Supersize me? Indian food.

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#1 Apr 10th, 2005, 01:47
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  • 50sQuiff is offline
#1
I've been in Mumbai for a few weeks now and I'm really enjoying my first trip to India. This city is just incredible and it never stops suprising me. I was blown away by some of the work in the Jahangir gallery today for instance. I'm hoping to do six months, or even 12 if I can get a new visa at some stage. I can't speak highly enough about this forum and have passed it on to travellers I've met. The advice has been invaluable and has enhanced my trip so far. Ok, now the pleasantries are out of the way I have what I feel is an important concern to share.

At home, like many I am an health concious person who eats a balanced diet and generally tries to minimise over-consumption of unhealthy foods. My mother is Indian and her and my own Indian efforts are usually prepared in extremely healthy fashion, with little oil, no salt and certainly no ghee!

So far I've found food in India to be undeniably delicious and good value and I've been devouring it with gusto. However I haven't failed to notice that everything I've eaten so far is dripping with oil or grease and strikes me as very unhealthy. It certainly doesn't help that all those lip-smackingly tasty street foods are well acquainted with the deep fat fryer. I feel like I'm eating a McDonalds for every meal and that I'm going to end up like the guy from the famous documentary.

I wouldn't be bothered if I was here for a month or so, but being here for the long haul I want to try and resolve this issue early on. Also, with a lack of decent footwear, intense heat and the smog, jogging doesn't seem like a viable activity. I think my treks across town are going to have to become powerwalks

Moreover, in the early stages of a trip when one is still bamboozled by whole pages of the menu there is a tendency to stick to a number of familiar dishes. And the array of dishes I've been consuming has left me craving something light and fat free. Ultimately this is where I ask for help. I'm not suggesting Indian food is unhealthy - I'm simply saying the obvious dishes and the ones I've been eating are. I'm particularly ignorant about vegetarian cuisine for instance. I would welcome any suggestions of healthier, lighter, and most-likely, vegetarian options to balance my diet. I'm at the stage where I stare at the menu for ages, the waiter gets bored and heads over and I panic and order a rich, meat dish I'm familiar with

This isn't to say I'm concerned with not getting my vitamins: the horrible-looking yet extremely tasty bananas, delicious sugar cane and fruit juices and milkshakes have gone down a treat. So far I've avoided salads because of water issues but I'm becoming tempted. I had an incredible strawberry milkshake today (no ice) in a glass that was heavily rinsed with water and was topped with chopped fruit that was prepared on a filthy surface before my very eyes. Hey, it was refreshing I hope the only reason I'm up all night is to watch Premiership football on Star TV, and nothing more uncomfortable.
#2 Apr 10th, 2005, 03:19
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#2
Quote:
Supersize me? Indian food
like "metrosexual" and "punk'd", "supersize me" is a banned term. do not use that term...ever...again. you can tell i'm a linguist .

i feel your strife though man! i'm trying to put on as much muscle for this upcoming riding season, and the 3.5 weeks in india will bring down my protien levels to the ever so disappointing anemic level. Try going to the grocery stores , and if you want a salad, buy the greens, just rinse it with mineral water! Heh, you know you're a yuppie when. but you still run the water risk... grr. You plan on being in Mumbai for a while? I'll be there for 5 or so days in May.
#3 Apr 10th, 2005, 05:21
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  • raos is offline
#3
If you're only eating out then the only thing I can suggest is to maybe try more of the biryanis or dals (except Makhani) or eat less of the "Indian" food i.e. chinese-Indian (also known as Chinjabi or Punjese food ). If you're only eating the traditional north indian stuff then it's going to be full of fat and fried. Bengali food I think will also be a little healthier as will south Indian. I assume you can get this kind of thing, as well as the occasional Western dish (i.e. pizza or pasta) in Mumbai.

Of course, don;t forget, it's the fat that makes it taste good!
#4 Apr 10th, 2005, 06:52
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#4
If you have to eat out daily, you just cannot totally avoid the oil and fat in the food.
In veg. food, Idli Sambar is one safe food I can think of. Sandwich without butter is another.

