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About BoCa

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    New Delhi, India

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  1. they must have left before we arrived. I don't know them. It's a lovely school though and I'm glad to hear that, aside from the air, they had a good experience. They certainly seem to like the region if they are now in KL. Our service is our pleasure, but thank you for that.
  2. I have, in fact, made exactly that choice. Unfortunately, as I live and work in India, the trips will be fairly frequent... But I'll be looking for that window of opportunity, to be sure. And if I fail to find it here, at least I can find it in the US when I go home for a summer vacation with the family. I usually stay just about a month.
  3. Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I will modify. I've learned valuable lessons (as in, if I don't eat boxed brownies, the day can still be bright and shiny and happy). I don't really need to slather things on bread. Cool. Excellent. Looking at labels re sugar content... good to have as a habit and I'll carry it forward. So, but for the fact that India took me down (really it was India, and not just the one plate full of peas. Peas were the metaphor ... They were actual peas, but stood for much more). Your friends taught at the school my kids now go to. We are a foreign service family and have been serving abroad since my kids were 3 and 6 years old, always overseas. Yes, the air quality here is abysmal. Really quite frightening. A "bad" city in the US get an air quality reading of, oh, 30. Here in Delhi we can get over 500 from time to time, and we general "hover" at around 350-400. When the reading is 350 or above, all outdoor activity is cancelled for the kids at school. Pretty frightening stuff. And to be honest, the hard core kids, they just d the sports anyway, and the coaches really do go out anyway to help those kids out. So my daughter is doing cross country... with monkeys, air pollution, and a bunch of Indian guys staring at her and her teammates (and not in a good way), and she does it anyway. We can all learn from the fortitude of our kids! But India is indeed an astounding place. Really quite awesome in so many ways. Air quality aside, we are happy to be here. Me, I use the gym. I am not as tough as my own kid. Oh well. We all find our own way :-) Modified journal is interesting. I'll look into that. Thanks!
  4. This is Day 14. And, unfortunately, the last day for me. I knew it would be extra complicated to take on this challenge from India. Information is hard to come by, if we ask what's in something, we might get lied to, or they just won't know or understand the question, and I have to be out in the community, eating while there. We have no health food stores, no big US style supermarkets with selection (and clear information). We only have a small store on the American compound, about the size of a big gas station market, and the focus is on American junk food for those who miss it and want it, as well as American flour, pasta, cereals, and such. Mostly out of that store I can get olives, roasted red peppers, meat, and eggs. Vegetable shopping is a complicated affair and requires a lot of pre planning. Not worth explaining, but it adds time. And on top of that I'm here with my husband, our two kids, a dog, and a cat, and starting a new full time job this week after having been "at home" for about a year. So when I started, I had all the time in the world to take on the challenge, but now it's distinctly limited. So, I'm out. But I've learned valuable lessons. I will do this in America. I go home in the summer and I can do that then. In America there are different temptations. But at least I can source the full range of foods rather than the 40% of the basic list that I can get here. The final straw today was when I drove very far out of town, in horrible, horrible traffic, because my daughter was competing in a cross country meet. We had a great time at the meet, then she went back on the school bus and my husband and I went to a mall. Malls are generally safer, re food, and higher end. We aren't really mall rats, but you go to safe food, wherever that might be. We chose a South Indian restaurant. The menu was incredibly vague. I had no idea what I was ordering, but due to traffic and the longer than expected cross country meet, it had been a long time since I had eaten and I was starving. The bag of pistachios in the car wasn't doing it for me. So when the food finally came (verrrrrry slow to serve on top of it all), and I saw peas on the plate, I just ate them. Forget it. I needed food. They were completely mixed in and lots of them. No way I was picking out all of those peas. It should have been a good meal for the plan -- a coconut curry. But to be honest, it may have had soy sauce in it or fish sauce. I don't know. So, there it is. I call Uncle. But not forever. I'll be back. And meanwhile, I'll keep to some of the precepts of the Whole 30. I will continue for the 30 days to avoid all sugar, grains, dairy, rice, and potatoes. I can do that. But "avoiding sugar" is probably going to mean there's some sugar in the fish sauce, and "avoiding soy" isn't going to mean that I ask what's in stuff all the time to be sure it's not in there. I'll continue to have egg breakfasts rather than cereal. But, I must admit, that now that I'm off of the challenge, I am going to have a nice glass of wine tonight :-) So, hang in there all of you warriors for good health! Good luck and good food to you! It's a worthy challenge. And one I'll try again.
