Questions about healthier ways to eating out

Sent: Monday, October 25, 2004 5:47 PM


My name is Jennifer Marshall and I am a journalism student from Humber College in Etobicoke. I am doing an article on healthy choices when eating out. My focus is mainly on fast food restaurants since college students tend to eat there the most. I was wondering if you could answer my questions and send them back to me.

1. I understand that as you are a dietitian you feel it is unhealthy to eat out in general but if you were to suggest to a patient some fast food options what would you suggest to them?

Salads without the dressing! and water! Virtually all the other foods are full of unhealthy trans fatty acids! Please understand that if a person is eating an unhealthy diet, eating more raw veggies is the easiest way to begin to eat a healthier diet.

What has worked for me the last 25 years is hitting a super market and picking up the best and freshest produce I can! Fast food/junk food whatever you want to call it, is the worst category of foods to eat! I NEVER sacrifice for such over-processed, nutritionally empty food just for its taste. Which by the way if you stay off most foods for at least 30 days, and then taste them, they will taste awful or you will feel awful!

After consulting a lot of clients, and years experimenting on myself, I find the law of conditioning says that abstaining from an unhealthy food for 30 days or even less, then consuming that food again, even in small amounts the body will usually react in one of 2 ways. It either will taste awful or you will feel awful! Our stomachs are stupid! The stomach reacts after you feed it!

The Rule of Thumb is… if you have not had a less than healthy food for some time, then just taste a small amount and buffer it by eating healthy veggies first! Especially true for white refined sugar! I get a headache just looking at an M&M candy!

So I always shop ahead of time! I hit the supermarket and load up on organic fruit and veggies keeps me healthy and energized!
Note: I prefer to use the word ‘client’ over client. I do not ‘treat’ people, I only advise and hopefully inspire and share awareness!

2. Could you explain to me what makes fast food so unhealthy?

Most of the foods have trans fats in them! Trans fats are in the top 7 worst foods to eat! Along with white flour, white sugar, gluten grains, coffee (sure fire way to get lumpy breasts!) pasteurized dairy, (raw dairy is a different ball game) alcohol (exception is a few ounces of red wine as it is raw!) Trans fats are fats that are refined and heated and altered so far from their natural state, that when consumed are very damaging to the body. Trans fats reduce oxygen in the blood by over 30% for hours after you eat and as well damage our cells and are considered free radical! (free radicals damage cells instantly!)

3. What do you think about fast food restaurants such as McDonalds introducing their healthier choices?

Salads and baked potatoes are about as healthy as they get. Even then I would not trust there baked potatoes as they are likely GMO (genetically modified versions) or the lowest quality! So salads are a start! and its certainly better than not, but they are a long way from making their junky, tasty food healthy!

4. Would you rather suggest to your patient that eating at Tim Horton’s would be a healthier choice as opposed to McDonalds?

Honestly, I have no idea what their menus are! Again I would recommend salads. I don’t mean to sound dismissive, but unless people realize that getting off refined fast foods and eating more fresh vegetables in general, is what is important, not whether McDonalds or Tim Horton’s meals have less trans fats! In the world’s industrialized countries, especially North America obesity and acute and chronic illnesses are rapidly on the rise! 55% of North Americans were considered overweight in the early 90’s. In 2003 it had risen to 64%!

Its hard to believe but I have been eating healthy for over 25 years and although many people are becoming more aware, still the masses are not aware of the incredibly damaging effects all these processed, packaged, long shelf life foods, loaded with chemicals, gmo grown and packaged in zeno-estrogen plastics! (synthetic estrogen mimickers)

5. What do you think about subway advertising their subs as a healthier choice and using that man who lost weight while eating their subs to promote them as a healthier choice?

What a great question! Well you asked for it! But to think one will become healthy eating Subway sandwiches, is criminally misleading! Sure one might lose weight because he reduced his calories! But with what? Refined white flour! Processed poor quality chemically preserved meats! Below is the ingredients in their meats! NITRITES! They are Cancer causing! Nitrosamines and nitrosamides are carcinogenic. The reason they give for allowing them in food is that they prevent botulism! Hard to get botulism in food unless its been around too long! The Chicken is loaded with sugar! Hydrogenated soy oil! Cancer causing and gmo! I love finding out the truth. Look I could have a field day here! This is hardly fresh food! Fresh made maybe!

GENOA SALAMI: Pork, beef, salt, water, corn syrup, dextrose, sugar, wine, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrate, spices, garlic, lactic acid starter culture, sodium nitrite. Pepperoni: Pork, beef, salt, dextrose, water, spices, corn syrup, paprika, oleoresin of paprika, flavorings, sodium erythorbate, lactic acid starter culture, sodium nitrite. Ham: ham (cured with water), salt, dextrose, modified food starch (from corn), sodium phosphates, sodium erythorbate, smoke flavoring, and sodium nitrite.

