I'm excited to go back to Thailand this December! I'd only been to Bangkok once for a short trip and I remember plenty of delicious food! When I got back, J and I frequent Thai Dara here in N. Domingo before they transferred to Kapitolyo. It's been a while though coz we have lots of other cuisines competing for our attention nowadays. A great reminder just came along this month when Mango Tree Restaurant invited me to this mindful eating talk with speaker Lia Bernardo. Oh, how fitting it was to reunite my senses to the unique flavors of Thai food, to ignite my curiosity for the classic food ingredients (as well as herbs and spices) one can find in Thailand and much more (I have some recipes in my post too below) :) I know more or less what to add to my itinerary while I'm there now haha.
These days, I spend a few minutes of my morning watering this gift and as I see it grow, I am also reminded to be mindful even for just a while. Thank you so much, Mango Tree =)
If you don't know, there's a Mango Tree Thai Restaurant at The Fort (BGC), Trinoma (Quezon City) and Greenbelt 5 (Makati).
I met personal growth and integrative health consultant Lia Bernardo in this event. She talked about how integral the role of food is, and often neglected, to our wellbeing. Sugar, for one, she says contributes to acidity. She also talked about food colors and food shapes.
I admittedly tend to forget about, or not appreciate enough, what I put in my mouth even as I eat.
Have you heard of Kirlian photography? I haven't and it just might be an interesting way of seeing things. And she explained how this depicts a certain energy or aura that objects emit.
Perhaps cooking does take away some of the nutrients in food or using chemicals when planting. For me though, my stomach can't take eating so much salad at the moment according to my doc. What I mean is we each have to do a bit of searching and matching when it comes to our own bodies and what's good for us. What is great about hearing others' take on food is the added attention we get in terms of our health and the food we always consume.
There's a lemon water phenomenon happening around me (like my immediate family members placing a slice of lemon in their water every day for its alkalising effect). She recommends using cold water. Diseases grow in an acidic environment so you can either do lemon water or cucumber water she says. She also recommends soaking veggies in 1 tbsp. vinegar with 5 cups of water to clean them for 1 hour.
I might just give one of these herbs as healing aids a try one day hehe. It might work for my body though I have to watch out for my gastritis coming back or consult a doctor if something is amiss =) I made sure to note the oregano oil tip she gave us for traveling. She said one drop is great for food poisoning. Malunggay also has more Vitamin C, as well as potassium, and you don't get acidic.
One thing that I haven't liked in terms of taste is ginger or its relative the turmeric (or luyang dilaw). Perhaps I stay away from it enough that I haven't found that one turmeric dish that will alter my dislike to like in terms of taste... Lia recommends 1500 mg a day of turmeric to make you happy. It increases serotonin and gives you glowing skin. It's also an anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory and a detoxifier. You mix it with black pepper to be absorbed much faster. Do not take it with other supplements though because it is a "binding agent" (removes everything). Although it was tempting, I wouldn't try to take too much of it because my gastro told me to stay away from spicy like ginger and food that can irritate my stomach for some time.
We have an abundance of buko trees in our teeny farm and I do believe the infection healing properties of this diuretic. Have you tasted the coconut they sell ice cold in Bangkok streets though? It's sooo addictive and good! I wonder how it differs from our local variety...
She recommends trying coconut milk as a substitute for milk (like coconut milk and coffee hehe) and coco sugar or palm sugar (or yakon) as a sweetener instead of white sugar. Coconut oil is also better for frying than olive oil because the latter is not meant for burning at high temperature, she said.
Just before we could devour the plates of Thai food being served in front of us, Lia throws in this slide to be mindful from this site Eating Mindfully hahaha.
I had to take a step back, slow down and put down my camera. I'm glad I did instead of chowing down this Tom Yum soup. There was a moment when I zoned in the food and actually didn't hear some parts of the talk... The dish was well balanced with a little bit of everything - sweet, tangy, savory and a lot more adjectives that floated out of my head I kid you not... Along with the thought of how I missed Thai food so much...
Before that, she introduced Kaffir lime or markut lime to us. My mom gave me a plot of land where I could plant whatever I want and I'm really considering on growing one and actively looking for it in Thailand after this. Have you ever heard of galangal? It's the ginger-looking one they use in Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian dishes below and tastes like "pepper and ginger". She says it's good for motion sickness and hiccups hehe.
I wonder if she was referring to Thai tamarind or the Philippine ones. I once cooked Sinigang in Thai Tamarind and it tasted so sweet hahaha. She said that you can boil tamarind, turmeric and coco sugar into a tonic to give you good skin..
The lemongrass makes a bowl of Tom Yum aromatic and very special. We grow this in our front yard and the neighbors just keep asking for more haha. She talks about lemongrass tea naturally refreshing your body if you have hot flushes. Lemongrass is a natural insect repellant, fever reducer and natural deodorant. Just mix lemongrass oil with witch hazel or vodka to keep the mosquitoes away.
Cucumbers, she said, can be used to alkalinise your water. My second hate-st herb is in here and it's cilantro! Haha. It's a heavy metal detoxifier though, she said. You can put a quarter cup or a handful of leaves in the blender with water and drink it immediately for 10 days on and 5 days off for 5 cycles.
Oddly enough, when they served it this way, that cilantro took the nutty pomelo salad to another level
like the chili they put in this Som Thum Thai that gave an extra umph to this already yummy papaya salad.
They served us Phad Pak Bung Fa Daeng which had stir-fried morning glory or kangkong (I was trying to avoid this because I heard it's a dirt seeper, also known as swamp cabbage). The flavor though and other benefits presented like made it a never-eat-again veggie to a might-be-in-moderation (and if from ok sources).
Here are some recipes you might want to try ;)
Kai Jiew Hom Recipe
1/4 cup tomatoes (small, diced)
onion (halved, thinly sliced)
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
Thai sriracha sauce
Beat the egg until bubbles form. Add seasoning and tomatoes. Heat oil in a wok (medium to high heat). Fry the egg when the oil is hot until brown on each side.
Phad Pak Bung Fai Daeng Recipe
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
3 - 4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 large bunch water spinach (washed, cut into 4 cm.)
1 tbsp. brown bean sauce (dta ow jiaw)
1-2 tbsp. fish sauce (or more to taste)
1 tsp. sugar (or more to taste)
Combine oyster sauce bean sauce, fish sauce and sugar in a bowl. Heat oil in wok on high heat. Throw in garlic and chili. Stir quickly until garlic starts to change color. Put in water spinach and toss a few times. Add bean sauce mix and stir fry for about 2 minutes until all the leaves are dark green and stems have softened.
For lunch, I wanted more of this soup! I think it's Tom Ka Gai - like tom yum with coconut milk.
We also had the usuals - Pad Thai, Pandan Leaf Chicken and Red Curry. The Tago coconut pudding was a smooth and silky ending.
I got to take home a basil plant (yey!). I think planting or taking care of a plant does encourage (and forces) me to be mindful as I am one who needs constant reminders all the time.
So, thru this post, I also want to remind you to get a dose of your Thai food in Manila that's good for you hehe. It was very good to know that the Mango Tree team does look out for your health as an international franchise. ;)
Savoring the Healthy Kitchen Foodie Flavors of Thai Dishes, Herbs, Spices and Ingredients - Mindful Eating with Lia Bernardo at Mango Tree Restaurant in Bonifacio Global City, Manila!