Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fighting the study abroad weight gain

Ask anyone who has gone travelling or studied abroad for any length of time and I bet they'd confirm they put on weight. Well, moreso for women perhaps, as a lot of the male exchange students here complain about losing weight (no gym and lack of cooking skills perhaps?). I put on a fair few kilo's on my first exchange here in 2009, which surprises many as Japanese food is seen as very pure, fresh and healthy. This is true for traditional Japanese cuisine, but western-style Japanese food is another story altogether!

Right now I am sitting in front a TV program all about Japanese bread. The two hosts have gone from store to store in downtown Osaka showcasing the ever popular deep fried curry pockets, bean jam filled hotdog buns, and strawberry and creme sandwiches. I am faced with the aroma of hot custard filled scrolls and chocolate crossaints every day on my walk to uni from the train station. Did I mention on averyage such 'breads' as they call all baked goods are only 150yen ($2)!

The Japanese would also have to be the biggest "souvenir" giving people in the world! I witness this most through my host mother, who is given 'Thank you' gifts such as boxes of gourmet chocolate chips, mini caramel puddings or slices of deep fried pork from her students parents and neighbourhood friends who have either just come back from a trip away, or are giving the gift in return for a gift they received from her! She spent a lot of our recent trip to Hokkaido writing lists of who she had to get souvenirs for and then trying to fit them in our suitcases. The following photo is a classic! After we had managed to fit everything in our suitcases, Mama then proceeded to buy the few remaining this at the airport! Yes all the bags are ours.

These souvenirs are all local sweets and savories. Therefore it is VERY hard to avoid being offered snacks and treats almost everyday here. Even if I am not being offered as such, I face the internal battle of saying no to what we have laying around the house! As a result I came back from Australia last month prepared. I brought back with me packets of Chia seeds, LSA meal, rye mountain bread and other bits and pieces. While this isn't going to make the snacks disappear, being organised like this in my breakfast and lunch options, keeps me motivated to stay good and clean for the rest of the day! Here is what I've been enjoying lately:

My new favourite breaky! Scott would fall over if I asked him to try it haha.
Yoghurt, LSA meal, chia seeds, cinnamon...and whatever tickles my fancey that day. Today was baked apple and a little aussie Capilano honey!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this lunch:
Japanese omlette with a bit of cottage cheese and tuscan spices on a bed of greens (lettuce, rocket or spinach), with tahini sauce and some quince paste in rye mountain bread. So filling and makes me smile:)
Peanut butter and sultana carrot sticks

Couldn't get this image to rotate but this is a standard dinner in this household:
 Grilled fish, greens and a soupy dish (this one was cabbage with tofu cakes). (oh I usually skip the white rice cos it just leads to me eating more white rice..and then some more:P)

Tonight we are having my all time favourite dinner here which is the Japnese Hot-Pot! Photos to come.

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