Local fast food

There was an article on nasi katok in Brunei Times today. An excerpt from this article

However, according to dietician Rozanna M Rosly who graduated from Leeds University, being dependent on the dish would be extremely unhealthy. She explained in an interview that though its high carbohydrates content make Nasi Katok a filling meal, the lack of other nutrients makes it a very unbalanced diet.

“People who rely on Nasi Katok as their staple diet and nutrition will have the tendency of weight gain, depending on the physical activity level and how many packets consumed per time, high blood cholesterol and other diseases related to high dietary fat intake and excess of weight, ” she said.

With the increasing popularity of the dish in the country, the Ministry of Health has already warned consumers of the dish of its nutritional inadequacies before.

Rozanna, however, believed it would not be a problem if the dish is served with extra vegetables (cucumber) as well as with reduced fat and oil content by serving skinless chicken breast and by skimming off the extra oil from the sambal gravy, in addition to portioning the rice.

It’s so easy to get unhealthy food and they are cheap. A particularly popular fast food joint is a chain of fried chicken shops because of the relatively cheap prices. Home cooked meals are usually better because we can control the ingredients. I was talking about calories in the last post but don’t forget the other factors such as higher fat contents, type of oil being used (cheaper oil has more cholesterol and monosaturates).

Healthier choice

There are always healthy alternatives to our diet. Murabiyyah has nicely posted the difference between healthy and non-healthy choices on her blog. These unhealthy choices are the commonly consumed by our people. Every time healthy food choices is mentioned, we tend to hear comments that “makanan nyaman saja yang inda sihat ani” or “delicious food seems to be unhealthy”.

It is quite hard for us to visualise the impact of eating unhealthy food. Calories may not mean much for us. Placing calories in the context on how much activity is required to burn it off is good. For example, if I were to choose boiled potatoes (144 calories) instead of french fries (385 calories), that’s a saving of 241 calories or approximately an hour of walking.

I like to think of calories another way, more like a big picture sort of view. If I were to choose boiled potatoes instead of french fries 4 times a week for a month, I would save about 3500 calories. Assuming I was eating same calories as I was burning, I would have lost 0.5 kilos, just by choosing a healthier alternative. This is true for all the other food and drinks. By choosing more healthy food, the savings will be more. When you factor in an increase physical activity, you will lose more weight.

This is in my opinion a more sustainable way of losing weight because this change in diet is more practical than other fad diets. I have actually lost about 7 kilos with this simple lifestyle change and have actually remained around the same weight for past 1 year. The only problem is that we tend to be impatient and want to lose a lot of weight immediately.  So next time we are deciding what to eat, just think for a moment and figure out a healthier alternative…

I did not realise there are a few local bloggers interested in fitness and health. Welcome to murabiyyah and adidarwish. There must be more of us out there. I hope we can encourage each other to continue our healthy habits. I have to admit that I am not as active as they are. I try to exercise regularly but I guess time is a factor. There is always something stopping me from going running. At the end of the day, I think they are just excuses I use to convince myself that it is alright not to run.

On a lighter note, I went running on yesterday, managed to finish 3K. Hopefully I will have time to go again this afternoon. I kinda miss the endorphin rush that you get from exercising as mentioned by murabiyyah. One other reason for me to continue exercising is weight management. Congrats to adidarwish for breaking his 80kg barrier. I have been trying to break my own weight barrier but still a bit more to go.

After being a regularly reader of bruneiresources.blogspot.com, I decided to get in touch with Mr BR himself and wrote this article on smoking in Brunei. Many thanks for posting the article so quickly Mr BR.

I would like to add a few more points to the article. I have also tried to politely ask a few people to smoke away from me. Sometimes smokers apologise and move away, sometimes they ignore me, and unfortunately other times they get angry. There was one incident when a guy actually thought I was picking a fight with him!

Labour room

The smoker in that picture in my article actually ignored 3 “No smoking sign”. This picture shows one of them. The ignorance of no smoking signs are also apparent in other places.


