Why Are Thai People So Skinny? Try Thai Green Curry
If you ever walk the streets of Bangkok, you’ll find people eating at any time of the day. Street food tempts you from every corner and when you look at the price, it instantly becomes even more accessible and desirable. It seems like they eat all the time , yet, they remain incredibly trim .
Which got me thinking: Why are Thai people are so skinny? I’m a size 0 by American standard but when I try to buy clothes in Thailand, the small is a tad too small for me.
I came up with a few theories or observations, some on solid grounds as they are backed by research but some—mere postulations of an idle mind.
It’s in the Food
Their food is incredibly spicy—yes—it’s their unrelentless addition of Thai chillies in almost every dish. Chili peppers are full of a chemical called capsaicin, responsible for the hit. And scientific researches show that capsaicin is a fat burner—it revs up the metabolic rate and speeds up the metabolism. So what is a few more calories? Eat and let the capsaicin take care of the indulgence.
2. Lemon Grass
This lanky grass with a fresh lemon scent has great medicinal value. Loaded with citral, a potent antioxidant that is both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, this “smell good, taste even better,” herb can spice up any dish. Thai people have recognized this culinary uniqueness long ago and have added them to meat dishes, soups and condiments. And while we’re at it, Lemon grass can also lift spirits, and yes, jack up your metabolic rate.
3. Lime Juice
Ever try their Laib Gai or chicken salad with lots of mints, lime juice and Thai chillies? It’s terribly addictive and the yes, slimming, by my reckoning. It’s not just any lime, but Thai limes we’re talking. They are much smaller than American limes, more like key limes. Thai limes have a sweeter taste and are great tenderizers. They're used to tenderize all kinds of meat and squid (can be pretty chewy otherwise).
The citric acid found in these limes is an excellent fat-buster. Its high Vitamin C content promotes strong immune system and is effective in curing many digestive problems.
4. Kaffir Leaves
A member of the citrus family, the leaves are shaped like figure 8. It is intensely aromatic and has recently become popular in spa treatment. Kaffir leaves are used in most Thai soups to bring out an intensity of flavor that’s uniquely pleasing.
Kaffir leaf is an excellent digestive aid, and it can clear the mind and detoxify the body. Most Thai houses will have Kaffir trees to ward off evil.
This gnarly-looking root is a member of the ginger family. There are so many health benefits attached to this root that it has found its way to homeopathic and holistic healings.
Galanga is commonly grounded, blended or chopped to add flavor to meat dishes and curries. Amongst many health claims, galangal is used for digestive and stomach complaints, nausea, ulcers and inflammation of the stomach, rheumatism, cold, flu, fevers and bad breath.
They Eat Small Meals Frequently
So there’s some truth when health experts urge us to eat smaller meals with greater frequency. Thai people must eat 5 times a day or more. They start breakfast with a full meal,nothing like cereals and milk. I’ve seen them eat steaming bowls of noodles the first thing in the day. And before you know it, they are eating again. So you trace a food pattern: eating, snacking, eating, snacking…..throughout the day and you wonder where did all the calories go?
They Snack on Fruits.
Fruits Carts line the streets of Bangkok. If you’re hungry or hot or flustered, all you have to do is buy some nicely cut fresh fruits from these fruit carts. These cool yummy treats will bring instant relief from the sweltering heat. Plus you know the whole lecture about fruits having tons of antioxidants and how they can fill you up with no fat calories.
They Walk A Lot
Owning a car is definitely a luxury in Thailand. They use feet power to transverse distance, or run after hot non-airconditioned buses or walk to the nearest train stop to catch the subway or to the jetty to catch a ferry. They walk to schools, to shops, to the wet markets and yes, to the outdoor eating places for food.
Now, back to food.
Let’s make some authentic Thai food. Thai Green Curry has most of the above-mentioned ingredients. This flavorful rich curry is sure to titillate your taste buds and produce a steady stream of perspiration. And did many health experts say that you can bring your weight down with water loss? So forget body wrap to rid the body of water, try some spicy Thai Green Curry.
How To Make Thai Curry
Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Lemon Grass
1 stalk of lemon grass
3 tablespoons of green Thai curry paste (can be purchased at Asian stores)
3 cloves of garlic
2 chicken breast, sliced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 handful of Okra or more if desired
½ cup of coconut milk ( or milk if you’re health conscious)
A dash of salt and ½ teaspoon of brown sugar
1. Sautee garlic, lemon grass in 1 teaspoon of oil until fragrant.
2. Add chicken and green Thai curry paste and sautee until paste coats chicken evenly.
3. Add ½ cup of coconut milk and ½ cup of water
4. Season with salt and sugar to taste
5. Once it boils, let it simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Add okra, tomatoes and simmer for another 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are done.
Dish and serve over rice or eat it with bread. Slice of French bread dipped in the sauce is really yummy. You can also eat it with Naan or the Asian version of Naan, Roti Prata—a flaky buttery pancake that is decidedly out of this world.