Hmm.. what to have for dinner? Curried vegetables with rice? Great idea! This, in fact, has been my dinner for the past several weeks as I have been living at an ashram in India. While I appreciate a good curry every now and then, too much of a good thing is… too much.
When I decided to come to India for a month, I didn’t really think about the food. Well, that’s not entirely true; I worked for weeks to kick up my spiciness threshold, ordering 3 or 4 out of 5 stars in restaurants. I was prepared for the spice, but I wasn’t prepared for the utter lack of whole grains. Everything here is white – rice, bread, you name it. It took me a good two weeks before I discovered a shop in town that actually carries wheat bread and natural peanut butter. Needless to say, I frequent this shop quite a bit.
Another unexpected culinary twist in this adventure is that I started eating all sorts of things I would normally avoid back home – Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Coca-Cola – mostly because these things look familiar in a sea of strange new foods. Even though I’ve been doing yoga every morning, I quickly decided that this kind of eating was not going to cut it. I’m pretty sure that the calories you consume on vacation still count.
So as I’ve slowly gotten over the culture shock that India offers at every turn, I’ve also gotten my eating habits under control. Curried vegetables, hold the white rice. The occasional sweet, but nothing more than I would eat at home. No more junk food. There is simply no avoiding new, and sometimes unhealthy, foods while traveling, but there’s no need to go off the deep end. So if you’re planning a trip, be prepared to leave your inner control freak at home, but know that there are always healthy options available. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder.