Posted by Fahad AlYehya | Core Fitness – Kuwait

Your world rocked in 3, 2, 1….

And we’re back with part 2 of my original post (Herro Prease!) that seemed to cause more racial and homophobic controversy than health and fitness orientation and guidance.

Taste Buds
I’m often criticized for my diminishing taste buds. When on a strict diet, the food consumed tends to taste awful and total caloric intake is extremely low. I’m eating 6-8 small portions per day of gooky old-fashioned oatmeal, funky-smelling boiled eggs, cold and barely chewable chicken breasts, tasteless and dry brown rice, and a lightly sweetened protein shake that tries its best to taste like a Johnny Rockets milkshake, but is actually one notch above dirt, and dirt can taste like ice cream when dieting.

So Masta of da Universe, if taste bud BAD, how can we trust you, haaaa!?
Have you ever sat next to a person who has been dieting more than 3 weeks? He/she will stare at you eating that burger and those fries. Moreover, they’ll tell you how to lightly dip your food in ketchup. What’s even more annoying, they’ll screw you over for not eating your entire meal; I should know, since I’m that annoying person. Lastly, I base the meals I eat on the ingredients used and how I feel after consumption. Through trial and error, I’ve discovered how long it takes my body to clean itself out if I just ate a fatty and carby meal.

Breakfass!
I am not a morning person at all. I hate the sun and anything associated with looking at the sun. I’ll even wear sun-glasses indoors in the morning, and I could care less if it made me look douchey. (If anyone has any job offerings somewhere cold and dark, please let me know.) In the meantime, I can’t deny the sensation of breakfast food. Once in a while, I’d wake up early on weekends and just have this strong urge to ditch my gooky oatmeal and boiled eggs for some tasty restaurant-served breakfast food. Before I begin, you need to take these points into consideration:

  • Upon waking from 8-10 hours of sleep, our bodies are deprived of nutrients and water.
  • Our inner functions tend to work optimally in the A.M., providing a challenge to any calorie intake; you can actually get away with a large thick pizza for breakfast and it’ll have a hard time storing itself as fat (assuming your healthy and fit).
  • Eating breakfast at a maximum of 1 hour after waking up will provide your metabolism with a boost from heaven. The earlier you eat breakfast, the better.
  • Eating breakfast more than 90 minutes after waking up will skyrocket your chances of obesity by 150%!

The Early Bird
The Good: I wasn’t planning on eating healthy that day, so I ordered whatever carby and fatty entrees & appetizers they had, which included “The WORKS Omelet” (abundant amount of veggies, cheese and ham), waffles with strawberry and butter on top, country fried potatoes, French toast, orange juice, pancakes and egg whites to increase protein intake. Upon completion, I barely felt full. Keep in mind that I’m constantly dieting, and the only changes between gaining muscle and losing fat is the total calorie intake. This meal was LIGHT! If you skim down the menu, you’ll see the “Healthy Start” options that include many tasty varieties of breakfast food. Ditch the yogurt; that stuff’s kuchikuchigaykuchikuchi.

The Bad: The waffles were amazing, and although they had it covered in fresh strawberry and butter, I had to pile on the maple syrup in order to sweeten the deal and the French toast was not as sweet and oily as I expected it to be. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it was my cheat meal and it most certainly didn’t feel like one.

The Verdict: Even the unhealthy menu is light! 3 hours later, my diet-induced and nutrient-deprived body was full and tight! (That’s what she said) If that happens after a cheat meal, then there must be something right.

Recommendations: If you plan on sticking to your diet (which I hope you do), their “Healthy Start” menu is even lighter. “Bianca’s Breakfast Omelet” is killer, but you’ll need two of those plus 2 slices of whole wheat bread just to fill you up. Lastly, if you’re low-carbing it, order the “Denver Omelet” (no cheese) and an “Egg white Omelet”; obviously no bread, juice or fruits. If not, order any omelet, 1 starchy carb entree (French toast, waffles OR pancakes) and some fresh OJ.

Prime and Toast
The Good: MUCH tastier than The Early Bird (I’m sorry Bianca) and a large variety of food, mostly because it isn’t strictly a breakfast joint.

The Bad: Tasty doesn’t necessarily mean good. Keep some tissue on hand to wipe the drool off your mouth when you read the menu. However, what they offer in variety and taste comes with a consequence: more fat and a lot more carbs. Eggs Benedict on a Bagel will have your arteries screaming “Holy poop on a stick!” The waffles are F*CKING incredible, but are not considered light at all. Their French toast was as oily and as carby as I expected it to be. Moreover, they don’t have a health-oriented menu. You can low-carb your meal, but passing off their delicious appetizers and entrees will only seem stupid.

