Have you ever eaten a diet that is both scrumptious and aids weight loss?
You are in for a treat!
The vegan diet may seem restrictive to some, but actually the options of flavors are endless.
The variety of color in a Thai street market is a promising indication of their culinary delights.
Thai cuisine lends itself to a vegan diet.
Infact, the Thai vegan diet is not only delicious, but it is often nutritious and helps aid weight loss.
In this article we will discuss some of the health benefits of Thai food.
We will also consider how the popular Thai ingredients and their food preparation styles help with weight reduction.
Thai food is naturally healthy
Apparently Westerners lose up to 5% of body weight if they adopt a Thai based diet for a few months.
Thai food is often dairy free already and if not, it can be adapted to be.
Furthermore, any meat dishes can also be adapted with a vegan substitute such as tofu.
Thai food is full to the brim with flavor.
So much so, it doesn’t need excessive salt, sugar or fat added to it.
This is an immediate benefit given excessive salt is associated with high blood pressure and heart disease and too much sugar can lead to weight gain and heart disease.
Of course, we all know excessive fat consumption leads to excessive fat on our bodies.
Thai food is Nutritionally Rich
With such an onus on fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices, it will come as no surprise that Thai food is nutritionally rich.
Let’s explore the nutrition of 6 of Thailand’s most traditional ingredients.
A key ingredient in Thai green curries. It is a personal favorite of mine.
Lemongrass is linked to a reduction in the risk of stomach ulcers and lowers cholesterol. In turn, it helps reduce the risk of heart disease.
The Western diet often forgets the power these little sprouts can pack.
They are particularly great in stir frys.
Bean sprouts are bursting with nutritional goodness, particularly vitamins C and K.
Vitamin K is essential for healthy blood clotting and vitamin C is key for the immune system, the production of collagen and our skin health.
Tofu is a perfect protein alternative to meat, with 8 grams of protein per 100 gram portion.
It’s also a particularly versatile food and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
It is nutritionally dense, with particularly high levels of manganese and calcium.
But perhaps its most superior quality is its isoflavones.
These act in a similar way to estrogen and help reduce our risk of heart disease, some cancers and diabetes.
This rich gold spice is well documented for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Specifically it’s the curcumen in turmeric that provides the anti-inflammatory benefit. It is also bursting with antioxidants.
The jury is still out in relation to the health benefits of coconut milk.
Whilst coconut milk does have nutritional benefits such as superior levels of manganese, iron and copper when compared with dairy milk, it is high in saturated fats.
So continue with caution and perhaps in moderation.
I love the tang of limes. They add a fresh and crispy flavor to dishes.
They are also full of good stuff. They contain plenty of antioxidants and vitamin C.
On a practical level they are linked with the reduction of kidney stones, iron absorption and healthy skin.
Of course, there is an abundance of other traditional Thai ingredients.
These are just 6 which you may be able to incorporate easily into your own cooking.
Top 5 Thai vegan cooking tips to aid weight loss
Whilst Thai food is naturally healthy and nutritious, there are always outliers.
We still need to make the right choices in terms of our ingredients and cooking style.
Ultimately we hold the key to our own taste bud experience and weight loss journey.
Are you ready to learn 5 top tips when considering the best Thai vegan cooking options?
Maximize vegetable intake
In Western cooking we often use pasta, rice or noodles as our main bulk.
With Thai food, we are often encouraged to opt for smaller portions of these carbs and increase our portions of Use vegetables.
When we use vegetables as our main bulk, we aid weight loss in several ways:
- Reduce our calories.
- Increase our antioxidants and nutrients.
- Feel full quicker.
- Avoid feeling bloated.
- Increase our fiber intake for healthy digestion.
Avoid deep fried foods
Like many other countries, Thailand resorts to deep fat frying as a cooking method for some foods.
This cooking method is not conducive to weight loss.
There are some very simple alternatives.
For instance, if you have the choice between spring rolls and summer rolls, opt for the summer rolls.
Summer rolls are wrapped in rice-paper skin and often stuffed with fresh, crispy salads and vegetables.
If you are being particularly strict with your weight loss journey, avoid any dipping sauce that comes with these as they are high in sugar and salt.
Spring rolls come deep fried and so have a higher fat content.
It’s very simple, avoid deep fat foods like the plague.
Make Use of Natural Flavorings
Natural flavorings are exactly as described.
They are natural and come with minimum salt and sugar. Infact, one of the most natural Thai ingredients is chili peppers.
The good news is that chili peppers and other spicy food is associated with fat burning properties and also helps decrease our appetites.
If you want to drop the weight, maybe you should consider increasing the spice.
Optimize Nutrition Content
When we feed our bodies all the nutrients we need to survive and thrive we help minimize cravings.
Make sure you have a well balanced meal with carbs, proteins, fats and plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Deviation away from this may result in you reaching for unhealthy snacks.
On that note, don’t deny yourself snacks, but do consider the nutritional content.
Here are a few Thai vegan snack suggestions:
- Dried mango.
- Fresh pineapple.
- Spiced cashew nuts.
Less chocolate and crisps and more fruit and nuts.
Cooking and meal preparations can be time consuming and tedious at the best of times.
But if we are organized in advance we can streamline the hard work.
Batch cooking is a fantastic way to ensure we eat healthy meals.
All too often get to the end of the day and feel tempted to resort to a microwave meal or a bowl of pasta.
With a little bit of planning and preparation you can batch cook some of your favorite dishes.
Alternatively you could bulk cook sauces and freeze them in portions.
I often cook up several blocks of tofu at once and freeze a large bag.
This way you have the various components you need to add to a healthy meal.
Just add fresh vegetables and noodles and voila.
An Easy to Make Thai Vegan Green Curry
I don’t mean to brag, but I make the best Thai green curry! My friends ask me for the recipe and I feel like a Michelin star chef when I tell them I made it up.
I will share the recipe with you on one condition.
Promise me you will make it!
Chop up a block of tofu into bite sized pieces and pan fry.
Take it off the heat whilst you make the paste.
For your paste add the following to a food processor:
- A garlic clove.
- Half a thumb sized piece of ginger.
- Stick of lemon grass.
- A red chili.
- Juice of a lemon.
Return the tofu to the pan and add the paste.
Pan fry this for a minute and then add in a tin of coconut milk and your vegetables of choice.
I particularly like tenderstem broccoli, mangetout, mini corn, aubergine and green beans.
Cook for a further 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are ready and serve with a small portion of rice.
Play about with the ingredients to get the right balance of tang and spice to suit your own tastes.
Top tip – this is a great one for batch cooking as it freezes well.
The Thai vegan diet lends itself to variety, color, flavor and nutrition.
With the emphasis on fresh vegetables, fruit, herbs and spices in Thai cooking, it’s easy to optimize our health with this diet.
Not only is Thai food naturally healthy, when it’s not deep fat fried of course, but many of the traditional ingredients have powerful nutritional and antioxidant levels.
With the combination of a great variety of vegetables, the use of spices, and the reduced use of sugar and salt, Thai cooking can be an effective way to reduce body weight.
Have you tried to lose weight before?
What hindered you?
I challenge you to cook Thai vegan recipes for a full month and let the results speak for themselves.
I’d love to hear how you get on.
Here’s to healthy eating living the vegan way.