Yes. I just put the words “Hot Bodies” and “Buddha” in a single post title, and skeezy-marketing-karma put a ladder in my pantyhose as I typed, just to wrap me over the knuckles in shame – but I’m pretty sure that’s the sum total of retribution to be visited upon me, because in essence this honey’s easy, delicious and really good for you, and deep down I’m harbouring a quiet hope that the Buddha would approve.
I am in reasonably hardcore get-in-shape mode. The last few years of hanging out with the handsome rogue who became my husband have given me both an excuse to stay in and eat large servings of starchy food, as well as someone to get up from the couch and fetch me, you know – some more wine and chocolate, please.
The ensuing casualty has been my waistline and ability to fit into my old clothes. This has been fine up until now, but recently I’ve started to get a little… impatient with dragging around a few extra kilos of lazy that aren’t doing my cardiovascular system, cholesterol levels, or self-esteem any favours.
So, I am in pursuit of (enlightened) hotness. “Easy!” I hear you say, “You’re a vegan! That’s almost cheating!”
We-ll, not really. See – when you don’t rely on animal proteins to bulk out the feeling of fullness in your tummy, it’s easy for those living a veganic dietary lifestyle to slip into the habit of a reliance on carbohydrates to keep us feeling like we’re not malnourished.
And you know the formula: Lots and lots of carbs + not lots and lots of exercise = fatty fatty fat fat.
The trick of course, is certainly not to eliminate carbs altogether from your diet (impossible and stupid), but to kick to the curb the evil whites, the refineds, the sugary-sugars, and the ridiculously simple. We bulk our daily intake out instead with wholegrains, and low-GI (Glycemic Index) options, carbohydrates that have high protein levels to match, and we combine carbs with other low-GI foods to bring the overall Glycemic Index rating down.
In a nutshell, this means that your blood sugar levels don’t spike so high, but you get a far steadier release of energy making it easier for your body to burn as fuel, rather than store as fat, and then ask for some more please, sir.
[No matter whether you're an omni, vego or vegan, GI is really worth taking a squiz at, and if you're curious about how it all works, I highly recommend The New Glucose Revolution. It's definitive, and makes crap-loads of healthy sense.]
Enter: Le Buddha Bowl
The concept of the Buddha Bowl has been around for a while. It’s heaven on a stick, food-balance and taste wise, and better still – it looks amazing. It kind of reminds me of a crazy-healthy bibimbab, or a DIY combination hotpot. But prettier.
I have co-opted and mashed-up this recipe courtesy of Anusara yoga celebrity-goddess-teacher-coach, Elena Brower, and vegan+raw food advocate & celebrity-crazy-sexy-cancer survivor, Kris Carr, and actually kind of just put my own très vegan-fusion-Asian-but-not-really spin on it.
It’s super-healthy, packed with a stupid amount of flavour, amazingly easy to make, and can be eaten for any meal of the day. Seriously. I got onto it because Elena Brower does it for breakfast, and I suck at breakfast.
The best thing about this dish is that it’s incredibly well-balanced in terms of nutrients, fibre, carbohydrates and proteins. This means maximum benefit from food that packs a seriously positive punch, keeps you fuller for longer, and helps you to begin peeling off excess lazy-bones-layers.
These were my ingredients today (Superéthique recommends cooking with fresh, organic produce wherever possible):
- Quinoa (available from health food stores/aisles & organic markets) – it’s super high in protein
- Green vegetables (especially leafy ones)
- Oil-cured olives
- Tamari (health food stores or organic markets)
- Apple cider vinegar (health food stores)
- Vegetarian sambal oelek (good specialty Asian stores)
- Gomasio (seaweed flakes & sesame seeds)
- Chia seeds (health food stores & most health food aisles)
I cooked the quinoa (after burning the first batch – I’m a terrible vegan, I know) using the light-n-fluffy absorption method (instructions for perfect cooking are easily googled or found in most contemporary recipe books), and then forked-whipped a little salt through it.
Leftover steamed veggies from last night (broccoli, cauliflower, green peas, cabbage & pumpkin) were re-sautéed with baby spinach leaves tossed through and wilted. These went atop the light-n-fluffy quinoa – but you could easily either just sauté or steam Asian greens, silverbeet, spinach or broccoli, etc. from scratch.
I then sliced up about 5 oil-cured mixed olives (some dodgy green & some not-so-dodgy kalamata), and a quarter of a perfectly ripe avocado.
I topped this off with a light sprinkle of both Chia seeds (you gotta get into these, guys) and Gomasio, and made a sweet, salty, spicy dressing of tamari sauce blended with vegetarian sambal oelek (a South East Asian staple, srsly), and a tiny bit of apple cider vinegar.
And that’s it. It was that simple. And oh, my goodness was it ever delicious.
I could have easily gone a little silken tofu, marinated for a few minutes in with the sambal-tamari sauce, or even just lightly heated on its own, and apparently miso paste is a butt-kickin’ sauce alternative, too.
The key with the Buddha Bowl is to play around with flavour and ingredients and to make it totally your own.
DIY fast food for hot bods? Um, yep. This is enlightened cuisine at its sexiest.