Eat to Live, Don't Live to Eat

"Do you eat to live or live to eat?" This is a phrase that has been discussed time an again. Most will say they eat to live, but there also those who live to eat. Some will start thinking what to eat for breakfast as soon as they wake up,after breakfast they ponder on what to have for lunch, then what's for tea,dinner and after that what's for supper before calling it a day. Among Malaysians over eating often happens during the early month when the wallet is full where they can afford sumptuous meals, dine at fine restaurants and hotels. The problem is compounded further when homes are located nearby eateries that operate up to late night. So the temptation to eat is always there beyond the regular meals.


When looking for something tasty to savour, don't have to go far, just ask the colleague or friends who will further tempt you with a list of offerings - nasi lemak, rojak, mee mamak, laksa penang, cendol, roti canai and the list goes on. Handheld communication gadgets had made it easier to access food, just Google to see where is the nearest place to savour what you feel like eating! As there are 24-hour eateries mushrooming everywhere, you can Google to eat anywhere anytime. Those who live to eat will go the extra mile just to eat what they want. Time and location are no barriers.


There is nothing wrong in eating, but one should only consume the required amount and at the appropriate intervals. Say for example the nasi lemak, it is a delicacy that most Malaysians cannot do without. I tried to Google to look for tasty nasi lemak in Kuala Lumpur, it's not surprising to see numerous places cropping up. For me I consider the nasi lemak being a wholesome serving that is suitable and a healthy breakfast offering, but one needs to take note of the serving size. A dietician once shared tips with the writer regarding nasi lemak and others relating to proper food intake and health. It was recommended that it is better to buy a small pack of nasi lemak rather than buying a whole plate added with numerous accompanying dishes like sambal sotong, rendang or even fried egg. One may have realised that in the race to draw customers, eateries have been offering numerous accompanying dishes that in fact has changed the nasi lemak into nasi campur. All the additional dishes add up to the unwanted calories. The dietician reminded me that a small pack of nasi lemak has 200 calories compared with a plate of nasi lemak with the side dishes that can push up the calorie count to between 800 and 1,000! The same goes to those who love mee or fried rice, it is better to buy a small serving without the additional accompaniments!


No matter what you do, make sure you know what you are putting in your mouth. The Muslims in particular should not forget the words of the Prophet, "the stomach is the source of all health woes." Don't wait until you are down with health problems and only then start taking stock of what you have been eating and drinking. Remember many of the health problems are attributed to poor eating habits. Not only over eating, eating during late hours too is not good for health. When even the machines in factories have their operating limits, why let your digestive system overwork by eating late in the night. Why not give your digestive system a good rest! I was told by a friend that it is very difficult to find food after 11 p.m. in major cities in Australia and even in India because the people there eat according to time and avoid eating in between. There was a proposal at one time to cap the operation hours of these 24 hour restaurants, but was vehemently opposed. Recently an English daily highlighted the deadly eating habits of Malaysians, that include gluttony and eating during the late hours of the night. However, at the end of the day it is up to the individuals to eat in a disciplined manner or follow their desires.


Don't just add to the obesity or other chronic disease statistics due to poor dietary habits. Malaysians have earned the unenviable reputation for being the most obese in the region. The National Health Morbidity Survey conducted in 2011 found that 15.1 percent of Malaysians below the age of 18 are considered obese compared with 14 percent in 2006. And this figure could only increase if the youngsters of today are not inculcated with good eating habits right from the start. For the record 11 October 2015 is the World Obesity Day. The World Health Organisation's (WHO) statistics indicated that the number of children below five years who are considered obese increased from 32 million in 1990 to 42 million in 2013. If this figure increases, WHO estimates there will be 70 million obese children by 2025. Health experts have many time over come up with statements that many of the chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, kidneys, heart and stroke are contributed by obesity, which in turn is caused by poor eating habits. Now think again when you eat beyond your regular meals?



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