Monday, September 1, 2008

Why I like to eat natto

Natto has an acquired taste. I eat it just about every other day. It may be the most foul smelling Asian foods you can eat, #1 being stinky tofu, #2 being natto, #3 fish sauce and durian being somewhere in the mix, I'd say natto probably isn't that bad. Natto smells pretty much identical to stinky feet. Stinky as put on your running shoes with your gym socks on, you accidentally stepped in a puddle, and you decided to just not do anything about the dampness for the entire day. And say you had pretty sweaty feet in general so it just keeps your foot moist all day long. After a long day, you take off your shoes, the smell hits. That is what natto smells like. Right there. I can't describe it any better than that. I can say that the smell of smelly feet can have a high variance, but the exact smell of natto is in that spectrum.

So why do I eat it? Aside from the smell, it is fun to eat. The level of salt is perfect when you're looking for something to snack on. There is a whole process involved in eating natto. The first step is to prepare it with the 2 packets it comes with. The hot mustard and the soy sauce. Separate the top so that you have a discard pad for your packets. Squeeze the hot mustard and soy sauce onto the natto. The second step is the to mix in the soy sauce and hot mustard. And the more you mix, the more frothy it gets. The trick is to mix it up, get it froty, and have a few soy beans. The mixture of froth and some soy beans is what you want to get in your mouth (3rd step). Why? I am not quite sure. But if you don't make the froth, its not the same. When it gets to your mouth, you've undoubtably ended up with some strings of natto (kinda like spider web) on the chop sticks. You really don't want this to hit your chin. The mouth has a ability to clense itself, your chin doesn't. A dry wipe will not do it. So the fourth part to eating natto is to not let the natto strings hit your chin. Use your chop sticks to guide the strings away from your chin. 5th part is keep up the frothyness. The froth will die down when its not constantly stirred. Keep mixing it so you can keep eating it.

-Fun to eat
I also found out today that its good for you. From wikipedia:
-Supposedly it helps your blood not clot.
-High in nutrients that helps bone growth.
-May lower cholesterol.
-May prevent some cancers like any soy products.
-Is filling (probably something about its consistancy, frothyness, and gas that makes you think you ate more than you did).
-I can personally verify an unverified claim noted in wikipedia that it does help with digestion.
-Good for your skin.
-Its probiotic.

-Gas. They are beans afterall. Also, they are fermented. You can do the math. But in all honesty, it probably smells worse going in.
-Soy has something in them that bonds to estrogen receptors in your body. I have not found conclusive one line statement saying soy will have identical effects to the body that estrogen does, BUT...doctors do recommend that a heavy diet of soy products for young boys is a very bad idea, and there are products like estroven which is like a natural estrogen supplement that is made with soy products. They must exist because they are not a total waste of money. They probably won't give you man boobs (moobs) because if it did, Asia would be the land of moobs, but that is not the case.

So its almost the perfect food. Except the estrogen like effects and the smell. May require more than trying once to acquire the taste, but you may start loving it like I do (and the millions of people in Japan).

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