Saturday, June 16, 2012

food glorious food

I have made the realisation that I use food as a coping mechanism for dealing with the discomforts and trials of student exchange.

Last time I was here on exchange food was often a highlight of the day. It was hard making friends and some experiences with host families were a little uncomfortable. Chocolate, glutenous rice balls and crusty melon bread however never let me down. An instant mimi hit of happiness. I found myself eating my hot packed lunch as soon as I got to school..just because it was at times the only comfort to me in the sea of small, look-alike, rowdy school girls. Even worse, I would sometimes wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning and sit down in the kitchen with a small bowel of rice or cereal. It was so nice to be able to just sit in peace and enjoy some food without needing to talk to anyone, which often required a lot of energy and disappointment when I was unable to get my message across in Japanese. I always told people I put on weight because of all the sweet treats my host-grandmother bought me, but really now I think about it, it was my own doing :p!

THIS TIME however, I have come back aware and prepared of this dangerous habit of mine. Over the last few weeks I have been getting really into nutrition and healthy eating. At first this was to cut back those few kilos I had gained since my arrival, but over time it has become my new coping mechanism to stress, boredom, homesickness etc. Now when in need of a distraction from daily stress, instead of taking that walk to the corner shop to buy some icecream, I spend my time researching recipes for breakfast smoothies or easy vegetarian lunches etc. I get excited about all the options for healthy eating that's out there and get comfort and pleasure out of researching, planing and trying them.

I pretty much look forward to waking up now so I can try out my new natural muesli for breakfast, and make that delicious tuna and sald pita I'd planned. Now while at the supermarket I'm not stocking up on 'emergency chocolate' but on herbal teas and chickpeas and wholegrain breads and probiotic yoghurts and carrots and capsicums etc etc. I was getting really excited about the benefits and meal options of the whole grain Quinoa but couldn't find it ANYWHERE in Japan. Tried buying it online but could only get it in little 200g sachets. But today, while on the way home from the gym I thought I'd check out an international store for some cottage cheese, and ran straight into a big tub of quinoa. I literally squeeled! I smiled all the way to the register and even told the cashier how happy I was she sold it and thanked her (yes a bit over the top but I was really wanted to try it). Now I want to share my joy with all of you:)

also found some scrumptious looking crackers for the afternoon munchies.
Ok so I do realise I am still obsessed with food and use it for coping with homesickness and stress etc, but at least it's healthy now right? I am learning so much about nutrition, portion control, healthy snack ideas etc, while also gaining more energy in my day, more control over what goes into my mouth and have finally got the bowels working properly again (thankyou AllBran!). Photos of my Quinoa creations to come!


  1. Hi Anna check out my blog titled "I'm having a mental event". It looks at above the neck hunger. I was having a serious mental event last night and when I realised it was above the neck hunger and not below the neck hunger I left the kitchen to blog until it passed. Then went back to finish the washing up. Yippee !! Success for me - this time. Haha

  2. I love quinoa!
    I've been making this cool roast vegie quinoa salad. You roast whatever veggies you want, cook the quinoa in stock with some curry powder for added flavour and then stir through the roast vegies with some saltanas or whatever other dried fruit you want. mmmmm.
    Glad to hear you're keeping healthy and finding what you need.

    1. I tried your veggie quinoa dish Em! Loved it. Thanks for that! Enjoying it with a bit of yoghurt, banana and cinnamon in the mornings occassionally too. Can't buy stevia here tho so I'm gonna bring a little back from Australia with me in September.