“Please join us for a specially prepared low GI meal,” said the host at a workshop on Glycemic Index recently. This isn’t an unusual statement considering the nature of our gathering. But one look at the attendees–health writers mostly–and you’d think they’d been asked to eat monkey brain soup.
It wasn’t anything personal, one said. “I just don’t find health foods appealing.” Fair enough. How many times have you poked fun at the aunty who is constantly on a diet? Or scoffed at the girl who orders salad at a bar? Let’s not even start with the vegans who have made it their life’s mission to rid us of basics like milk and eggs and have the audacity to create healthy substitutes for apple crumble pie and red velvet cupcakes.
But a rumbling stomach must not be ignored which is why I decided to go have a look at what the buffet had to offer. To my utter delight I met with Asian favourites like Thai curry, Vietnamese basa and raw mango salad in coriander and mint sauce. “The recipes are the same. We’ve only added a lot more vegetables,” said a chef whose brief had been to skip anything with flour, sugar, whole-fat milk and corn. In turn, the brief to the attendees had been to keep the ratio of rice and carbs to protein and vegetables at 1:9.
Two helpings later, I loosened the buckle on my belt, sat down and began a conversation with myself that hasn’t stopped since. I love vegetables. The more colourful the better! Why then, are food items that are classified as “healthy” met with lips pursed so tight you’d think people were afraid of being force fed? Would attitudes have changed had they decided to wax lyrical about the chef, possibly a renowned protegee from the best culinary school in the world, instead of pointing out the vegetable-carb ratio?
By Afsha Khan