hot in the months ahead in a host of areas. Food is no exception. Not all of the predicted food trends actually take off, of course—and not all of them should. Consumer Reports’ food and nutrition experts took a look at some of the predictions for 2017 and give their take on which ones you should resolve to work into your healthy diet and which ones to ignore.

Chocolate for Breakfast

Eating sweets in the morning is nothing new. But the results of a 2016 study showing that people who eat chocolate at least once per week do better on memory and concentration tests has some trendsters giving license to eat cake, cookies, and brownies for breakfast. Maxine Siegel, R.D., who heads CR’s food testing lab, says: “The best breakfast is one that is a good mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. If you want to toss a few dark chocolate chips into your oatmeal or yogurt, that’s fine. But a chocolate doughnut or muffin isn’t going to give you the nutrients you need.”


If 2016 was the year of veggie burgers that “bleed” like meat—such as the Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger—2017 is poised to be the year of veggie pulled-pork sandwiches, courtesy of jackfruit. Before it ripens, this Asian fruit has a texture that’s similar to shredded meat, and it’s low in sugars.

To see whether it makes a good meat-flavored replacement, CR’s professional food tasters sampled three flavors from the Jackfruit Company: barbecue, curry, and teriyaki. They then convened an informal panel of vegans and omnivores to get their take.

Overall, the three flavors tasted fine, with barbecue and curry having a lot of spicy heat. The teriyaki version was a mild sweet and sour dish. Some of the tasters said the spices in the curry version were overwhelming.

“Texture is a big factor here,” says Claudia Gallo, a professional chef and food tester at CR. “The pieces and chunks broke apart into shreds reminiscent of very soft pulled meat. The vegans on our panel were satisfied, but meat eaters probably won’t think they’re eating real meat.”

Unlike other meat substitutes, jackfruit isn’t high in protein, supplying just 2 grams per half cup. The same amount of chicken and tofu have 32 grams and 22 grams, respectively. “Most people get more than enough protein in their diets, but if you don’t eat any animal products, don’t rely on jackfruit to help you meet your protein needs,” Siegel says. “You want to be careful to eat a variety of plant-based proteins.”

Another concern with the packaged products is the added sugars and sodium in the sauces. A half-cup serving had 1 to 2 teaspoons of added sugars and 220 to 500 mg sodium.

Plant Waters

First there was coconut water, then maple water. In 2017 you’ll be seeing more beverages made from plants such as artichoke, cactus, and cucumber. They’re promoted as natural hydrators and alternatives to sports drinks. But CR nutritionists recommend sticking with the most authentic hydration beverage of all: water. “Few people exercise so vigorously that they need to replenish sodium and other electrolytes,” says Amy Keating, R.D., a CR dietitian. “And these specialty waters can be pricey. For example, we paid nearly $3 for 8 ounces of artichoke water.”

That said, these newer plant waters are lower in calories than typical sports drinks—25 to 30 in 8 ounces, compared with 53 for Gatorade. Many contain no sweeteners at all or the sugars are naturally present in the plants, but some do have small amounts of added sugars. In a tasting in CR’s food lab of some of the newer plant waters, experts found that the flavor of the particular plant came through, but just slightly.

Riced Cauliflower

Paleo dieters looking for a lower-carbohydrate substitute for potatoes and pasta started the riced cauliflower craze. But now this food trend has gone mainstream, with food manufacturers such as Birds Eye and Green Giant introducing frozen versions.

You can make it at home simply by grating raw cauliflower or chopping it in a food processor. But CR’s test-kitchen team found that fresh and frozen packaged products were easier to use and didn’t differ in taste or nutrition from freshly prepared riced cauliflower. The three varieties had 20 to 38 calories, 4 to 6 grams of carbs, and 2 to 3 grams of fiber per cup.

