Are trendy health food really “healthy”?

Are trendy health food really “healthy”?

We have heard so much, read so much, watched so much about it; in the mags, social media, brand campaigns or our friends… I’m talking about health food. Once a certain type of food is circulated to be “healthy”, you see new brands popping up to promote them, articles being written about them. And that’s all good, don’t get me wrong. Awareness is always a good thing. But I can’t help but notice the marketing and awareness that goes out with it is usually incomplete. Benefits are highlighted but that’s it. It stops there. It is crucial when something is labelled healthy because consumption will increase and some people may even throw moderation out the door just because they are deemed healthy!

I thought today I’ll draw out two examples of “health food” which are amazing and that I absolutely love, but they are also the two that many people may not be fully aware of “what they really contain”.

Health Food #1: Yoghurt

Yoghurt is a health food with plenty of health benefits. It provides good bacteria that help with digestion and immune system, along with many other nutrients. However, with the amount of added sugar, flavouring and colouring that goes into most yoghurt you find in stores now, they may not be that healthy anymore. Yes, you still get your good bacteria, but what about a load of processed sugar you’re feeding your body which affects your insulin sensitivity that is crucial in preventing diseases?

Have you checked the ingredients that went into the yoghurt you consume daily? Taking an example of one I randomly pick up from the supermarket shelves:

A 135ml flavoured yoghurt;

Ingredient list: Milk Solids, Mixed Berries, Mixed Live Culture, Sugar, Stabiliser, Flavouring, Colouring, Permitted Food Conditioner

Sugar: 18.9g

Our daily recommended sugar intake is 37.5 gm and 25 gm for men and women respectively. And that’s not adding the fact that the sugar in these yoghurt is not natural sugar but refined.

I love my yoghurt and I found two that I go to regularly. And that’s Farmers Union’s Natural Yoghurt and Farmers Union’s Greek Style Yoghurt

Ingredient list: Milk, Milk Solids, Cream, Live Cultures.

Granted, it may be too tangy eaten on its own, but that’s where you can get creative with it. Add in your raw honey, or nut butter and you’ll have yourself a naturally flavoured yoghurt that’s delicious and nutritious.

Recipe: Honey-Berry Yoghurt Bowl

Ingredients:

Directions:

Mix yoghurt with raw honey. Add toppings and enjoy!

Health Food #2: Raw Juices

A bottle of raw juice, made with a kg of fresh produce with no added sugar or flavouring. Sounds good doesn’t it?

Ofcourse, if compared to many processed, refined sugar laden beverages, raw juices are great. But if you’re talking about going on a juice cleanse or consuming raw juices daily, we ought to know what make up the juices and the science behind drinking raw juices.

Juices are healthy because you are basically getting a “hit” of vitamins and micronutrients (you can’t eat 1kg of produce but you can drink them), and because it is fibre-free, it promotes better absorption of nutrients and vitamins into your body. So that makes it good. But as much as your body is absorbing everything at its maximum rate, it is also absorbing the “natural sugar” just the same. With raw juices, to make it “tasty” many would add a multitude of fruits or even make a 100% pure fruit juice. Fruit itself contain natural sugar, eaten on its own with fiber, is great, but when it’s juiced and drank fiber free in a big dose, you are basically pumping your body with loads of sugar.

It is fine if you want to enjoy it once in a while (i mean you can’t always resist a freshly pressed glass of OJ right? 😉), but if you’re making it everyday as part of your “healthy habit”, then it would be best to minimize amount of fruits, and add vegetables instead. I love going with the ratio of 70:30 or 80:20. So you’re basically juicing mainly vegetables, topping it off with some fruits to sweeten it a little.

“Juice your greens and eat your fruits”

Recipe: Ultimate Green Juice

  • 250g Kale/Spinach
  • 200g Cucumber
  • 200g Green Apple
  • 20g Lemon
  • 10g Ginger
  • 20g Broccoli

I hope what’s shared today will encourage you to always read your ingredient list before purchasing any staple. You don’t have to avoid anything completely; if you love a good icy cold fruit juice or a favourite flavoured yoghurt, go enjoy it! But just not overdoing it is key, in addition to being aware of what you’re consuming regularly.

