Monday, 19 November 2007

The healthy diet triathlon

“Are we going for lunch?” I asked.
“Yeah, sure. Where to?”
“I wanna eat something healthy”
“In Malaysia????” My friend answered sarcastically.

We ended having “claypot loh shui fun” in Taman Tun instead and that to me, was as healthy as it gets.
Ever since my
“health scare” 2 weeks ago, I have been trying to be healthier in my diet. Well actually, I have been trying to do that for some time now. But you know what? Living in a country where food is legendary, trying to go on a healthy diet is quite a challenge. Even if I am discipline enough not to eat ‘nice food’, which is usually unhealthy, I have to go through 3 major obstacles. It’s like you need to run this triathlon in your quest to eat healthily

The first thing you need to overcome is peer pressure. Whenever I say I would like to eat something healthy, I get this look from my friends and it’s as though I have just said the most moronic thing in the whole world. Let’s face it, how many of us actually cares about our diet? And if you are a modern slave who has worked your ass off to earn your pay, you certainly want to pamper yourself with a good meal. And a good meal is usually a very unhealthy one, in Malaysia particularly.

The second challenge is to actually look for healthy food in Malaysia. Honestly speaking, this is by far the most challenging part of having a healthy diet. I am sure some of you said sandwiches. Please note that not all sandwiches in Malaysia are ‘healthy’. When you have bacon and cheese and mayonnaise in it, it’s hardly healthy at all. And trust me, that vegetarian store you visit everyday is not healthy at all.

The final obstacle in having a healthy diet is price. If you can find a place which can satisfy your healthy diet requirement, chances are, you may have to pay a premium price. It’s ok if you are only eating healthily occasionally. But if you want to “maintain” a healthy diet, it is certainly a challenge to your wallet. Somehow, you are just not willing to pay a lilttle extra for that salad but more willing to pay more for that nice “bak kut teh”, right?

Indeed, it is quite a challenge to maintain a healthy diet in Malaysia, to me at least. But I think I should, lest I want to take my health for granted again. A friend of mine was told by the doctor that she might have nose cancer. It certainly serves as a reminder to me that health is not something we want to put in the line. My prayers are with her, hopefully she will be alright.

Now… how the hell am I going to overcome that triathlon in getting myself some healthy food… any suggestion?

51 comments:

myop101 said...

crossing my fingers. hoping to be first to write a reply.

haha...

anyway, trust me, i have the same problem too. noticed the ever increasing size of the tyre surrounding me?...:P

Bena said...

erm, well the best is to cook yourself... but can be quite costly cooking for only one person. by that i dont mean maggi mee or fried egg.

however Mixed rice is cheaper but not so healthy haha.

and also stop going out to mamak! damn good but killer unhealthy!

mr jp said...

I totally agree, there is not much healthy food alternatives in malaysia.

I agree with bena, cook for yourself!

angel said...

Pack your own food. Vege & fruits. Or you can even make your own healthy sandwiches. But of course in reality, it's somewhat challenging... :)

(Becos' we are all so lazy... betul tak??)

lynnx01 said...

I like how you write '..where food is legendary.. '. Hehe! Thumbs up! My good friend loves claypot loshufun. And everytime go to the food court in Endah Parade she would order that. LOLZ!!

doulos said...

It will take some effort. Begin by drinking juices. They taste great and are very healthy in addition to giving you energy. Eat raw fruits and make salads. These are very easy and easy on the pocket.
I guess other than that, since we are living in Malaysia, when eating out, always choose the lesser evil (i.e.deep fried, mamak). Like you said, claypot loh shui fun is one of the better ones. It is impossible to go totally 'healthy' unless one eats at home every meal.

kyh said...

Cook urself. I tot u enjoy cooking lately?

But those food pictures are so tempting! LOL!

Tsu Lin said...

Cook your own meal!

That's healthy - you even have to prepare for it the night before, which is like going to the gym (chopping, washing up!). :P

Twisted Heels said...

