The hype for going healthy is more present, which is undoubtedly a good thing. The bad thing, though, is that marketing is taking advantage of this trend to produce and sell shit (will you excuse my vocabulary, but let's call a spade a spade).
In today's article, I want to highlight some meals/food we believe are healthy, although they're absolutely not.
But first, let me cover what is a healthy meal. I, for one, consider that a healthy meal is balanced and made of the following: fibers, proteins, carbs, fats, minerals, vitamins, and water. Most of the time, our dishes are supposed to look like this to include all of the above: 1/4 of proteins, 1/4 of carbs, and 1/2 of veggies. If you wish to learn more about "healthy eating", feel free to read this article.
Obviously, I'm not banishing anything. I just want you to know what you buy and not be fooled by our consumer society. Do you connect the dots? Let's dive into it.
Ramens may seem like a healthy and light option, but they actually may not. Depending on the ramen you eat, the amount of fat and calories may differ a lot. For instance, the popular Tonkotsu and Miso Ramens are very fat because the broth simmers fatty pieces of pork for hours, which adds a lot of rendered fat to the broth.
On the contrary, the Shoyu Ramen broth is made of chicken, which ends up being less fat. Same for the Shio Ramen, whose broth is based on chicken broth and aromatics.
A better bet: When I cook ramen, I prepare the broth with soy sauce, sesame sauce, and a cube instead of letting it simmer pieces of pork or chicken. It is less way less fat. Acai Bowl
Most people tend to think that sushis are healthy because they mainly contain fish and veg. That's not totally correct. In fact, the biggest portion of food in sushi is sticky rice, and sticky rice is cooked with sugar and rice vinegar. Along these lines, we understand they're not that healthy.
Not to mention the sauce we like dipping our sushis in and the origin of the products, which is most of the time not so clean including conservatives (sugar) and pesticides.
A better bet; Making sushis maybe sometimes time-consuming, I feel you. However, the advantage is that you can choose to not add sugar to the rice and also so to double-check the origin of the products.
Acai bowls are made of smoothies and topped with nuts, seeds, fruits, and granola. They're touted as high in antioxidants, fibers, minerals, and vitamins. Till here, nothing to report.
The thing is that when you opt for smoothies, you need to blend the fruits and consequently blend the fibers. But, fibers help slow down the absorption of sugar. Thus, when blended, fibers do not do their job releasing more sugar in the blood (higher glycemic index).
Plus even though fruits are very healthy, it is not recommended to have more than 2 fruits a day as they're high in fructose (which is bad for the liver). In a smoothie, be sure to have more than 2 fruits, not forgetting the added sugar.
As for the toppings, they're all very healthy as well provided we do not overload the bowl. Indeed, nuts are very high in fats.
A better bet: If you have a craving for an Acai bowl, just go for it! Frustration has never been good. If it is more frequent, try to make them yourself moderating the number of fruits and toppings. You can also choose to go for other breakfast bowls. For instance, I like yogurt bowls or porridges. You can find all of my breakfast recipes right here.
Protein bars are the perfect snack before hitting the gym when you need a quick energy boost, or when you have a little peckish due to the filling effect of proteins.
If you decide to integrate them into your diet, make sure to double-check the ingredients list as many of them may be added with refined sugar or coated in chocolate, and that's when it comes tricky.
Not to mention that protein bars are often high in calories. So, depending on your objective go easy on protein bars.
For long, we thought that Agave Syrup was a very good and natural sweetener. Indeed, it contains more fructose than glucose, which means a lower glycemic index (GI). However, recent studies have proven that the GI is not that low considering most of the Agave Syrups are not 100% natural containing other sweeteners.
Plus, the amount of fructose is very important, and this, once again, can be harmful to the liver as it turns fructose into fat.
A better bet: Swap Agave syrup for honey or Maple syrup. They're cleaner. In the end, this is not really about the sweetener itself but more about the quantity you consume. They should be used moderately.
Long story short
There's no one-size-fits-all answer. Keep in mind that those meals may be very high in fat and calories depending on their origin (are they homemade? From grocery stores? Cafés?) and the quantity of the serving.
My motto is balance. Make sure to not have them too often while not preventing yourself from enjoying them.
Swap from bought to homemade!