The greatest wealth is health. ~Virgil
Eating out, and eating healthy is often a challenge. Especially here in Alaska. And even more so in Fairbanks. I am not even going to start to tell about my dining experiences in Fairbanks where I have been using a napkin to dry off the extra cooking oil from my veggie omelet.
Yes, I admit, I am a health nut who pays attention to quality of food. And apparently my taste is slightly different from most people. I don’t like french fries, excessive amounts of cheese make me lose my appetite, deep fried food gets no-thanks from me, I eat my salads dry, or with a couple of drops of dressing. Someone would call me picky. But on the other hand, I do enjoy a glass or two of good wine, happily have my (Starbucks) coffee, and occasionally even taste a piece of chocolate although I don’t really like it a whole lot. So I like to believe that I am still a human too. After all.
Over a past few weeks I have had interesting dining experiences in Anchorage area. First we went to a local pizza restaurant where I ordered a veggie pizza, very light on feta cheese only. And got three different kinds of cheeses. The restaurant did the same cheese mistake three times – after that I gave up, and just picked the cheese out of a couple of slices that I ate.
Next time I went to IHOP, and wanted an egg white veggie omelet with no cheese. Guess what I got? An omelet with cheese! And of course I waited until boredom to get the waiter’s attention, and was able to request a new omelet. Another small, local breakfast restaurant advertises itself kinda health-conscious place. And again, my omelet came with cheese when I specifically requested it without.
Lastly, this weekend, Jason and I had lunch in Anchorage downtown. After staring at the menu for quite some time, I decided that chicken burrito without cheese and on corn tortilla would be a good choice. Did I get it? Nope. Didn’t even get the cheese. This time the waiter kindly came to tell me that they can’t make the burrito without cheese. So I stare at the menu again, and decided to go with fish tacos, no cheese but with corn tortillas. I got the fish but with flour tortilla. At that point I was tired and hungry, and decided to eat some of it.
This all made me think why eating healthy is so difficult? Shouldn’t the unhealthy items be the ones to ask for? Why are the french fries the standard side with most foods? And having a side salad may even cost extra. I would be happy to see cheese or fries as items to ask for, and healthier options to be defaults.
Sometimes I think it would be a great idea to have higher taxes on fatty foods… especially when I check out the restaurants’ nutrition information. A dinner at Cheesecake Factory could look like this:
Appetizer: Caesar salad: 860 calories
Main course: Fettucini with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes: 1,830 calories
Dessert: half of a lemon raspberry cheesecake: 365 calories
This equals to over 3,000 calories, without beverages. And it is only one big dinner. A 30-year old woman who is 5’6″ tall and weighs 150lbs, needs about 2,000 calories to maintain the weight. And after the Cheesecake Factory dinner we are looking at about 1,000 extra calories. For a person this size, it takes about 90 minutes to lose 1,000 calories is she runs 10 mins/mile pace. Or 75 minutes of biking, at 15-20 mph. Trust me, it’s a sweaty exercise to run 9 miles in hour and half – four miles more and you have done a half marathon, and at a very good time…
With all my daily workouts, I consume that extra 1,000+ calories on daily basis, and actually eat worth 3,000 calories, sometimes even more. But do I want to eat food worth my whole day at one sitting? Absolutely not! I like food – so much that I rather eat 4-5 times a day. Nowadays news are full of stories about people being obese and having related health problems. It is not a no-brainer to figure out why that is the case. If a person doesn’t have a medical condition that leads to difficulties to lose weight, or makes a person prone to gain weight, the math is simple – if a person eats more than consumes, the extra energy is stored somewhere.
I so wish restaurants would serve healthier food. Meanwhile, my pizza and omelets are ordered without cheese.