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Why Are Thai People So Skinny? Try Thai Green Curry

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As a certified health and wellness coach, I love discussing food, health benefits, and how to keep weight in check.

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.

Street Food in Bangkok

Street Food in Bangkok

Spicy!

Spicy!

It’s in the Food

1. Thai Chillies

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.

Limes Sublime

Limes Sublime

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.

Fragrant Kaffir Leaves

Fragrant Kaffir Leaves

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.

Gnarly-looking Galanga

Gnarly-looking Galanga

5. Galanga

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.


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Thai Green Curry With Chicken and Lemon Grass

Thai Green Curry With Chicken and Lemon Grass

How To Make Thai Curry

Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Lemon Grass

Ingredients:

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.


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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.


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Comments

anglnwu (author) on April 01, 2011:

Thanks, Bernard Horne, visit Thailand--you'll learn so much more about the friendly people and the wonderful food.

Bernard Horne on March 31, 2011:

I wanan know more about Thailand

anglnwu (author) on September 30, 2010:

Thanks, Thai Green Curry. Please linked away--thank you so much.

Thai Green Curry on September 29, 2010:

Thanks for the information. I will link to your post if u don't mind...

Yeah Most This people are skinny lol.

Jenny

anglnwu (author) on August 24, 2010:

Hayley, you're right. Overeating will never work, no matter what diet one is on. Congrats on your ability to stay slim.

Hayley on August 24, 2010:

Yeap This works! But If you over eat in one sitting it wont , After meeting my Partner 8 years ago who is from chiang mai I have noticed I have stayed slim even after having a baby ! I Love thai food and chilli's!

anglnwu (author) on April 19, 2010:

James, thanks for taking time off your exciting trip to Thailand to comment. Thai food is so delicious, now, I wish I'm there too. Enjoy your stay!

James on April 19, 2010:

Thank you very much, your information is reasuring as iam in thailand with my partner, and we have eaten thai green curry and panang curry multiple times, everyday!! Its so delicious.....going for another on noe

anglnwu (author) on March 22, 2010:

You're welcome, hypnodude!

Andrew from Italy on March 22, 2010:

Thanks for linking back. :)

anglnwu (author) on March 21, 2010:

hynodude, yes, please linked away--you're doing me a great favor and I'll be happy to return it. Thanks again and see you around.

Andrew from Italy on March 21, 2010:

anglnwu, I forgot to tell you that I've added a link here from my hub on weight loss. :) I hope it's fine for you.

anglnwu (author) on March 15, 2010:

Suki, thanks for your comments. I grow my own lemon grass too. I used to grow chillies but now my gardening interests have been overtaken by hubbing...sob. If you need kaffir leaves and galangal, you can always order online. Thumbs up for your use of herbs--I love all kinds of herbs myself.

Barbara C from Andalucia, Spain on March 15, 2010:

I love Thai food - I grow my own lemon grass & chillies, but, here in Spain, it's very hard to find kaffir lime leaves and galangal!

(I also use a lot of of coriander (cilantro), garlic and ginger)

Support Med. from Michigan on March 15, 2010:

Very interesting. It's good to know we can add more to our food to actually help us lose weight.

anglnwu (author) on March 04, 2010:

hypnodude, thanks for your wonderful support. I'm your fan too!

Andrew from Italy on March 04, 2010:

Great hub, very well written and very interesting. Rated, stumbled and bookmarked. And you have another fan. :)

anglnwu (author) on January 02, 2010:

Haha--good thing, there are some Thai food that are not too spicy. TS Garp, thanks for your comments. I agree--some foods are thermogenic by themselves and it would be a good idea to incorporate some of these foods in our diet. Once again, I greatly appreciate your useful comments.

TS Garp on January 02, 2010:

I knew it came down to certain types of foods. Great ingredients! Lemon Grass, lime, and curry, I've had but it's hard for me to eat the chillies. Even though I like Thai food a lot. :)

anglnwu (author) on October 22, 2009:

You're right on. Thanks for visiting.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on October 22, 2009:

I think the point is use the natural remedies. Also using it in cooking.

anglnwu (author) on June 14, 2009:

Ahhh--thanks--now, it makes sense:)

Rob Welsh from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. on June 14, 2009:

I Don't Understand... They're The Best!!

anglnwu (author) on June 14, 2009:

Hi Pearldiver, I absolutely love Thai food--I can eat it every day and not get sick. I'm Chinese but I enjoy cooking Thai dishes as well. So, tell me what does that thai phrase mean? (why are thai girls so skinny--beats the crap out of me?)