“Food is just like life itself, enjoy it but be sure to make wise choices as well” 😉

Alright, am leaving you guys with that. As always, don’t get too buried in the urgent things in life and forget the important ones that truly matter at the end of the day. Love, share, encourage, listen and give 😘

Lots of love, Erina

Experience Kelantan in the city at Warung Kita

Experience Kelantan in the city at Warung Kita

We arrived unannounced at Warung Kita @ Kg Melayu Sungai Buloh to check out their food after communicating with manager Mohd Tarmin Fauzi nearly a month prior.

By about 6pm, they were already closing, and most of the food was already sold for the day, but people kept streaming in to make more orders. Warung Kita is only a simple stall with about 100 seats, and the place is usually packed on weekends as it is open as early as 7am.

The food here is attractive for two reasons. It is relatively cheap, compared to restaurants in areas with higher rent, but more importantly, it tastes just how Kelantanese food should.

Its signature dish, nasi manggey, which comes with curry gravy, steamed rice and sambal belacan, costs only RM5.50 a plate. They use cili padi for the sambal belacan, which gives it an extra kick.

“This is our most popular dish since we started this warung some three years ago. It has been our bestseller.”

I can fully understand why. At that price, it also comes with a piece of fried chicken or ayam cincang. In fact, the Kelantanese recipes are from the mother of stall owner Mohd Khairi Abdul Karim.

Khairul has successfully set up three other Warung Kita, apart from this one in Sungai Buloh. The other three are in Klang, Bangi, and Bandar Baru Ampang.

Their nasi lemak ikan tongkol, which costs only RM4.80, is available only in the morning. Also priced the same is their popular nasi berlauk ikan tongkol.

You can also enjoy their coconut shake – coconut water served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, priced at just RM3.70 – especially on a hot day. For those who like their coconut water plain, you can also order their kelapa baldi, which is priced at RM4.25.

While Warung Kita attracts mainly locals from the area, others come from afar with their families and friends – not just for the great food, but for the kampung atmosphere, especially since you can also choose to have your meal while duduk santai in special palm-covered booths.

Warung [email protected] Buloh is located at 95, Jalan Kusta, Kampung Melayu Batu 13, 47000 Sungai Buloh, Selangor.

Waze: Click here if you want to use Waze

Tel: 013-996 2525

Business Hours: 7am–7pm everyday

Facebook: Warung Kita

Robert’s Penang char kway teow comes highly recommended

Robert’s Penang char kway teow comes highly recommended

Everyone has their own take on where to fine the best Penang char kway teow in the Klang Valley. But when an 84-year-old restaurant owner and chef gives you his recommendation, you better believe it!

Especially when he has been a regular at the same stall for the past 31 years, frequently bringing friends and relatives to savour a plate of Robert Khoo’s char kway teow at Damansara Kim.

Whenever this octogenarian, James Kuok of Sri Nyonya Restaurant fame visits the coffee shop with his friends, he only orders food from Robert’s stall and nothing else.

That shows how much he still enjoys nice and simple street food that you cannot find in five star hotels or other posh restaurants.

When Kuok first told me about it, I agreed to check it out. So, off we went to Damansara Kim one morning, where Robert has been operating his char kway teow stall at Restoran Golden Kim Wah for the past decade.

He moved here after operating his stall in SS2 Petaling Jaya for 25 years.

“When the coffee shop was closed down, I moved to Damansara Kim. My relatives are also operating other stalls in Section 17, Kota Damansara, Taman Megah and Damansara Perdana.”

In fact, Robert has been whipping up one plate of char kway teow after another for the past 40 years. Assuming he sells a 100 plates a day, and works 300 days a year, that comes up to a mind-boggling 1.2 million plates!

I agree with Kuok that Robert’s char kway teow is not just better than anything I have tasted in the Klang Valley, but also Penang.

