the feng sushi diet

POSTED 12 July 2011 IN Wellbeing

By DAN FUSCOE

I am Feng Sushi’s new blog editor, and having just written about the health-orientated advantages of the Feng Sushi menu, I decided to see just how healthy it really is…

Silla and I created a five-day ‘diet’ that would provide me with all the vital nutrients the body needs as well as, hopefully, an extra energy boost! I chose to do the diet the week before my holiday and decided to cut out coffee and alcohol too. My only drink was green tea; this had the additional benefit of reducing my caffeine intake and, as I’m a big coffee drinker (milky lattes being my particular weakness), cutting calories too. An additional factor was the exercise of cycling to Borough Market every day – 20 minutes each way – to pick up my lunch, dinner and the next day’s breakfast. Obviously Feng Sushi has a takeaway service but the exercise meant that I would increase the chances of dropping a few pounds too.

I supplemented my meals with occasional bowls of fruit, a few additional lettuce leaves or some spinach/chard/peas from my allotment. Otherwise, everything was ordered from the Feng Sushi menu.

For those ‘snack’ moments I allowed myself to eat two or three pieces of sushi per day from the 10-piece box.

Tuesday Day 1  

I started the first day with a huge bowl of fresh fruit – strawberries, pineapple, grapes, apricot, peach, banana and apple – to set me on the right track.

Around midday I cycled to Borough to pick up lunch, dinner and the next day’s breakfast.

Lunch was the power lunch: a delicious mix of rice, salmon, edamame beans, bursts of pomegranate seeds, and seaweed with an additional kick provided by the wasabi and pickled ginger.

By around 5pm, I was feeling a bit peckish so I had a couple of maki from my 10-piece sushi box to keep me going until dinner: Nippon duck – 8 mini pancakes filled with tofu, spring onions and cucumber with a hoi sin sauce.

TOTAL: Fruit salad, 2 miso soups, salmon power lunch, nippon duck, 2 maki: 1500 calories

Wednesday Day 2 

For breakfast I had another (smaller) bowl of fresh fruit followed by avocado maki; a traditional Japanese breakfast which usually includes steamed rice and miso soup along with side dishes such as fish, pickles or seaweed – avocado maki with a quail’s egg was a perfect alternative.

Lunch

Udon noodle salad with crab was a luxurious and filling lunch. I had a couple of cucumber maki and a salmon nigiri to keep me going in the afternoon but noticed that I didn’t feel as hungry as the previous day. I put this down to the fact that a lot of what I was eating was more ‘complex’ than I’m used to with my usual diet so it was taking longer to digest.

Dinner

I felt I must have already been getting used to living on less food as I managed to wait until 7pm for dinner – fishcakes with a sweet chilli sauce and dressed green salad. Delicious. For a treat I had a chocolate mochi – a Japanese glutinous rice cake covered in chocolate. It hardly felt like a diet at all.

TOTAL: Fruit salad, avocado brown rice maki (4 pieces), 1 miso soup, udon noodle salad, fishcakes, mochi. 1500 calories

 

Thursday Day 3  

After a great night’s sleep I felt ready to take on the day. Even though I’d only been on the diet for a couple of days I noticed that I’d dropped a couple of pounds and my skin was definitely looking clearer. And, the good weather was adding to my healthy glow too!

Breakfast: The X-Ray salad was one of the most unusual but definitely the prettiest breakfast I’ve ever had: a mix of peppers, pomegranate seeds, edamame beans, shredded mooli, chives and a sprinkling of crunchy sesame seeds. As I like a big plate for breakfast, I boosted mine with a few salad leaves from the garden. Combined with the sweet dressing it was absolutely delicious, and perfect for those who believe that crunchy foods are good for you. Unlike my usual breakfast of toast with cheese, it was also very low in carbohydrates and fat.

Green tea is a bit of an acquired taste and I found the tea from the first cup of the day to be rather strong, so I got into the habit of just dipping the teabag in until the water coloured and then, as the day went on, putting it for another dip when I topped up the cup with hot water. As someone who doesn’t especially like drinking water, I found that I was inadvertently drinking a good deal more of it, without any additional calories.