  5. I really like cranberries, but they are so tart that most manufacturers of dried cranberries, just can't resist sugaring them up. I found a brand that uses apple juice concentrate to sweeten them. I read that juice can be used as a sweetener on this plan, but wanted to check this out specifically. Also, does anyone have any dried cranberries that are just NOT sweetened? Brand recommendations would be MOST welcomed. I like them tart. I'd prefer them that way. Maybe it'll mean I need to dry them myself in the oven, but I really don't want to do that. Thanks.
  6. So... I have been asked to go on a work trip to Mumbai next week. Yay! Mumbai! Super fun. Love my job. But, uh oh, do I need to bring an extra suitcase just for my food??? That's ridiculous and I won't do it. Yes, I will carry a pack of nuts and a pack of dried fruit. That's just emergency provisions. And it's not a long trip, so really that's enough. I could, if I had to, live on that. The flight is short (I live in New Delhi, so this isn't a US to India kinda thing), so no worries about plane food. But boy, the one thing that makes this month almost impossible is the fact that while you could reasonably ask people in the US what's in a meal on their menu, here you just cannot. You can, but they'll either not understand you or they'll just lie, because the culture is to tell you what they think you want to hear. In South Asia, where most meals have soy of some kind in them, often of many, many kinds, that makes life difficult. And this is diplomacy, so when I show up somewhere for work, and I am offered milk tea and cookies, it's kind of rude when I decline. It's a work event, so it's inappropriate for me to discuss my diet. TMI. Too personal. And when I show up, they are going to want to feed me. It's what they do. Because they are kind. Oh, I have all of the lines in my pocket: I am allergic to that (but am I allergic to EVERYthing?). I just ate, but thank you anyway (then they'll push for just a small symbolic portion, o fcourse) I am taking a medication that will not allow me to eat that while on it (that's especially useful for booze, but in India, they don't really drink, certainly not at work, so it's more a matter of foods) But there are SO MANY things I cannot eat that are a part of every single solitary thing they prepare, that I am really going to be in a bind. If it were just me, on a holiday in Mumbai, or if I were a banker or something and not having to be diplomatic and striving to form alliances and friendships, this would be less of an issue. But here we go, and it is what it is... Wish me luck!
  7. Oh! And one more idea from my days teaching elementary school: Kids really DO like fun lunch boxes. Look up the Japanese bento boxes online. I actually bring my own lunch to work in an Indian tiffin pot, which I love -- it's a stackable set of three metal bowls that lock into place with a lid on top. Very leak proof, and I keep three different things in three different places, so no mush. Kids might find lunch more fun with that system too. You can find stackable metal tiffin boxes or pots online also. Let them pick one!
  8. When my kids were little, and it was time to pack up lunch bags, I started a system that worked for us that grew out of the problem you have with bags of food coming back uneaten. I made up small baggies filled with various things and put them into categories. So there was one big bowl filled with "salts" and another filled with "sweets" and I let them choose one item from each and put it in the lunch box themselves. I also had a few rows of different kinds of juices or waters in the fridge and they chose one of those also, and into the bag it went. For the "main dish" we made a list on Saturday night of acceptable options. Their tastes changed and they'd get bored, so doing this once a week helped with the boredom and allowed me to shop on Sunday, ahead of the week. They might take a chicken salad sandwich, ham and cheese rolled up, lettuce wrap, tortilla wrapped chicken breast with salad... whatever works for you. But all had to be more or less approved by you, but allowing as much control as possible. They always brought a water bottle (I use metal reusable water bottles, and we'd fill them at night, pop them in teh fridge, and then by morning it was nice cold water, which they liked. So with this system, a typical lunch bag would have something like the following: a juice box (I got organic, pure juice boxes, or water drinks) A bag of almonds (or other nut or seed or those "Sweets and Beets" which they'd eat, or a nice tamari rice cracker... like that) A bag of dried fruit (one of various options in the "sweets" bowl) or a fruit leather from a good company, or a piece of fresh fruit or bag of grapes) And a sandwich (wrap, whatever, as above) that they had pre-ordered and pre-approved. I usually made that the night ahead And a water bottle in the side pocket of their backpack. They liked the control, I liked the control, and in the end though sometimes the apple would get bruised en route and thus rejected at lunch time, they had food they would eat and that I thought was healthy "enough". Better than a bag full of old food coming home every day. Anyhow, it's an idea ... Good luck!
  9. BoCa

