After being a DJ for 15 years, I found that my lifestyle had become very erratic. Performing on stage for long hours came with its own set of hazards and due to my irregular sleep and diet patterns, I discovered that I had borderline levels of increased uric acid, diabetes and cholesterol.
That was when I realised that I needed to make a lifestyle change which would directly affect my blood sugar levels and my overall health.
During that period, I was told to consume raw greens and curry leaf juice daily. While it was a nightmare for my mother to make these special juices and foods every day, I thought there would be many other people who battle lifestyle diseases like me. That was when I launched my venture 'Flax', which is a health food cafe, located in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and soon to be launched in Delhi too.
The Super Bowl
The main feature on my menu is the 'Super Bowl'. Bowl food is a very popular concept among food enthusiasts today and I named our bowls, the 'Super Bowls'.
Grain bowls, harvest bowls, Buddha bowls, smoothie bowls, burrito bowls, poke bowls, KFC mashed potato bowls—from a mix of superfoods to regular meals, people are eating more food than ever out of bowls, than opting for regular plates now. Most people are filling these bowls with a new style of layered grains and vegetables— to create a unique blend of flavours and ingredients.
What are bowl foods?
Noodles, porridge, oats, cereals, soup, stews and dumplings are usually eaten out of bowls, so this is not the ‘bowl food trend’ that we are talking about. There is another category of “bowl food”, which is the rage now, which is all about dishes that could be enjoyed on a plate, but taste much better when eaten in a bowl. These are also healthier because of the carefully chosen foods that are served in it.
There is usually a base layer of whole grains, or greens, topped with richly flavoured foods like grilled chicken and then sprinkled with fresh ingredients like green onions, and herbs, and then, a sauce is sometimes added to tie it all together.
The "Super Bowl" is one of our categories of meals and is the most popular item on our menu. We call them "Power Meals" as they are packed with flavours, nutrients like proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, probiotics, to name a few. All the bowls offer well-balanced meals.
If you want to make a ‘Super Bowl’, the main focus ought to be on balanced eating with no compromise on flavour and balanced nutritional intake. Most bowls have a formation which consists of greens, grains, protein and carbohydrates, which makes it a wholesome meal.
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Types of bowl foods
There are many different types of 'bowls' in my restaurants. There are the Mediterranean bowls, Falafel bowls and Moroccan bowls (that consist of hummus, greens, vegetables and protein). All are garnished with healthy spices, so that you don’t have any more cravings after eating a serving of ‘bowl food’.
A well-made 'bowl' is a full meal that can satisfy your taste buds, satiate your appetite and keep you fit as a fiddle at the same time.
Health is wealth
Bowls have become popular since most people are concerned about their health these days and are very aware of the importance of proper nutrition. However, since our lifestyles today are stressful, you will need to find a way to stay healthy by eating the right kinds of food.
The best way to staying healthy is maintaining a healthy gut. Most lifestyle diseases can be linked to the gut. The right foods can keep give you all the nutrition you need and nothing is as good as a bowl of carefully curated food.
Bowl food is actually very simple. It is in the most basic sense constructed in a spiral format wherein you get to visualise all its ingredients. Bowls are good for portion control and if you finish a full bowl, you're most likely full and have partaken of a balanced meal.
Balance is the key
I have always believed in balance. I could never go on a crash diet or a high protein or low carb diet. I believe we all need a balance of everything in our lives.
I find balance in a’ bowl’ due to its structure and the psychological concept of it being filling and nutritious.
At a time when many people were focusing on salads and diets, we decided to create a balance of nutrition and flavour in a bowl. That’s how the idea of the Super Bowl was born.
We create meals out of healthy ingredients like whole grains, lean meats, and fresh produce and these wholesome foods quickly add up in calories. A bowl containing two cups of brown rice, one chicken breast, and half a large avocado already clocks in at over 700 calories.
And that's even before you add a drizzle of sauce, sprinkle of cheese, or an ever-coveted over-easy egg on top.
Balance is the key when making healthy choices, and bowls are no exception.
While all bowls that I create are balanced, nutrient-rich and flavourful, my go-to is the Lebanese Bowl. It is high in protein, fibre and probiotics. The most popular amongst the customers are the Smoothie bowls, Acai Bowls, Poke and Buddha bowls.
It's hard to ascertain the estimated origination or the theory behind bowl food. Personally, I believe, it goes way back to Gautam Buddha Dynasty. He ate little and didn’t focus much on food at all. However, he did eat from a bowl and, like the Buddhist monks in traditional societies, he ate what was placed in the bowl by villagers and followers out of charity.
We are in the day of ‘mindfulness’ and ‘Zen trend’ and this has spilled over into food and nutrition. For ideal digestion and weight loss success, we are advised to eat mindfully, pay attention to what we eat, know what it tastes like and chew it well. Listen to your body’s signal when it’s had enough.
Is the bowl like the ‘thali’?
Creating my bowls have been all about taking the best of world cuisines and tweaking them to the Indian palate and it has been quite an experience.
Seemingly, we've been able to hit the spot, but of course, change is constant and on the basis of the feedback we receive, we keep improvising further for good.
The orientation of the bowl is very similar to the Indian thali concept so psychologically it sits right there, both being circular and both offering a variety of foods.
Bowl foods are here to stay since they offer balance and nutrition in a bowl. Fruit bowls and raw veggie bowls will also become popular when people realise how healthy they are. Fruits are a great source of energy if consumed at the right time. We will soon be launching gourmet, poke (raw fish) and acai bowls.
All in all, bowl food is here to stay and is gaining popularity by the day. With so much flexibility and possibilities in the menu, you can enjoy a variety of foods and ingredients and savour a complete and balanced meal each time.