Now let me see. There's the fish and chips shop two doors away from mine, Papa Johns pizza and kebab side by side 8 doors away from mine, McD and Burger King is 5 mins walk and there are uncountable pubs surrounding me to drink my belly away! Let's not even talk about calling for takeaways to arrive on the doorstep. Gym on the other hand is 15 mins walk. Staying healthy here is also a problem (although Msia is getting more well known for high cholesterol levels soon to beat Scottish's haggis and oatcakes).

Take a smoothie in the morning. Have fruits everyday (grapes, oranges and bananas are by far the easiest for lazy people like me) and if possible, eat steamed food. Ask your fiancee to boil healthy soup for you lar :)

may said...

claypot loushifun got lots of oil wan wor, so that the noodle won't stick togeder. healthy meh? lol!

like angel said, pack lunch lor. I bring my own twice a week, but that's also 'cos it's cheaper to tapau from home lah. I get bored of it though.

pasta is another healthy option if it has lean minced meat. use tomato-based sauces, less fat than cream-based.

narrowband said...

Claypot loh shi fun not healthy man. HAha. I think it's pretty easy to get 'healthier' food in Malaysia - just look for zhap fan stall and take only what you think is good for you. That's the best the term "healthy" can go, here. (Again, the word "Healthy" is subjective... maybe you define it differently!)

I think it's important to remember the food pyramid (LMAO). So that's why everytime I go zhap fan must have green vege and meat. Standard operating procedure (SOP) ;p

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

good luck la brudder..thats y its damn hard to lose the kgs in malaysia..everywhere is full of carbs and no protein..dont even talk about the fat..

best option is to bring from home..

salads, cold cuts, boiled eggs..thats as far as u can go..

Ehon said...

hmm.. ok, no offence zewt, i love your work, but not this post. this post is totally one-sided. u are comparing malaysia to ...? and i think using the word m'sia is too hastily generalised - the big trick in advertising. when i was staying in miri, there are various restaurants selling organic / healthy food. i was working in one. it was purely home-cooked, but it has limited opening hours because the cook had to cook all the things at home and bring it over. and she only cook it in limited amount.

maybe i do too much critical thinking. this are jobs of lawyers. looking for fallacies! :P

Hor ny Ang Moh said...

U r getting married soon don't u?? And one of the essential of a married life is POKEING! No how can u do a good pokeing with all the 'healthy' food u r eating now? To me 'healthy' food equal low energy!U don't wan wify to say 'Ah Zewt is rather 'weak'!' do u?
Trust me eat whatever u want & like & 'spend' what that u eat at night! Trust me pokeing is a very 'intensive' exerise!
Anyway how long a person live is already 'arrange' by the fellow 'up-stair'! If u r a good fellow u live longer. & I believed u r a good fellow!
So enjoy ur eating & life.
Have a nice day!

PurpLe~MuShRooM said...

You wicked... you have to post a pic of the clyapot lou shi fun. U make me crave for the Petaling Street claypot loh shi fun now.

missironic said...

spend more on organic food? lolz..i guess u juz have to abstain urself frm fatty food like fried food, nasi lemak..those kind..but is true tat its tough to abstain urself frm our msia food. is kind of tempting rite? lolz..but if possible try not to eat more of the unhealthy food. mayb limit urself on the consumption? tats wat i tink la..now im trying to abstain frm eating too much of nasi lemak a week..as long as in my mind said.."NO, KENOT EAT!" then i guess, it kinda work! lolz..Gud luck to u!

Huei said...

yes u're right! healthy food in msia? i bet 99.99999% of them REUSE the oil..and that ain't healthy! and msg is a must must! hahah

the healthiest is to cook for urself..u can rite?? =D home cooked food is the best..and soup..mmm..ok i must learn how to cook for myself!

Sunflower said...

One thing I've noticed is that it's really hard to get a balanced meal around here, unless you eat chap fan. I was trying to put more fibre into my diet, but realised if I eat noodles or chicken rice etc, most of the time there's hardly any vege inside!

