How to make your own Buddha bowl

It seems like the “Buddha bowl” is the latest buzz word in the world of food and nutrition. 2017 was the year of the Buddha bowl and restaurants started offering this trendy option on their menus.

At first, Buddha bowls (or grain bowls) were associated with veganism.  However, judging by the numerous photos on instagram, it is clear to see that Buddha bowls are not necessarily vegan.

How did the term “Buddha Bowl” come about?

In her article “How the Buddha Bowl got its name“, Katherine Sacks makes reference to the book “Buddha’s Diet”. The authors of the book say Buddha was a thin person. At dawn, he’d go round the streets with an empty bowl and people donated whatever food they could afford. It is very likely that the food donated was simple and inexpensive. Buddha’s diet was therefore made up of food donations.

Why are Buddha bowls so popular?

Accoring to Charles Spence, food psychologist, as quoted in The Guardian, eating out of a bowl offers comfort and is more satisfying. “That weight is likely to make your brain think the food is more substantial and you are likely to rate it as more intensely aromatic than exactly the same food sat passively on a plate.”

What is the concept of a Buddha bowl?

In my mind a Buddha bowl is “comfort” food; whatever, you have available and whatever ticks the box for you. From a nutrition perspective, as long as it provides you with the right balance of macronutrients – carbohydrates, fat and protein – it is good for you.

How can you make your own Buddha bowl?

Think on the lines of carbs, fat and protein – all three in moderation. Here’s an example of a Buddha bowl I prepared yesterday. This “bowl” was for sharing at a BBQ and the only container I had which was large enough was a dish.

Buddah-Bowl-to-share.jpg
Buddha Bowl to share

Ingredients:

  • steamed quinoa with roasted walnuts
  • green beans
  • red kidney beans
  • rocket leaves
  • cucumber
  • black olives
  • cherry tomatoes
  • roasted vegetables (peppers, courgettes, garlic and aubergine)
  • cooked beetroot
  • raw buckwheat and toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on top
  • Tahini dressing – mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, salt and pepper
  • feta cheese (optional)

I am not giving quantities or a method of how to do the recipe. You are free to add or remove ingredients, according to your preferences. Vegetables – raw or cooked – rice, grains, pulses, seeds, nuts, fruits (fresh or dried), pasta are all good for your Buddha bowl. If you prefer, you may also add, cheese, meat or fish.

The binding ingredient is the dressing. Keep it simple so it does not over-power the taste of your other ingredients.

The secret of your Buddha bowl is variety: plenty of colour and texture. Try it, and share your comments.

My thanks go to:

@veggininthecity

Epicurious.com

Theguardian.com

 

 

Is it time Governments introduce a tax on junk food?

Statistics issued in May 2018 reveal that Malta has the highest rate of child obesity in Europe, the highest rate of type II diabetes and the lowest level of activity (1).

Similarly, UK stats for 2017 show that 617 thousand admissions in NHS hospitals were obesity-related. And in 2016, 26 per cent of British adults were considered obese (2).

 

 

How does it compare to 50 years ago?

In the 60s only one per cent of men and two per cent of women were considered obese in the UK (3).

The major differences are attributed to a more sedentary lifestyle and a higher consumption of processed foods.  Despite the fact that in the 60s gyms were hardly heard of, people were significantly more active. They walked more and spent less time in front of TVs and computers. Children played active games as opposed to hours spent on a tablet and ready-made foods were hard to come by.  The majority of households cooked their meals from scratch, using fresh products. People’s diets were not full of preservatives and dining out was an occasional treat.

Another factor that contributed towards weight gain is food portions. The average dinner plate in the 60s had a diameter of 7-9 inches (17.78-22.86 centimetres). Nowadays, plates have a diameter of 11-12 inches (27.94-30.48 centimetres) in Europe and 13 inches (33.02 centimetres) in America (4).

Public Health vs Votes?

Do you think it’s time Governments take serious action?  In the same way taxes were imposed and regulations enforced on cigarettes and alcohol,  it may be high time something’s done about the amount of junk food consumed.

If there is more awareness about the consequences of fat, sugar and salt in junk food and ready-made meals and if fresh food is more affordable, maybe people will be in a better position to make healthier choices.

Why are fast food chains allowed to be become richer and the average tax payer has to foot the bill of obesity-related diseases?  Why doesn’t junk food packaging come with sickening images, similar to the ones found on cigarette packets? Should junk food companies be allowed to brainwash children and youngsters thanks to their strong marketing position?