The Verdict: If you feel the need to cheat, then by all means indulge yourself here. If not, then stick to The Early Bird to decrease the amount of guilt you’ll endure later. 3 hours after consumption of my meal at Prime and Toast (I ordered less than The Early Bird), I felt bloated and my body retained a lot of water. Nonetheless, I was fine within a day.

Recommendations: Only go there to cheat if you want to feel more like a normal human being. If not, then you can’t go wrong with a low-carb meal. The Poached Egg with Smoked Salmon (sans the sour cream) will boost fat-burning pretty good; essentially, any omelet would do. You can also eat healthy by controlling the amount of portions you consume, such as 1 plain omelet and 1 order of a starchy carb or an omlette and fresh orange juice.

The Baking Tray
A close friend of mine kept annoying me about it. She couldn’t stop telling me how great this place is and I chose to dismiss the idea and continue on with my life. Coincidently, one of my meetings was scheduled at the Baking Tray. Atmosphere aside (which was amazing to say the least), the food produced major mouthgasms. I ordered the Garlic Chicken Avocado on Rye bread plus an omelet with 3 whole eggs, extra turkey and some spinach. UH-MAH-GAWD! The Baking Tray’s chef came out and looked my face while I was eating. Chef Hanafi, a Malaysian dude that looks like a real chef, asked me how the food was. I turned at him and said with a mouth full of food “AWEOOTHUM!”

The Good: Choices, choices and more choices. If the menu wasn’t enough to satisfy your cravings, you can customize and nag all you want, and the staff wouldn’t even blink an eye! As long as the ingredients you’re asking for are available, this cafe will be more than happy to prepare it for you. I pride myself of my waiter-nagging skills, and they are completely tolerant to my constant bickering.

The Bad: You. Everything they serve is in its appropriate portion; enough to satisfy your cravings, yet still leaving you wanting a bit more. The only way you can go wrong here is if you choose to eat everything on the menu. KEEP-IT-TIGHT and close the lid after a sandwich and a salad. If you must consume white bread, ditch the normal version for the sour dough option; since the ingredients used to make it sour (lactic acid, acetic acid, enzymes, L. cysteine, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide) slow down carbohydrate release into the blood stream.

The Verdict: I’ve been whoring myself for The Baking Tray for the past 2 weeks. The ingredients they use make me confident of my choices, including the surprisingly delicious garlic sauce, which by the way turned out to be Labnah w/ roasted garlic (how the hell didn’t I think of that!). Garlic sauces are very fatty, and using Labnah as a base minimizes the fat calories and boosts protein and calcium intake. Plus, you don’t get that nasty garlic-breath after effect with BKT’s version.

Recommendations: If you’re feeling really hungry, order the Philly Cheese Steak on rye bread with nothing else. It’ll shut your appetite for 2-3 hours EASY. You may also try my favorite, the Garlic Chicken Avocado sandwich with rye bread. Low-carb your meal by ordering an omlete with extra turkey, spinach and mushrooms. Lastly, if the idea of challenging your metabolism in the morning thrills you, two EBT’s (eggs, bacon and tomatoes, ordered on rye bread) will send you running to Chef Hanafi for some good old smooching; which by the way is not gay because I said so.

Johnny Rockets
If pouring syrup on some french toast and wrapping it around a burger patty, an egg and some bacon turns you on, then you need to go to there; and to go to there real fast too. After placing my order(s), the waiter just stared at me and asked if I was serious. I said yes, and he asked if more people were joining me. I replied with a no. “Sir, I’m not sure if you can eat it all,” little old skeptical waiter said. “I’ll eat it all and pour some ketchup on top too.” This dude loves a challenge.

The Good: Extremely oily and carby, the food is heavenly if you plan on cheating. Hell, everything was cooked to perfection! Healthier options are not visible at first sight, but once you read between the lines carefully, us health freaks can feast guilt-free.

The Bad: NO WAFFLES! If it wasn’t for the awesome french toast, I would’ve thrown a bitch fit larger than life!

The Verdict: Eating healthy, light or dirty is a breeze. However, this place is the heaviest amongst all the restaurants above; you can literally feel the oil and butter in between your teeth.

