Welcome to Ben Greenfield's Weekly Roundup and Cool New Discoveries!
Ben Greenfield's discoveries, from the latest news on the fronts of fitness, nutrition, health, wellness, biohacking and anti-aging research. I also recap my upcoming events and special announcements so you can keep up with giveaways, discounts, and more!
New Discoveries Of The Week: Cool New Things I'm Trying, Books I'm Reading, And More!
Zero-Carb Japanese “Jelly Cubes”
The last time I was in Tokyo, I was absolutely overwhelmed by the variety of novel foods I’d never had a chance to try before, including a fascinating little side dish served to me at a sushi bar called “tokoroten.” Served as bite-size cubes with the texture of jello, these tiny treats were light, refreshing, incredibly satiating, and oh-so-delicious when dipped in a bit of soy sauce and vinegar that I just had to attempt to re-create them upon my return home.
Tokoroten is technically a traditional Japanese dish made with “jelly noodles.” These jelly noodles are comprised of agarophyte, which is a seaweed that has been a staple in Japanese cuisine for over a thousand years. It is traditionally made by boiling red algae until it becomes jelly. It can then be eaten in the form of noodles or cubes as a savory dish or as a dessert, depending on what kind of additional spices and ingredients are added. Tokoroten only contains about 2 calories per 100g so it not only zero-carb, but also extremely low-calorie. Because it contains about 99% water, it will satiate you in a surprisingly effective way. It’s also dense in minerals that are wonderful for your thyroid and adrenals, including iodine, molybdenum, and magnesium.
Tokoroten is incredibly easy to make, so long as you have one key ingredient: “kanten.” In Japan, kanten is sold at every supermarket. In other countries, it is often confused with agar-agar, which is another type of seaweed-derived jelly. Problem is, agar-agar isn’t firm enough to make a properly textured jelly cube. But it turns out that one of my favorite food companies, Miracle Noodles, makes kanten noodles shipped in tiny convenient single-serving packages. So here’s exactly how I made my jelly cubes using kanten noodles.
- 3 packets kanten noodles (use code BEN for a 15% discount)
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons Great Lakes gelatin (optional, but adds extra amino acids and firmness)
- In a small saucepan or pot, soak the kanten in the water for about 4 hours (this is optional, and doesn’t have to be done if you’re in a hurry, but will improve texture).
- Turn stovetop to low-medium and heat water as you stir kanten noodles with a fork. After about 10 minutes of heating and frequent stirring, the noodles will “melt” into a goopy texture. At some point during the heating and stirring process, you can add your gelatin if you decide to use it.
- Pour the final goopy mass into a shallow glass container and refrigerate for 2-3 hours until cubes “set” and become solid.
- Cut into small, bite-sized squares and enjoy!
For a sweet treat and a low-carb dessert, drizzle your jelly cubes with a touch of organic honey or molasses and eat by themselves, or alongside a bit of coconut ice cream. For a savory side to sushi, salads, or any other lunch or dinner dish, top your jelly cubes with a bit of sea salt or Thomas Cowan’s Sea-Vegetables Powder, rice vinegar, soy sauce or miso paste.
A Simple Recipe That Makes Your Mouth, Teeth & Gums Clean As A Whistle Every Morning
In Chapter 18 of Boundless, which is devoted entirely to beauty and symmetry, one of the tips I give for mouth hygiene, gum health, and jaw structure, and that I talk about in my recent podcast with holistic dentist Dr. Dominik Nischwitz here, is to wake up in the morning and do 10-20 minutes of “oil pulling” which involves vigorously swishing an oil around in your mouth and through your teeth and gums. Since discovering this practice in an Ayurvedic medicine book three years ago, I’ve been doing it every morning, and on a recent visit to the dentist, they were blown away at how “squeaky clean” my gums were. Problem is, most fancy oil pulling oils you can buy online are overpriced vs. the dirt cheap stuff you can make at home that works just as well, if not better.
So here’s how to make your own oil pulling oil:
- Heat extra virgin coconut oil in any stovetop saucepan until it’s melted and liquid
- Turn off the heat and add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oils (I used peppermint, cinnamon and Kion oregano in this recent batch—a refreshing and nice little anti-microbial formula)
- Pour into any silicon mold, then put mold in refrigerator until oil is solid
- Transfer solid molds into glass mason jar
Each morning grab ½ – 1 chunk of your mold, pop into your mouth, let it melt, swish vigorously for 10-20 minutes while you are going about your day, then spit into a trash can (it will clog a sink or toilet) and rinse your mouth with water. That’s it! Let me know if any of you do this or plan to try it, and share your own oil pulling recipe below, or any other “oral hygiene” tips you personally do. BONUS TIP: If you have candida or yeast, you can do this same thing, but instead of swishing the oil in your mouth, just eat the mold and swallow it!
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