I hope you are having a fabulous week! Today I wanted to share some inspirations from here in Thailand. There is a BOUNTY of Beauty Foods and amazing Beauty Secrets that I want to share with you that I’ve been learning about. Let’s start!
1. Save the Root!
First of all, you know when you buy cilantro at the market (hopefully, if you like the taste okay enough!) and throw in your GGS or salad, the first thing you do is chop off the leafy part then throw the root away? It was very interesting and surprising for me to see just the cilantro roots for sale at the Thai markets! They too use the leafy part to garnish Tom Yum and other dishes…but the root is a very potent flavoring that is used in the mortar and pestle in certain pastes, and also to flavor broth (we used the cilantro root specifically in several dishes in my cooking class!). Cilantro is a wonderful Beauty Detox Food, which has cleansing properties, and contains the minerals iron and magnesium and has anti-inflammatory properties. So the next time you buy a bunch of cilantro, save the root, clean it well and add it to the broth of your veggie soup for additional flavoring and beauty properties!
2. Centella Asiatica/Gotu Kola
In the streets of Bangkok, I became very curious about this green juice I happened to see everywhere. Then- Aha!- I found a sign in English. It is centella asiatica juice, aka gotu kola, which is an herb that is commonly used in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Gotu kola contains compounds that help increase collagen production, making it an amazing skin Beauty Food. It’s also great for promoting better circulation, for better glow in your pretty face and for healthy veins in your legs and around your body. After I learned about it, I started slurping it up when I came across it in the streets! You can get your own potted plants from certain growers, and try to grow your own. And your local market might even have it, as it can grow in many places. Look into it!
3. Bananas- Flowers and Leaves and All!
If you look at your local Asian market, you just might be lucky enough to find banana flowers and the green banana leaves. The banana flower is the purplish-red flowers growing at the end of the long banana stem. You can find it at most of the Thai markets here- and I have seen it very regularly. One of my Thai teachers said it has been known in Thailand to be an amazing food for women- helpful in regulating hormones, alleviating period cramps and great for pregnant women. The banana flower is rich in vitamins (such as C and A), flavonoids and amino acids. The banana flower has been used in traditional medicine to treat constipation, making it a digestive aid and a true Beauty Detox food (even just for that reason alone)! The extracts of banana flower have antioxidant properties that prevent free radicals and help minimize cell and tissue damage. If you can find it, peel it down to the white middle, and enjoy it raw, as I have here (above), making Raw Banana Flower Salad. Chop the white parts and add to lemon or lime water immediately, to prevent browning from oxidation. Then throw in a salad with other veggies as you like (bell peppers, spring onions, etc.) and prepare with your favorite dressing–like Kim’s Classic Dressing! If you can find it, be sure to choose the fresh ones which are tight and undamaged. The outer husks should be closely overlapped each other for freshness and best taste. In Thailand, banana leaves are used like aluminum foil. But instead of toxic chemicals- banana leaves impart good things into your food! They are used to wrap food prior to steaming and grilling. The leaf makes an excellent platter and food served on these leaves tastes delicious- some of the flavor seeps into what you are steaming. You don’t eat the leaves, but while steaming food some of the polyphenols are imparted to the food. See if you can check out banana leaves at your local market as well! This woman is a real banana leaf-rolling expert! I would pass her a lot on the street during my daily wanderings. I need a lot of practice, but in one way I rolled them with my teacher, it was like a very tight burrito or package (below). Then we tied bamboo string around them (or you can use any kind of twine or string you like). You can steam them for about an hour- adding veggies with brown rice, or beans and brown rice, or anything you like! Check out my upcoming Youtube video for some video instructions. This is a dessert we steamed with some beans and banana- no sugar added. In Beauty Detox I always say fruit only on an empty stomach, but as I talk about in more detail in the Glowing Lean System, banana is one fruit that you can be more lenient with, because it is a starchy fruit low in water (you can’t juice a banana). It digests slower than high water-containing fruits. That’s why it pairs okay with Raw Sprouted Buckwheat Granola. It’s not perfect Beauty Food Pairing to pair with the starchy beans (which we did soak overnight), perhaps, but it’s not the absolute worse thing either. It was a nice, yummy dessert treat. I wouldn’t steam the beans with other fruits though- like mango or pineapple! Here we used toothpicks to clip the corners into little containers, and steam a mushroom mixture. I need a lot of practice!! Again, if you can find some at the Asian market nearby or in a nearby city, just play with it. Keep scissors handy, and just use them to make neat squares or ovals, and see which work better for you. And again, in my next Youtube video, I am going to show part of a little video on banana leaf rolling! Stay tuned for that. :) 4. Natural cutting boards! I really love how here in Asia you see a lot of just natural tree stump-type cutting boards. Remember that everything- the way you cook, your energy while cooking and what you use to cook all affect the outcome. When you are using natural, beautifying foods, you should use natural surfaces as well whenever possible. You can use one for just your fruit, and one for your other veggies, to ensure savory items like garlic don’t seep a little bit into your fruit. I try to avoid plastic cutting boards- some are safe but some may have some compounds I really don’t want to ingest! 5. Green papaya and mangos Alongside the ripe ones, you’ll find the green varieties of papaya and mangos, which are loaded with beautifying and glow-enhancing enzymes and antioxidants. If you can find them, peel them and slice them up into a delicious, savory raw salad. Typical dressings can be based in lime juice, tamari and some fresh chili, and a dash of sweetness- perhaps from stevia, erythritol or coconut nectar. Yummy! 6. Coconuts! I know that you know that coconuts are a certified Beauty Detox food- that I included in The Beauty Detox Foods. They have been keeping me hydrated through this ultra hot period in Thailand, and I drink 3-4 a day. But what I found very interesting from one of my teachers here, that I had not heard before, is that for hundreds of years in Thailand, pregnant women have been told to drink lots of fresh coconut water to help with a smooth delivery and to help ensure a healthy baby with “clean” skin. Coconuts have been such an important part of the dietary culture of Thailand and so many other countries in the world they really have such a range of amazing properties. You can find coconut water pretty much everywhere now- but make you choose the kinds with no added sugars and not in aluminum cans. There are lots of brands – Taste Nirvana and the Harmless Harvest brands are a few good ones. I hope you enjoyed learning some more about some of the magical Beauty Foods I’ve been learning about here in Thailand- and I hope you can seek some of them out for yourself. See you back here soon! Stay connected and write to me questions you may have. With love and gratitude, xx Kimberly