Thursday, April 4, 2013

Traveling Healthy Strategy 1: My dirty little secret to portion control

In order to eat as healthy as possible while still indulging in the culinary delights of Taiwan, I have a really bad habit for which I'm not particularly proud. I'm ashamed. My name is Raymond, and I will waste food to be healthy.

Welcome to the first in a series of blog posts about me trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle while traveling in Taiwan. One thing that I hear quite commonly is how hard it is to be healthy when away from home, so here begins a documentation of my own attempt to do so, and I have no idea how successful I'll be.

Example 1: Leaving behind the men in ramen to be healthy
Example 2: Leaving behind the rice at dinner
Strategy 1: Don't eat anything you don't want to. One of the great pleasures of traveling is eating out and trying different foods. However, the food I order often comes with stuff that I don't want, or I just want a taste without making a meal out of it. The solution? I just don't eat what I don't want to eat. It is my way to portion control when I'm not cooking and serving myself. Ideally, I would customize the order, but that's not always an option. For instance, yesterday, I had a hankering for ramen noodles, so I got some, and ate my favorite parts: the broth, the meat, the veggies, and tried the noodles. For the most part, however, I left the noodles and accompanying bowl of rice untouched. Similarly, for dinner tonight, I just didn't eat the rice that came with the meal.
Chen Ji Noodle House has arguably better Oyster Vermicelli than Ay-Chung

Though when all is said and done, I am on vacation, so sometimes it is worth it to indulge. I just always ask myself, is the pleasure I will get from eating something worth the break from my healthy eating? The answer should usually be yes to try a bit of something and enjoy life, but no to go overboard and eat the entire thing. Sometimes, however, the answer to eat the whole thing can be yes because you know you will enjoy yourself

What's worth breaking a diet for: oyster vermicelli noodles.

 What type of things warrant a yes for me? How about oyster vermicelli noodles? Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodles are arguably the most famous in Taipei (No. 8之1號, Éméi St, or if you get off the Xi Men MRT stop, cross Zhong Hua Street and the alley should be on the left). However, today, my friend diverted the scooter to a place he likes better, because he claims Ay-Chung is too sweet. We went to the Long Shan Temple Station's Chen Ji Noodle House (No. 166 Heping West Rd, Sec 3) instead, and I agree. I think it is better. The flavor is great, but the oysters are bigger as well.

Arm westling at the arcade by Ximen
There you have it, one of my traveling strategies, as well as a suggestion for going off the beaten path for one of my favorite Taiwanese foods. Stay tuned to the next post where I'll go over exercise while traveling, which involves more than just arm wrestling at the arcade, though that's fun too.

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