Thanks for visiting and I'm off to visit yours.

anglnwu (author) on June 14, 2009:

Right, Cindyvine, there are unskinny ones in Thailand, thank God, so we don't feel so bad. But as a general rule, there are many skinny ones around.

Thanks for your comment, and one more thing, don't you just like the food in Thailand?

/Brenda Scully, good question and no one easy to answer to it--the world is more interesting if people come in all shapes and sizes. Thanks for dropping by.

\Brenda Scully on June 14, 2009:

Why are people so skinny ..... good question, great hub....

Cindy Vine from Cape Town on June 14, 2009:

Hmmm having lived in Thailand for 4 months I did see some unskinny ones!

Rob Welsh from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. on June 14, 2009:

Nice easy recipes with most Thai dishes and so tasty ..Absolutely Love Thai.

Why are Thai girls so slim? Umm.. Mai Khaw Jai.. .. tee dee sOOt..

anglnwu (author) on May 31, 2009:

Sounds like good advice--I just drink ice-water, though.

Thank you for visiting.

ReuVera from USA on May 30, 2009:

I love spicy food, but my stomach aches after I eat too spicy stuff.... One Korean girl told me that if my mouth is burning from spicy food it is better to drink soda (like Sprite or 7up), not water. Additional calories, though....

anglnwu (author) on May 28, 2009:

Coconut is a big part of most South East Asian food--especially curry. Coconut milk has high fat content but it's very good for the skin.

Thanks for comments.

jim10 from ma on May 28, 2009:

Thanks for the recipe. I love spicy food. I read somewhere that coconut is a big part of Thai food and it is very good for losing weight.

anglnwu (author) on May 11, 2009:

Thanks for your comments.

mmiller on May 11, 2009:

Interesting article! Loved learning something new about Thai culture. Thank you!

anglnwu (author) on May 10, 2009:

Thanks for stopping by. Green curry is mild compared to yellow and red curry. Happy trying.

marisuewrites from USA on May 10, 2009:

wow, what an interesting walk thru Thai culture and cuisine. Thank you, and I like spicy but will try this in small doses...=))

anglnwu (author) on May 09, 2009:

Nice to hear from u--l'm a Christian too--not to just get into your good books, but it's nice to know that you're so bold about your faith.

Love Toronto--such a food haven--been there and we can actually walk into any restaurant and know that we'll get good food.

einron from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on May 09, 2009:

I am no cook, but I like eating all types of food, Thai, French, Japanese, Malaysian, Indian, Chinese, Italian, and Greek etc. We have all types of food here in Toronto and we do frequent the restaurant food every week.

anglnwu (author) on May 08, 2009:

Thanks Dottie, for dropping by. It's not just the green Thai curry--I believe it's the ingredients used. Spices are thermogenic--they raise metabolic rate. My husband eats very little and is quite big, whereas I eat 5 meals a day and am petite. Go figure!

That said, thanks for all your help. I should find the forum on Hub angel and add you to the list.

Dottie1 from MA, USA on May 08, 2009:

So that's my neighbors secret how she stays so skinny, thai green curry! My neighbor is from Thailand, she drives the car everywhere and her American husband rides his bike everyday yet she is the skinnier one. I wonder what he's eating at night or maybe he doesn't like green curry. I'll have to ask!

anglnwu (author) on May 06, 2009:

I must say you're very adventurous--from Siberian cold cuts to hot exotic concoctions--very cool!

Misha from DC Area on May 06, 2009:

Don't really remember the exact number, but quite a few LOL

anglnwu (author) on May 06, 2009:

Thanks for dropping by. So how many glasses of water did u drink after consuming the green mango salad? Spicy Thai food rocks.

Misha from DC Area on May 06, 2009:

Awww, green curry is great! Not to say that red curry is worse though, I just love both :) However, the most spicy dish I tried there was green mango salad, it was a real killer :D

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