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Fitness guru Laila White talks about her Four Seasons superfood bento sets, health tips and cheat days

Muthi Achadiat Kautsar
Muthi Achadiat Kautsar

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sun, August 4, 2019  /  02:05 pm
Fitness guru Laila White talks about her Four Seasons superfood bento sets, health tips and cheat days

The superfood 'Ginger' set includes smoked salmon salad, lemon chicken ginger soup and grilled prawn with laksa sauce and boiled potatoes. (JP/Muthi Kautsar)

Looking at a person in his or her 50s with toned muscles and a youthful look, it is normal if we become curious about the person’s diet or what exercise he or she does.

This happened when The Jakarta Post met Laila White at Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta. Casually mentioning that she is 52 years old, her lean and toned figure in a sleeveless, figure-hugging little, black dress sparked that curiosity.

Fortunately, together with Four Seasons, Laila has created a superfood lunch bento for us to try, which may reveal one element from her fitness secrets. She also sat with us long enough to share more of her secrets.

Laila is no stranger to the hotel chain, as she had designed gyms for several Four Seasons properties. It is only relevant that she collaborates with the hotel to create a bento lunch menu that includes superfoods in its ingredients.

Each bento set is named after the superfood ingredient it uses, such as spinach, ginger and avocado. The Spinach set includes spinach salad, Chinese egg drop and spinach soup, and grilled chicken breast over Moroccan couscous. Meanwhile, the Avocado set comprises avocado sorghum salad, pumpkin soup and wok-fried black garlic chicken. Every set is served alongside sliced fruits and lemongrass tea.

The Post tried the Ginger set, which includes smoked salmon salad, lemon chicken ginger soup and grilled prawn with laksa sauce and boiled potatoes.

If we are accustomed to thinking that healthy food is less appetizing than fast food, for instance, this superfood bento proves otherwise.

My smoked salmon salad, fresh and colorful, tasted as good as it looked, especially with the sour cream and capers. The lemon chicken ginger soup that followed gave me warmth before I moved on to the main course, which was the grilled prawn. The laksa sauce was flavorful and it also went well with the boiled potato cubes.

Each bento comes with a card that lists the benefits of the superfood. Avocado, for instance, is said to contain high levels of omega-3, which reduces cholesterol, hence helping to keep the heart healthy. It is also packed with vitamin E as well as antioxidants.

“All the food that is crafted [for the bento] is good for the body,” said Laila, who also joined the lunch.

She went on to say that most of the time, the body craves good food.

“So, I always say, our body is like [a] car. If you put fuel into the car, it will run smoothly, […]. If you feed your body with good fuel, it will function [and] serve you well,” Laila said.

Fitness guru Laila White has designed gyms for several Four Seasons properties.Fitness guru Laila White has designed gyms for several Four Seasons properties. (Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta/File)

Read also: Healthy but tasty diet? It’s possible, chefs say

Following the lunch, the Post sat with Laila to find out what she eats daily.

Q: What do you usually have for breakfast and dinner?

A: Normally, just eggs and grapefruit [for breakfast], bento set, salad in the afternoon [and] I always like fish, chicken for dinner and in between, snacks. I would have carrots [and] sometimes my protein shake. I’m constantly eating but smaller portions.

What do you do with the eggs for breakfast?

[I] scramble [the eggs].

Just the whites or the yolk too?

Both. So, if you follow the trend, [you might be told that] only the white is great. Now, you see, the yolk is also good. [But] too much yolk is bad for you. It’s very simple, [eliminate] excessiveness and [consume in] moderation. If I have four egg whites, I would have two egg yolks.

What is the difference between the food you eat in your 50s and in your 40s?

When you’re younger, you can eat anything, because your metabolic rate is higher. [When you’re younger,] your metabolic rate is like fire in your body, so whatever you eat, it burns fast. But when you get older, your hormones change so your fire becomes dimmer and dimmer. In order to bring up the fire, you have to exercise. I can have anything that I want, but the reaction of my body is different, [so] I tend to be selective of what I eat.

When I was younger, I ate fast food, because it’s enjoyable, right? But now I can’t because automatically after I finish the fast food, I feel lethargic. So, now whatever I eat, it has to complement to what I want to feel. Desire is great, but at the end of the day, if it gives me a bad feeling, I’ll just balance it [the next day]. I do, [however], have my cheat days, [but] if you feed yourself whatever you want today, tomorrow you have to balance it up.

How often do you have a cheat day?

Once a week, twice a week.

What do you eat on your cheat day?

I love sour cream with potato chips, salted nuts, […] I do love my Magnum [ice cream] with almond. I buy the mini […] six small Magnums; I would sit there for 30 minutes and eat. Oh my God, I cannot do this!

 

The superfood bento box lunch menu is available at Palm Court restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta from Monday to Friday.

 

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