The other thing is the amount we eat. My dad said that we've been taught to finish up all the food on the plate and not to waste, but when we eat out, sometimes the portions are just too big and we have to learn to leave food behind instead of finishing it all. Coz at home of course you can decide how much you want, but outside you can't.

kyliemc said...

lol..d claypot loh see fun isnt healthy too :P yeah,u r rite bout difficulty in finding healthy fiod in m'sia esp during lunch hrs...all d msg,excessive oil,etc....

muahaha...i guess my meals r worst coz i eat mc d's more than twice a week...really unhealthy but me dunno wat 2 eat...

Sharon said...

they've said it all.
pack your own lunch. a loaf of wheatbread, half a roast chicken (torn into slices), lettuce, tomato make a good lunch and comes a long way :)

i always take oatmeal when im hungry during teabreak.

Manal said...

Bringing packed food from home is a good idea, provided that it wont get too soggy and spoilt by the time it's lunch hour. Better if u have fridge and microwave oven in your office to keep the food fresh and heat them up during your lunch break.

heck, we gonna miss the pleasure of having able to eat good food when we r sick but that doesnt mean we can just keep stuffing our body with whatever food we love till we r totally bloated? Eat moderately and stop before u feel so full and try not to do buffet lunch/dinner that often. We know that u r a gym-goer so that should be one of your intensive calorie burning sessions (plus those gay-innuendo moments). U can try fasting (from eating oily/high carb food per day) or detoxification once or twice a month.

Horny angmoh does have a good point up there on the importance of energy sustenance especially during those intensive bed activities!

-Princess Shin- said...

That's true. One thing I noticed since I came to US is how many vegetarians there are in Malaysia. The cafeteria in my university has a dish for the vegetarians every single meal of the day. Though Americans are famous for having its fatty and oily burgers and fries, they have a lot of healthy food around too.

BUt I still love Malaysian food! =)

sodium chloride said...

Besides all the above suggestions, perhaps to consider doing some exercise/sports? Gives all that "input" an outlet...burn off and incinerate the "garbage" :)

Getting enough sleep helps too: giving the body ample time to fully process & "heal" whatever needs to be "healed".

lynnwei said...

yea...try cooking! hehehe..

maybe vegetarian food once a week?

hhmm...msia is really great for its food...all kinds and u'll never get bored of any because there wil always be a new kind, a new style of making...

yummy! now i'm hungry!!

Helen said...

Pack your own lunch. BUt then boh syiok right? Lunch time is supposed to be a sort of social ritual among colleagues. If you bring your own food, it'll make you a recluse.

jam said...

To eat healthy food, it costs a fortune. Vegetarian food is more expensive, organic food too. However, this is everywhere in the world, not only in Malaysia.

lingzie said...

i totally agree with this! because i have been telling myself for years that i should eat more healthy stuff but that seems rather impossible especially when you're out and about all the time. the best way would be of course to pack your own lunch but not many of us have the time. so if we cant do that then we just have to make a conscious effort to choose 'healthier' alternatives. I have a friend who's good at this. she chooses 'popiah' and soup noodles when we eat hawker food, fish or chic grilled/poached/lightly pan fried with lots of veggies when we eat western food etc. it may be difficult at first, but so far i find her method to be the most practical. good luck to us all! :)

alan zed said...

eat when you hungry and stop before you full. moderation my friend. ;)

j or ji said...

the best is masak sendiri kat rumah.
..........................
.........
.....
after 3 straight days u cook at home,u will go out on the 4th day and eat as much as u can outside.

hehe..i selalu kene macam tu.hilang semua healthy or diet.

sharlydia said...

OK zewt, u can try marmalade in Bangsar Village or Mont Kiara. They serve great salad & all healthy coz they use organic stuff..but warn u it's costly lor...U can oso prepare your own bfast like my hubby does, which i believe is the most healthy lor.

BTW that Tmn Tun Loh Shee Fun is one of my favourites too, hehe!