If jogging is not feasible, try joining a gymnasium for daily exercise. This is a better option than trying to avoid fat free food.
Whoever said money can't buy happiness didn't know where to shop !
#5 Apr 10th, 2005, 07:04
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#5
Good post, 50squiff - my sentiments exactly! I stuck to vegetarian food there, but even the dals I found pretty oily. The only solution I can think of is to become a fruitarian! Would be v interested to hear any other ideas......
Sorry, but my karma just ran over your dogma
#6 Apr 10th, 2005, 08:50
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#6

try south indian dishes

I find that I lose weight in India. I am moving around doing lots of shopping visiting relatives etc. Always on the go. I avoided oily foods and I ate alot of cooked boiled veggies with spices in them. With the exception of dosas and coconut curries, most South Indian food is very healthy. Try eating more of that. The dals have less oil, less garam masala overall. Especially if prepared by authentic veggie places or at home. Rasam and idlis are very low fat...sambar is alright if taken in moderation. Did you ever notice that Indians eat all that oily fried food yet hardly gain weight....its the work they do its the heat, its the overall moving around that they do..If I could keep up that moving around here in the States,, I wouldnt need to eat like such a rabbit all the time..haha
#7 Apr 10th, 2005, 10:10
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#7
Really, This is just making me hungry........ Common sense will tell you to eat grilled and not fried foods also raw fruits and veggies if you are watching your weight. If you want to eat whatever you want, whenever you want.....you have to MOVE! Exercise or just keep in motion....it works.
* But really.....I am hungry now...
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#8 Apr 10th, 2005, 11:09
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#8
Some said S. Indian food is healthy... but is it really healthy to eat 18 kilos of white rice in one meal? Isn't white rice just starch?
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#9 Apr 10th, 2005, 11:23
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Originally Posted by Nick-H Some said S. Indian food is healthy... but is it really healthy to eat 18 kilos of white rice in one meal? Isn't white rice just starch?
I agree. One cannot call white rice healthy in the true sense of the term.

However, all this food talk has certainly made me hungry and I'm off now to eat some very unhealthy Dosa+Chicken curry(both oily!) at the local "Chetty" restaurant !!

Happy eating, everyone and enjoy your meals for the day !
#10 Apr 10th, 2005, 12:54
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#10
great thread..

correct me if I'm wrong, but from healthiest to least healthiest for Indian bread:

chapati > roti > paratha > naan > puri > batura

Tarka Dahl is an healthy option

Echoing what others have said, walking about more is the way to go and also quantity (dont feel you have to eat the whole plate...! rather than order two roti, just order the one)

Cheers
#11 Apr 10th, 2005, 13:54
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#11
If you can't avoid oilly stuff then balance it out with exercise and eating something light in other meals.
Generally you cna do with just fruits and a glass of juice/lassi/coffee for the breakfast and then maybe have a south indian thali for the lunch, ask him to give Tandoori Roti or chapati (both without any butter or ghee on it) instead of poori and rice. Most of the SouthIndian vegetables, sambhar and rasam do not have too much of oil. Idli is a very good option.
Other options are Curd rice, Curd Pullao and another thing which we get on the Delhi streets is Chola-Kulcha. The cholas are boiled and just before serving the guy add spices, salt and dash of lime as per your taste. Kulcha is a fermented bread and contains no oil at all. Its heated on a tava and served with Chola,. So both chola and kulcha have zero oil.
For Salad once ina while you can go a to a good hotel and ask for fruit/vegetable with pasta (just more filling) with just salasa sauce dressing. its again no oil thingy.
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#12 Apr 10th, 2005, 14:08
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  • 50sQuiff is offline
#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjacquemain Really, This is just making me hungry........ Common sense will tell you to eat grilled and not fried foods also raw fruits and veggies if you are watching your weight. If you want to eat whatever you want, whenever you want.....you have to MOVE! Exercise or just keep in motion....it works.
* But really.....I am hungry now...
I'd like to add that I'm used to taking lots of exercise and am on the skinny side of healthy. Thank you all for some very sensible advice. The more specific dish names the better of course. And let's be honest, who doesn't like to talk about food?

Phobal: I'm a stickler too but I'm afraid we're going to have to accept these terms as part of the modern vernacular

Anyway, I'm off for a Thali!
#13 Apr 10th, 2005, 14:08
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#13
I find that I always loose weight in India - the heat and with lots to do it is easier. I agree with all the suggestions others have made - also it makes sense to be a vegetarian!

As far as exercise is concerned, there are joggers parks all over Mumbai that you can go to. I suggest early morning or evening before/after the sun makes it too hot!

As for the Jehangir Gallery, it's great as you say - did you eat at the Samovar Restaurant there? Memories of eating there are still delicious!

Enjoy Mumbai - am very jealous you are there and enjoying it all. Are your plans to travel India or just spend time in Mumbai?

Have fun!
#14 Apr 10th, 2005, 14:13
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#14
After being pumped full of fear about Mumbai I was originally planning to get out straight away as so many do. Until I found out that I loved it of course. I'd stay longer but time dictates I must move on soon.
#15 Apr 10th, 2005, 19:02
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#15
Below is the page for Mumbai from a vegetarian restaurant and health food store guide:

http://www.happycow.net/asia/india/bombay/index.html
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