    My Children Will Only Eat PB & J

    My wisdom doesn't sound very wise: just stop. If you don't want them to eat it, remember that they are kids, you're the parent, and you've made a decision. Give them good options, tell them "this is how it's going to be" and then stick to it, tears and tantrums and all. And it'll pass. You say you are in the military? Seems to me a more hierarchical organization hardly exists on earth than the military, any military -- US, Algerian, Swedish, whatever. So remember, you outrank them :-) They will come to know what this means if you stick to it. And be mushy on other things, like which book to read to them at night, or how many books to read to them at night. Or whatever it is that they love most. They'll get over it. That said, my kids don't eat so great. I totally get it. They eat pretty well (as in I make the mac and cheese from scratch, but they are still eating mac and cheese). Some nights they eat what I eat, but every fourth dinner or so, I give them something they prefer and that I cannot eat. Kills me to make it because I totally want to eat it myself! But I do it. So I get it.
  10. I do indeed like to cook and I do enjoy a meal well-planned and interesting. I can't just eat a hard boiled egg with a salad every day. I'd lose my mind! But I'm not against making my own mayonnaise (I learned how to do that in Switzerland, actually, and haven't looked back since!) or whatever other "sauce" or spread to make a simpler thing more intricate, more interesting, and more of an occasion. I like to think of my meals as little tiny celebrations of all the good stuff. Snacking isn't as necessary for me when I think of food in this way, though I do fall back on snacking sometimes when I want salt (not this month, of course, but in life). But if I remember my viewpoint and try to stick with it, I can stay on track. I will look at the recipes you suggest.I do not have a non seasonal range of options here, and many of the things that are on the "you can eat this" list cannot really be found here in a way that works (canned things have sugar, so I really need to go fresh or go another way). But I prefer fresh and in season anyway, so who cares? It's working for me. It's papaya, oranges, and watermelon season right now, Kiwis look pretty good. Pumpkins are in, as are green beans and peas are just finishing up -- y I missed those! No peas this month for me... but we're freezing for later :-) and my kids are eating the fresh peas. If I were to look at flan, or other preparations like it, as a desert, I can see your point. I don't, so to wrap up the original discussion, for me, the flan is fine. I can see how others would react otherwise.
  11. Nico: Tell you about my foods? First, I think I do eat whole foods. Tonight for dinner, for example, we are having a cabbage and coconut salad, roast chicken thighs and legs with a dry rub, and big chunks of sauteed pumpkin in ginger pickle (spiced kind of non-sweet chutney one finds here in India), onions and garlic. The onions have gone all caramelized and the pumpkin has a wonderful grilled quality to it. It's going to be delicious. Afterward I'll have a ramekin of strawberries, I think. Still thinking about the fruit. For lunch I ate salmon, cashews, dried fruit, and a beet salad. It wasn't quite satisfying. It was tasty enough, but I'd have really enjoyed that pumpkin flan with it! It gives it that extra bit of an elegant culinary item that I think rounds out the meal nicely. Normally, I'd have liked roast potatoes with that meal, so I would love to find some other more filling kind of side. Beets don't quite do it. The flan, with the combo of egg and pumpkin (or something in that family of meal), is nice. Drizzle a little coconut milk on top, maybe flavored lightly with ginger, and it's a meal unto itself practically! So you see, that's why I try to find the prepared food, prepared by my of course, the more "recipe driven" sides. It just feels more... I don't know ... elegant? Breakfast was dull as dishwater but I had little time. It was scrambled eggs with a handful of nuts and dried fruit. Blah. Does that help you see what I'm looking for in a meal?
  12. BoCa

    Mustard Seed Oil

    Well, in the ingredients it just says "mustard seed oil", so if it's to be believed, it's just that. I guess I trust this source. As far as one can trust these things in India... And yes, it's good! I highly recommend that if you have a good whole foods store near you, that you check out Indian pickles. Some are undoubtedly sweetened, but the ones I like best are not. Yum! Makes the chicken so much more interesting, especially if you also add onions that you've caramelized with simple slow cooking.
  13. BoCa

    Mustard Seed Oil

    In all of the online info I find, I cannot see mention of mustard seed oil. It's in a lovely ginger pickle I'd love to use. Until I hear it's okay, if I indeed hear that it is, I'll just look longingly at my ginger pickle. It isn't on the list of "you may". I fear that means "I may not"> I should explain that by "pickle" I mean pickle in the Indian sense. It's kind of a spiced rub, with an oil base making it spreadable. I have a wonderful organic source for a range of pickles that are lovely on chicken breasts and pork... But that pesky mustard oil. Not sure about it.
  14. Thanks for That, AmyS. I think you have really hit the nail on the head. I am indeed an American. However, I haven't lived in America for a very, very long time. I go back once a year and eat out of a health food store in my neighborhood. We've never gone to McDonalds (or anything like it) more than once in any given year since, oh, I guess 2002. Since 2002, we've lived in Bulgaria, Bangladesh, Frankfurt, Moscow, Geneva, and now India. We almost always eat "whole foods" and it would be weird not to. My reason for going onto the Whole 30 is because even though I make my own bread, I eat it with too much glee :-), and cheese, in Switzerland, is, well, air. It's just the air one breathes. It's excellent cheese, but too much of a good thing is still too much... So I'm really mostly in this to remove the breads, potatoes, cheese, dairy... The sugar has been no problem at all! Yes, I enjoy an apple gallette as much as the next person spending the day in Lyon, or a creamy hot chocolate at that incredible place in Paris (but it's made with melted chocolate and cream, not powder and boiled water!) when I'm there, which is not more than once or twice a year, so one can hardly think of my love of a hot chocolate twice a year as any kind of a "thing." So yes I eat sweats, but like that guy you spoke with, I think that my sugar consumption was actually pretty reasonable. I think that is precisely the issue. I do not have an American reaction to the word "flan". My issue? I just love food and eat too much of it! Also, I really, really love the rice/potato/pasta portion of the meal best. I am trying to change that this month.
  15. Also, to add, I don't even know what it means to cook Paleo, so I doubt I'm Paleo-ifying anything :-)