Yu & Mi Company – Dried Konyaku

When we are trying to lose weight, get leaner and manage our blood sugar levels, carbohydrates can unfortunately often be referred to as the ‘culprit of weight, unwanted fat gain and fluctuating energy levels’. With that being said, like fats, all carbohydrates are not created equal! Now enter a delicious idea which is low fat, lower carb and high fibre from the company Yu & Mi which could well become your carb-craving saviour. Read on for our review of Yu & Mi Company’s Dried Konyaku rice and noodles!

But first, a little rationale…
If a person was to indulge in a ‘carb fest,’ to some extent, it is true to say that a person would gain weight but it does not necessarily mean adding an extra layer to the mid-section; the reason being is that every gram of carbohydrate is stored in about 2.7 grams of water which therefore reflects in a person’s weight on the scale (the scale can trick you). On the other hand, if someone consumed excessive amounts of carbs consistently without burning them as energy, the fuel tanks within the muscles and liver would start to fill up and eventually overflow (similar to what would happen if water is continuously added to a small cup), the excess would be stored, ‘woo woo, next stop my thighs!’ Another disadvantage to large amounts of carbs or high GI (fast digesting) carbs is that when ingested, there is a bigger spike of insulin secreted in one go with the resultant quick crash and drop of blood sugar in the bloodstream which leaves you feeling sleepy and lethargic in a ‘carb coma’!

You probably already know about or have tried a few noodle or rice-like foods which can be added to stir fries or healthy curry-based meals without the guilt such as courgetti, squaffles or cauliflower rice. This alternative option from the Japanese food company (based in London) are keen on improving the health of others whilst maintaining the delightful texture and taste of a favourite grain. Japanese food is often considered as one of the healthiest cuisines to choose from and proud creator Mari Nakashima wanted to introduce some traditional food sources to her children firstly, so they would learn to eat well throughout life. After this success, she decided to share her classic, easy to cook and convenient natural ‘konyaku’ (aka ‘konjac‘ starches with the rest of the world.

The name of the company ‘Yu & Mi Company’ sources from ‘Yu’ being the consumer and ‘Mi’ as the supplier but more importantly, it’s about family: building the bridge of understanding and communication between both parties in a genuine way. With that being said, as konyaku was initially made for her children, Mari thought it would be nice to combine their names: Yugo & Mio -it makes logical sense and is pretty clever if not endearing, in my opinion.

Ingredients:

Dried Konyaku (Rice style): Konjac (81.02%), Tapioca Starch, Calcium Carbonate, Firming agent (Calcium Hydroxide, Citric Acid).
Macronutrients: 88 calories, 0.1g fat, 20.7g carbs (of which sugars 0.1g), 2.8g fibre, 0.1g protein and 0.01g salt.

Dried Konyaku (Shirataki noodles): Konjac(95.85%), Tapioca Starch, Firming Agent (Calcium Hydroxide, Citric Acid), Tapioca Syrup.
Macronutrients: 48 calories, 0g fat, 10.2g carbs (of which sugars 1.5g), 3.4g fibre, 0.1g protein and 0.01g salt.

Nutrition: These delightful, vegan, gluten free and expanding konyaku grains are originally from Japan’s konyaku root vegetable. (Find out more about how dried konyaku is created.) These vegetables are high in the fibre glucomannan which aid the digestive process, rid the body of built-up toxins and even satisfy your appetite; providing you a sense of fullness to prevent firstly, overindulging and secondly, causing you to eat less each day which feasibly results in a slimmer, svelte or trimmer version of you.

With reference to the noodles, they are originally coated in a tapioca syrup which bumps up the carbohydrate intake initially, however, when cooked, the coating is removed as the noodles are drained, reducing the overall carbohydrate of the product; therefore, making this a lower carb option for all.

Taste, texture, look and smell: As I opened the transparent, plastic package which has a re-sealable top, the smell of both packets was odourless as expected. On the other hand, once cooked, the grains had the ability to soften rapidly yet remain sturdy to soak up all the flavours of the dish. After clear observation, the rice did resemble the original version of Basmati rice yet were slightly more rectangular in shape. The noodles were similar to stringy, translucent shoelaces that gently spiralled into a controlled heap. As I took a bite of each grain, the texture of both the rice and noodles were light, smooth and delicate yet durable which required an extra few chews but nothing more. The noodles in particular could rival that of edible seaweed; making it easy to slide down the throat and the rice provided more satiety than a standard portion of rice, complimenting a curry and chili con carne for example, it would be difficult to tell the difference yet you’d save a lot of calories and unnecessary carbohydrates in the process.

Value: Price per 100g packet of konyaku noodles or 80g packet of rice is £3.40 which puts it at the fairly premium end of the market. However, due to having the capacity to expand 2.5 times in size once cooked, having a low glycaemic index (released slowly into the bloodstream) and suitable for diabetics due to the extra fibre to slow the absorption of carbohydrates, they could satiate you longer than expected so the extra few pounds are well invested in my opinion.

Summary: As an alternative to your standard rice and noodles, this is a good choice as the products are fibre rich, the carbohydrate content is reduced and is low GI; ensuring that blood sugar levels remain stable and consistent. I feel that these options would be great to use in soups, stir fries or if you’d prefer a guide to mouth-watering recipes to excite your taste buds, Mari has created some dishes for you to try on the Yu & Mi Company website, “who needs to go to a fine dining Japanese restaurant when you can be taught and given instructions by a genuine, native expert?” Certainly give konyaku a try today and see what it can do for you!

For more information and to order, do visit Yu & Mi Company online as well as their Facebook page!  Note: They will be exhibiting at the Allergy & Free From Show again this year at Olympia, London from 7th to 9th July. Visit them at stand A85 where they’ll have a special promotion ‘2 for £5’ on Dried Konyaku products and provide delicious food samplings as well as recipe leaflets which include Japan’s best-loved dish: ‘Sukiyaki’, a simple but addictive Chinese style salad called ‘Liangban Fensi’, and the Indian ‘kheer’ dessert with its gorgeous oriental aroma!

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