Eating Healthy in Phuket

Spoiler alert: it’s not a difficult task to accomplish. When we say eating healthy, we’re not talking about anything too extreme like vegan or paleo diets and avoiding all those tasty things that make life worth living. Life is about balance so the “everything in moderation” philosophy is likely the one that’s going to be the most practical to live by for the majority of people.

Green Curry Cr: Howtocookhub

Let’s take a look at Thai food. For the most part, many Thai dishes are pretty healthy. For those who enjoy Thai food (which you should perhaps question why you live here if you don’t), eating a variety of dishes is key. If you eat green curry or papaya salad for every meal, that’s probably not the healthiest diet. Green curry typically has a lot of coconut cream which is high in saturated fat, and papaya salad is almost always made with generous amounts of MSG (monosodium glutamate, a salt) which will eventually leave you with high blood pressure and other health problems. 

Spring Rolls Cr: wongnai

As is the case with many cuisines around the world, you can take an extremely healthy dish and one easy technique to make it unhealthy. It’s called deep frying. Just look at Thai spring rolls. The fresh version is made with a sticky rice wrap stuffed with lettuce, cucumber, carrots, rice noodles, basil, bean sprouts, and sometimes shrimp. Sounds super healthy? It’s just about as healthy as you can get. To magically transform it into one of the most unhealthy Thai dishes, toss it in a vat of hot oil for a few minutes. Right now you’re thinking, “but, those fried ones are just so tasty”. Like we discussed earlier, everything in moderation. Make a deal with yourself: eat the fresh one nine times and the tenth time you’ve earned a fried one. 

Fried rice Cr: jirattikan07112545

Certain Thai dishes aren’t necessarily unhealthy, but lacking in nutrients. Fried rice is a good example. Typically fried rice doesn’t have much of whatever else is supposed to be in there like chicken or seafood. This leaves you with a big plate of mostly just rice which isn’t terrible, but it’s not going to have a ton of nutrition in it. When possible, request brown rice; actually, just request brown rice for every meal. Why? Although white rice has a longer shelf life, cooks faster, and adds less flavor to interfere with your culinary masterpieces, it’s a shell of its former self. Actually, it’s the shell that is removed in processing which consists of germ and bran. This leaves starchy white rice with less fiber, less important vitamins and minerals, and is less filling. 

Another heart-wrenching fact we have to drop on you has to do with that incredible Thai iced tea you get everyday from your local drink stand. Let’s face it, barring a handful of exceptions, nothing that tasty is ever good for you. While recipes vary, there are typically copious amounts of sugar added in the form of crystallized sugar and condensed milk. Condensed milk is full of saturated fats and calories. You can order it less sweet (wan noi), but it’s usually still very sweet.

Phad Naw Mai Cr: Youtube

Luckily, Thai food is one of the healthiest cuisines in the world. You can also find dishes like khao soi and phad naw mai which contain fermented cabbage and fermented bamboo shoots respectively. Fermented foods are known to have lots of beneficial bacteria and nutrients that nourish the gut.

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