Bean Pasta

Alternative pastas made from chickpeas, lentils, and other legumes are gaining ground because people want more protein and fewer refined carbs in their diets, plus the gluten-free trend continues. These noodles have about the same amount of calories as regular pasta (200 per cup, cooked), but the bean pastas are higher in fiber and protein. CR is currently testing a variety of types and brands. Early results suggest that red-lentil varieties come out on top in terms of flavor.

Savory Yogurt

Cumin instead of chocolate, beets instead of berries—savory yogurts are growing in popularity. They’re a great source of calcium and protein but are often lower in calories and added sugars than fruit yogurts. Many are made with whole milk, another yogurt trend that will likely grow in 2017. If you want to make your own savory blend, try adding chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, pitted black olives, and a sprinkle of the Middle Eastern herb blend za’atar to a bowl of plain yogurt. You can use this blend in place of fatty sour-cream dips.

Fermented Foods

As more research comes out about the role your microbiome—the ecosystem of good bacteria that reside in your gut—plays in your overall health, the fermented food trend won’t just endure, it will likely get bigger. Between 2014 and 2016, natural grocery stores saw a 50 percent increase in the sale of probiotics and prebiotics supplements—live bacteria and plant fibers that have been linked to a healthy microbiome. But you can get also get probiotics in fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, and yogurt.

Ugly Produce

We’re all guilty of beauty bias in the produce aisle. But in 2017 expect to see more food producers and retailers focused on getting misshapen fruits and veggies out of the trash and back onto your plate. Unsold produce costs supermarkets $15 billion each year and contribute to the estimated 40 percent of food wasted in the U.S. Unlike an extra soft avocado or a moldy apple, “ugly” produce items are just as nutritious and tasty as their impeccable counterparts.

Purple Foods

You’ll be seeing more purple cauliflower, asparagus, potatoes, rice, cereal, and other foods in stores, according to Whole Foods’ food-trend list. “Mixed with other colors, purple veggies and whole grains make for a beautiful presentation and boost the food’s healthfulness,” Siegel says. “The color comes from anthocyanins, an antioxidant that has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and some cancers.” But check labels carefully on packaged foods, she says. “Cereal, chips, or other packaged products may have just as many calories, sugars, and sodium as the less colorful options.”

Power Bowls

If your Instagram feed hasn’t already been flooded with shots of these combos of vegetables, whole grains, and a protein, get ready. Bowl foods are on tap to be popular again this year, and you can expect to see more of them on restaurant menus and in supermarket freezer cases. But they’re only as healthy as the ingredients they contain. “Look what happened with salads—some have as many as 1,000 calories and 1,000 mg of sodium or more,” Siegel says. “Bowls could easily go the same route.”

Source: Consumer Reports

Lack of Sleep and Risk of High Blood Pressure

Research suggests that sleeping five hours or less a night can, over time, increase your risk of developing — or worsening — high blood pressure. Sleeping between five and six hours a night also may increase high blood pressure risk. This can occur with or without obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which you repeatedly stop and start breathing during sleep.

In one Mayo research study, study participants were restricted to four hours of sleep each night for nine nights. The same participants got nine hours of sleep each night during a second study visit. When they slept four hours, study participants had an average systolic blood pressure reading (top number) during the night that was 10 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) higher than during the nine-hour sleep phase. In addition, the usual blood pressure dip that occurs at night wasn’t as pronounced when they were sleep deprived.

It’s not fully understood why this occurs, but it’s thought that sleep helps regulate stress hormones and helps your nervous system to remain healthy. Over time, lack of sleep could hurt your body’s ability to regulate stress hormones, leading to high blood pressure.

Nearly everyone has a bad night or two of sleep now and then, but if you’re consistently getting less than six hours of sleep, talk to your doctor about ways to improve your rest. Not only is poor sleep linked to elevated blood pressure, it also can have a big impact on your enjoyment of life and has been associated with other health risks, such as obesity, diabetes, depression, risk of accidents or falls, and even premature death.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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