Shirataki (Zero calorie noodles)

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Shirataki is the name of a type of noodles, originally from Japan, that have a very interesting characteristic: they contain virtually no calories and, for this reason, they are very suitable for whoever needs to control his/her weight.

These noodles are made from the flour obtained from the root of a plant called konjac; they are made out of water for the 97% and also contain Glucomannan, a dietary fibre believed to help in weight loss.
The name means ‘white waterfall’, a reference to their translucent appearance; they have little flavour of their own and a gelatinous, pleasantly chewy texture, and can be used as a low-carb (or rather no-carb) replacement for pasta (mainly spaghetti) or other types of noodles.

I came across this ingredient reading a Dukan book.

I am not a big fan of the Dukan diet as such, but it contains a few principles that I like and, although I have never embraced the method, I have to say that reading the introduction of his book changed, to the better, the way I look at food and eat (after all, Pierre Dukan is a nutritionist, therefore he’s got a very deep knowledge of the matter). Although the conclusions he draws are  too extreme in my opinion, the idea of selecting the food you eat so that you can keep the calories low whilst not feeling hungry (which is the very foundation of the Dukan method) is a good way to lose weight healthily and maintain the results.

Shirataki noodles do exactly this, as they will fill you up with virtually no calories, and can be used, for example, for having a light dinner without going to bed hungry. The typical scenario I have in mind is someone with a sedentary job, coming back home after a day at work where all the physical activity was those 2 flights of stairs to reach the office.
We will still need food, but not so much as we would like to eat, because our body hasn’t used a lot of energy: something like shirataki is perfect in this kind of situation, and that’s when I eat them (for example a Shirataki stir fry with some veggies and meat or seafood), whilst I tend to have something more substantial when I exercise.

I will post more detailed recipes; for now, bear in mind that:

  • They can replace other types of noodles or even spaghetti (although the difference in texture is huge)
  • If you buy the wet ones, which come in water inside a sealed package, rinse them before cooking
  • ,They can be boiled or stir-fried and the cooking time is quite short (about 3 minutes)