I have been thinking a lot about nutrition and health and different kinds of foods recently. I think part of it stems from wanting to get back on a normal diet after often being at the mercy of others' choices while in America, and some is likely a result of a class I am taking that has talked a lot about health inequalities.
It is no secret that I really enjoy cooking. I love fresh food and trying to make things from scratch. I love vegetables and fruits. I like variety and lots of colors. I like creating things and adapting things. In many ways Cambodia has assisted in this. There are many things I enjoy that I have to make from scratch here, or I prefer to now because I do not want to sell my left arm to buy it in the supermarket. I have learned that it is often easy (and so much cheaper!) to make my own. I make my own tortillas, pita bread, English muffins, seasoning mixes, soup bases, hummus and so much more.
I much prefer to eat non-processed foods whenever possible, and I am thankful that being here, with all kinds of fresh produce cheap and accessible, makes it completely affordable. Seriously, it makes my heart so happy to be able to buy a pineapple for $0.50 or 2lbs of tomatoes for less than $1.00.
That being said, as I have researched and become more educated about health benefits of different foods, I have realized just how much most people are lacking good nutrition in their diets. The amount of processed food available to us is staggering, and I really do question what they put in bread to make it last so long when my homemade bread molds in just a couple days. Then, I look at the diets of people here which consists of much more fresh ingredients than processed ones...for those who can afford it. For those who cannot, rice porridge and instant noodles make up a less than nutritious substitute. It kind of makes me want to be a dietitian. Not really, though. It does make me wonder how much better our health and lives, in general, would be if we ate less macaroni and more mangoes, less burgers and more bulgur. I do not have the answers, and I will not pretend to.
Truth is, I am still going to drink my morning coffee and have the occasional diet coke, but I am always on the lookout for new ideas to improve the nutrition in my life. And, I am just trying to eat more broccoli than brownies...