Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I am a Sri Lankan and I like carbohydrates

My Sri Lankan upbringing means that I love carbs. Any meal tastes better if served with rice. Noodles, pasta, bread and potatoes are essential foods. Don't even get me started on the joys of hoppers and string hoppers or the thought of one of my favourite meals; plain string hoppers with prawn curry and some pol sambol mmm.....

Here in England people say "curry and rice" instead of "rice and curry" for good reason. That is how it is eaten here. Most of my friends are surprised when we go for a curry and I ask for a whole portion of rice but it is just what I am used to and, as far as I am concerned, it is the correct way. It is a struggle for me to have to cope with a plate heaped full of curries with a tiny portion of rice hidden underneath a bean or something.

Then again I often have to suffer the pain and discomfort of eating rice that is either undercooked or not salted in restaurants here, things that would never happen in Sri Lanka. I can honestly say that I have never ever been served a portion of rice anywhere in Sri Lanka that was not prepared properly.

All this means that, although hardly "de rigeur" any more, the Atkins diet was never going to be a long term option for me to lose weight and maitain my "healthy lifestyle". Bollocks to that! I did try it a few times and it is true to say that the weight piled off me each time. The problem was that it was too much of a sacrifice. Week after week of eating curry without rice, meat without potatoes and bolognese without spaghetti became too dark and too depressing. I could never have faced the prospect of a whole lifestyle without these carbs and so the Atkins diet was always a short term quick fix for me.

That is the whole problem with most of these "diets". We use them as a method to lose weight quickly and then we got back to our old eating habits and, within a few months, we are back to our old weight. So we go on a diet, lose the weight and then go back to our old eating habits. You get the picture right?

That is why I have decided that I am going to try to change my lifestyle instead of dieting. I am not really drastically overweight, I just want to lose about 6 to 8 pounds and keep it off. I am eating more healthy foods, I am trying to eat a bit less and I am trying to eat less rubbish. The weight loss is far more gradual than with the Atkins, or any other diet, but I am hoping it will be long lasting.

I am also trying to do more exercise. Some vigorous walking every day, I stopped smoking about 18 months ago and that has helped me to do more exercise. I am lucky in that drumming every day probably contributes a bit towards my cardio vascular fitness.

I am proud of many of my British characteristics, the way I can say "sorry" for nothing, my ability to put up with appalling service in restaurants and then feel really bad for not leaving a tip and the like. I am also proud of my "Sri Lankanness", my ability to eat huge portions of rice is only one example.

So I'll do all these things, lose some weight, keep it off and still be able to eat rice, hoppers, pasta and all those other delicious carbs.



Savi said...

As much as I admit that loving rice is probably a 'Sri Lankan' trait that we all have, I dont exactly think that only Sri Lankans crave carbohydrates...

I'm no expert but to the best of my knowledge,one of the reasons the Atkins diet is under so much criticism is because of the whole 'no carb' deal,carbs give us energy and are an essential nutrient in our body composition..

Good on u, for going 'healthy', u can eat healthily in almost any food type, as long as you are a bit creative and you know to cook properly and haha btw, have u had proper british food with black pudding, beans,bacon, hash browns and the whole works!?!? its just reaking with fat, the sight of it makes me wanna throw up...:s

Rice and Curry any day!!! :d

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Savi, I agree that it isn't only SL's who crave carbs.

But, althought I can't stand black pudding, I love a full English breakfast. Dripping in fat and unhealthy I know, but my Britishness comes through here and I adore them.

Thanks for reading

culturedbum said...

Fat is so tasty!
However, I do understand the notion of healthy eating... to a degree. I like to eat fairly healthy, but I also load my food with fat, salt and sugar , all evil to todays dieters.

I love food and used to be a fat bastard, about 5 years ago I stopped eating junk i.e. preservative laden pre-processed junk - packeted chips, carbonated drinks, high sugar content chocolate, MacD's and other fast food. Lost more than 15kgs and have kept it off, except when on holiday, especially to SL where I just eat and eat, and do nothing else.
I started doing high cardio exercises (running, cycling, swimming and boxing) and stopped most of the gym based weights stuff. And began to realllly enjoy my food rice & curry, crispy roasted pork belly, beef with lots of intramuscular fat, chips fried in duck fat, butter instead of margarine, double cream, dark chocolate, espresso... Life is short, enjoy food while one can. The body usually cracks the shits after 50, and us SE Asians seem to be genetically (or due to diet) predisposed towards diabetes and elevated blood pressure.

"It is a struggle for me to have to cope with a plate heaped full of curries with a tiny portion of rice hidden underneath a bean or something"
BTW, I totally understand your comment, small little cupcake sized mounds of rice are like finger food, it just makes me hungrier. I've noticed a couple of fine dining restaurants in Colombo have started serving their rice'n'curry dishes like this - with a pissy little mound of white rice. Here in Australia, they tend to use the long grain Jasmine rice, which is usually not salted and is undercooked.
I love a meal of thick meat curry with a spicy hodi/sodi , pol sambol, crunchy friet sprats (whitebait) and papadams. Best with brown pittu. A simple meal would be fried chilli powder coated fish and strings. But the ultimate dish for me when in Sri Lanka is fresh mud crabs.

galle blogger said...

I'm italian and if i could i would have carbs on intravenous drip 24/7!! pasta pizza panini patate (everything with p..?!?!)

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

culturedbum - I'm with you on that, I have lost a lot in the last couple of years and have kept it off because of changing my eating habits in the long term. It's still good to pig out now and again, just not all the time.

Thankd for reading.