In the UK, Jamie Oliver is campaigning to control the advertising of junk food, especially for children (5). You would think it’s in the interest of Governments to promote the health of its citizens by making fresh food more affordable.

No; I’m not kidding myself into thinking that if junk food is more expensive than healthy food, people will make an overnight change – they won’t.  Besides, as we’ve seen above, there are various factors that lead to obesity.  Junk food is just one of them.  However, in a similar way awareness and levies brought down smoking rates (6), serious campaigns, taxes on junk food (including ready-made foods) and subsidies of good fresh food, may lead to health improvement.

What do you think?

 

My thanks go to:

(1) Bay.com.mt

(2) NHS Digital

(3) The Telegraph

(4) Quora

(5) Jamie Oliver – #AdEnough

(6) Economicshelp.org

Infographic thanks to Gastrosurgeon.com

Balanced Diet vs Healthy Diet

Is your diet balanced? Is it healthy? Or maybe it’s both?

What is a Healthy Diet?

Easy! A healthy diet is made up of fruit, veg, some meat and / or fish, low in fat with limited amounts of alcohol. Sounds good?  Actually, it’s not too bad.

What is the difference between a healthy and a balanced diet?

A balanced diet is healthy, with extras thrown in for good measure.

What makes a Healthy Diet “Balanced”?

  • A balanced diet provides the body with sufficient nutrients (macro – i.e. carbohydrates, fat, protein and micro – vitamins and minerals);
  • A balanced diet provides the body with the right amount of energy (calories) – an imbalanced diet leads to weight gain or weight loss;
  • A balanced diet includes sufficient fluids (mainly water) to keep the body well-hydrated;
  • A balanced diet limits counter-productive foods such as sugar and salt.
  • A balanced diet forms part of a healthy lifestyle which includes regular exercise.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) makes five recommendations:

  • Consume the amount of calories your body requires to function;
  • Limit your fats;
  • Eat more fruit and veg;
  • Limit your sugars;
  • Limit your salts.

Why is a Balanced Diet good for you?

A balanced diet keeps you feeling good about yourself.  You can enjoy good quality life, preventing diseases such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and some forms of cancer.

A balanced diet also provides you with high levels of energy.  It gives you shiny hair and strong nails.  Your skin looks plump and clear.  Your waist line remains in check, without too much effort.  Who’s complaining?

How do you “Balance” your Diet?

Most countries have their recommended dietary guidelines. These guidelines are set keeping culture in mind. So for example, the Eatwell Plate – the dietary guidelines for the UK – includes foods such as baked beans, crisps and porridge.  The Mediterranean diet includes olive oil and wine in moderation. The Chinese dietary guidelines recommend a diet based on whole grains, fruit and vegetables with tiny portions of protein, dairy and fats. Both the Mediterranean and the Chinese guidelines recommend plenty of water as well as exercise.

All good, but how does this work for you?

  • Establish your recommended calorie intake according to your lifestyle. If you have a sedentary job and you do not exercise regularly, your body needs less calories than a person who exercises seven days a week. A person who does not have a sedentary job also requires more energy to keep them going.
  • Get your energy (calories) in the right amounts:
    • 50-55% from carbohydrates
    • 33-35% from fat
    • 10-15% from protein.
  • Drink plenty of water – recommended guidelines 1ml water / 1kcal of food you consume.
  • Exercise regularly.

You are probably wondering how you can lose weight or maintain good weight when 50% of your energy intake comes from carbs.

Carbs are not only found in starchy foods such as potatoes, rice and pasta. You can get your carbs from fruit and veg. One important fact to bear in mind is that your brain requires carbohydrates. Carbs, in the form of glucose, are the only food the brain uses to function properly.

Balance out your healthy diet by eating a variety of foods in the right amounts. With the right food intake, water and exercise you’re on your way to healthy lifestyle.

Watch this space for more on the subject.

 

May thanks go to:

 

 

 

Why is obesity such a serious problem?

Our waistlines started increasing after World War II (WWII).  The end of the war marked an end to manual exertion and an increase in technological development.  The car started replacing the bicycle and the corner store or the farmers’ market were seriously challenged by the Co-Op chains which started sprouting all over the place.