This picture shows a man who decided to have a smoke after his meal right under the “No Smoking” sign. He eventually left after a few minutes. I remember seeing the same person a few weeks ago. At that time I actually asked the waitress to ask him to smoke elsewhere and he became upset. “Inda dapat besigup lagi?” or “I can’t smoke anymore?” and immediately left. So he did return despite being told to stop smoking!! This shows that patrons do return… restaurant owners take note!!


It’s not just small restaurants. Even some large hotels still prefer to let people smoke indoors. This screenshot was taken from ranoadidas’s blog. I presume it was in the air-conditioned lounge of the the hotel. Notice the ashtrays in next to the children? I remember having sahur buffet upstairs, had to go through smoke-filled entrance. When questioned, the restaurant manager just said they are allowed to smoke there.


Lastly, this picture was taken at the 3rd floor fire exit in The Mall, Gadong. No explanation required.It is not all bad though. The awareness of no smoking zones is increasing, as well as the enforcement. Airplanes and schools for example. Many restaurants are now strictly no smoking and hope with the amendment of the Tobacco Act as mentioned by the Honorable Minister of Health, we will become have more smoke-free environment.

Active Bruneians

Larian EmasI went out walking yesterday at the stadium after work. It has been a while since I have done that. I was pleasantly surprised that there were so many health conscious people in Brunei. On reflection, it is not such a big surprise if we look at the example set by our leaders including His Majesty. Activities such as Larian 60 Tahun will encourage our people to be more active. There are probably more people exercising in other the other popular places as well, such as Bukit Shahbandar and Tasek. Some may also be sweating in private gyms or in their own back yard.

This trend towards increasing our daily physical activity is good for our nation. We are so used to a sedentary lifestyle. How many of us use our cars to go everywhere, even to the nearby kedai runcit. We use lifts instead of stairs, park as close as possible to our destination, sit at home watching television while our amahs do the gardening.

One does not necessarily have to start running in order to become physically active. Washing your car, doing a bit of gardening, using stairs instead of the lift at work, parking just a little bit further next time are important steps to a healthier lifestyle. If you want to start exercising, choose something you enjoy. Get the family involved. Start small then build up from there, such as 15 minutes of brisk walking, few games of badminton.

As always, do things in moderation and know your own limitations. Don’t go to all 9 hills of Bukit Shahbandar if you get breathless even getting to the foot of the first hill. Use smaller goals first like getting up that first hill comfortably before moving own to bigger goals.

So what are you waiting for. Stop reading, get up from that computer chair and get that heart pumping again…

Shisha is unhealthy


There has been a lot of interest in shisha in Brunei. It was mentioned during the Legislative Council meeting earlier this month.

I was sitting with my cousin yesterday anreading an article on shisha in yesterday’s BB. It mentioned the dangers of shisha and hopefully put right some of the common misconceptions of shisha amongst Bruneians. My cousin was pressured by his friends to try it. The friends assured him that it was not tobacco!! He did not have any in the end but some of the so called assurance by the friends were quite far from the truth.

I will mention some of the myths here but I am sure that there are more out there.

1. It is just apple, not tobacco.

This is a common misconception. Fruits and other aromatics are added to the tobacco while burning to give a tasty smoke, in some cases apple. This will give the impression that it is not tobacco.

2. It is not smoke, just water vapour

This made me laugh. I can see how some people might think that it is water vapour, but come on, it is smoke coming out of the device.

3. It is safe!! Water absorbs the dangerous chemicals.

This is far from the truth. The theory is that smoke passes through water first before being inhaled. Imagine if this was true. It must be magic water because it is able to absorb hundreds of toxic chemicals including carcinogens. Shisha users still get addicted to it because nicotine passes through. More scientifically, there is now proof that shisha smoke is as bad as normal cigarettes.

The truth is that shisha is just as bad as cigarettes. Once you get addicted to the nicotine, you will increase the amount of shisha you use. Some may even hang out more in places with shisha or even buy their own machine. Most will move on to cigarettes to get the nicotine and so become a smoker. In my opinion, you are already a smoker once you start using shisha anyway.

Therefore, don’t try shisha, even if your friends are doing it. Oh yeah, not inhaling deeply is still inhaling, so if you want to stay healthy, do not shisha..