Recommendations: For the low-carbateers, order an omelet with the works, excluding the fatty cheese. You may also order the (as an OR, not an AND) the burger patty with two eggs, sans the sausage, bacon, english muffin and country fried potatoes. For the normal dieters, choose the omelet (no cheese) with 2-3 slices of brown toast OR a burger patty, 2 eggs and some orange juice. Save the bacon, country fried potatoes and french toast for a cheat day; the oil and butter on those literally told me “yeah bitch, open your mouth! This triglyceride just booked a ticket to your ass!” Awkward.

Hey mang! You miss TWO mo’ breakfass rocayshuns!
I can’t dissect what I haven’t tasted, so I apologize for not providing you with 2 great breakfast places: Dean and Deluca and Au Bon Pain.

Rebanese and Middre Eastern Dericacies!
Nothing screams “stick to your diet” more than the Levant region’s food, mostly because they provide adequate amounts of muscle-building and fat-burning nutrients without all the extra “I’ll stick to your butt and thighs” calories. For those of you who don’t know where or what the Levant region is (I most certainly didn’t, up until my Lebanese friend Wassim told me), it’s the pile of countries bordering the Mediterranean from the east, which include Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Egypt. If you ask any bodybuilder/gym rat, they’ll tell you that “mashawi” (grilled food) tops their A-list in the things to eat when dieting or bulking. Let’s begin by dissecting these Levantine suckers and see how they stack up to one another:

Mais Al Ghanim
I call this place the mother of all that is grilled. Lean cuts of every and any piece of red meat or poultry you can find. They stick to the equation by adding nothing extra to the already awesome ingredients and presentation. Moreover, portions are more than satisfying; I will nag you to the gates of hell and burn your house down if you don’t supply me with enough protein portions.

The Good: Pretty much everything is awesome if you plan on sticking to your diet. They’ve got a large variety of food to choose from, and you can’t go wrong with any protein source. This is no place to cheat, because..

The Bad: …sometimes the food’s tasteless. I have to shake that salt-shaker till it dries.

The Verdict: This is where I order from if I don’t feel like eating homefood, but wish to stick to my diet plan. The shish tawook is made from purely grilled skinless chicken breasts and the tikka meat is UBER lean. Moreover, I love their “Tabla Neya”, a dish composed of the leanest RAW red meat you can find, mushed with spices and served with two halves of onions on top to satisfy my carnivorous sensations. Avoid the two onions since they serve as bacteria gatherers.

Recommendations: If you’re on a low-carb plan, then order a plate or two of your favorite grilled (or raw) protein source, plus a side order of salad (avoid the croutons from the fattoush and the burghul from the tabboulah). If carbs are included, order a tabboulah, hummus with some meat (ask them to exclude the olive oil on top of the hummus) and a plate of lean grilled protein. Use one moderate-sized piece of white bread if necessary.

Burj El Hamam
This restaurant is a copy of the former, but with TASTE! Very similar in their menus, with only slight alterations in presentation.

The Good: Awesome place to eat healthy, and juicier than the above.

The Bad: They don’t deliver! Or at least I think they don’t. Another reason why I choose Mais over Burj Al Hamam, but if I’m eating out, then this is the place I’d definitely pick.

The Verdict: Not a lot differs from Mais Al Ghanim, so it’s a matter of individual preferance. Their “Tablah Neya” is most certainly tastier.

Recommendations: Same rules apply as Mais Al Ghanim.

Kababji
I went to eat there with a friend an hour after my workout, so hunger was definitely a concern. I wasn’t dieting, which makes my calorie intake much higher. I ordered 1 plate of shish tawook, 1 plate of tikka meat, 1 tabboulah and some hummus without oil. It arrived and I was extremely disappointed because: 1) the portions were really, really, really tiny (yes, I used 3 really’s; that’s how tiny their portions are!), 2) 1 or 2 pieces are bound to be animal lard, which makes the available portion smaller than it already is and 3) they taste so damn good!

The Good: Taste. That’s it.

The Bad: Everything else. They marinate their grilled protein in some sort of oily mix which I can’t seem to figure out. However, I’m more than willing to bet it’s fatty; and after tasting it a few times, I’m thinking butter…

The Verdict: Would you want to pay a lot for a few small portions that will throw your diet off? Even a gay dude would say “that shit’s GAY!”

Recommendations: I don’t sink so.

Sarai
Morrocan awesomeness. I avoid this place if I’m planning on sticking to a clean diet regimen. Make no mistake, every ingredient they use is healthy, but in deliciously-stuff-your-face portions.

The Good: You get exactly what you pay for, delicious and nutritious food that is beyond appetizing.

The Bad: Sticking to your diet can be a very hard task when you’re presented with oily appetizers that scream EAT ME!

