Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Slurped this, gobbled that

I turned 35 last month, and I realized that when you're in your mid-30s, you get to be more aware of the things that constitute your diet. Words like red meat, trans fat, white sugar and white bread, and even ice cream suddenly get bad connotations overnight. True, we all should be watching what we eat, but it becomes more important when your body slows down its metabolism and gets heavier more easily. It also doesn't help that I eat everything and I'm not allergic to any food group. Bring on the frogs' legs, the snails, and the crickets!

I've tried to make a few modifications on my diet, which can be challenging considering the culinary habits we have at home. My father's from Pampanga, a province where all the dishes are so decadent they seem like solid cholesterol in a plate. My mother and grandmother used to cook with pork fat, which we get when we make chicharon (pork cracklings). Since I don't want to give up on the things that I absolutely must have, I decided to make "healthier" substitutions for them. And it's this book, Eat This, Not That! that's proving to be quite invaluable.

First on my list is ice cream. I find myself craving ice cream after a meal that's a bit salty. The book recommends replacing ice cream with frozen yoghurt, which I can live with. I'm not at all familiar with the healthy benefits of eating yoghurt. Frozen yoghurt stands seem to be sprouting like mushrooms in the metro and a lot of my close friends swear by yoghurt, so I'm guessing it's a healthy alternative to ice cream. You might want to check the nutrition facts on that yoghurt; some don't have those live bacteria, which is the primary reason for eating it. If you can't stand the sour taste of yoghurt, you can always go for sherbets or sorbets according to the book. While sorbets may have sugar in them, they have none of the fat content found in ice creams.

Next on my list is white bread and everything else that is white. I just love white bread; I grew up having it for breakfast and snacks at school. I like the smooth, creamy texture of cakes and Krispy Kreme doughnuts -- all made with refined (white) flour and refined (white) sugar. The book suggests replacing these with whole wheat bread, which has more fiber and vitamins. One of the problems I have with whole wheat bread is texture; I find it too coarse on my tongue. And sometimes, they taste like cardboard -- not smooth and creamy at all. But I'm willing to make that sacrifice if it means I'll be able to live longer to read more books.

The authors of Eat This, Not That! write "I don't want you to read this book. I want you to USE it." Ummm, okay, but I can't imagine anyone bringing this book with them every time they order at McDonald's. Still, it packs a few surprises. For one, I was delighted to know that Krispy Kreme's original glazed doughnut has fewer calories than the same kind of doughnut from Dunkin' Donuts. Another, turkey burgers aren't necessarily healthy all the time, especially if they're fried and loaded with too much salt; you're probably better off eating a Big Mac. Salads, another of the supposed healthy food items on the menu, can be full of calories and sodium because of the dressing. And what's the best weapon you have against those sinful desserts? Ask for another spoon or fork, and share that banana split or that large slice of chocolate cake.

Eat This, Not That! isn't the type of book that you read from cover to cover. And, much as I hate to admit it, it's somewhat of a self-help book. Eat This, Not That! is so practical especially for those who haven't the time to go to the gym or simply don't want to. It also isn't afraid to list fastfood names and the calorie count of their menus. The book's a bit pricey at 900 pesos (about $25), but it becomes worth it if you want to do some minor lifestyle changes which do you good in the long run. The only problem I have with this book is that most of the alternatives are not available locally, which isn't the book's fault really.

Get this book if:
  1. The difference between LDL and HDL is not clear to you.
  2. You actually want to follow the food pyramid.
  3. You love your body too much.
The Krispy Kreme burger: Would you even dare take a bite?


fantaghiro23 said...

Thank you for telling us that Krispy Kremes have less calories than the Dunkin kind. I now feel justified in loading up on them.:P

By the way, the Krispy Kreme burger looks eww.

I Heart Monster said...

agreed, Krispy Kreme burger disgusting! but I have this book, and I really like it.

bookjourney said...

I just seen that burger and before I read what you had written I am thinking, "Ok thats gross... it looks like a Krispy Kreme burger. And then I seen.... it was.

I may need to throw up now.