What is a blog for my experience studying abroad without one post about food!
Fun Fact of the Day: The word “diet” comes from the ancient Greek “diaita,” which means “the way of life”
Nicaragua’s main food groups are known as salt and sugar. During my time here I have found a better way of living my diet. One of the toughest things I faced coming to Nicaragua was knowing that I would not be cooking the majority of my own food. My host family provides me three meals a day, and fortunately they cook and eat exceptionally healthy for Nicaraguans. I have found myself continually surprised by the delicious inventions and dishes they place before me, the majority of which include rice and beans, but also include vegetables (some of which I have never seen) and well-prepared meat! Depending on others for the majority of my meals has got me thinking about how so many “diets” are centered on the idea and necessity for control. Maybe control is simply not possible or even healthy. Does it make someone happy to count calories and meticulously plan every meal? Please do not mistake this post as an anti-diet rant because for some, those truly are fulfilling and effective! For me, that has not been the case and in my opinion will not be in the future. So with control not feasible, where does that leave me? The words balance, moderation, and awareness come to my mind. Let’s look at my experience, or “diet” in Nicaragua.
Honestly when writing this post initially, I began to outline a typical day as far as what I do and what I eat, and realized that it went against what I was attempting to say in this post. So here are the basics. Being gluten-free has proved incredibly sustainable here, however I eat noticeably more sugar and salt than I do in the US. Apart from the occasional funny stomach or the warm up period to the climate and food at the beginning of my time here, I have found that I feel pretty awesome both in energy and otherwise. While I might eat some fried bananas, chicarones, or indulge in an eskimo ice cream during a day I am also active, sleep for at least eight hours a day, eat all of my meals at a leisurely pace, drink plenty of water, and take time to have good conversations.
So what is the moral of this story? For me it is that food does not equate to diet, yes it is a large part of what keeps us alive and running, but diet is more about living and the way we live or give ourselves life in this world. That being said how does one focus on life while also making sure they and their family have three meals a day. This is an issue I will soon face upon returning to the US but for now I am focusing on how I will enact this new understanding of diet in my everyday life.