A Welcome By Dor
Suppers attendees – more and more – are identifying with the need to work a program to eat according to their intentions instead of their their impulses. When the irrepressible urge to eat descends, it feels like ancient brain wiring and habits transcend all reason. It happens.
Our long-time friend Rose has been dealing with unwanted impulses to eat for decades; and it is a biologically well-matched eating plan and consistent social support that make the difference between a brief fling with junk food and a total collapse.
Rose’s Story: My Ancient Wiring
A Family Reunion is not ‘normal circumstances’
I was so sure of the fortress I had built I was getting cocky about my meat and greens way of eating. If you read my last story, you’ll recall that I stopped “believing in” emotional eating because I discovered most of my problem was living in an unstable body that responds to all starches with cravings for more. My new way of eating has been working for two years, and in normal circumstances I have no problem avoiding all the foods that used to be my favorites. But a family reunion is not normal circumstances.
We gathered from all over the continental United States. With my new-found desire to stop directing and controlling everything, I hadn’t insisted on choreographing all the activities ahead of time. So when on a holiday weekend we had no reservations for dinner, we ended up eating several times where there was space for us, the sushi place. It’s like herding cats figuring out who’s going in which car where, and there’s always a lot of boring time waiting around. I’m not good at being bored. I just haven’t perfected the art of being bored in a group of cranky people who don’t want to eat sushi again. In fact, feeling bored is the enemy of intention for me.
Do you know the moment when you’re just sitting there minding your own business and all of a sudden you realize you’re going to binge? I think my ancient wiring took over. It was the dastardly combined forces of boredom, family reunion, and feeling captive in a restaurant full of sushi that tore me down. I had been a binge eater most of my life and even two years of freedom from binges didn’t save me this time.
How do I know? Because I’ve done this before.
To make a long story short, I pursued the binge, put on a bunch of weight, came home, took it off. Blah, blah, blah. I have two pounds to go and I know it will be gone inside of two weeks. How do I know? Because I’ve done this before. I’m trying to keep my focus on how wonderful it was for the whole family to not have me masterminding everything; there is always some woman in my family who is willing to take over. But honestly, if she doesn’t do a better job, I may just have to make reservations.
Other Things That Are Ancient for Rose, By Allie
I’m a big fan of the line, “feeling bored is the enemy of intention” but I don’t think mine would read the same way. Mine would read, “feeling stressed is the enemy of intention”.
Even those of us who are particularly skilled at handling stressful situations can and will break eventually. For me personally, problems arise in the form of figurative multiple tornadoes or they don’t come up at all. It’s either a beautiful day with 0% humidity and 100% laughter OR: the roof is threatening to fly off of the house, Kitty runs outside, Soup boils over, driver’s license is missing, outside it’s like actually ONE MILLION percent humidity, and pretty much everything work related is late. Speaking of which, totes missed you guys. I’m glad to be back. 🙂
Before we really get into it I just want to say this. What’s the deal with being a weatherperson? I want that job. Basically you are paid to be consistently wrong and it’s cool because what can you really do about the weather? Nothing. But I have a problem with the definitive nature of weatherpersons who are like, “IT’S TOTALLY GONNA RAIN ALL WEEKEND!” so you freak out and get all of the mowing done and then it doesn’t rain at ALL. Or my weather app is saying there is a 30% chance of rain and I look outside and it’s pouring. If I was a weatherlady I would get up there, turn on the camera, look into it and be like, “Actually I don’t know what’s going to happen. Sorry. I’m 99.9% sure that it’s not going to snow today but, you know, my department has been wrong before.” Yeah. I would love to do that.
For Rose, the unpredictable nature of HER perfect storm (see what I did there) was a combination of a high-stress environment and refined carb-filled sushi rolls. Was it the vinegary and refined sushi rice shoved into seaweed? Was it her ancient wiring itself that took over in order to escape her current unpleasant situation and achieve a (temporary) neurotransmitter response giving all the good feels? Or was it Rose’s family that fell apart – a family who may have expected her to dictate order, as she had done in the past, and didn’t realize that planning the eating venues for a family reunion actually takes some work. So, Sushi happened. And then it happened again. Rose isn’t worried about Rose so I’m not worried about Rose but I wonder this: what about Sashimi instead of Sushi? Could that be a Suppers form of Nutritional Harm Reduction to help out?
The thing about Sushi and Sashimi is – they’re different.
According to the Wikipedia article I read, Sashimi is also ancient. The consumption of raw, fresh fish was a very common practice in China around the year 500 BCE and probably well before that. Later on the delicacy arrived in Japan and that’s where we got the name. Sashimi means “pierced meat” or “pierced body”, coined in a time when the word kiru, which means “cut”, was saved only for Samurai (the OG Japanese non-Emperor celebrities).
The thing about Sushi and Sashimi is – they’re different. Sushi refers to a dish that is made with Jasmine rice tossed with vinegar and doesn’t have to contain raw fish but often does. In fact my favorite Sushi rolls are just avocado with tons of pickled ginger and wasabi. Sometimes I eat some of Dor’s salmon avocado rolls. Sometimes. However Sashimi is traditionally a dish with simply raw fish elegantly draped over a vegetable garnish – usually shredded Daikon radish and/or Shiso, the lemony minty leafy Japanese herb. It’s quite good but difficult to find. (Check your farmers markets hint hint wink wink). Probably the thing that sets them both apart from other dishes is the knife skills. Skills like with a Z like Skillz. There are many different knife cuts to employ when preparing Sashimi but the most common one is the Hirazukuri cut (rectangular) and it’s just shy of 1/2 inch thick pieces.
