Eat healthy: You are unfit because you choose to be

We eat out, we eat plastic and we pay good money for it. Start using those pots and pans before they rust!

Farah S Kamal September 24, 2013
Over the past couple of decades, there has been a phenomenal revolution in what, how and where we eat. The massive invasion of the fast food industry, mushrooming of restaurants, dhabas and cafes all over the country, and the import of machinery like massive friers, grills and freezers are among some major factors that have redefined our food choices and eating habits.

In the name of convenience and time-saving, we end up consuming a loathsome range of food that are downright hazardous to our health. These eateries, machineries, packaged, bottled and refrigerated products topped with the convenience of home delivery services have changed the family dynamics of cooking and eating every meal at home as a family activity.
“We are busy,”

“Both spouses work so there is no time in the morning for breakfast or time to pack lunch boxes for school and office”

“Hey, where can I get some great food delivered from? I have a bunch of guests coming over tonight!”

Conversations like these have become common in the everyday lives of our families. We rely heavily on packaged, processed and restaurant bought foods. At a different level, eating out has also become a part of our social lives and where and what people eat is also a status symbol. It is a rat-race that we all seem to be succumbing to happily.

Unfortunately, in doing so, we are forgetting the personal connection, satisfaction and, the most important, health factor associated with home cooked meals. As a health supportive cook I post many pictures of my culinary creations that have led to people requesting that I start my own business. What keeps me guessing at this point is, why don’t they get inspired and begin exploring their own pots, pans and kitchen life again.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against eating out, it is fun and we enjoy some of the food which we cannot prepare at home. However, there was a time when eating out used to be occasional ‘treat’ rather than what it has become now - an everyday occurrence.

What people don't seem to realise is that eating out on a daily basis can result is many problems including blocked arteries, obesity and other ailments that are hard on both, our health and pockets too.

Photo: Farah S Kamal

Cooking for your family and friends, beside it being a healthy practice, is also creative, satisfying and cost effective.
“My mom works and is very busy, but she makes lunch for me”, responded  a 17-year-old girl when her classmates remarked on the girl’s mother having the time to cook fresh pasta for her to take to school.

The other nine teens sitting in that group together were eating fries during the lunch hour from the school tuck shop. There is a growing trend among teenagers to feel embarrassed about taking homemade lunch to school; however, schools hardly take the responsibility of providing healthy and hygienic meals to their students and parents should understand this. The school tuck shops produce the unhealthiest food.

Perhaps, involving children in grocery shopping, meal planning and cooking together will help in inculcating a sense of health consciousness and ensure better eating habits. This will benefit both, the parents and the children, as in the long run, it would mean fewer visits to paediatricians and less pharmacy expenses, and complications later in life.

Photo: Farah S Kamal

Cooking meals at home help us choose ingredients as per our health requirements; we can control portions and enjoy prime quality meals more frequently. A simple example is the price we pay for one three course meal at an elite restaurant; similar meals can be cooked at home in the same cost for at least four people and that too with better quality ingredients, hygienically prepared right there with us in command.

Photo: Farah S Kamal

No matter how busy we are, eating is a basic activity of everyday life. We need healthy food to function efficiently in all aspects of life so just pause and think for one minute before you have that beef cheese burger, why are you compromising on your health? Every little morsel of food that we consume becomes a part of our bodily system.

The first step to becoming healthy in the real sense of the word is to think twice before picking up the phone to order that pizza, or stopping your car for a takeaway or piling the grocery carts and bags with packaged, bottled, frozen and imported food. For every food choice learn to find a home cooked formula.

Make real food, your body can’t live on plastic!

This post originally appeared here
Farah S Kamal An education and development consultant, who is currently leading the iEARN programs in Pakistan. Photography is her hobby and passion and she tweets @fskamal (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Syed bilal mustafa | 9 years ago | Reply "At home you can control the quantity and quality of ingredients". Ingredients includes spices & cooking oil. And because of low quality spices or oil, a seemingly qulaity hygienic dish may actually become unhygienic. Also, one cannot ensure the freshness of vegetables. Furthermore, Most of the fast food & some other restaurants are using processed/ packed food, which is not beneficial for one's health, because of the chemicals used to preserve them.
Farah Kamal | 9 years ago Thanks Bilal you got it right!!! We are talking about the restaurant and eating out scene in Pakistan totally plagued with sub standard ingredients to make them a frequent healthy choice. No matter how much clever you are to choose your sauces and sides and stuff, it does not work for everyone.
abhi | 9 years ago | Reply I really don't find anyting bad about the blog. If due to a certain lifestyle if we are getting sick we need to fix it, the bandage type solution really don't work.
gp65 | 9 years ago Abhi, I totally agree with you that if a particular lifestyle leads to health problems, it needs to be fixed rather than relying on bandaid solutions. My only point was that this lifestyle in itself does not contribute to poor health. It is poor choice of what we eat that contributes to the problem. If we make good choices when we eat out, even if we eat out regularly it will not lead to bad health. Even if we eat at home everyday and eat lot of savories for snacks, do not control portion sizes, eat a lot of paneer, dessert etc. we will end up with elevated cholesterol and blood sugar numbers. The blogger however made no mention of what are good choices and what should be avoided. That is what my point was. It is also the reason I elaborated on the issue. Just 30 minutes of brisk walk daily is the one last piece of puzzle that is totally necessary and can favorably impact cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure numbers.
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