Eat chilli, lose weight – Ubud Community News

It took me a little by surprise the first time a shop assistant gave me change in an unusual form.

I had just bought some groceries in a shop in Ubud and I smiled to the assistant as I handed over my 50,000 rupiah note.  She smiled back as she handed me a 20,000 note along with two individually wrapped sweets.  Her smile was too nice for me to even question it.  I simply walked away slightly bemused with the words “ah yes, remember, you are in Bali now” as if that explained everything – which of course it did.

I realised that the sweets were an alternative to small change which they obviously didn’t have.  I have to admit that the candies were delicious, not to mention being interesting as I had never tasted either Mango or Tamarind flavoured sweets before.  They just aren’t the type of flavours you get back in the UK, although maybe they should be as people are usually keen to taste different things.

The next time I went to that shop I actually bought a packet of both sweets and this got me wondering if there was a new market for sweet manufacturers back there in the UK.  Perhaps they could provide samples of their sweets to selected retailers to give out with change as a promotion.

As soon as the idea formed in my head I immediately saw the downside, the chances are that the staff would just nibble away all day at the free candy and the customers would be none the wiser.

I then started pondering, why is it that Balinese shop staff aren’t doing that?  Why is their working area not strewn with sweet wrappers and their waistlines getting wider?  I developed two theories on this.

Firstly, I thought that Indonesians just don’t have a sweet tooth the way a lot of people do in the west.  Although I soon realised that this idea was contradicted by the fact that coffee served automatically comes with sugar, as do fruit juices and even the glass for an avocado juice is laced with chocolate.  Then there are the rainbow coloured cakes and rice cakes (which, of course, are usually eaten after the gods have consumed their essence).  Furthermore, lots of sweetened coconut milk is used in iced drinks such as Es Buah or Es Campur (Es meaning, of course, ice) and condensed milk seems popular too.  Hmmm, so my first theory is flawed as the Balinese do have a sweet tooth.

If your mouth is on fire the last thing you want is something sweet!!

Let’s go straight to theory number two – Chilli.  Well the Chilli theory works for me anyway and it goes like this…. I eat a delicious Balinese meal which is hot and spicy, just the way I like it.  I find that not only am I full up but I really don’t fancy snacking on cakes and desserts because the idea of something sweet, while my mouth is on fire with hot Balinese spices that continue burning and simmering for hours, just isn’t appealing.  Why would I want to take away those wonderful lingering spicy flavours with something sugary?

So, the less I snack the less weight I gain.  Hey, so not only have I found a reason to explain why Balinese shop assistants might not eat all the ‘change’ because their tongues are on fire, but I’ve also come across a great slimming idea for the rest of us.

So if you want to lose a few pounds, make sure you ask for extra chilli / sambal on your next meal and see if my theory, not yet scientifically proven, works for you too.

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