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Super healthy food for Lent

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During the Lenten season, we tend to be more conscious about what we eat. We try to stay away from red meat the entire period, but although we sometimes forget or succumb to temptation, we keep the Fridays of Lent holy by going totally meatless.

Friday is, after all, popularly believed to be the day when Jesus Christ died on the cross more than 2,000 years ago to save mankind from eternal destruction. Compared to that, our sacrifice of not eating meat on Fridays is small but nevertheless meaningful. Meat makes its way back to our dining table on Easter Sunday, which symbolizes the third day after the crucified Christ breathed His last after saying, “It is finished.”

It is therefore the day when He rose again, his resurrection, grand celebration indeed.

Our intentions are pure, but we sometimes fall because the food choices presented before us are studded with pork and beef. In this age of meat-loving youth and fast-food chains giving them exactly what they want — such as burger, steak, pizza, barbecue — it is not easy to live and eat healthy. Thank God that, in recent years, there has been a surge of plant-based meat alternatives as well as restaurants that focus their menu on light and healthy food choices.

One such restaurant is 24/7 Super Healthy, which opened in January 2020 to offer healthy and affordable meals. Definitely a welcome change from the usual fat-laden convenient food in the market, this online-only restaurant offers a variety of healthy but delicious and affordable meals with nutritious protein sources such as chicken and salmon, as created by chef Carlo Miguel, the culinary director of CloudEats.

Yes, the dishes are whipped up by a well-known chef, but prices range from P149 to P299 only; and the chicken is as “meat-y” as it gets. No red meat here! Which is compatible with my own diet. This means I can eat any rice bowl from the menu.

Chicken choices — for non-Fridays of the Lenten season — include Thai chicken rice, Hainanese chicken rice and grilled chicken curry rice. Particularly popular are Chicken Tapa Bowl, a protein-packed meal that has chicken tapa with mixed veggies, topped with egg, with a choice of brown rice or quinoa, at P199 per bowl; and kung pao chicken, which is healthy brown rice topped with stir-fried chicken bathed with soy ginger sauce, with a sprinkling of nuts and red chili, also at P199 per bowl. The most expensive, at P299, is a fan favorite, Salmon Curry Rice, which already serves a generous helping of seared salmon with curried basmati rice and cilantro sauce. And for diners who really want to go sans meat in all its forms, including fish, there’s Crispy Tofu Curry Rice at a very affordable P149 per bowl.

What really sets 24/7 Super Healthy apart is its purely vegetarian meals under its Beyond and Omni (meat alternatives) line. Chef Carlo has sourced the best vegetarian-friendly meat alternatives in the market, under the Omni and Beyond Meat brands and created sumptuous dishes with them. These dishes are so tasty and well-rounded in flavor, texture and mouthfeel that you won’t feel like you’re eating vegetarian meals at all.

Consider these selections: OmniPork Thai Bowl, OmniPork Sisig, Omni Szechuan Pork and Eggplant Bowl, Beyond Meat Sausage Silog and Beyond Meat Bratwurst and Mash. The latest addition to this meatless line is Omni Luncheon Meat Umami Bowl, priced at P199 per bowl, which tastes like real Spam luncheon meat but is incredibly meatless. It is so good that even Spam lovers will love it! Introduced only in February this year, Omni Luncheon Meat Umami Bowl has already won the hearts — and palates! — of many vegetarian and non-vegetarian customers of 24/7 Super Healthy.

Omni Luncheon Meat Umami Bowl.  (Photographs by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for the Daily Tribune)

And, oh, for those who are wondering why its name is 24/7 Super Healthy, it is because its meals are available 24/7 via Grab Food and Foodpanda in the Makati, Maginhawa Street, Manila, Wilson Avenue and Kapitolyo areas.

Now that healthy meals are available 24/7, why eat unhealthy, greasy, fat-laden and hurriedly prepared meals ever again? Even beyond Lent, these healthier alternatives beckon.

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