Though our modern lives are full of comfort, we have gradually become distant from our natural environment. Living in homes with heaters and air conditioners has been isolated from the changes in the four seasons. We tend to forget the gentle breeze in the treetops and the warm rays of the sun.
In Japan, the foods eaten in the Buddhist temples as enlightened foods are known as “Shojin Ryori” or Shojin foods every season. This traditional temple food uses no meat ingredients. All sources and elements come from plants and natural resources. Most of all are vegetables, seaweeds, wild plants, grains, pulses, and beans. Faith and expectation are for physical and spiritual well-balanced growth.
Since I came across an enlightened healthy living, I have a great passion for the traditional temple foods of all seasons. The meals come from seasonal natural resources, in the perception that following nature’s flow is best for the body. Eating foods in season provides your body with the nourishment it needs at a given time of the year.
The Four Seasons
The slight bitterness of spring buds and bamboo shoots, for example, is said to remove the fats the body accumulates during winter.
Vegetables from all the melon family, and vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplant, and cucumbers, have a cooling effect on the body.
Fall seasons provide an abundant harvest of sweet potatoes, yam, squash, chestnuts, and fruit, such as berries, citrus fruits, which revive tired bodies after the heat of summer.
During this time of the year, various root vegetables are widespread in Japanese dishes, such as Japanese radish, turnips, and lotus roots. It provides warmth and sustenance to the body’s condition and health.
The creativity of all Season
When vegetables are seasonal, there is often a glut of particular ingredients in a specific period. A variety of cooking methods (frying, broiling, grilling) and seasoning (spices, salt, miso paste, soy sauce) allows the same vegetables are enjoyed in many different ways. Take, for example, when cooking with Japanese radish, the skin can be sliced thinly and fried, the root can be boiled, and the leaves can be blanched, finely chopped, and mixed with rice.
In preparation for foods in temples, it is essential to notice all parts of the vegetable, and the ingredients are in various ways in the region of cooking. In this way, the whole foodstuff it is used, without wasting any of it, is also kind to the environment.
The healthiness of all Season
In addition to the vegetables and fruit seasons, dried foodstuffs such as seaweeds, mushrooms, tofu are often used in every household and temple. These sun-dried foodstuffs are high in nutritional value and concentrated flavor, traditional staples in the Japanese diet.
Eating dried foodstuffs is said to ensure a long, healthy life. For instance, seaweeds are rich in fiber, calcium, minerals, and iodine to control blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Tofu products are high in protein yet low in calories and fat.
I highly and heartily recommend trying these traditional Japanese foodstuffs as a part of your healthy diet. Aside from the nutrition you get, it is low in price very reasonable for your purse.
You could find more recipes in the Japanese cookbook.
Have a great day!