Dieting in Africa
By Holligurl on August 01, 2008
After months of serious indulgence at the end of 2007, we
did the thing people do on December 31st, we vowed to make a New Year's
resolution to diet, lose weight, get fit (in that order).
From DAY1 - January 1st, we cut out all bread, grains,
potatoes, SUGAR, caffeine and all the other baddies in the world of food.
John leaned toward an Atkins
diet, I leaned more toward an Anti Candida diet.
Luckily they are both quite similar.
In fact, most main stream diets that have any clout, all
advocate that the following guidelines are necessary: cut out most sugars, all
white breads, grains and starchy foods, caffeine should be eliminated, you
should drink lots of water, and you need moderate exercise. They are mostly
Well we are 3 and a half months into this diet/lifestyle
change and I am happy to report we've each lost 8 kilos/17lbs. The trouble is
that common sense is a difficult thing to keep at hand when one is faced with
Living in Ghana as an Expat in our company means that we are
constantly hosting guests from abroad. In a given week we may have one to two
guests staying with us, and two to five suppers out at fancy restaurants. This
means that will power is as necessary as oxygen, yet as slippery as a slide.
The good thing is that these diets do allow for treats that
are both good for you and yummy, and one has to focus on them to avoid cheating
chocolate has numerous health benefits as well as blueberries.
I love both, and these small pleasures keep me on track the rest of the time
for the most part. (Except when a good red wine is opened... but they do claim red wine
also has it's health benefits!)
This brings me to my issue of dieting - in Africa.
It's all just so self indulgent, when one considers that we are
concerned about cutting back on foods that are abundant and everywhere,
available in excess, while everywhere around us there are millions of people
surrounding us who's annual income could not pay for even one of our dinners
It's just so ridiculous that in the new
(and only) mall in Ghana we push our carts round the aisles, choosing
items based on healthy choices etc, despite the fact that 90% of these items
have to be imported. Blueberries at $9 per 100grams... dark chocolate bars at
$10... no problem.
WHAT?! This is absurd! Minimum wage here is under $2 per
day. So it would take a minimum wage worker here 5 days to be able to afford
100grams of blueberries. Yet these items sell. The shelves fill and empty. We
get all excited when the shipment of fresh milk is flown in - $5 per litre. The
Expats and the upper middle class Ghanaians mull around the shop doing their
weekly shop without much thought.
Meanwhile, we are in Africa. Starvation and poverty are the
most pertinent subjects.
Traditional foods here are made of 90% heavy starches - to
fill empty bellies.
The concept of dieting is borne out of success, excess,
progress. Our choices are many, it becomes our decision to choose the good from
Give us this day our daily bread - but please make it wheat
free, gluten free, sugar free, unbleached, with organic eggs...
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