Takeaway foods and the choices we make

By: Quinton de Bruin

After a long week, it is always nice to come home and someone else has done the cooking. What if they too have had a long week and the kids are screaming for dinner. Naturally there is always the option to suck it up and get into the kitchen and whip up a dish Jamie Oliver would get excited about! However, we also know that this is not always possible when the day has run out of hours.

Today was one of those days for me. I was up at 5.30am and slightly fatigued from a long but short week, yet managed to get a great training session out the way – back and biceps this morning and a very cool cardio circuit I set up in the group training room. It consisted of a battle ropes station, step ups, kettlebell swings and a burpee station – great workout.

I remembered to have breakfast which resembled a chicken and egg salad – great on the run combo even for breakfast. One would think that a dish like that would be enough of a reminder to pack a salad for lunch. The day got away on me and at 4.30pm, I felt a bit hungry – as you would without anything to eat since 8am, no matter what foods you choose to eat! Which reminds me, I really should talk about intermittent fasting at some stage! Once again, I digress – the café had closed already so I was out of luck, just as well I had a few more hours of work to do!

By the time I got home there really wasn't much time to prepare anything but beans on toast (which on the Wild lifestyle would be frowned upon). It was only a matter of time before the state of "hangry" would be reached! We decided to head to a firm favourite – Fast Flavours. I have eaten from there a few times now and love it. The food is healthy, fresh and not artificially flavoured with sauces and pastes, so it is not surprising that not everyone appreciates it. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone. With a full day and all things considered, I am satisfied that I am still very much on track with the challenge – boom! On that point, I would really appreciate some of you who are taking on a challenge to please let me know how you are tracking, being just shy of two weeks into it, there should be some great observations and key learnings, please do share.

With the dinner choice – I thought the topic of fast food is something that should be talked about. I am a realist, there are times when it is handy to just be able to pop into a place and grab lunch or dinner simply because you are between meetings or like today, you are just shattered from a big day.

I can already hear some people saying that because we don't eat takeaway foods every day, you should just enjoy it when you do. That is an opinion that rings true IF and only if you are eating takeaway on an infrequent basis. The challenge with our generation (and I am speaking widely here – we have a childhood obesity problem as much if not more than adulthood) is that we have replaced good, honest and healthy foods with frequent doses of fried chicken and cardboard tasting burgers. I say that tongue in cheek, because there are absolutely times (not very often at all though I might add) you would see me on the corner of Victoria & Queen enjoying the colonel's secret recipe drumstick. What is painful to grasp is how these foods become family staple diets, and then we wonder why we have problems. Take a look at this link, it will take you to a TED talk by Jamie Oliver on the work he is doing on the obesity problem around the world http://www.ted.com/talks/jamie_oliver?language=en.

What we are faced with again when it comes to fast food is marketers and smart messaging. I am not going to bag or even talk about the brands that get it in the neck all day every day – we know who they are and we know what we are taking on. What is fascinating is the food outlets that are playing the healthy card and yet there are still things we need to be mindful of.

Let's look at the sandwich shop of Jared. Firstly, from a Wild perspective, there is a fundamental issue with this as a choice anyway – it means no grains at all. Let's drop that for a second though and recall that fat doesn't make you fat and is not stored as fat … unless? That's right, when it is consumed with simple carbohydrates. So, the line "would you like some bacon and avocado for an extra $2?" should be a trigger for the words "NO thank you". Remember the sneaky sugar calories we spoke about yesterday? Well the last thing you pour all over your juicy sub is about 4 tablespoons of sauce. What do you choose to drink with your meal – cola, diet cola – we spoke about that small battle too.

So, you made it past the fridge, ordered your sub, added no extras and even left out the sauces. You get to the checkout and there is a special Jared meal which includes a cookie from heaven (oh they are good!) and a drink of your choice, they have quality marketing! This is not saying that the alternative fast food outlets are all bad. I am simply saying that it pays to consider what you initially order (the decision of which is normally nudged along by your conscience) which tends to be the healthy option if you are that way inclined. But then we lose resolve when it comes to the added extras – "would you like fries with that", "avocado and bacon for $2?" or the good old "meal deal". Remember too, we are talking about replacing a real food meal because you worked late so your body is in need of good quality calories. It would be a different story if you have just completed the Ironman and your body is screaming out because it's in a few thousand-calorie deficit!

It would be hypocritical to say I don't eat takeaway foods – a straight out lie because occasionally it makes for a nice change. However, I make no secret of the fact that when the number of fast food meals is almost outnumbering the number of real food meals in someone's diet I feel sick. We have the power to choose what we put in our mouths, our children eat what we choose for them – wow what a responsibility! The next generation depends on us and what we teach our kids.

The small print: now is probably a good time to encourage you to have a discussion about your personal situation with your doctor, a nutritionist and the Body and Motion trainers to work out how best to achieve any challenges you have in mind. The thoughts in these blogs are my own personal opinion and shouldn't be taken as direct advice. Some of the choices around what I consume or what activity I partake in may not be endorsed by Body and Motion. However, the team will always be keen enablers of your fitness goals! Talk to us today.


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