I shared a picture of this super yummy recipe on Instagram last week and based on the string of comments that came in, it sounded like the recipe for this Thai Noodle Salad was one hot commodity!
I have to say though, when I was shooting the photos for this blog post, I thought to myself “How many more Thai-inspired dishes can I put on my blog? / Haven’t I already created this recipe?” There are so many more recipes I still have and want to create for you, and yet somehow I justified to bring you a Sweet Potato Pad Thai, Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai and now a Thai Noodle Salad – ha!
I’m sure you’re picking up what I’m throwing down at this point. I LOVE all things Thai and the flavours that Thai cuisine offers. It’s like my taste buds and palette can never get enough. So whenever the opportunity strikes, I take it. I just want to understand it. Indulge in it. Let the delicate flavours dance on my taste buds! ALL OF IT!
It’s important that we allow ourselves to do that. A lot of people suppress their cravings thinking they’re “bad” or that even a hunger signal like a grumbling stomach is bad and that we should try to get rid of it. The truth is that when we simply allow ourselves to have what our body is asking for, we end up feeling satisfied and content. When we deprive ourselves of giving our bodies what it wants, it can build a novelty or obsession around that specific food(s) and make us develop uncontrollable desires for that food which can potentially lead to overeating or binge eating.
A neurotransmitter known as Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is produced by the brain and triggers our drive to consume carbohydrates, which is actually the body’s preferred source of energy due to its ability to boost energy levels (or blood sugar) faster than protein or fat. When we deprive ourselves of certain foods or under eat/skip meals as a method of dieting and losing weight, NPY goes into high gear and makes the body more inclined to seek out carbohydrates. This often leads to overeating or binging on high-carbohydrates. See? It’s science, not will power – so stop being so hard on yourself!
The lesson here is to honour your hunger – a lesson derived from the practice of Intuitive Eating which is to live in tune with the signals your body is giving you combined with gentle nutrition knowledge. The best way to start honouring your hunger is to listen for it. Listen and feel the light growling, turning or mild gurgling. Ask yourself what your hunger level is out of 10 (1 being starving and 10 being sickly full). If you’re around a 3-4, eat. If you’re anywhere above that (5 being neutral), ask yourself: am I actually hungry, or am I looking to turn to food to soothe another emotion?
Not only did I honour my hunger when I made this Thai Noodle Salad but I listened to my body’s desires too. My body was itching for the light, refreshing and fueling properties (okay, and the beautiful Thai flavours) that this Thai Noodle Salad provides so I went for it! Zero regrets, zero guilt (as there shouldn’t be). I hope you find it pleases you in the same way!
Thai Noodle Salad
- 1 package (450g) of rice noodles (or half to make it less noodle-y)
- 1 head of romaine, sliced thinly
- 1-2 cooked organic chicken breasts, diced
- 1 red pepper, julienned
- 2-3 carrots, julienned
- 2 green onions, minced
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 2 heaping tbsp almond or organic peanut butter
- 3 tbsp tamari
- 2-3 tbsp avocado or olive oil
- 1-2 tbsp raw honey
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 lime, freshly squeezed
- 1-inch knob of ginger, minced
- Fill a medium-large pot with water and bring to a boil. Toss noodles in and cook for ~7 minutes (don’t let them get to a mushy state). When done cooking, transfer to a strainer and rinse under cold water until noodles are completely cooled. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil or sesame oil to prevent noodles from sticking together.
- Prepare romaine, carrots, red pepper and green onions as directed. Toss into bowl with noodles with raw cashews.
- Whisk dressing together in a separate measuring cup and drizzle over noodle salad. Toss with tongs to ensure salad is completely covered.
How have you found listening to your hunger to impact your overall relationship with food?