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

 

 

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:

 

 

 

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.

Understanding food labels

How many times were you tricked into buying a ‘healthy’ product?  You get to cash point and reach out for that cereal bar?  It contains oats, fruits and nuts; must be good for you.  Or that muesli packet with sugar and salt reduced? Surely, that’s OK?

Are food labels credible? Should you believe what they say?

Yes; if you read between the lines, you will find that what they say is correct.  You just have to understand what they say and the way they say it.

Manufacturers are smart.  They use words which grab your attention to make you believe the product is good for you.  They do not lie, because that would get them into trouble with the law.  They simply use generic terms and take advantage of any loophole in the law.

For example, if a packet of muesli says “no sugar added” that’s just what it means – no extra sugar was added.  That is not to say the product is not high in sugar.

If a product says “vitamin enriched” does that make it healthy? Not necessarily.  Have a look at the rest of the ingredients and check things like fat (especially saturated), salt and sugar.

What information should you find on a food label?

By law a food label should give you the following information.

  • contact details of the manufacturer
  • country of origin of the product
  • list of ingredients in descending order
  • allergens
  • processing
  • dates

You have a right to know where a product is coming from, especially if it contains produce such as meat or fish.  You should also find details of the manufacturer, should you need to contact them.

Look at the list of ingredients.  You will notice it is in descending order.  This gives you a clear indication of what are the main ingredients and their quantities. In the image below you will notice that the main ingredient in this quinoa porridge is not quinoa flour.

Flavouring does not mean the product contains that ingredient. A strawberry-flavoured yogurt will not contain strawberries; you will only find strawberry flavouring listed.

Check the ingredients in bold font.  These are the ingredients which you may be allergic to or cause you some form of intolerance.

The label should indicate any process the food has gone through.  Is the product dehydrated, smoked?

You will also find dates on a food label.  Very often you will have two dates – the manufacturing date and the “best before” or “use by” date.  These dates are meant to indicate whether the food is good for human consumption.  The “best before” date means just that – a product is best before the date indicated.  The “use by” date is used for perishables; food which will not be good to eat past the date shown.

What should you look out for in the nutritional information?

After checking the list of ingredients for allergens, go to the nutritional information and check the salt, sugar and fat content in the product.

Aim at keeping your sugar levels to no more that 5% of your total energy intake and salt at a maximum level of 6g per day.

Another ingredient to avoid is saturated fat.  These fats are harmful to the body and can cause heart disease.

Serving Size

More often than not serving sizes are misleading and far from realistic. You look at the front of a packet and think a bowl of cereal gives you 130 calories.  Take a closer look – it says “per 30g serving”.  Weigh 30g of muesli and let me know if you think it’s a realistic serving.

Very often, the serving size shown on the front of packet is misleading.  Follow the nutritional information per 100g of product for accurate data.

Know your terms

‘Low fat’ – < 3g of fat / 100g of product

‘Fat free’ – < 0.15g of fat / 100g of product

‘Salt reduced’ – < 0.5g of sodium / 100g product

‘Organic’ – a minimum of 95% organic product

‘Alcohol free’ – product can contain up to 0.05% alcohol

Are food labels a legal requirement?

Yes; food labels are mandatory by law.  As of 13th December 2016, new legislation has come into force in Europe to ensure that the information on food labels is clear and not misleading in any way.

My thanks go to:

The British Nutrition Foundation

The British Heart Foundation

European Commission