Jun said...

no matter whr u are, eating out is bound to be less healthy than preparing ur own meals. yes, even in aus. the diff is just in the quality of the produce, the freshness of the ingredients, and perhaps the hygiene of the kitchens (vs roadside hawker stalls), altho having said that, i think some hawker food are tastier than those in fine dining restaurants (be they in msia or aus).

if u think about it, it's mainly the tastes and flavours of outside food that appeal to the masses, so why wud the F&B industry compromise on these 2 pulling factors by making it more "healthy"? i agree, healthy food doesn't need to be bland and tasteless, but judging from how ppl are groomed to expect a certain level of "standard" from outside food compared to homecooked meals, do u think they'd patronise a place that serves wat they could dish up at home?

ah, i cud go on abt this subject of food and health, which is close to my heart, but if i do tht, i wun get any studying done. i'm waaay behind schedule already... :(

bottom line? time to cook ur way to ur own health! :)

d'Fish said...

hey zewt....crazy post la... actually its all true, its alwaiz difficult to fins some healthy food ere. Mostly the streets are taken over by the curry houses and the chinese rest. Chili, oil and oil...

pamina said...

aiyah mannn
trying to eat healthy here...u might as well stop eating..

zewt said...

myop101 - yes... the first :)

Bena - yup... no mamak is good. cooking... if only i have time.

mr jp - why change your nick jason? not many have time to cook.

angel - time is a problem... i wanna go somewhere to eat a healthy meal.

lynnx01 - you have not been to the one in taman tun yet... hmmmm...

doulos - well, the closest i can find is porridge. today lunch, i have to revert to chicken rice as healthy food.

zewt said...

kyh - i do... but.. but... no time ler.

Tsu Lin - hahaha... i tried that before... didnt work. lazy indeed.

Twisted Heels - hahaha.. looks like you are living in a sinful world indeed!! my fiance doesnt like soup... but she did made me pumpkin soup and it was nice.

may - pasta has got too much carbo though. hahaha... everything seems bad eh?

narrowband - food pyramid! hahahaha... well, all the meat at the zhap fan place is ... well... too oily. i guess it's just too difficult in malaysia.

constant craver joe - i am going for just salad and cherry tomatoes... good enough.

zewt said...

Ehon - haha... no worries, i am open to critic. speaking of which. anyone done a blog critic post before? hmmmm... i think it can be quite something... dont u think?

hor ny - hahaha... then i need tongkat ali already right? or soup torpeado! hehe...

purple mushroom - the one in taman tun is still the best.

missironic - my mind keep telling me 'must eat'... MUST EAT.... hahahahaha...

Huei - i can... but it's very difficult to find time. when i reach home at 8+... lazy to prepare already.

sunflower - another thing is that we starve ourselves... then we feast... this cycle is bad.

zewt said...

kyliemc - woooaaah... that's really bad. do u know i have not eaten McD for sooooooo long!

Sharon - hmmm... that's a good solution. now... i like this oatmeal thingy.

Manal - yeah, moderation is everything... that includes intensive bed activities... hehehe...

princess shin - and it's cheaper to eat healthy there right? sigh...

sodium chloride - i do... though not as often. my tennis elbow didnt help... cant play my game. sleep is good... must sleep early tonight.

lynnwei - that's the thing... malaysia good for food... but mostly are not very healthy.

Helen - yeah... pack lunch to go back to office already anti social... pack from home... ultimate lor.

BD said...

Being a Malaysian away from home, that picture is notoriously seductive!! :S, i love loh shu fun, yums!

Honestly, i agree with the comments - home-cooked overrules eating out, health wise. You can try http://www.justlifeshop.com/, i know they sell healthy cooked food at Ikano, not sure about their other outlets. I always do the double boiled soups/western soups with bread/small portion of rice plus steamed veg or Yong Tou Foo (I personally think yong tou foo is quite healthy with all sorts of veg & abit of rice). Generally, exercise needs to be in the equation even when you're eating healthily (but moreso, when you're taking claypot loh shu fun, :p) - it helps to burn off all the carbs, sweets & whatnots too..

Good luck to us!

zewt said...

jam - yeah... the whole thing is like a cycle. from fast cheap food to healthy food. a good blog topic.

lingzie - yeah, it's just so tough. another thing is that i wont get full and i wanna eat again... very bad habit.

alan zed - couldnt agree more.

j or ji - sama... after a good workout in the gym... eat nasi lemak kau kau.

sharlydia - that's why... it's just not affordable. that loh shu fun... very very dai sek.

