Most people are afraid that being a vegetarian or vegan means that you don’t get enough protein in your diet. Well, it all depends on why you choose to change your diet and avoid meat and dairy. For some, they simply eat tons of tofu and beans in order to make up for the lack of “substantial food”. But science now shows that if you have enough of a variety of fresh greens, seeds and nuts, you can bypass this entire issue. It’s not so much about being full for hours after a meal, because it’s not protein that does that – it’s the fact that meat and dairy just take forever to digest. As do beans in most cases. They are complex carbs and therefore your body has to work harder to break them down. That’s where introducing even the simple things like seeds or just a greater portion of vegetables actually makes the biggest difference. You can actually fit more into your stomach and the energy and not the food stays with you longer.
Some people see this more clearly than others. Because I have stomach issues, I am more aware of the fact that certain foods are in my stomach for up to 6 hours, while others, like when I have a green smoothie (handful of fresh greens, frozen fruit, bananas and water), it’s out of my stomach within the hour and I can eat something else, while getting 10x the nutrients that someone would get from an egg sandwich, or cereal for that matter. But…that doesn’t stop me from craving some of my favorite foods, like Korean dishes!
Not everyone likes Korean food, let alone Asian food. Sometimes it’s the spices, sometimes it’s
just plain old unfamiliarity, but kimchi is well-known for its extremely beneficial digestive properties. It’s also quite tasty. Now on the whole, Kimchi is basically fermented spices, napa cabbage, radishes and oil. You can make your own quite easily but…I leave that for bigger and better people than myself! The downside is that kimchi is pretty spicy. Yes, you can get the mild stuff, but that’s just not the same! While I personally enjoy very spicy foods, my stomach recently with all my ulcer complications, doesn’t. So in order to be kind to both of us, I’ve found this new kimchi friend rice recipe that is quite tasty, doesn’t lose any of the flavor, but makes the spiciness more evenly spread out (although no less than the original, I assure you).
Typically, kimchi stew or fried rice is served with pork, tofu, etc. but I’m going for a more healthy approach. The great thing about adding mushrooms to the recipe is that they are extremely healthy, and have the consistency/texture of meat while being a vegetable, and at the same time better than tofu and soy products because they are fresh, organic, and NOT genetically modified as most soy is today. I found this recipe on Smoky Wok, and it is a godsend! The recipe really does make a full meal out of kimchi, that’s entirely self-sufficient and fulfilling.
1/2 cup short-grain cooked rice (day-old is preferred)
1/4 cup cabbage kimchi, drained and chopped into bite-sized pieces
4 fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced (stem removed)
1 large chilli pepper
1 stalk green onion, chopped (as garnish)
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (as garnish)
1 egg, fried separately or after in the same pan (as garnish)
1 tsp gochugaru (Korean chilli powder), I just used regular chili powder (1/4 tsp.) and it turned out fine, add more if you like it spicy
1 tsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsps light soy sauce or to taste
Head wok or saute pan to medium heat. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil and heat. Then add kimchi, mushrooms, chili powder, and garlic. Saute until fragrant. Stir in sesame oil. Add 1 tsp. water to make sure mushrooms are soft enough. Add rice, fry for 3 minutes on medium-high heat. After combined properly, stir in chili pepper and soy sauce. Once fragrant and combined, remove from heat and stir in to bowl. Cover to stay warm. Fry egg in the same pan with a little oil, and serve on top of rice with the chopped green onion and sesame seeds. (I skipped the egg myself to be vegan, but it is traditionally served with the egg on top).
For variation, you can skip the mushrooms and add a vegetable of your choice, meat, or a little more kimchi. You can also garnish with seaweed (nori) sheets that are flavored with sesame oil or plain.