Stir fries offer a healthy option for dieters

David in 2014 (left) and 35lbs lighter in 2015
David in 2014 (left) and 35lbs lighter in 2015
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The owner of a restaurant in Sowerby Bridge is showing that stir frys offer a healthy option when dining out.

David Johnston established the Temujin Restaurant in 1999. It’s a Mongolian-style restaurant, which offers diners an interactive and healthy eating experience.

Diners select their own food from a wide selection of raw ingredients; vegetables, fish and a range of meats, including exotic choices such as kangaroo and crocodile. Using super-heated woks in the restaurant chefs then stir fry the raw ingredients using the diner’s choice of oil, sauces and garnishes.

It’s a simple idea and is ideal for those following a set diet, such as a calorie restricted diet.

In 2014 David received a reality check when he saw a holiday photo of himself, so he decided to take action. He put into practice a healthy eating regime and lost two and half stones in just under a year.

“I took one look at that photo and decided I had to do something,” said David. “There are serious health risks of carrying too much weight; for example with a waistline above 37 inches there’s an increased risk of developing type two diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

“So I joined a slimming club and implemented their reward system. To my surprise I soon discovered that our menu in the restaurant fits well with this healthy eating plan. Fresh food, cooked from scratch is a great way to eat a healthier diet, especially if you concentrate on reducing fats and sugars.” David added: “In the restaurant we offer an oil replacement for anyone who wants it.”

This has worked for David. The photograph that shocked him into action was taken at Victoria Falls in May 2014 and he returned to the same spot and wore the same shirt for a second photograph in May 2015; 35 lbs lighter. He admits he still has some to lose but he’s making good progress.

Originally from Zimbabwe David moved to the UK and opened Temujin in Sowerby Bridge, his mother’s birthplace and where his grandfather ran the Halifax Building society’s branch. His mother, Pamela, was a pupil at the Crossley and Porter School, and then trained as a nurse at Leeds General Infirmary, where she attended the first ever kidney transplant operation as a theatre nurse. In the 1950s she moved to what was then South Rhodesia to become a nurse in a rural hospital in Sinoia, David’s birth place, a region in the north west of the country. She still lives in Harare the capital of Zimbabwe.

David visits Zimbabwe on a regular basis, to see family, friends and to lead bespoke flying safaris. This enables him to remain connected to his birthplace and continue flying, his long-term passion.

In the last 18 years Temujin has gone from strength to strength; alongside the restaurant it also offers outside catering for parties, weddings and other special occasions. All the oils, sauces and garnishes are made fresh in-house for the restaurant; and now they are available to buy online or in the restaurant for cooking stir fries at home. Temujin is also a supplier to the Halifax Food Assembly, the food initiative that connects people with local food producers.