Buddha Bowls: The Unicorn Toast of the Health World

Walk into any Chinese restaurant and you are sure to be greeted by a stout gold statue with a bright smiling face and shiny belly so big you can check your reflection in it. When you meet this cheery little guy, you may be tempted to address him as Buddha. Lucky for you, he’s made of stone or plastic, because you have just made an embarrassing error. He is NOT the Buddha. His name is actually Budai, the Chinese deity of contentment. In Chinese Buddhism, he is typically considered a Bodhisattva, or one who will become a Buddha or enlightened being. He is not the original Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, who is typically depicted as tall, slender, and serene. So next time you pick up your takeout fix, don’t flub and call the fat guy the wrong name.

So why the little history lesson on the waistline of the Buddha? Well I have recently fallen in love with a tasty little dish, known as the Buddha Bowl. I checked the web to figure out where the namesake stems from. Most sources attribute the naming to the big bowl like appearance of the “Buddha’s” belly. But, like I said, the robust figure is not the true Buddha. I choose, instead, to use the name “Buddha Bowl” to refer to this delicious dish because it’s full of healthy and fresh goodness, which I believe the Buddha would approve of.

Where did the Bowl Begin?

Soical Medoa allowed people all around the world to share every minute detail of their lives from outfits, to workouts, and especially, food. When snapping and posting a food post, a simple meal will not do. No, people of the internet want the most colorful, eye-appealing, Instagram worthy meals possible. Food trends come and go, but right now it’s all about the unicorn food. Unicorn bread, unicorn cookie dough, and of course, the highly-sought after unicorn frappucino. However, within this desert full of neon sugar sand, a healthy green oasis exists: the Buddha Bowl. Buddha Bowls have taken over Pinterest as the unicorn treats for those of us that rather not consume a weeks worth of sugar in a single sitting or who need to take a break from all the sparkles. Buddha bowls can be just as eye appealing as other food trends. They feature bright green spinach, cherry red tomatoes, vibrant orange sweet potatoes, and alluring purple red onions- just as many rainbow streaks as a unicorn treat, with none of the guilt.


How to reach Buddha Bowl Bliss

You may be ready to step up your Instagram and health game with a Buddha Bowl, but how does one achieve Buddha heights? If you noticed the quote in the featured image, the Buddha states, “I will not look at another’s bowl intent on finding fault: a training to be observed.” Don’t look for fault in anyone’s Buddha Bowls, not even your own. No Eight Fold Path exists to creating the perfect Buddha bowl. The rules are quite simple- there really aren’t any. I searched through Pins to discover just what makes a bowl of goodness a Buddha bowl and never found a solid answer. All you truly need is a base of either greens or noodles, some veggies, hearty grains, a protein, and healthful toppings. The bowls are very popular among the vegan community, so typical proteins are plant based, like tofu, tempeh, or beans, but, I have seen people branch out with fish and chicken. The ingredients are really up to you. Your bowl, your business. If you still aren’t sure what to add, the graphic I found below can be a valuable tool.

buddha bowl graphic too
Photo Cred: The Good Hearted Woman 

What’s In My Bowl 

If you have read my meal prep efficiency guide, you know that I am a big supporter of meal prep. Meal prep allows you to have everything ready to go when you are ready to eat, saving you time and temptation. Buddha Bowls are perfect for meal prep. I simply chop up an assortment of veggies, prepare some grains and tofu, whip up a few sauces, and my bowls are ready to go on demand. Below is a view of all of my ingredients, ready to be Budda’d. I start with spinach, top it with sliced zucchini, cucumbers, chopped red onions, roasted sweet potato or prepared barley, cooked tofu, cilantro, avocado, and a few sesame seeds for flavor and crunch. I finish the bowl with a sauce made of peanut butter and apple cider vinegar or mustard and liquid aminos. The bowls couldn’t be brighter, simpler, or tastier.


Is this Just a Salad?

After looking at the ingredients and considering your own bowl, you may be asking yourself, “Is this just a salad?” Yes, a Buddha Bowl is basically salad. Yet, where is the ring in salad? Salad isn’t going to get you any Instagram likes. So grab the roundest bowl you’ve got, fill it with veggies, grains, and proteins of every color of the rainbow, and get funky with your Buddha Bowl.


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