The RM7 price tag for a big plate (RM6.50 for a small plate) is worth every sen. He doesn’t skimp on the cockles, prawns, lap cheong, bean sprouts, lard, Chinese chives and finely-beaten egg omelette, and not to forget some aromatic garlic bits.

You can pay an additional RM1 for more cockles and, if you wish, Robert can also regulate the amount of chili to suit your taste.

The prices are kept to a comfortable level, as he still has a lot of faithful followers who have been his regular customers for many years.

I particularly like the slightly sweet and umami taste of the char kway teow, which is hard to find elsewhere. Robert is not giving up his trade secret, but he does tell me that one way this is achieved is by controlling the intensity of the fire.

So, Penangites who are living in the Klang Valley never have to miss home again, at least not when it comes to char kway teow.

For other Penang delicacies over here, they can also look for Joo Tiang’s Penang curry mee in Sri Bintang, and for those more familiar with Desa Aman Puri, there is Tong Siang’s version. Not to forget Sri Nyonya, one of the best northern Peranakan restaurants around.

To me, there’s no such thing as objectively the ‘best’ char kway teow, and I also disagree that it can only be found in Penang. Even my Penangite friends cannot agree on which stall serves the best version of the dish. It does, after all, depend on individual taste buds.

But according to Kuok, Roberts’ char kway teow has been consistently good for the decades he’s been going there, even following the chef when he made his switch to Damansara Kim.

Who am I to argue with that?

Robert’s Penang char kway teow stall is located in Restoran Golden Kim Wah, at No 1 Jalan SS20/11 Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya. His stall is open from 7am to 3pm seven days a week.

Waze: Click here if you want to use Waze

Tel: 016-3096797

Business Hours: 7am – 3pm

Eating Healthy at Work

Eating Healthy at Work

Do you find it a challenge to eat healthy at work?

Are you more likely to snack when you are in the office?

We spend most of our time in the office during weekdays so it is pretty important to make eating healthy a habit that’s doable for your 9 to 5.. I’ve got a few suggestions here for you, they are catered for different ones of you with different needs; the snackers, the diet coke drinkers, the busy bees, the foodies…


Idea #1: Pack them blenders!

Give your blender a permanent home in your office pantry. Yes, I’m talking smoothies.. Instead of skipping your lunch or grabbing that snickers bar from 7-11, try this out.. It is the perfect lunch for those who are always on the go and just do not have the time to sit down for a meal. It takes 5 minutes or less to make one. If you have time for a toilet run, you’ve time for this! 😆

All you need is:

👉 a blender! Magic bullet is what I use. Plus points?☝️Portable✌️Easy to clean.

👉 a pack of frozen fruits, seeds, and vegetables

And, here’s a recipe to help you get started 👇


Berry Banana Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 Handful of Baby Spinach
  • 1.5 Frozen Banana
  • 1 Handful of Frozen Berries
  • 300ml Nutmilk
  • 1 Tsp Chia Seeds

Direction: Add all ingredients into blender and blitz away!

Smoothie tip: Make sure to include fat (eg: nut butters, chia seeds, flaxseeds), protein (yoghurt, chia seeds, almonds, oats), carbs (frozen fruit) and greens!


Idea #2: Portion Control (snacks)

Snackers, hear me out. I know you. Because I’m just like you. No matter how healthy you know your snacks are, try to portion control them. If you buy your snacks in bulk, then bag them up individually (ziplock bags are good for this). Either that or bring what’s needed for the day with you to the office. It differs for every individual, but if you’re like me (a stress-eater and a snacker), then keeping your drawer fully stocked is a no-no.

“I recognize and identify my weakness so I don’t set a trap for myself”

Even in my pantry at home, you won’t find any processed food. I know I can’t trust myself with it. On days when I feel like indulging a little, then I would just go to the shops to get them. Everything at home, I keep pretty wholesomely.

I’m a big believer in “not ruining the main meals” because that’s when you nourish yourself with greens, protein and whole carbs. I find when I skip lunch or dinner, I will end up craving for all sorts later on throughout the day/night. Portioning your snacks will help you avoid ruining your main meals.