I had a couple of maki before leaving to pick up the day’s menu, and was glad I did; the traffic was terrible and I didn’t get home until around 2pm so lunch was most welcome: a tasty detox broth that was like a huge miso soup but full of celery, greens, mooli, tofu and a touch of coriander.

That afternoon I went for a swim at my local lido so I was pretty peckish by the time I got home and quickly woofed a couple of nigiri. Fishcakes were on the menu for dinner again (reordered as I’d enjoyed them so much), and I cooked up a bit of spinach and chard from the garden with a little garlic and, miracle of miracles, only finished two of them. My appetite had definitely shrunk!

TOTAL: X-Ray salad; detox broth, 6 pieces of sushi, 2 fishcakes, chard & spinach 1500 calories

Friday Day 4 

After another great night’s sleep I woke up realising that I hadn’t suffered any headaches – something usually associated with detoxing. I put this down to the fact that the green tea (even though I was only having one or two bags a day) has a little bit of caffeine in it and is also reputedly good for combating headaches. It was looking like a win-win diet.

I got up at 7am and had a small bowl of fruit that kept me going until 10am when I had my favourite X-Ray salad. It occurred to me that eating with chopsticks is a great way of making sure you are fully concentrated on your food – not necessarily the case if you’re at your computer or watching a film – and apparently this is an important part of helping you to feel that you’ve really eaten.

At around 1pm, after a couple of maki, I headed off to Borough to pick up the rest of the day’s supplies. Lunch was a light udon noodle soup with vegetarian tempura, a few cucumber maki and a salmon sashimi to follow, plus a small bunch of grapes.

Dinner… I’d been in and out all day so was snacking on sushi and a lovely Japanese salad with edamame beans and tofu. I definitely went over my limit that day but hoped that the extra swim I did the day before would compensate for my inability to resist the goodies in my fridge.

TOTAL Fruit salad, X-Ray salad, 10 pieces of sushi, udon noodle soup, Japanese salad, grapes, and banana 1600 calories

Saturday Day 5

Another good night. I felt as though I’d detoxed enough so treated myself to a proper coffee (without milk) to have with breakfast: a small bowl of strawberries followed by a definite winner in the breakfast department: the lovely X-Ray salad, again with a few additional lettuce leaves.

Around lunchtime I had a miso soup followed by a couple of cucumber maki and a salmon sashimi, plus a small fruit salad. I spent most of the afternoon getting ready for Sunday’s ‘Big Lunch’ – the Eden Project initiative to get communities together; we were holding ours with neighbours and fellow gardeners on our nearby allotment.

Throughout the afternoon I nipped back from the allotment for a maki or sashimi. My ‘last supper’ was a simple but delicious tuna tartar with seaweed salad. Later that evening I had a bit of fruit salad and went to bed still energised enough to read through the day’s paper and work out what was needed for the Big Lunch the following day.

TOTAL: fruit salad, X-Ray salad, 10-piece sushi box, tuna tartar, seaweed salad, 1200 colories

Sunday  Day 6 – The day of the Big Lunch (so no diet today!)

After another excellent night’s sleep I weighed myself for the last time. I had lost exactly five pounds. I felt healthier and more energised and determined to carry a few things that I’d learned over the last five days into my future eating habits. For the Big Lunch, for instance, as well as enjoying the goodies from the barbecue, I intended to tuck into the salads and eat plenty of fruit.

Things to bear in mind when trying to lose weight:

Japanese food is rich in complex carbohydrates and omega-3 rich oils so, as well as being tasty, it’s also good for you.

Eat little and often – you could use a smaller plate to give the impression that you’re eating well or, if you need to pile up your plate, add plenty of lettuce or spinach rather than potatoes or extra rice.

Feeling peckish? snack on a piece of sushi or fruit. Miso soup is also very low in calories and fat.

Look at your what you’re eating – you’ll appreciate your food more.

Increase your exercise – if you don’t cycle, go for a swim or simply get off the bus a stop early and walk the rest of the way. Do a bit of gardening; it’s great exercise and it’s amazing how many hours whizz by without the thought of your next meal even entering your head.

Environmentalists/Gardeners NB: the takeaway boxes are made from recyclable cardboard and the takeaway miso soup/udon soup containers make lovely plant pots to start off seeds in.