Change of lifestyle post WWII

In 1954 television started entering households and physical activity started on a downward spiral.  By the eighties TV was transmitting round the clock and leisure activities plummeted even further. The birth of the microwave in the early 1980s brought plenty of ready-made, frozen foods available at very cheap prices.

Consequently,

  • a high supply of convenience food
  • the advent of fast food chains
  • lack of physical activity and
  • an increase in a sedentary lifestyle (brought about with the birth of the computer at work and at home)

resulted in a surplus of energy intake and lack of its expenditure.

 

How do you gain weight on healthy food?

This is not the whole picture.  A recent study, undertaken by an American insurance company in March 2018, shows that it is not just our lifestyle which is contributing to our expanding waistlines. Our lack of knowledge and awareness of nutritional values is another contributing factor.

The study worked with a sample of 1000 Americans from various walks of life.  They were asked to guess the nutritional values of a number of foods – healthy foods as well as ‘junk’ food.  Results show that, in the majority of cases, the respondents got their facts wrong. Why?

We tend to think that, as long as we eat healthy food – raw almonds, avocados and such like – we can eat as much as we want.  This is not the case.  Weight gain is a result of greater energy (calories) intake than expenditure.  You can get your calories (energy) from healthy food – nuts, fruit, fish, grains, olive oil … the list is endless – however, if you take in more energy than your body is using for your lifestyle, you still gain weight.

Roger Highfield of The Telegraph quotes Jane Wardle, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University College London as saying; “… most obese people don’t overeat by a lot, but an energy excess of only 70kcals a day – no more than a ginger biscuit – adds up to 70lbs (31.75kgs) of extra weight in 10 years; enough to turn a slim 25 year old into an obese 35 year old.”

What is portion distortion?

This brings me to the famous “portion distortion”. You can gain weight on a very healthy diet and you can lose weight on a very unhealthy diet.  Weight loss is all about calorie deficit: energy in < energy out = weight loss.  Similarly, if energy in > energy out it results in weight gain, irrespective of where the energy comes from.

Example:  100g of walnuts contain 654cals whereas 100g of pizza margherita contains 275cals.

Am I suggesting you eat pizza instead of walnuts to lose weight?  No.  I’m just highlighting the importance of moderation and an awareness of the nutritional value of the foods we eat.  Nowadays, food labels are obligatory.  Benefit from them.  Take the time to read what they say.  True, your pizza delivery does not come with its nutritional value on the box, but there are ways to check it out.

Alternatively, go back to roots and base your diet on foods which come from the soil.  Like the pizza, they do not come with a label either, but they guarantee you a smaller waistline.

My thanks go to:

Insurance Quotes and their sources

The Telegraph (online)

ReNewBariatrics.com

The State of Obesity.org

Image:  credit to Insurance Quote who were the inspiration behind this article

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking classes for weight loss

Learn how to cook simple and easy, every day food which helps you lose weight. Join our eight-week programme which looks into the dos and don’ts of eating for weight loss and for long-term weight management.

This programme helps you make the right food choices, motivates and inspires you to prepare food which is good for you and your family.

We meet for two hours, once a week, to find out:

Sessions consist of theory, question and answer, cooking.  The programme includes four practical units which are made up of a short intro followed by a hands-on cooking session. (Cost of ingredients for cooking class included in your booking fee).

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Our round table discussion and cooking class is available for a maximum of six places only.

For further information and to book your place call now on 9985 2647 and benefit from a free one-to-one consultation.

Colette’s Kitchen

Have you stumbled upon Colette’s Kitchen on Facebook? I chose to go for a closed group  to build a community of like-minded people.  If you’re not interested in home cooking and good food, you’re free to opt out. But if you’re interested, I share no fuss recipes which are easy to follow through step-by-step photos.  I also make it a point to vary my recipes to give you ideas what you can cook at home.

When I go out for a meal, I share my choices to give you options you may wish to consider yourself.

Eating “healthy” does not mean living on a permanent diet.  If you’re a food lover, like I am, feeling deprived from various foods would be very depressing.  I love dining out.  The secret or challenge (depends which way you look at it) is to make the right choices.  It is true to say, it will be difficult to manage your weight if you eat out every day.  However, if you balance things out, you will manage to enjoy good food and a trim waisteline.

Here are some of the food ideas I prepared and shared on Colette’s Kitchen, over the past days.

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In reply to requests received on FB, I shared the recipes for the Vegetable Curry and the Overnight Oats.

If you would like any of these recipes, drop me a line and I’d be happy to share.