The Verdict: Save this place for a cheat meal or limit your portions. The problem lies in the appetizers and not the main entrees. You can make or break a diet plan just by choosing the right and wrong appetizers. Going with a group might decrease your chances of overconsumption as long as you don’t become the douche who ends up eating more than anyone else.

Recommendations: Low-carb dieters, this place is a haven if you avoid the bread, hummus and other grains that might hinder your goals. The grilled food is huge and cooked to perfection with no worries or regrets when consumed. Watch out for the molasses and the pomegranate syrup, since they lurk in almost every Moroccan dish and contain a considerably high amount of sugar. Also watch out for their fatty appetizers, including the crushed walnuts and olives and mixed with some molasses; incredibly tasty but will have your love handles begging for mercy. Their tablah neya is the best in town, a few notches above the Lebanese version.

Qurtoba CO-OP Light Snack Food Shack
This small restaurant beats the pants off of what Kababji has to offer. They serve Syrian food that is far from crappy, yet lacks proper presentation. In comparison to how other high-end grills look like, this place doesn’t pull you in. Nonetheless, what else would you expect from a small CO-OP supported grill?

The Good: Killer shish tawook, presented in an ugly cheap plastic plate, covered in aluminum foil. Once you take a bite out of that chicken, you’ll feel your muscles indulging in the protein synthesis it provides. The tikka meat is surprisingly lean and chewable, served with a few pieces of lard; yet not enough to shittisize the available protein portion.

The Bad: The chicken and mutton shawarma. Even if you decide to ditch the bread and eat it on the plate, it’s still very high in evil fat.

The Verdict: Why would I bring up a Syrian snack shack amongst other high-end choices? This place deserves the attention and the credit, and they won’t punk you with small portions and servings.

Recommendations: 1 plate of Shish tawook or tikka meat with a small serving of tabboulah and hummus (yup, without the oil).

Turkish Grill
This place does right where Kababji does wrong. They pride themselves of providing traditional turkish food without the hassle of waiting 15 minutes for an order. This is grilled fast-food at its best.

The Good: Delicious thick servings, and a major emphasis on delicious. I have no idea how they marinate their protein sources, but I’m willing to bet they add in a few drops of oil to soften the meat up. Nonetheless, they properly grill their meats without drying them out too much.

The Bad: Anything associated with kabab, which I will be talking about in a few. Their hummus is too oily and the Patlican Yogurtlu (eggplant mixed with yogurt and seasoning) is a fatty sensation that will have you playing with your belly longer than you think.

The Verdict: This is the place you want to order from if you want to stick to the health route while satisfying your taste buds and appetite.

Recommendations: Move away from the kabab, even if you’re on a low-carb plan. Order the “Tavuk Shish” to increase protein and minimize fat intake. Sides include tabboulah and oil-free hummus.

Kabab El Hija
In my opinion, the best kabab you can find in Kuwait. Thick and rich texture that tastes great all the time. No matter how many times I order, the mouthwatering taste never changes. Nonetheless, save this restaurant for a cheat meal.

The Good: Everything if you plan on screwing up your diet plan.

The Bad: Everything if you plan on screwing up your diet plan. Even the shish tawook is fatty due to the burned chicken skin attached to the meat. “Awwwh! I thought Kabab was OK!” Kabab’s composed of minced fatty meat, herbs and spices. You can’t achieve the kabab’s shape using a lean piece of meat unless you add fat into the equation, or else the piece of kabab will crumble while grilled. Other ways to hold the meat together include bread crumbs and/or potatoes, which aren’t sufficient for low-carb dieting.

The Verdict: A kabab isn’t that bad when your other choice is a double whopper with large fries. As long as you practice self-control, you may approve this for your diet plan.

Recommendations: Low-carbers, 4 pieces of kabab plus veggies on the side will do. Use lemon and hot sauce to add a little flavor. Normal dieters stick to 3 pieces of kabab, veggies and 1/2 Iranian bread. The shish tawook isn’t worth the hassle; you might as well order that from the Turkish Grill and avoid people using your love handles as a steering wheel.

Holy Nutritional Value Batman! Dis’ Dair Looks Maaighty Scrumptious!
I urge everyone not to plunge into extremes. In order to continue living a healthy lifestyle, seeking balance proves worthwhile in attaining continuity and longevity. Don’t sacrifice taste for results (unless you need to), and don’t overindulge too much. A cheat meal once every 7 days will help you realistically stick to your goal without falling off the wagon; and the only way you can indulge in these cheat meals like I do is by implementing your plan 120%.

Posted by Fahad AlYehya | Core Fitness – Kuwait

Photo by mattsinopoli