Thursday, January 5, 2012

Losing weight is hard to do over here!

It's the new year, which means it's time for more whiny blog posts from Amber about losing weight. Like many Americans, weight loss is a yearly resolution for me. I will say, however, that living here last year probably helped me get the closest to reaching that goal that I've ever gotten. It's amazing how easy it is to shed pounds when you don't have the extra calories of the work day happy hour!

The one big difficulty with dropping weight as an expat in Saudi Arabia is grocery shopping. I loathe grocery shopping here as it is, and once you add in the limitations on the trendy foods, I'm one cranky camper.

Here's an example.

I'm using the Jump Start diet as a guide for my caloric intake as well as my workouts. I've had success with the Self programs before, so I'm back for more. Plus even the Mister likes the recipes they work into the diet, so who can complain, right!?

This is what I would really liked to have had for breakfast this morning:

Here are the reasons why I couldn't have it for breakfast this morning:
  • English muffins of any variety, much less the whole wheat kind, are impossible to find at our grocery store. Perhaps they're stocked at one of the other grocery stores that also caters to the American expats, but we're not willing to run around town patchworking our grocery list together. The traffic is a nightmare and it's even worse once you get inside the store.
  • Almond butter? I'm not sure where I would find it in the stores at home! Sometimes the more obscure food items are miraculously stocked at my grocery store. But when I asked the clerk about almond butter the other day, he looked at me like I'd asked for the coordinates to the Orion Belt. Yes, he spoke English, smart alecks. Even after I described what almond butter was, he frowned and regretfully informed me that no such item had ever been on the store's inventory.
This is what I did have for breakfast this morning:

No, there's no Chobani here, but yogurt is definitely something Arabs do! And YAY, Self!! Za'atar is everywhere here, so I already had a giant shaker of it in my spice cabinet! Everyone knows about Middle Eastern cuisine's healthy relationship with chickpeas. I had no less than 6 varieties to choose from (none of them were no-salt-added, though). But even this meal presented a challenge.

Ironically, it's the pita that gives me trouble in this recipe. Oh, pitas we've got! But for some reason "whole wheat" seems to be a dirty word (phrase, really) over here. We can't find wheat bread or wheat pitas. It's funny because we can find something called "brown bread" in the bakery section...but that's just what it is. It's white bread that has had brown food coloring put in it. There are no grains involved in the brown bread. 

Perhaps Saudis work on the placebo diet...

I think it's so funny that I can find items such as this

the world's largest tub of Philadelphia cream cheese. Who needs this much cream cheese?!
and this

It's called "snake fruit." It has scales. I'm scared of it.

but I can't find wheat bread!!

Vicariously yours,

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