Jun - well, it's good to know that health is close to your heart... cos... that's what you're gonna do! thanks for the info on aussie though :)

d'Fish - yeah... and chilly is very very very damaging to the liver actually. very bad la... but we all do it anyway.

pamima - i couldnt agree more... malaysia... food haven.

BD - yo! well... some yong tau foo can be very unhealthy... especially those fried stuff... hehe... yeah, exercise is important, it's a good thing that i like games.

clare said...

I love the claypot lou shi fun at TTDI. I also love the squid fritters. All yummy but oily.

My hometown, Sibu, has a few restaurants serving health food wan. My parents tried, and said very healthy but quite pricy.

I guess you have to buy and bring your own healthy food from home already, my friend. =P

Jace said...

healthy food in malaysia? Calorie Cafe in Sri Petaling. They served healthy food. Not so oily and their food menu explains the healthiness of their serving. Reasonable price.
=)

zewt said...

clare - that's why... pricy... sigh. oh... the one in taman tun is the best.

jace - whereabout is it?

mrbherng said...

Just look at the number of green leaves in a bowl of whatever in Malaysia. Bloody unbalance.

Suggestion, make your own food and eat out only once in a while.

Angie Tan said...

I agree...

It's hard to eat healthy in M'sia but there are some outlets which are trying to dish out healthy foods.

If you're the sort who doesn't cook or tapao, it'll be hard to manage your diet.

Anyway, despite it all, a tip is to stop eating after 8pm OR 4 hours before you sleep. That means, no more late yum char. If ever you feel hungry after 8pm (i.e. your dinner), try taking an apple. It helps.

Aside from that, cut back on sugar and starch, which are main contributors to adding to our fat deposits.

It is a hard battle but a lot of us are starting to understand the need for a balanced diet. (^^)

Y.E@eevet said...

Craving for healthy and cheap food? I am sure you can do it! Lazy people like me got a lazy and easy way of preparing own food to school.

Just opt for those easy cooking food such as carrots, cabbage, mushroom , egg ,or potatoes.Onion and garlic are a must. What I always do is I will chop those food into cubes or whatever shape and keep those ingredient in the refrigerator. Therefore I can cook early in the morning everyday by dumping everything into the frying pan with water and let it cooked by themselves while I go for my 5 minutes bath.(of course la , turn to low fire before I leave the kitchen)


Eventhough it's not the best way to have healthy food like this in terms of the freshness of the food (have to finish the ingredient in 3 days time, otherwise you have rotten vege in the fridge!), I save a lot by this and also have successfully controlled my weight.

Eating outside is really fattening. I increased my weight by 8kg after I had moved into my hostel for a year. (no cooking is allow mar~)

Truly support you to cook by yourself! Believe me, it's not only easy, and healthier, it saves a lots too.

Gambateh zewt!

jaezrel said...

thank you even if it is just a 1 liner in your blog....

*sobs* day 4....counting...

Jace said...

Erm... Do you know where is "THE STORE" in Sri Petaling. Drive around that area and you will see it "CALORIE"

zewt said...

mrbherng - hi there. welcome to AZAIG. i had salad for dinner... made it myself. had the discipline to go supermarket and get it. felt good. but now i am hungry hehe...

Angie Tan - i try to just drink water and not eat anything. i guess that's the best huh? yeah... it's a hart battle.. must fight it nonetheless.

Y.E@eevet - thanks... i really must gambateh... yeah, cooking is certainly a good way. but it's about time... i just cant find the time. sigh... but i will try nonetheless.

jaezrel - i am sure u will be fine. continue to pray.

Jace - Dont really know. i am not sure about the area there. i know where carrefour is though.

missironic said...

hmm..if tats the case..then i tink hypnotizing u is the only option. lolz..let the idea of "KENOT EAT" be etched in ur mind..then tat might work! wat u tink? hahahahaa...

kyliemc said...

lol..tell me bout it..ok la,sumtimes it's due 2 me wanna collect d toys...really childish but d toys r juz so cute at times :P

zewt said...

missironic - maybe eat less la... easier.. haha.

kyliemc - hahahaha... ok, i have colleagues like u and they are in their 30s... so i guess it's normal.