I'm guessing a food blog is the not the place to go into depth about the harrowing poverty and confronting encounters and utter joy/ pure happiness on kid's faces who had nothing and all the other indescribable sights I witnessed.
Instead, I think a food blog is a perfect forum to go into depth about some of the experiences I encountered with the food (being blessed with a bit of a sensitive stomach and all!)
Just kidding- I know it's me ;)
I had a few concerns before embarking on the trip to Tanzania:
1. There wouldn't be enough protein for me and I'd have to eat meat to ensure I didn't get sick.
2. There would be mainly unhealthy sugar-laden foods that would mess with my stomach.
3. There wouldn't be enough food to cater for my hangry double side of me.
4. I can't remember any others but I was a bit of a nervous wreck.
In case you're reading this and thinking; 'What is wrong with this girl?' Please refer to this post where I go into depth about a time in my life where I struggled with eating and living to perfections (that is NOT living by the way!) and it's true that parts of that crazy old part of me still resurfaces and can create some food angst in me.
But here's something crazy that happened on the trip. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted and what my body was telling me it wanted. And I survived.
But seriously, it's probably been a good few years since I've allowed myself to relax like that and just enjoy... life. And the people around me and the utterly delicious food in front of me!
It became evident very early on that African cuisine focused around fats and carbs. Emphasis on the carbs.
But the beautiful thing about African cuisine was it was all fresh. Unprocessed. Made from scratch merely hours before. That included the breads, scrolls, buns etc. We would walk past the kitchen window and see the cooks rolling out great masses of dough that we knew would feature in our next meal, warm and fresh and delicious.
As I've mentioned before, this trip was demanding. It was hot in Africa (surprise, surprise) and we would spend full days outside doing some sort of activity or another. Food was fuel to keep us going and the white bread and white rice and white potatoes and other carb-y goodness were what we needed to get through. Often I would find myself finishing a meal (be it soup/ stew/ stir-fry) and reaching for a buttered bread roll afterwards because my body instantly felt replenished after I had eaten it. It didn't take long for me to realise the carbs (even though they were white- not something I'm used to) were what I needed to power through.
There would be days where I would have 4-5-6 pieces of bread. I inhaled the delightful warm cinnamon scrolls at breakfast, thickly spread their home-made salted peanut butter onto my fresh toast, laughed as I ate the Vegemite scrolls they'd whipped up especially for us with one of the girl's tubes of Vegemite she had brought over.
African cuisine uses a lot of beans. And veg. And mushrooms. And there were always eggs at breakfast and yoghurt. Protein was not an issue. There was also A LOT of food. And I did not shy away from going up for seconds (or thirds) the food was just too good!
I was probably the easiest to feed out of all the students because this was my kind of diet, and I reckon I could live in Afrcia (especially after seeing them put bananas in a curry. Life complete.)
All this is to say that my trip to Tanzania opened my eyes again. Showed me what life is like when you step away from the constant analysing of food and just enjoy where you are, what you're doing and who you're with.
My body didn't grow/shrink at all during this diet change up and I feel that's because I listened to what it wanted (and did increase my intake- I'm fairly sure!). I didn't die. I didn't lose a limb. I didn't even cry (only when watching a sad movie on the plane).
Instead I was happy. I laughed and enjoyed the energy food had given me, proving me once more how gosh darn incredible food can be!
Now I'm really craving those cinnamon scrolls!!
Have you ever had a pivotal moment in your life that re-opened your eyes to the world?
Has a trip ever forced you to drastically change your diet?
Any bad food experiences in other places?
That's it from me today folks, I'm just thinking out loud thanks to the awesome Spoons for the link-up! Have yourself a wonderful day and do something nice for someone else- it'll alwasy bring a smile to both your faces :). Bye!! :D