Tuesday, 19 February 2013 - 4 comments

FOOD FOR THOUGHT : 'Calorie Free' Noodles, Pasta & Rice


I was really excited when I heard about this product last week. However, having experimented with it and done some research, I'm having mixed feelings about it, which is why it isn't in my 'Cupboard Love' section.
You can always trust me to present an honest and genuine view, so I'm going to share my experiences with you.
I need you to promise me that you will not see this as a 'Miracle' product and that, if you decide to try it, you will use it responsibly and not too often. This is primarily sold in health food shops as a 'Slimming Product'. Those of us on the WeightWatchers plan or following a low-fat eating regime, know that we can lose or maintain our weight by eating really well using regular, everyday foods. Please don't see this product as an excuse to cut your daily propoint/calorie allowance below the minimum you should be eating. Try to think of it as a first aid kit for your larder...if you are having a tricky week, this could be your occasional sticking plaster.
I bought the ones I reviewed from two health food shops. You can also buy it online. It is quite expensive at approx.£1.99-£2.55 per 200g bag. 

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There are a few different brands of Moyu (also known as Konjac or Shirataki) pastas and rice out there. I tried two different varieties;



Eat Water 'Slim' range



and Zero Noodles.

These are both made from a vegetable fibre called konjac. This has been eaten in Asia for centuries, although only recently introduced to the UK.
The product seems incredible in that it contains 0pp/15kcal per 200g and is highly absorbent so helps you to feel full up for longer. This is why it is so important, if you use it, that you drink plenty of water with it.
It is suitable for coeliacs and diabetics as it contains no carbohydrate or sugar. It contains no nutritional values, apart from minimal calories. It is also Vegetarian, Vegan and Kosher.

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I tried it over the past few days in various recipes. The product is preserved in an unpleasant 'fishy' smelling preserving liquid. You have to rinse it under warm water for quite a few minutes to wash away the smell. Then it is easy to prepare by microwaving, stir-frying or popping into hot soup for a few minutes to heat through.



I tried the Slim Rice first. I rinsed the 'rice', microwaved it for 2 minutes and served it with my Mushroom Stroganoff Sauce.
(Click HERE for recipe)



Although it looks like rice in my photo, the 'grains' were round and very rubbery. It was completely tasteless so literally acted as a carrier for the sauce. Once I got it into my head that it reminded me of a packing material, I really disliked it.



I tried mixing it like a risotto but it didn't work for me.

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Then, I made a stir-fry for my daughter using the Zero Noodles. 



After rinsing thoroughly, I mixed them with some regular Udon noodles to 'pad' them out.


I stir-fried them in soy sauce. They took on the flavours quite well and looked like proper noodles. The texture of the konjac noodles is quite rubbery, but pretty authentic. My daughter really enjoyed them, but was thirsty afterwards. Obviously, you could add lots of vegetables and a protein such as meat, seafood or fish to this dish to make it nutritious and tasty.
(Click HERE for recipe)

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Lastly, I tried the Slim Noodles.
I rinsed them thoroughly, then popped them into my Vietnamese Noodle soup (Pho).
(Click HERE for the recipe)


The texture was rubbery but worked much better than any of the other varieties I had tried. Obviously, this soup is zinging with flavour, so the noodles can afford to be quite bland. I enjoyed the dish and found it filling, however I did find that I was extremely thirsty all evening and when I woke up the following morning, despite drinking plenty. I was also quite windy afterwards -(sorry, but I always tell the truth)! My husband felt a little nauseous an hour after eating them.
It is recommended to start with small portions until you get used to it, so perhaps we had too much.

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So, my conclusion is....do your own research-there are some interesting articles on the internet. It's your body, so think about what you are putting into it. Experiment, treat with caution and try not to use it as a staple part of your diet, but in a propoint/calorie emergency! I feel they're going to be one of those 'Marmite'-type products; people seem to love them or hate them. I'm interested to hear your views so let me know what you think.

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Beware those things in life that seem 'too good to be true' because they probably are!

4 comments:

Amanda Calvert 19 February 2013 at 08:40

Love love love this product, i think as long as you are having something nutritious with it and add lots of flavour as they are very bland then they really can be part of your every day healthy eating plan.
I havent experienced any major thirst after eating them or felt ill or uncomfortable.

Janey 19 February 2013 at 08:46

Great to hear this Amanda, thanks! x

Kettlier249 19 February 2013 at 13:01

I am so dubious about products like this, I'm a firm believer that a healthy diet is a balanced diet so we need to get some of our calories from carbs like pasta, rice and noodles. These just seem like an unsustainable and expensive alternative to having a small portion of normal carbs. Thanks for the blog post though, its very refreshing to read an honest review by someone who has actually tried to incorporate them into your everyday meals! x

Janey 19 February 2013 at 15:19

Thanks for your feedback Kettlier- I tend to agree with you! x

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