Idea #3: The Magic Soda

Not everyone struggles with this, but I do know quite a number of us who are victims of the “diet coke/coke zero” addiction. With the chemicals they load up in that drink, it comes as no surprise. They are meant to hook us in. But, no worries! There’s an alternative to everything. And here’s my magic soda👇

Plus point? It’s fizzy, it quenches thirst and lemon eases your appetite too. Check check and check! 👍


Idea #4: Lunchbox!

Nothing beats home cooked food, right? And it doesn’t have to be time-consuming or a hassle. You can make your lunchboxes in under 15 minutes with just a few tips and tricks. No excuses to not eat healthy eh? 😊 Check out how I make my nourishing lunchboxes in under 15 minutes.


Idea #5: Healthy Deliveries

If the options around your office area are limited and not-that-healthy, don’t fret. If you are not that keen on making smoothies or your own lunchboxes, don’t fret too! I’ve sussed out a few good food companies that deliver. They serve wholesome nourishing food and believes in eating real food.

The Naked Lunchbox

The Good Co.

Salad Atelier

Some things are really easier said than done, but not when it comes to eating healthy at work. It really is doable. Let me know how you go with these ideas. I would love to know 😊

As always, remember to love, share, encourage, listen and give. Let’s be mindful of the words we use and of how we treat others 😘

Lots of love, Erina

Sri Nyonya – a restaurant in a class of its own

Sri Nyonya – a restaurant in a class of its own

Fake news this is not, but the owner and chef of Sri Nyonya Restaurant in Section 22, Petaling Jaya, James Kuok, is certainly 84 years old.

Even a Japanese businessperson would call him from Japan to pre-book his nasi briyani before touching down at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. This too is no fake news!

I was personally very impressed meeting this octogenarian, who is not just passionate about good food, but at an age when most people would rather call it a day. Nevertheless, he still puts on his apron and can easily whip up a sumptuous meal for his special guests.

Besides his signature dishes, which among others include the roti canai and his homemade rum raisin ice cream (both have my thumbs-up!), I find listening to James to be very entertaining indeed, that a whole three hours had passed by us without me realising it, until my 7-year-old daughter started nudging me to go home.

Preferring to be known only as James, Kuok and his wife Lorna have been running the restaurant for the past 31 years. Lorna was a former corporate lawyer who decided her passion was in the kitchen. They are very hands-on, which explains why every dish here has their signature on it.

Although the façade and the inner decoration is simple, the restaurant is a class of its own. The man, too, is a legend himself.

For a start, I agree there are many places with good briyani, but James’ version of the Hyderabadi cuisine gives me the unforgettable o-o-o-u-m-p-h!

Never mind about his nasi briyani being voted one of the top five in the whole of Klang Valley and among the top ten in the country, I initially found it hard to believe when a schoolmate of mine recommended James’ briyani as “the best in town”. Having tasted it now, this is indeed a “must” for all to try.

In fact, his well-known omelette, Nyonya assam fish and fried assam prawn were kind of overshadowed by the nasi briyani as far as I am concerned. The fish is fresh, and the gravy is not that spicy which means young children also get to enjoy it. You can be sure that James would not serve you something that is stale. He has been in the business for three decades, and is very particular about his quality control.

If you have never tasted what a good roti canai is, try James’ roti canai which is fried in pure ghee. His roti canai is a class of its own. It is best eaten with his beef rendang. Trust me, and you will find that his rendang is for real and unbeatable in the way he cooks it.

The rendang can be eaten with white rice, but it goes well with the roti canai because it gives a good balance of spiciness and the buttery taste of the roti canai. One has to taste it to understand what I mean.

What I particularly like about James’ food here is that he does not use MSG. He knows just the right balance between the spices and herbs that gives his cuisine the perfect taste. For each cuisine, it is a different sauce concoction that he prepares; there is no one sauce that works for his entire menu.

A semi-qualified cook myself, I learnt this little tip from James: “Spices for our curries are washed clean and roasted individually to bring out the flavour before grinding it into powder.”

And, for his homemade ice cream, he does not use artificial flavourings. Taste his durian ice cream and you know understand why my 7-year-old daughter said: “Wow! This tastes like great durian!”

