The term ‘clean eating’ is often used in the health and fitness industry. It refers to healthy meals which are prepared with methods that involve less oil, fat, sugar, salt, pesticides, preservatives and so on. Clean eating is the ideal eating habit if you want to maintain a healthy physique and life.
However, to some, eating in this way may sound bland and unappetising. I had the same impression too. I wasn’t against clean eating but I found it a challenge to give up my favourite local food. For a food lover like me, clean eating sounds like something I can only maintain for a short period of time (if I had a special event coming up) or at most, to ‘eat clean’ for one meal in a day. I wasn’t willing to give up roti canai telur for breakfast, char kuey teow, banana leaf rice and the occasional nasi lemak.
Plus, it would be so ‘troublesome’ to find food prepared healthily when I eat out. That was what I thought then everything changed when I fell sick several months ago.
In the beginning, I thought it was just mild food poisoning, which could be treated with some rest and medication but it turned out to be something far more severe. I had consumed some highly contaminated food while I was out, so I fell terribly ill and ended up being hospitalised. As my gastrointestinal tract was affected, on doctor’s orders, I went on a lactose-free diet. I could only eat food that was prepared with very little oil or none at all
During my road to recovery, I was very vigilant with everything that I consumed. The food that I ate mainly consisted of steamed or boiled food but even so, prepared in the healthiest way possible. This meant, skinless, fat-free, oil-free, sugar-free and minimal salt.
After a while, I actually began to enjoy my meals. It gave me a sense of contentment so I decided to stick with this habit. While eating at home was not a problem, eating out was the challenge — or that was what I thought.
When I started eating out, I insisted that my roti canai telur was cooked without any oil (it turned out that it tasted just fine!). If I had soup noodles, it would be vermicelli noodles instead of kuey teow and soup which did not have any oil or fried ingredients added to it. Plus, I even had an American breakfast with eggs that did not have a greasy coat of oil or butter because I requested that it would be prepared such.
Initially, I assumed that such demands may not be fulfilled because it was too much of a hassle to those preparing the food. However, I was absolutely wrong. I’ve learned that be it a hawker stall, café or restaurant, there’s no harm in making such requests and they were all fulfilled.
I had to learned the hard way that opting for healthier food choices for every meal is not impossible. As a matter of fact, I learnt that I absolutely enjoy the natural taste of fresh ingredients.
Previously, I was guilty of not paying close attention to the food that I was consuming. I was allowing excess fat, oil, sugar, additives, colouring and flavourings to enter my body. However, I’m glad that things have now changed.
After just weeks of consistent healthy eating, I realised that my taste buds have altered for the better. I am now sensitive to added sugar or excess salt and oil in my meals. The best part is, eating right is doing wonders for my weight. I have shed some kilogrammes and now, I can easily maintain a healthy weight.A friend of mine always reminds me that, “if there’s a will, there is a way”. So, find the will in you to start eating healthily and choose healthier food options.