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Expat wanderer

Adventure Man’s Diet

My husband, the great Adventure Man, said that his idea of a diet was being married to a woman who was sometimes so busy with her hobbies that she doesn’t have time to fix dinner and he has to eat peanut butter and crackers. It’s true. Sometimes I lose track of time. Fortunately, he LOVES peanut butter and crackers.

The bottle of peanut butter we were working on – more than half finished – was one of those bottles recalled for contamination. Ugh. Great weight-loss peanut butter. 😦

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March 21, 2007 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Blogging, Diet / Weight Loss, Family Issues, Humor, Marriage, Relationships | 6 Comments

Ultrametabolism and Kuwait Diet

I used to be thin. Really thin. Actually, I have been really thin several times in my life, but, *sigh* no longer.

This morning as I was picking up my e-mail, this review on AOL caught my eye. Dr. Mark Hymon is one of the AOL Wellness Coaches, and he has written two books, one called Ultrametabolism, about using your built in genetic strengths to lose weight and maintain the weight loss naturally, and one called Ultraprevention about foods to eat (and not to eat) to contribute to overall wellness and good health.

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If you’ve been reading me for a while, you will know that I can be a little cynical.

What I like about Dr. Hymon’s approach is that it makes sense.

Diets that totally eliminate foods you love just aren’t going to work. Give up pasta for the rest of your life? I don’t think so. But what Dr. Hymon asks us to do is to eat mostly non-processed, or minimally processed foods. He says that the processed foods have components that the body doesn’t even recognize as food, and that’s why after eating things like Twinkies, Mars bars, packaged crackers, etc. we still feel hungry – our bodies don’t recognize what we have eaten as food.

Here is what Dr. Hymon suggests (this is from the AOL Health and Fitness section):

How to use what you eat to tell your DNA how to slim you down and live a healthier life.

Day 1. Clean out your cabinets, refrigerator and freezer. Get rid of packaged items filled with processed fats and sugars. Check the lable – if it says “hydrogenated oil” or “high fructose corn syrum” get rid of it.

Day 2. Go shopping for whole foods. Find a farmer’s market in your area for fresh produce and schedule visits in your calendar weekly or biweekly over the next few months. At the grocery, choose items from the “perishable perimeter” of the store, instead of items in the center aisles where processed foods lurk.

Day 3. Change your oil! Throw out old oils, which can become rancid quickly. Replace vegetable oils like safflower and canola with extra-virgin olive oil and make it your primary oil for cooking and salad dressings.

Day 4. Visit a health food sotre. Leave there with 10 new items you’ve never tried before. Bulk-purchase whole grains, legumes and nuts. Look for new whole grain cereals, breads and snacks without processed additives, fats, sugars or preservatives. And remember: just because it’s in a health food store, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Read the labels of any packaged foods you buy.

Day 5. Choose Eggs! Choose organic eggs farmed with omega-3 fats. Make yourself a spinach omelet for breakfast. Eggs are a good source of protein. You can enjoy as many as eight a week.

Day 6. Become wild about fish. Find a local fishmonger or educate yourself by talking to your local grocer. Or learn more about which fish are best to eat by visiting www. ultrametabolism.com. Print out a primer to bring with you when you shop.

Day 7. Prepare some healthy snacks for when you’re on-the-go. Pack a small zipper bag with a few servings of almonds or walnuts. One handful equals a serving.

Day 8. Don’t go thirsty. By now, you’ve tossed the sodas. Bring out the blender and learn to make high protein, no sugar smoothies. Experiment with crushed ice and fresh fruits. You can even make frozen nut cubes by soaking nuts overnight, blending them and then freezing them with a bit of water or milk in ice cube trays. Your smoothie will be creamy and full of good fats and proteins.

As I did his online mini-seminar, I found myself thinking “everything this Dr. Hymon is recommending is the way Kuwaitis USED TO eat.” And I also found myself thinking what a wealth of opportunity we are living amidst, here in Kuwait, where we can go to any market and buy FRESH fish, really fresh, right off the boats, in the local fish markets. We can buy fresh meats, and fresh vegetables, lots of them grown right here in Kuwait. We can buy fresh eggs. even fresh chicken when not under threat of Avian Flu. Kuwait is a paradise for exactly this kind of diet.

Not only do we have access to fresh, locally grown foods, but the cost is so much less than processed foods on the shelves. He is talking about lentils and grains commonly available here in those big sacks, down in the Souk Mubarakiyya, as well as in the co-ops and the Sultan Centers.

This isn’t anything new, eating low on the food chain, eating fresh, but it does strike me as a diet that particularly works in Kuwait, and a kind of diet that you can live with for the rest of your life, because it doesn’t make changes in your life that you can’t live with. Like he does tell us to give up soda, one of the main contributors to obesity in the world today. As you get older, carbonated beverages aren’t that hard to give up because they also give you heartburn, so just another reason to steer clear of all those unwanted calories the body can’t identify as food.

He didn’t say anything about chocolate . . . but I have ordered both books from Amazon.com hoping that the dark, semi-sweet, barely processed chocolate that I love will also be “just what the doctor ordered.” Meanwhile . . . I hear a spinach omelet calling my name!

March 21, 2007 Posted by | Books, Cooking, Cross Cultural, Diet / Weight Loss, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Generational, Health Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Shopping, Social Issues, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

“Woh ist der bahnhof?”

One of our family jokes is about how when you go to live in Germany, for some reason, one of the first phrases you learn isn’t “guten tag” or “Wiegehts” (hello! / how are you?) but “where is the train station?” And it is particularly hilarious because even if you ever say it exactly right (or so you think) no one can understand what you are saying. And if they DO understand – they start giving you directions with elaborate hand signals.

Germans are very precise. They won’t just point in a general direction, they will use all kinds of words for left, right, straight ahead, and my personal favorite “gegenuber” which means catty-corner, or diagonally across from something, all words that the beginner doesn’t have a clue. So even if you successfully ask for directions, you can’t understand the answer.

Most of the time, however, you will ask “woh ist der bahnhof” several times, as the response is continually “wie, bitte?”, the polite way of sayinh “WHAT??” and then finally they will get this “aha!” and they will say “Oh! Woh ist der bahnhof?!” and it sounds exactly like what you have been saying for the last five minutes.

I had a “woh is der bahnhof” experience here in Kuwait. I was searching for a souk I had heard about. I asked some of my friends – where is the souk Watiniya? I experienced that two seconds of total blank non-response that always feels like two days, and then one of them laughed and said “oh, she means the souk Watiya” and they told me where it was.

But I’m getting smarter. It wasn’t the part where I added the extra syllable that confused them. It was the fact that I used the soft “t” and not the hard “t”. It’s a small thing, but enough to make me dance for joy – I can hear the difference!

March 21, 2007 Posted by | Communication, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Germany, Humor, Kuwait, Language, Living Conditions, Random Musings, Shopping, Words | 13 Comments