"Obesity is the new tobacco"

- Richard Cole While many readers long to learn how to stay slim, no one wants to read about steamed vegetables and celery sticks. There is nothing even remotely sexy about diet foods, and the idea of deprivation, denial and abstinence is just depressing. But what if there were another way to achieve a long-term healthy weight that didn't involve starvation? Something delicious, tempting, seductive, even occasionally indulgent? Now that's a good read. Welcome to EYT. 'Eat Yourself Thin' is a concept that is becoming central to many modern nutritional programs. The idea emphasizes the positive instead of the negative. It is more about healthy substitutions and switch-ups than about removing foods and you may well end up eating more in quantity but fewer calories. It's about choosing foods in a proactive way to optimize health and, as a by-product, achieving or maintaining a healthy weight. For example, to eat yourself thin, in- in- The basic fact about weight loss recrease the space on your plate devoted mains the same - the calories in need to vegetables, substitute lean cuts of to be less than the calories out to lose meat for fatty ones, switch to vegetar- weight - but by changing your mindian more often and choose fruits and set, the exercise can be easier. fruit-based desserts over cream-laden When you eat yourself thin, you have ones. Not a word about 'removing' or to reject the idea of extreme dieting to 'eliminating' items. avoid the real dangers in calorie reduction. Too few calories can scare the body into famine mode, causing it to slow metabolism and store fat. Also, healthy adults need at least 1,200 calories a day to prevent the body from cannibalizing muscle tissue. So, ipso facto, eating makes you healthy - dieting not so much. It's really just a different way of thinking about eating but the belief that you can eat yourself healthy is one I find very appealing. Wise food choices are relatively easy to make at home when you are cooking for yourself, but what about dining out? Our area is populated with restaurants that will feed us, but here are three very different restaurants - a veritable world tour - that present menus which allow for smart switching. Persian cuisine, for example, is delicious, flavourful and satisfying, but also healthy. Originating in what is presentday Iran, Persian food has a hot buzz right now. Chef Jamie Oliver raved about it, saying 'it's different and delicious, but familiar enough that you can fall in love with it. Its flavours won't slap you in the face - it's elegant and perfumed. I love it!" So it is a distinct pleasure to discover a new Persian restaurant locally that produces the brilliantly spiced and historic dishes from this very old culture. Rayhoon Persian Eatery opened in the Village Square in Burlington in June 2011 and has been slowly attracting a loyal following. It helps that there's belly dancing on selected weekend evenings, but the main attraction is the food - authentic, homemade and flavourful, with plenty of healthy options. In fact, Persian food is decidedly weight-loss friendly, with an emphasis on vegetables, fish, lean meats and fruits. The exotic flavours and complex layering means the food packs tremendous visual and olfactory weight without the heavy calories. The restaurant is owned by Mohammad Emami, an Ancaster resident of Persian descent who realized there were no such restaurants in this area, although there are many in Toronto. Mohammad, who has an engineering degree from the University of Toronto, learned the restaurant business from the ground up, working in Zaffron, a popular Persian restaurant in Toronto. "At Rayhoon, we serve authentic dishes, the kind you would find cooked at home," explains Mohammad. "Many of the dishes are slow-cooked comfort foods. In Persian cuisine, herbs and spices are central to each dish. Rayhoon means 'basil,' which is an herb frequently used in our cuisine. The flavours are Top: NàRoma's Brie e Prosciutto Pizza is a mouthwatering combination of mozzarella, triple-cream brie cheese, prosciutto, fig jam, caramelized onions, arugula and reduced balsamic. Main photo: NàRoma's Arugula Salad features baby arugula, shaved parmigiano reggiano, toasted pine nuts, crispy prosciutto and honey balsamic.

GOOD TASTE

HAMILTON MAGAZINE SPRING 2012 49

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