So, if the waiters here ask you, “What would you like for dessert?” let them know I strongly recommend James’ one scoop of rum raisin for adults and a scoop of durian ice cream for the children. You may find yourself competing with them for the durian ice-cream, and you may end up eating one scoop of each.

Once you have eaten here at Sri Nyonya, you will feel like you have tasted some of the best Northern Peranakan cuisine in town. The secret I like to share with you is that the recipes are 160 years old. They were passed on from Lorna’s grandmother.

To avoid disappointment, make sure that you pre-book your table as James does not believe in running a big restaurant to serve the masses.

Sri Nyonya Restaurant is located at 14, Jalan 22/49, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Tel: (603) – 7875 – 1031

Business Hours:
Tues – Sun (Closed on Mondays)
12:00PM—02:00PM
06:30PM—09:30PM

Waze: Click here if you want to use Waze

Getting back to basics at Paleolicious

Getting back to basics at Paleolicious


Some call it the caveman diet, others call it the Stone Age diet. But whatever name it goes by, the paleo diet is all about going back to the basics.

It is based on the diet of our ancestors, when they ate only foods that could be obtained by hunting and gathering – during the Paleolithic period, before the invention of proper agriculture.

The diet – which is supposed to be healthy as it includes only the greens, nuts, seeds, fish and lean meats our stomachs are actually made for – shot to popularity after the publication of Loren Cordain’s “The Paleo Diet” in 2002.

In Malaysia, the concept is still very new, but thanks to pioneers like Loke Weng Thai and Sharon Cheong, they took the risk to set up Paleolicious in March 2015, proving that the paleo diet is not only healthier but can be just as delicious.

“A healthy eating lifestyle comprises eating environment, food ingredients, cooking method, food serving, and eating experience. This is the Paleo Lifestyle.

 

“We aim to change the world one delicious and nutritious meal at a time. We believe in eating as Mother Nature intended. This means plenty of plant-based food, high quality meat, seafood, eggs, fresh fruit, nuts and seeds.

 

“Our food never compromises on flavour. So our food is always fast-paced, flavour-packed and brimming with nutrition.

According to Thai, the paleo concept has been catching on since they opened their outlet in Taman Sri Bintang. “We have more of the expatriates visiting our outlet in Desa Sri Hartamas, whereas our Taman Sri Bintang outlet caters more to delivery orders,” he said.

Hidden in a corner of Kepong, Paelolicious is a nice, cosy place where you can enjoy a back-to-basics meal with your family.

For their signature dishes, I strongly recommend you to try their paleo chicken, which is served with sweet potatoes. instead of using common poultry, they use grass fed-free range chicken.

Forget about the expensive quinoa, here you should ask for a few spoonful of “rice” to go along with it. It does look like rice but, interestingly, it is made from cauliflower.

It is surely an experience for most people to try the paleo rice, and if you like it, this will surely be your best discovery for the week, that you can easily replace rice with Paleolicious rice.

Cheong tells me that she used to be 85kg, but after cutting down on carbohydrates including rice, her weight dropped to 58kg.

The cauliflower is also used to make the base of their paleo salmon pizza. My kids especially loved this, as it is topped with broccoli, capsicum, zucchini and wild-caught salmon.

Children will also love the paleo sausage egg burger, with a handmade patty using chicken, shrimp and lemon zest, which really brings out the freshness of the meat.

They use kampung eggs for the burger, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as guacamole. My kids loved it more than regular burgers, and it contains none of the nasty nitrates and other chemicals that usually go into processed meat.  

Best of all, they only use coconut oil for their cooking!


For other restaurants in the Healthy Food Trail, click
here, here and here.

Paleolicious Restaurant is located at 12, Jalan 7/36, Taman Sri Bintang, 52100 Kuala Lumpur. They also operate from 58, Jalan 27/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: +6012 6889990
Business hours: 0800 – 2000
Facebook: Paleolicious
Waze location: Search for Paleolicious
Website: http://paleolicious.com.my/

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