This blog is a celebration of the wonderful world of vegan cooking. Enjoy!

* The title of this blog refutes the dangerous idea that veganism is a weight-loss diet and that all vegans are skinny. Conversely, being a-not-so-skinny-vegan is also not the same as being overweight or unhealthy. All food intake must be part of a balanced lifestyle.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Iodine & Sushi

I'll be the first to admit that a vegan diet takes a lot of consideration in order to get all the right vitamins. However, this certainly does not justify a non-vegan diet. The world is (scarily) full of people who don't get enough of the right things whether they eat meat or not. If anything being vegan has made me more aware of how to eat better and I think that's a great thing.

In the UK, New Zealand and Australia there have been increasing numbers of people with iodine deficiencies (see this). There are lots of reasons for this including a move away from salt and dairy but it's a bit scary because a lack of iodine is linked with horrid things like breast and stomach cancer, mental retardation and thyroid problems (although too much iodine can also cause thyroid problems and harm your baby if you are pregnant so be careful!).

In our little household we do use salt quite a bit in cooking but we use sea salt so it does not have the added bonus of iodine (where as table salt, at least in Australia, does). A good source of iodine is seafood but as we are a vegan household (except for the cheese Geoff sneaks in the shopping trolley, to my horror) that fact is not of much use. Luckily, seaweed is also a good source of iodine so bring on the sushi!

Seaweed is a good source of iodine for vegans who don't eat iodised salt.
Until today I was quite concerned about my iodine intake. The UK doesn't have very good soil so vegetables etc are quite iodine poor. In Brisbane I used to eat sushi at least once a week but here it is not the same quick, cheap, fresh snack it is in Australia. Our last (and first) trip to a sushi train here in Cambridge cost us £25! But then Geoff came home with a sushi mat, nori, Japanese rice, tofu and avocado. And for the very first time I made my own sushi.

Rolling the sushi requires a knack that I am yet to obtain. But it was still yummy!
I cooked 2 cups of the rice according to the packet instructions but then I added 2 tbsp mirin and stirred. I then spread all of the rice out onto a tray. Then I mixed 1/4 cup rice vinegar with a little salt and 1 tsp sugar and spread this evenly over the cooling rice. Then I stirred the rice, spread it out again and let it cool a little more.

For each roll I used 1 sheet of nori (shiny smooth side down) and 1 cup of rice (spread over 2/3 of the nori). I then made an indent half way on the rice (so 1/3 the way up the entire thing), placed the fillings in and then rolled. I have no idea how to roll properly but am hoping I will learn soon enough.

The fillings I used were avocado, fried tofu marinated in kecap manis (sweet, thick soy sauce) and vegetables (sundried tomatoes, spring onions, carrot).

I readily admit my rolls weren't as neat as the ones you get in a restaurant or stall but making them yourself means that they are much fresher so are really delicious! And it's a lot cheaper too!

If you want to know more about a vegan diet and iodine check out this link. It does suggest a supplement is the best way to get the right amount of iodine but eating some sushi now and then will help out as well!


  1. So what about zinc and potassium? Two other prevalent deficiencies...

  2. Since potassium is found in leafy green vegetables and fruit (tomatoes, bananas etc) it would be quite rare to be a problem for vegans.

    Zinc is found in nuts, grains and beans so again is not too much of a problem. You can also get 90% of your RDA from a single Berocca drink (the effervescent tablets are vegan, the coated tablets are not).

  3. Your sushi looks great! I've not made any for ages, I think you have inspired me to get my mat out again!

  4. Hey Elise

    we used to sell these at work They look silly but were extremely popular and i think only about $20 if that. I know it makes the Sushi a little less.... genuine? and you may prefer to roll it traditionally but it makes good, quick, easy sushi.