May 26, 2013

Invited Review : Healthy Eating Workshop @ That Little Wine Bar

I was enticed to participate in this workshop as the invitation sounded too good to be missed. Imagine : How much do we know and understand about the food that we put into our mouths day in and out? 

This workshop was hosted by none other than Chef Tommes, the owner and Chef of That Little Wine Bar and Irrawaddy Fine Foods. I must say it was a very informative and enjoyable 2 hours plus that I had in a long time.
To start off, Chef Tommes was punctual in starting the workshop, something that I too am quite particular of (time). Tommes then proceeded to hit the punchline of "What is considered food and what does food mean to us?"

Throughout the workshop, Chef shared with us about how our body manages the food we eat, how to select fresh ingredients, what are good food and how to make them or where to get them.

We learnt how our body reacts to Sugar, Salt and Fat. For example, the reason we get addicted to food is because of the Salt (NaCl) content, not Sugar actually. However, sweetness is the one triggering happiness.

Why do people get diabetic? That's due to prolonged effect of Insulin pump over-working and ends up giving up its ability to get Glucose out of the blood stream to places the body needs it. As we all know, too much sugar results in Obesity because excess Sugar becomes Fat.  

If diabetic folks were to go on a 3 weeks diet consuming raw vegetables with minimum amount of carbohydrate, they will actually become diabetic-free after which! Which makes us wonder what carbohydrate can do, and why we should keep an eye on its intake.

Everything with starch contains sugar and sugar gives us energy. Glucose or Fructose (from fruits), on the other hand, also gives us sugar, but it goes into the blood stream much faster and in turn exits from the blood stream much faster compared to Sugar as well. 

Many people may also have a perception that they will be able to slim down or lose weight by skipping breakfast, which is a completely wrong theory. The only effect that skipping breakfast will take is GAINING weight. So remember peeps! Always have a good and healthy breakfast every morning!

Chef also shared with us that our body can only digest either Magnesium or Calcium at any one time. The best time to be consuming Magnesium is during early morning as a kick-start to our brain. Good sources of Magnesium include green vegetables like Broccoli. Calcium, on the other hand, can ideally be consumed before bedtime as it helps to make us feel tired for a better sleep. 

Sometimes, we love to patronize Seafood Restaurants and choose the fish right from the tank itself to be assured of its freshness - however such fresh fishes often than not still contain protein which are harder for our body to digest. The protein from a decomposed fish are easier for our body to digest so we are actually better off to get our protein from fishes bought from wet markets.

Speaking of fish, Tommes continued to share about the higher fat content contained in deep sea fishes such as Tuna, Cod (black, white, silver) and Salmon; whereas local fishes are warm mater fishes which contain lesser amount of fat; naturally due to the warm water that they inhabit in not requiring too much fat to keep them warm.

As for shopping for food in Supermarket, the rule of thumb is to always go for those with more 'humble' packaging instead of those 'loud' ones, and avoid those containing artificial sweetening. 

Tommes also answered some questions raised by the participants e.g. how to tell if an egg is still good for consumption? The older an egg gets, the more air gets inside the egg so we can easily tell if a egg had gone bad - just try to put it inside a bowl of water - if it floats on top of it, please chuck it in the bin as it had gone bad. 

Another guide on oil is that the less taste it has - the better the oil is, e.g. grape seed oil. If we were to opt for vegetable oil - go for those which is derived from one type of vegetable, instead of many different vegetables.

Chef prepared a couple of Real Food for us to sample and enjoy:-

Strawberry Marmalade on Home-made Bread

Strawberry marmalde was thick and the only sweetness stemmed from the strawberries themselves. The bread looked plain but tasted light - simple delights

Oat Cookies

These babies were simply marvelous - flavorful yet original - goodness assured.
Glutton-free Sausages

These sausages were not overly springy but had good tastes to them. Most importantly, they are healthy version to the ones easily found in the market today.

Chef Tommes in action (no, he's not part of the food served :P)

Fresh O.J. (Orange Juice) - sugar-free

Only one word to describe - Refreshing.

The workshop session ended with a very good Food for Thought from Chef Tommes: Always eat following the rule of Sustenance vs. Enjoyment. We should follow a good ratio of eating for Sustenance and splurge once in a while on eating for Enjoyment.