That organic living is a conscious health choice
Comfort food is never more attractive than in times of stress and uncertainty. Meals can carry memories of happy moments. Food can provide immediate - albeit short-term - pleasure. They can even offer sense of relief or an element of control when everything around us feels tense, restricted and out of our control. And for many people, this translates to one thing - fast food.
Regrettably, while satisfying to the palate, most fast food selections are less-than-desirable for the rest of the body. Fruits and vegetables are usually available in meagre amounts, as well as in less-than-fresh and conventional forms. To make it tasty and appealing to consumers, recipes are often packed with added salts, sugars, artificial flavourings and flavour enhancers. Likewise, many options - especially those deep-fried or served with rich sauces - offer excessive oils, most of which are highly refined and recycled many times over. None of the above bode well for overall health.
How can we satisfy our cravings for our favorite fast food indulgences - without completely compromising our wellness efforts? We’ve outlined two approaches here:
Side-step Fried: When available, consider options that are steamed, grilled or baked, rather than deep fried. Or pair a fried dish with a non-fried dish, to reduce the total amount of fried food at a given meal. You’ll save on fat and calorie intake. At the same time, you also spare your system from highly refined or overly recycled oils.
Personalise your Sauce: When possible, request for less sauce or ask to have the sauce on the side. Many establishments use a heavy hand when dolling out sauce in their recipes. These are often loaded with sweeteners, salts, flavour enhancers and fats — none of which benefit your body. You can still enjoy the flavours that sauces provide, but a bit of moderation can make a world of nutritional difference.
Skip the Sugary Drink: Many fast food eateries limit their beverage selections to sodas, sweetened teas or flavoured milks. These are loaded with added sugars — not to mention artificial flavourings. By simply switching your choice of drink to water, you’ll reduce your meal’s total sugar intake by 40g or more.
Pay Attention to Portions: When meals are available in a range of sizes, select small. You’ll get just enough for your fast food fix. If you’re feeling peckish in a few hours, reach for a healthy snack - like fruits or nuts - to balance out your choices for the day.
When you cook your own meals, you have more control over the ingredients as well as the portion size. Here are some ideas on how you can transform common fast food favorites into healthier meals:
Use 100 per cent whole, sprouted grain bread slices instead of white flour varieties. Switch from conventional to organic grass-fed butter. Then, try a DIY kaya recipe with organic eggs, coconut and a natural sweetener.
Start with a 100 per cent wholegrain bread roll. Layer on slices of nitrate-free, organic deli meat and cheese, followed by fresh organic vegetables (sliced tomato and cucumber, leafy greens, and sweet bell peppers). Moisten with an organic vinaigrette, a mayonnaise, or a pesto.
Popping an organic frozen pizza in the oven is as easy as it gets. However, a personalised homemade pizza isn’t too difficult either. Begin with a ready-to-bake wholegrain pizza crust — or even a wholegrain pita. Brush with organic extra virgin olive oil or a smear of pasta sauce. Top with organic (or dairy-free) cheese, herbs (fresh or dried) and vegetables (fresh or frozen) and bake.
Grill or pan-fry your preferred fresh or frozen patty – grass-fed organic beef or chicken, Beyond meat or veggie. Drop onto a 100 per cent whole, sprouted grain bun. Fill with sliced organic tomato, greens, your organic or vegan cheese of choice, and a squirt of ketchup or mustard.
Swap out white rice in favour of brown - or compromise on a 50/50 combination. Use frozen organic mixed vegetables - like carrots and peas. Add crushed garlic and fry with organic sesame oil or even organic ghee. Then flavor it up with non-GMO soy sauce.
Fill the bottom of a casserole with blue and yellow corn tortilla chips. Layer on organic or dairy-free cheese, and pop in the oven. Then top with fresh, organic diced tomatoes or bottled salsa, sour cream, sliced avocado and chilli.
Slice up strips of organic potato, brush with extra virgin or coconut oil, bake till crispy brown, and season with organic Himalayan sea salt, garlic powder, chilli or dried herbs.