Thursday, April 21, 2011

Watching my Weight While a Guest in a Foreign Land

Well, after 4 days in Zambia, let me report on my weight-loss efforts.

First of all, before we even got to the base, we stopped and I bought some groceries - mostly fresh fruit and veggies - and eggs.  I could not buy much for a couple reasons....beginning with the fact that 6 people,  6 suitcases, and a car seat in a compact car did not leave much room for groceries and ending with the fact that I was so tired I was in no condition to make rational decisions about food.   

So, we returned to a (better) grocery the next day.  

Before beginning that shopping experience, we had to eat. 

Zambian's LOVE deep fried chicken but Jim and I wanted to avoid those places.  (I think one reason they love it is beccause it is very cheap for a full meal) So, we chose a fast food place that flame broils their chicken - and allows substituions for the fries.  (Jim had spicy rice and I had a green salad.)

I've been cooking most of our meals and fresh vegetables are abundant and easy to get (walk up the road a few minutes and they are selling them on the side of the road) so mostly our meals so far have been pretty 'good'.

Today, we had our usual 3 eggs (2/3 whites) each for breakfast - along with some grapes and tomatoes.

Later in the morning, we were invited to go for a walk with Vinjelu's cousin, Philip (who lives with them) and the kidlettes.   

I just want to interject something about the bread that you buy in the grocery here.  (Even the good grocery store) .........  IT SUCKS!!!!   First, it is hard to find anything but white bread.  Then, if it isn't mouldy when you get it home, it will be within a day.  Third, it is so crumbly you can barely eat it.  Kath says "Oh, you have to toast it before you try spread something on it".  (No toaster in this house)   So.....this morning when we arrived at the roadside 'Ntemba' and we smelled fresh bread, we were tempted.  It's not like either of us has tried to eat alot of bread since we've been here - once for each of us - but I think the thought of such horrid bread being all that is available sent us into the arms of temptation.   One dozen BIG buns (white bread - freshly made) cost about $1.50.   I found out later these are called 'Local Buns' and are the bread the poor buy.   Such a backward place....the poor eat bread that is fresh and tastes good, the rich eat lousy bread.

Before I could pay for the buns, Philip suggested we pick them up 'on our way back'.

"On our way back from where?"  I asked

"We will go to Rocky Gardens for a coke"  he quietly replied.

OK, I guess we'll pick them up when we come back.

We walked along the side of the road (highway) for at least 2 km - not real fast since Seth was walking with us, but not dawdling, either. 

After a short stop at the 'Resort' (see description on my other blog) we started back down the road to the highway along which we would walk.    So, we walked about 4 kms today.   (And so did Seth)

Good thing, too, since those buns were DELICIOUS!!!  Especially with a small amount of Miracle Whip and a slice of fresh tomato on top.

So, lunch was not real 'diet friendly'.

Well.....there was still nearly half a day in which to get back on track.

Suppertime....

The students had asked that we eat with them tonight.  Tonight the menu was Nshima (white cornmeal) with 'Soup' , beef, and rape.  

The 'soup'  is fresh veggies cooked down to a sauce in which the beef is cooked.

The beef is what I would call Soup Bones.....not much meat, lots of bone, and too much fat.

Rape is (I think) Canola leaves which is cut up into very narrow strips.  I do not know exactly how it is cooked except that there is obviously oil involved.  Personally, I do not like it at all - it has a bitter taste to me.  But it would have been a good choice because it is, after all, a vegetable and very green.   Rape seems to be the most common vegetable.....when you are at a fast food place that offers 'vegetable' with the meal, it is inevitably Rape.

Let me tell you how to eat with Nshima......you take the hot cornmeal which has been cooked to be very stiff and pinch off a good sized piece with your fingers, roll it in your hand, put an indentation in the center, then use it to scoop up soup and rape (or whatever is on your plate).

No cutlery.

Everyone washes their hands before they eat.

It is actually pretty good, as far as taste is concerned.   I cannot see that it is real healthy.....Although pretty much ALL of Africa literally lives on white cornmeal - they all call it something different, but it is the same thing.   For most of the people, cornmeal is the only food they get most days. 

At the YWAM base, it is a staple and is served at most supper meals.  It is filling and very cheap.

Not so good for Jim and I - except as a gesture toward the culture here. 

At any rate, it was a very high carb day for us.  

Good thing we walked 4 km in the morning.