I am hugely fascinated with this book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.
It’s a look at a typical day of food for 80 different people across the globe – from American soldier in Iraq (4000 calories) to a Spanish shepherd (3800 calories) to a dagger merchant in Yemen (5800 calories) to Akbar the Iranian baker above (4900 calories).
The photos are gorgeous, but what’s most captivating is getting an intimate look at another human being’s daily rations. It’s picking out what’s familiar and what’s exotic or unknown. It’s putting yourself at their dinner table and wondering how you’d like your daily nosh if you were in their shoes.
But that thought alone should indicate what geographic dinner table I seat myself at everyday. Many (and truly, there are many) of these photographed folks simply eat what’s available – what they grow, raise, forage or trade for. What their parents and parents’ parents and parents’ parents’ parents ate before them.
It’s not about what ethnic restaurant is having half price Thai curry night, it’s about eating something good to fuel themselves for another grueling day ahead.
I’ve been frustrated with my weight retention (a couple of years of stress and terrible eating will do that to a gal who has had a baby… 5 years ago now, cough) because I really eat quite well. No meat, little dairy, lots of fresh produce and whole grains. Funky weird hippie teas, fresh juice.
The problem is that, unlike the Ecuadorian mountain farmer or camel herder, I sit at a desk pretty much all day, with atrocious posture I might add, sipping coffee and (only lately) forcing myself to get out of the building for 45 minutes or so to keep my eyeballs from imploding.
I don’t move, I don’t soak in the sun, I don’t splash in the water – being so sedentary should be criminal, but such is the nature of my home country and work environment. And also, I’m addicted to Tex-Mex and am now realizing that tortilla chips are probably going to be the death of me one day. So there’s that too.
Projects like this get me thinking – not just on all the places I want to visit so that I too can break bread with awesome looking people and eat pomegranates from the front yard, but on our perceived quality of life and dining.
And now, the obligatory meal breakdown of my day today – because after staring at everyone else’s indulgences, I feel that it’s only right:
- 2 cups of coffee, black (10 calories)
- Special K cereal (200 calories) with almond milk (80 calories)
- Chipotle veggie bowl = 700 calories (the sour cream + cheese I had on it today added 220 calories, boo — but the 150 calories that guacamole brings is always worth it :) )
- 2 glasses of water
- Vegan seitan pot roast with roasted veggies (300 calories)
- Salad with red leaf lettuce, yellow tomatoes, apple balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sprouts (160 calories – dang EVO)
- Frozen banana ice cream with candy shell chocolate syrup (250 calories)
1700 calories. Whew. Totally waking up early for hoop dancing tomorrow :)