CHICKEN BREAST PATTY Chicken breast with rib meat, water, seasoning (corn syrup solids, vinegar powder [maltodextrin, modified corn starch & tapioca starch, dried vinegar], brown sugar, salt, dextrose, garlic powder, onion powder, chicken type flavor [hydrolyzed corn gluten, autolyzed yeast extract, partially hydrogenated soybean oil and cottonseed oil, thiamine hydrochloride, disodium inosinate & disodium guanylate]), sodium phosphate. May contain: soy sauce powder [fermented soybeans, wheat, salt], lemon juice solids, dextrin, natural flavors [including smoke flavor], flavor [from partially hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oil], partially hydrogenated soybean oil, hydrolyzed soy protein, citric acid, caramel color, vinegar solids), modified food starch, dextrose, caramel color.

6. If a patient wanted to eat out would you suggest they go to an actual sit down restaurant instead of any fast food restaurant?

It does seem that most sit down restaurants, one can at least get a decent salad. Personally when I go to a restaurant, I take the waiter aside and kindly ask them to put together a salad of the vegetables they offer. 99% of the time I get exactly what I want. So there is little reason to sacrifice too much when I do go out. When I travel I just hit the best supermarkets and get the best organic produce I can find.

7. If so which restaurants would you suggest?

I search out vegetarian restaurants wherever I travel as they usually have great salads. Most restaurants at least have salad and fish. For clients I recommend searching out restaurants ahead of time if one is traveling or even calling ahead to a restaurant where others want you to meet them. This way you can make sure you can at least get something reasonably healthy when going to a restaurant you are not familiar with. I find most restaurants will make me a great looking, super salad with the ingredients they have. I rarely have any trouble eating out. The one exception is a party I might be invited to where the people don’t know me or me them. In this case I eat before I go. That way I don’t have to take a chance and sacrifice. Personally I eat mostly from a super market when I travel, just like I do when I am at home in Toronto.

8. If your patient was to go out to a sit down restaurant what would you suggest they eat while there?

Always start with a healthy salad. Try to use lemon or balsamic vinegar as almost all dressings have sugar and are loaded with salt! I recommend keeping it simple such as steamed veggies, baked sweet or regular potatoes, brown rice. As always I recommend avoiding fried foods, dairy and sweets/pastries. Beans are the better choice, over animal protein.

Rewarding yourself occasionally is also very healthy, but I do recommend caution here! Depending on the level of diet you currently maintain. Eating white sugar, white flour breads, loads of regular table salt and refined fatty foods is likely to make one not feel very good. To me a reward is brown rice or a baked potato. Firstly I just don’t crave much other than healthy raw fruits, seaweeds, greens and healthy fats like raw coconut oil, raw nuts and avocado. But for someone just embarking on improving their diet and lifestyle, letting go once in a while is certainly healthy…. as long as they do not overdo foods one is not used to eating or has not eaten for more than 30 days or more.

A shocking example is when I first started to eat healthy at the ripe old age of 16, I remember trying an ice cream after eating very healthy raw veggies, salads lots of fruits for 30 days. Please note before this 30 days that I ate everything and anything! So my instinct said to just try a taste and was I right! I had like 1 tablespoon and felt a headache in 30 seconds! NO exaggeration! From that time on, I learned my stomach is stupid! It will take almost anything you put in it! Our bodies get very sensitive to things we are not used to eating. So I recommend if you are going to reward yourself that you do it in the following manner.

  1. White Sugar Foods Make sure you do NOT eat on an empty stomach! Salad or most any food will help buffer your blood sugar. Then take only a taste. Wait. Trust me on this one, white sugar is very dangerous when you have not eaten it for a while. It will shoot your blood sugar up incredibly fast and you will crash just as fast. If you over consume, you will likely get a headache and not feel good!
  2. Salt Himalaya and Celtic salts are the only 2 salts I recommend in moderation. If you stay off salt for a period of time, it will cause a fast and severe reaction! Another personal story here… I had not eaten salt in some time and I remember having some popcorn with a friend one time at the movies. In like 5 minutes after consuming some of the popcorn, I felt like my mouth had been punched! My lips swelled up like a balloon! It was so uncomfortable! I was excessively thirsty, craved more and felt very out of balance. I even take my own small bottle of Himalayan (used to take Celtic) salt for the odd time I do go to a restaurant.
  3. Refined Fats any trans fats, fried foods… DON’T! you will feel horrible! I have even been known to take my avocados or dressing if I know I cannot even get olive oil.
  4. Most Other Foods Here I just recommend not over eating.
  5. Tips We all will over do things at one time or the other as it is human nature. Try not to be hard on yourself. Again rewarding yourself can be healthy if done in moderation. I highly recommend to please call it a reward! Rewarding is much more positive than cheating! Its your choice what you put into your body. Believe me. I have learned many painful lessons. But they were just that…lessons.

Please Live Forever Healthy!