Food, Glorious Food!

By Zina Docto Mar 19, 2014
When planning a trip to Thailand, some begin day-dreaming about eating as much Thai food as absolutely possible. Visions of Thailand’s famous noodle dish, Phad Thai come to mind, as well as fresh papaya salad (Som Tham) followed by steaming chicken and coconut soup (Thom Ka Gai), Green Curry (Gang Keow Wan) and some pineapple fried rice (Kaow Phad Sabbalot) served right out of the pineapple itself.

Thai food is famous worldwide and it’s no wonder it is considered some of the most delicious and healthy food on the planet. Healthy, you might ask? Yes. Let’s find out WHY it’s healthy to go THAI. Most Thai dishes share 6-7 basic ingredients and are all placed within the content of a dish in very small servings and at times interchanged with additional fresh herbs and spices. These fresh ingredients are without additives or preservatives; namely ginger, Thai chili peppers, garlic, fish sauce, palm sugar, lime and coconut milk.

Combinations of fresh vegetables, poultry or fish are then added to make heavenly delectables for us to enjoy. There are a couple of things I hear people make mention of while visiting Thailand. “So many meals are deep fried and have sugar in them.” I will agree there are many deep fried dishes prepared here in Thailand and yes, many if not most, do have sugar as one of its ingredients. But let’s not just stop at that. Let’s take a look at the deep frying process and the sugars that are placed within these meals.

Firstly, although there are lots of deep fried dishes that you can enjoy here in Thailand, the deep frying process is done by way of a ‘flash fry’. The food is thrown in to a deep-dish frying pan with minimal oil over a high heated flame. The food is flash fried in a matter of moments. This does two things: it allows the food to cook quickly and also keeps the nutrients intact. Unlike the deep frying process where you keep the ingredients exposed to heated oil for long periods of time, thus destroying most of the nutrients found within the ingredient. Also, the oils have an opportunity to absorb into the food.

Palm sugar is the main source of sugar that has been used for years to prepare the delicious Thai dishes that we all enjoy feasting on. As the harmful effects of sugar and high fructose corn syrup have become increasingly more evident, people are turning to natural alternatives. Regular table sugar and high fructose corn syrup do not contain vital nutrients and therefore supply “empty” calories. Although palm sugar is not a calorie-free sweetener and has calories like any carbohydrate, due to its relatively low glycemic index, its calories are absorbed at a slower rate than refined sugar. This is of great interest to anyone who is monitoring their blood sugar levels and attempting to avoid blood sugar spikes.

Continued studies remain under way to confirm the nutritional benefits of palm sugar. Most notable of these are the minerals Iron, Zinc, Calcium and Potassium, along with some short-chain fatty acids, polyphenols and antioxidants that may also provide health benefits. Although I don’t want to make conclusive judgment and am of the mindset that there are other resources to get your natural sugars from. I will say that if we could replace refined or bleached white table sugar; I would go for palm sugar any day of the week. So there you have it. When visiting Thailand don’t be afraid to eat the fare. It’s not only delicious; it won’t go to your waist as quickly as many of the refined, cooked and processed foods will. From street carts to fine dining there are always health benefits to eating freshly prepared Thai food. This will be yet another reason to keep a smile on your face when coming our way.

Zina is the founder of “i AM WOMAN”. Educating woman to discover their health and beauty from the inside out; overcome weight issues, sickness and disease. Want to know more. Contact: info@beautyfromtheinsideout.org

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