One time I was in LA visiting my brother and he loves Sushi. You know people who can just eat like…like an absurd amount of Sushi? Well he is one of those people. Sushi places know this and for whatever reason like to run the All-You-Can-Eat specials for people who are really gonna fall off the wagon. Or people like my brother who just can eat like a truckload of food and go for a run and it’s gone. I hate him. (Not really). Anyways here’s the real point. While we were there Sean definitely ate like 20 rolls of Sushi but ALSO I, who had time to look up from my plate, was shamelessly staring at the Japanese chef behind the Sushi counter. His knife skills were unbelievable. He took a cucumber and, in one deliberate, even, perfectly timed move, he turned that cucumber into a sheet about eighteen inches long. Just one long rectangle of perfectly sliced, perfectly even cucumber. He threw the perfect cylinder of seed and cucumber boogers away. Unreal. Also my brother slept for like 3 hours after that meal. Also sometimes Johnny Depp goes to that place.
Step One: Acquire the freshest, Sashimi Grade fish you possibly can. There are a LOT more fish out there besides Tuna and Salmon. Talk to your fish person about getting the best cut with a flavor that works for you. The fish manager at McCaffrey’s, Saidur Rehman, really knows his stuff if you can catch him. Tell him Suppers sent you.
I used salmon because I like the combo of the fish with avocado but there are SO many other choices. Here are some suggestions besides the obvious Tuna/Bluefin/Salmon options:
- Mackerel – this fish has a strong aroma of the ocean and therefore can stand up to stronger flavors like garlic, ginger, or miso paste.
- Halibut – a lean fish, this guy is delicate with a pillowy texture and very present flavor. Halibut makes for excellent Sashimi (and even better Ceviche).
- Hamachi – yellowtail has a lot of great fat and with it comes the ability (come on Flavor Students, remember!) carry other flavors along for the ride. Therefore Hamachi can be perfect on a plate with delicate and subtle flavors or bold stand-up flavors.
- Kampachi – a nice substitute for Tuna because of its firmness, Kampachi also is low in mercury and, of course, has those Omega 3s we’re all wild for. Omega 3 fatty acids are to foodies like the Beatles were to teenage girls in the 60’s.
- Eel – I don’t really want to talk about Eel but people like it and it has the Beatles in it too.
For the more adventurous aspiring Sushi chefs, try…
- Uni – sea urchin. They look horrifying and they can sting. But they’re pretty good.
- Squid – the texture seems to be the problem most people have with this choice but consider it anyway and also consider having it as a hot side to whatever you are serving. Grilled calamari really just needs some lemon and salt and it’s out of this world. A ten out of ten.
- Jellyfish – I know, but it’s even a thing in California. According to some Sushi chefs, Jellyfish is misunderstood both in terms of taste and texture. I would just say…you know, know your sourcing. Did you know that Jellyfish are basically immortal??? Unless they are physically killed by something they just go on living literally forever. Someone told me that one time.
Step Two: Choose your accompaniments. Like any great Sashimi plate this should include pickled ginger, wasabi, and a soy sauce of some kind (like Tamari) but again you should not feel as though you cannot be creative OR seasonal.
I’m being totally boring today and choosing some cucumbers and sliced avocado. Daikon radishes should be coming out soon enough and Shiso is in season right now! In case you want to be super traditional. There’s also carrots, green cabbage, collards. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely all about the fish. So, when choosing vegetables, do it for the colors on the plate.
Step Three: Slice fish into desired strips. I’m no Japanese Sushi chef like that guy in LA. That image will be with me forever, by the way. However, the type of fish will sometimes inspire the type of cut. Generally, however, you’re going to want to go against the grain to keep the meat together. Fish protein is separated by thin membranes of fat and tissue. Slicing with the grain compromises the integrity of the meat.
You should be using a very, very sharp knife. Always.
Step Four: The sauce. Make your own dipping sauce by using flavorful alliums and roots. Try fresh ginger, of course, and also turmeric (for the health bennies), minced garlic, fresh scallions or purple scallions (yes, a thing), and use sesame oil and seeds to carry it all over.
Salmon Sashimi with Avocado & Cucumber
1 5oz piece fresh, Sashimi Grade salmon, sliced into 3/8 inch thick rectangles
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and sliced
1 Tablespoon pickled ginger or more if desired
1 teaspoon wasabi powder
1/2 teaspoon water
1/4 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
4 teaspoons Tamari
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
freshly grated ginger to taste
1. Arrange salmon, avocado, cucumber, and pickled ginger on a nice plate or board. Set aside.
2. In a small ramekin, combine wasabi powder, water, and rice vinegar. Mix into a paste using one chopstick. If you would like a larger amount of wasabi simply add powder and then drops of water and vinegar until a paste forms. Press into a shape or ball and place on arranged plate or board.
3. In a small bowl, combine Tamari, sesame oil, and minced garlic and stir. Grate ginger over bowl and stir in. (I cannot stress to you enough how much you should keep your fresh ginger in a freezer. It grates like snow falls). Taste and balance with an acid like lemon juice or rice wine vinegar, if necessary, and then pour into another small ramekin. Place on arranged plate or board and serve chilled.
Now go off and find some great fish! For the month of August we are focusing on Social Support in The Purple Apron.
Suppers is a brain-based recovery program for preventing and reversing health problems with food. If you want to submit a story about how you achieved a clearer mind focusing on a diet of whole foods, please send in a story to Dor!
As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!
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