ASAN is a blog of Adrian's adventures! (Formerly a Peace Corps Blog) "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." – Mark Twain
For not knowing how to cook, and hardly ever making a salad before, I just made a pretty good salad for dinner!
I’m slowly learning how to cook here and eating much healthier while with the Peace Corps in Paraguay than in the US. I already lost around 40 lbs in PY and I’ll lose a little more! Actually it is common for Volunteers to lose weight because of the drastic and sudden change of lifestyle.
Large part of it is that I’m eating a lot better and walking everyday around 15 min a day at least. There are no major American fast food chains or the similar sort in my site or very near by, so I’m forced to eat much better, home cooked, non-fried, fresh, organic food.
In the US I ate wayyyy too much McDonalds, Wendy’s, Chipotle, Burger King, jumbo pizza slices, phily cheesesteaks, etc., often several times or more a week without even noticing while in a rush, as we all are in the US, from work to home or after going out (extra beer calories anyone?) or what have you, which was all the problem. So if you do that too, stop! 😀
Use to go here all the time with my DC best friends, Omar, Christy, Marcela, Luigi, D&D, David, Mohammed, Jose, John, Sara, Oscar, Gene, Hector, Kenny (can’t name everyone :/) and y’all know who ya are haha. We’ll have a reunion there soon yall, ok? 😀
In PY I eat fresher natural foods similar to the “cavemen” diet, mostly natural foods (vegetables and meats or anything a caveman would eat ha), much less processed foods, which is so common in the US, from candy or “energy” bars, cereals, ready made TV style dinners, Poptarts, doughnuts, and what not.
Also, there are barely any “bars” and no clubs in my site, although there are plenty in the capital of Asuncion (4 1/2 bus ride for me though) so I hardly go out here really in the way most do in the US, bar or club hopping every weekend or so. More often it can be just visiting a friend’s family at home or at times a local college could host a party, but too often. But the upside is that I’m losing weight from not having extra beer calories and the beer belly effect and eating all that junk food after going out! Ha.
So really for me that is more than half the battle, just eating right.
I never knew how to make this but they showed me how, thanks Claire and Hunter, the newest Volunteers in my area, welcome! Although I’m not vegetarian, (love meat) I have been eating much more like one here than I ever have.
It can be easy to just pick up an apple or preparing a quick salad to eat than taking the time to fry meat or cook pasta, and since farming is everywhere in PY (similar how it was in the US much more so back in the day), fresh locally grown vegetables are readily available.
Nevertheless, I have to be careful because although the PYan food is very very delicious, many of the common foods can be heavy in carbohydrates and/or fried such as empandas, chipa, soap (like cornbread), mandioca, rice, pasta, fried lightly bread chicken/meat sandwiches- “milensa”, etc., which is more reason for me to learn how to cook at home so I can make healthier foods and also those that I miss from the US like pancakes or waffles (although not so healthy ha)!
Then with the PC for security reasons, I’m not allowed to drive a car or motorcycle (although with permission, PCVs in very rural areas can buy a horse! Haha), so I have to walk EVERYWHERE carrying usually a big laptop bag with all my teaching, consulting materials, etc. My site is only about 10 blocks by 10 blocks (its basically a square), so I can more less easily get to anywhere I need to go in about a 15 minute walk, although it can get tiring.
On the bright side, I’m losing weight and its great to slow down to smell the roses. I actually even found beautiful roses in my backyard, in the picture below, I didn’t know I had!
I’m also trying to jog several times a week which isn’t so hard to do because as a PCV you manage your own time schedule, depending on the needs of the community, which is similar to if you are running your own business. I could work more morning or evenings some days depending when I meet with the small businesses I’m consulting and my other activities.
This is one of the many lessons I’ve learned here in PY which I’ll keep doing when I leave: natural diet, cook at home, no fast food, and daily regular exercise.