Chet Adkins, Chef/Owner of JUA Izakaya and Little Market is a dear friend and one of our favorite chefs in Bangkok. He knows how to make meals that are extremely high in quality, wholesome, and delicious. One fine Saturday night, while enjoying his poke bowl alongside the best burger in Bangkok, we started chatting about the food industry and how everyone is moving to healthier choices. This is when I decided he would be the perfect person to interview about this topic as he loves food as much as my husband and I do combined (now that's a lot of love) but he also understands the importance of taking care of himself.
Have a read of our discussion below and feel free to leave comments with your opinion on this topic.
As a chef with restaurants focused on yakitori and cheeseburgers, what do you think about the global gravitation to a plant based diet?
I think there should be balance. If we as humans want to achieve balance in life as well as on earth there must be balance. If we all ate only plants the ecosystem of the earth would be unbalanced. The same goes for eating meat. Everyone can’t eat just one or the other. I also think the way big corporations are marketing what they call plant based meat are basically feeding people super processed food. This food is as bad or worse than eating fast food (which in its definition is horrible for your body).
I have a HUGE sweet tooth and after endless research that shows sugar is essentially the devil, I'm really trying to be more conscious of the amount of sweets I intake. In your opinion, what are the "healthiest" natural foods I should have to satisfy my craving?
I always eat fruit for my sweet tooth. If you choose the right fruits they don’t contain as much sugars as most desserts you would buy somewhere. Fruits also have many different health benefits including dietary fiber, vitamins, anti-oxidants and nutrients. Thats why I will eat a pint of blueberries before a piece of cake.
There are so many people in the world with allergies and sensitivities to certain foods, do you notice the number of people with special requests increase in your customer base? If so, what are the most common foods that your clients are allergic to, and how do you substitute without compromising in flavor?
My girlfriend has a few major allergies so with that being said lately I have been thinking of her when I create new dishes. I have compassion for people who can’t eat certain things and do my best to cater to their needs by modifying a dish to suit the requirements.
Most people have common allergies like wheat, dairy, nuts etc. If you start creating a dish with this in mind there is no need to substitute, its already designed not to have these ingredients and will be as tasty as one with them included. Sometimes you just have to think of another source for that umami you are looking for to compliment the dish.
What are your thoughts on the concept of "food as medicine"?
I believe there needs to be much more research done on this. Indigenous people have been doing this for many centuries. I do know that when you are feeling like you're coming down with a cold you can use certain food as a defense against it with foods high in vitamins to boost your immune system. I think that food directly relates to health and your body will also crave what it needs when it needs it.
Sweet or savory? Which is worse for the human body, salt or sugar?
Your body needs both to survive. The key here is also balance. Not eating too much of either is best. I would say the sugar is worse, its in everything and hard to control intake. Too much of anything is not going to be good for you.
If there was one so-called unhealthy type of food or dish that you would never live without, what would it be and why?
Noodles! I can’t go a day or two without eating them as I love them so much. Living in Thailand it's hard to not eat them for me. I mean there is such variety that I could eat 10 different types a week and not get sick of them. They are my biggest weakness!
What is your advice regarding eating healthy to people who live to eat?
My advice would be to try to eat a variety of healthy foods all the time and save your big high calorie meals for eating out. Restaurants (most don’t care how much butter, sugar, salt etc. they put in their food) are trying to make the food so good that you can’t get enough of it. If you eat out all the time you should choose things that are as healthy as possible and save yourself for you guilty pleasures that you can’t live without. Happy Eating!! Stay Healthy!!
Essentially, Chet says a balanced diet is key. If you are interested to learn more about how to achieve and maintain a balance diet we will be happy to put you in touch with one of our experts in the field of nutrition and/or gut health.
Interview led by Devi Bajaj
Executive Director of Enliven Concierge
Below are links to some articles related to the topics above:
Food Allergies: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324094.php#1