Zigla: A tasty take on healthy food
Fast food has always been associated with oversized, (especially in the USA), greasy and cholesterol-filled meals. If you want to eat healthy, a fast-food court is not the place to get a meal. But good healthy food is often associated with pricey restaurants, which budget-conscious people avoid. Furthermore, healthy food has very limited meal choices, which are oftentimes bland and flavorless.
It is time for a paradigm shift. Healthy food need not be pricey or bland or unpalatable. Restaurateur Annie Tanco, owner of the successful Patisserie & Bistro Bizu, (located at Greenbelt 2, Rockwell, Greenhills, Robinsons Magnolia Mall), is trying to redefine the fast-food experience by offering fresh, healthy, and organic meals for the health-conscious. With food items coming from grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and farm-fresh organic produce, her new venture, Zigla, aims to establish a presence in the fast-food scene. Her recipes range from the familiar to the adventurous as well as the latest food trends to nullify the popular belief that healthy food is boring and tasteless.
Even if Zigla’s menu is exquisite blend of East meets West, it is still conscious of the health element down to the last calorie. And speaking of calories, every item on the menu has its number of calories.
During a recent visit to Zigla at the food court of Robinsons Magnolia, I had a tomato pepper soup (ingredients: red pepper, tomatoes, Himalayan salt, butter, onions, garlic, black pepper, olive oil) and Asian Chicken Salad (ingredients: free-range chicken, organic romaine lettuce, mandarin orange, goji berries, almonds, corn, Oriental dressing). The medium-size cup of soup (P110) has 80 calories and the substantial serving of Asian Chicken Salad (P195) has 280 calories. Total calories for lunch: 360 calories. My lunch is perfect for people who are on a thousand calories-a-day diet. It was so filling, I was not hungry till dinnertime.
My companion, who insisted that my food was bland and tasteless, had a whopper burger, which has 670 calories. My salad has 19 g. of fat compared to the 39 g. of his burger.
Other options from Zigla are: wraps —Mexican beef, Buffalo Chicken, mushroom cheese, Beefy Cheesesteak, Oriental Chicken; brown rice meals — choices of brown rice with roast beef and mushroom, beef teriyaki, chicken curry, fish tausi, and sweet chili tofu; pastas — spaghetti bolognaise, linguine salmon, vegetarian pasta; salads — Korean Beef Salad, Chicken Caesar, Tuna Mediterranean, Greek Salad: and soups — Miracle Chicken Noodle Soup, chicken curry congee, cream of corn, cream of pumpkin, tomato pepper. The staff will gladly inform you of the number of calories, fat, carb, and protein contents, if you ask.
Zigla’s bakery has gluten-free breads and tasty sugar-free cookies (oatmeal, dark chocolate chip cookies, pecan chocolate cookies) which are so delicious you can hardly believe they are healthy. Flaxseed crackers, wheatgrass juice, variations of Nuts Alive, cassava, and banana chips are also on the menu.
What is interesting, too, is the Zuper Juice, a brand of vibrant colored antioxidant-rich, Stevia-sweetened natural fruit soda drinks and fresh detox juices with live enzymes. They come in exciting flavors such as passion fruit soda, turmeric ginger soda, roselle bignay soda, and blueberry soda.
Annie Tanco explains, “We have seven chakras or main energy centers in our body. Each energy center vibrates with its own color. When we want to heal or energize these chakras, we can drink or eat foods that have the color of that chakra. For instance, if you want to energize your heart, taking our Zigla’s Green Juice will help. Our green juice contains all good things that are green in color like kale, parsley, green apple, and celery. Zigla’s Yellow Juice, on the other hand, aids digestion. It is composed of pineapple, apple, celery, lemon, and ginger. Zigla’s Red Juice energizes one’s entire well-being. It is made of beets, turnips, carrots, and ginger. All Zigla juices are made fresh and a delicious and healthy way to energize the entire body.”
And can she honestly say that all their ingredients are organic?
“The wonderful thing about the Philippines is that we have farmers that can help and collaborate with us in growing vegetables organically. We have our own organic farm in Batangas where we grow our own lettuces and herbs. Our free-range chicken comes from organic chicken farms like Pamora and our grass-fed beef comes from organic farmers in Batangas,” Annie shares.
She adds, “ It is important to eat chemical-free and preservative-free food. There is a whole science on organic food. Food contaminated with chemical sprays, for example, can cause some of your body parts to sort of malfunction. They can also cause severe allergies, which can have inflammatory reactions. An inflammation is a localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful as a reaction to injury or infection. This is definitely something you wish to avoid.”