Shawarma.jpg
avengers-shawarma.jpg
Shawarma.jpg

Redefining food porn, eating right and where to cheat in TO


SCROLL DOWN

Redefining food porn, eating right and where to cheat in TO


Wait…Food Porn? You heard right. According to Elspeth Probin [1] food porn is a glamorized spectacular visual presentation of cooking or eating in advertisements, infomercials, cooking shows or other visual media. For the sake of this piece though, let’s also take it to mean those radio/internet/TV ads produced by clever wordsmiths that impose those glamorous images in our heads. I would be lying if I said the Big Mac ad I see every day on the billboard driving home or the superlatively described steak at Montana’s on AM 680 hasn’t swayed me to make a pit stop. But it doesn’t happen often. I am what my friends call a “nutrition nazi”. For most people, however, the images consume them. The picture of that perfect burger elicits the same response as what happened to Pavlov’s dogs upon hearing that bell. Might as well have been Taco Bell.

Pavlov rings bell, dogs salivate knowing food is coming.

Pavlov rings bell, dogs salivate knowing food is coming.

And in fact, foods ads are designed by marketers and psychologists with your salivation in mind. Every sesame seed is placed perfectly on the bun relative to the others, every gram of cheese placed in visual sight and the entire image is touched up afterwards to give it that voluptuous, yet not impossible, volume.

"food porn" redefined;

When the natural elements and marketing genius come together in a meal such that its very mention elicits over-the-top desire to consume and release that pent up restraint, likely followed by overwhelming guilt, food becomes porn; an unnatural, difficult to resist fix often immediately followed by regret upon giving in.

I want em’  both.

I want em’  both.

And yet most know junk food is very much akin to porn - offers little in return for the few minutes it spends tantalizing your taste buds (I’m sure my subconscious stole that phrase from a T.V. commercial or radio ad), and yet we still fall prey to the marketing.

It’s especially difficult in Toronto to maintain a ‘good diet’ given the variety of cuisine offered. If the Big Mac doesn’t sway you, thoughts of a shawarma, dynamite rolls, burritos or Korean B.B.Q. likely will. What I’m saying is, there is so much out there in this beautiful city of ours in the way of restaurants that everyone has a weakness here. I’m a shawarma guy myself and my spots are Shawarma Empire and Ibrahim’s, both on Lawrence East near Warden. The mix of tahini/garlic sauce and the meat, fresh off the spit, gets me hungry just typing about it; that, and I rationalize it’s “healthiness” given it does contain some vegetables (recall food nazi).

 

 

avengers-shawarma.jpg

even super heroes cheat


even super heroes cheat


Lets compromise with regular healthy eating and cheat meals.

I’m relatively smart about my cheating though, unlike most, and even schedule these meals. As I was told during my time writing standardized tests in undergrad, "schedule and take your breaks or your mind will take them for you." The same goes for nutrition; schedule your cheats or you’ll be splurging soon. And don’t kid yourself into thinking a cheat meal isn’t a cheat meal. Unless you only hit high end restaurants where you can custom order your food chances are it’s not really healthy. Yes, that means shawarmas, burritos, and even most sushi, save an order of sashimi salad perhaps, are not healthy for you. The best thing you can do to stay fit is to start cooking at home. Know what goes into your food and schedule your cheats and keep them to roughly 10% of the meals you eat a week:

E.G. If you eat 3 meals a day, two of those 21 meals/week are your cheat meals, and you should not skip them. Most people have an intuitive sense of what constitutes healthy item. And if not, here's an article from Precision Nutrition (run by Canadian Dr. John Berardi) that goes over a variety of options.Healthy food options (page 3-5):

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/members/resources/Shopping_list.pdf

Whether you want to lose weight or gain the right type of weight (i.e. lean muscle) you have to start by establishing a consistent baseline or eating schedule. Indeed, how can you say you’ve eaten more or less in one week compared to the last if your meals vary from day to day; a week is a good way to measure progress! So start cooking your meals at home and having a consistent eating schedule and we can talk. For years I was looking for the magic bullet for being and looking fit. I read everything Dr. John Berardi, Dr. Layne Norton, Charles Poliquin, Chad Waterbury, and many other fitness professionals wrote and listened to everything they said. In the end the best advice is something that is true of every facet of life – it is consistency, not novelty, that is the key to uncommon results. Let’s not be drastic; slowly change your diet, make it consistent and we can work from there. No need to “count macros”, use a Salter scale, use intermittent fasting  (IF) or cut out one a macronutrient completely as in the ketogenic or Atkins diet - these can work but are better suited to people that already have the basics down, and may not be necessary even then.

Not this kind of consistency! mmmmm

Not this kind of consistency! mmmmm

Take a dose of humility and patience and tame that ego. If you’re new to this, know that the body takes time to adapt to anything. If you're a veteran, take this as a reminder. Slow changes stick! What’s the point of doing something extreme that you abandon down the line? Maybe next time I’ll write about all the places in the GTA (at the various price ranges) where you can get a healthy meal in a tight spot or what I like to cook most at home but for now why not eat healthy at home and use your 2 cheat meals per week on your favourite grease joints and not pretend they’re healthy. Porn is porn, after all.

My favourite cheat places in the GTA that also happen to be easy on the wallet are listed below, in descending order of cheapness in each category. You will also note that to many these would qualify as healthy meals, but they aren’t. I also use my cheat meals to eat things I can’t cook at home (i.e. ethnic), although I do sometimes eat a burger at a fast food joint. Use Google to find my cheat suggestions and their many locations:
 

In descending order of cheapness!

Shawarmas:
1. Shawarma Empire
2. Ibrahim’s
3. Al Tanoor
4. Taste of Beirut
5. Sarah’s
6. Ali Baba
7. Ghazale
8. Pita Land
9.Pita Nutso

 

Indo-pak/Afghan (those that serve meat) – The order is less strict here simply because they are all delicious in their unique ways:
1. La Sani/La Jawab Grill (2 restaurants- they have very similar signage and identical menus so likely one owner)
2. Lahore Tikka House (please don't judge by their horrendous website)
3. Bamiyan Kebob (Multiple Locations - Afghan)
4. Haveli (Mississauga) – Buffet Only?
5. Bombay Grill (Pickering/Ajax)
6. Mount Everest (Pickering/Ajax)
7. Watan Kebob (Afghan - Mississauga)
8. Maimana Naan and Kebob (Afghan - Ajax)
9. Makkah (1020 Danforth Ave.)

Burritos:
1. Fat Bastard Burrito
2. Big Fat Burrito
3. Burrito Banditos
4. Burrito Boyz
5. Mucho Burrito
6. Chino Locos (despite what Blog TO says this is not the best in Toronto!)

Sushi:

1. Sushi on Bloor
2. New Generation Sushi
3. Ni Ji Sushi (Scarborough)
4. Makimono (Pickering)
5. ND (a little pricier but nothing crazy)

Chicken:

1. Galito’s
2. Nando’s
3. Chico’s (Markham Rd.)
4. Churrasco Villa

 

References:

1. Probyn, Elspeth (1999). "Beyond Food/Sex: Eating and an Ethics of Existence". Theory, Culture & Society 16 (2): 215–228.

comments powered by Disqus

 





You might also like


You might also like