Tag Archives: food

Breakfast with the mamabird

1 Dec


Coffee and egg with my mom.

malaysia food

24 Jul

no more mangosteens or rambutan left in malaysia. they are all in my belly.

i didn’t look up much about malaysia before i came here, to visit my mom’s cousin. but it’s a Muslim country. the last time i was in a muslim country was last year when a few friends and I went to Morocco after exams. I really enjoyed being in not just a culture but a whole country that was centered around a different religion. It’s one of those experiences that makes you realize the things you take as a given in your life – like living in countries that are primarily Christian. It’s refreshing to be somewhere with a strong religious culture that’s different. I’ve also wondered what it’d be like to be in a Muslim country during Ramadan. Well it’s Ramadan but things seem to be about the same as usual, according to my family here. Maybe some shops a little quieter during the day. Tonight we’re going to a Ramadan buffet. I’m thinking it’ll be the same as what i’m used to but different. People are just people I bet, and like their buffets big and nice.

My first night in KL, my family took me on a drive around the city. In a matter of 10-15 minutes, we had visited 2 buddhist temples, 1 hindu temple, passed by a few mosques and a church. My aunt said that there haven’t been any wars fought over religion here. I thought how it’d be cool to grow up here, perhaps then you’d have a wider world-view. But through conversations with a few of my family members, I can see how it can also have the opposite effect, when people stereotype more and stay even more within their own ethnic communities.

Noni for Lupus

21 Dec

I just caught up with Ktown over dinner, movie, and after-movie tea.  She’s studying grad school in Environmental Science and gave me some great insights into my possible year off from school; people to contact and ideas bounced (note to self: don’t assume first nations communities just need more research and surveying — perhaps they need something less academic, more tangible.  consider your own assumptions).

One cool thing was talking to her about her mom, who has lupus but has been in remission for years.  I was asking Ktown about what kinds of symptoms her mom has had (Ktown recalls hearing about pericarditis), what medication she would take (prednisone and methotrexate), etc.  I’ve met her mom and it’s amazing that she’s ever had a chronic condition; she seems perfectly healthy, even above-average active for her age.

Ktown and her mom both swear by Noni Juice as the reason she’s been so healthy.  At first I was skeptical, but then again…

Frond:  noni juice?
her mom called in to order more and the customer service person had the same story, lupus ‘cured’ by noni juice.
“Medical professionals studying Noni juice have discovered that it works on a cellular level to support healthy living” – Ktown says that to me: “it works on a CELLULAR level!”
but everything does, i think.
but food is food, and much isn’t known i suppose
it’d be easy for me to scoff, but i don’t think i should
Frond:  if it’s working it’s working. or at least she’s in remission
me:  it’s not that it cures everything for everyone, but if someone’s finding it’s working..
some people pray, some people drink noni, and some people just have more and more meds
Frond:  seems worth being understood if it’s having such a real effect and it sounds like it’s being studied
me:  the more i read the more i want to try it!

Rickets in sunny places

14 Nov

© 2011 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about seeing kids here with Rickets, and wondered why they’d have this condition that’s classically linked to low vitamin D, which is a vitamin produced by exposure to sunlight.

Well I wrote my Nutrition final this morning, and we covered it a little more.  So-called African Rickets is common in developing countries, despite the sunniness.  Bone health is a complicated thing that’s not just Vitamin D.  It could be a lack of calcium in the diet, which would increase the release of calcium from bones, weakening them over time.  This makes sense since calcium’s involved in a lot of really important functions, some which are more important than bone strength (e.g. nerve and heart function).  So the bones go in order for more important things to continue to function.

Cow’s milk isn’t too expensive at supermarkets here (at least, not the strange long-shelf-life kind that is imported from Europe and will likely be on this island longer than I am), but the fact that cow’s milk has to be imported from Europe suggests how important it is in the Caribbean diet.

Another thing could be fruits and vegetables.  Surprisingly, they also impact bone health.  Fruits and veggies have a lot of potassium which helps to decrease the acidity of your body.  Without the fruits and veggies, the acidity goes up and bones will tend to “de-mineralize” (i.e. dissolve).  Not sure why there’d be a lack of fruits and veggies in the Caribbean diet.  Maybe it’s just individual kids personal preferences not to eat them, or maybe it’s a greater emphasis on starchy foods when kids are weaning off breast milk.

And that’s that!

Kids in the garbage

11 Nov

Leaving Frond’s place just after midnight a few nights ago, I saw a boy carefully and slowly untying plastic bags in the trash bin.  There was an older boy, early teens maybe, doing the same in the bins for the apartment building across the street.

What is going on?

Middle income

7 Nov

Middle income households back home live pretty comfortably.

Grenada is a middle-income country.  Meaning it doesn’t quite qualify for a lot of international aid programs, in some ways is doing quite well, but still has pretty dire poverty in many places.

The other night I slipped out of Frond’s place to head to the gym, hopping out quickly to try to keep mosquitos from coming in.  I saw the silhouette of two little boys, maybe 10 or 12, drinking cartons and rummaging through the trash bins outside Frond’s apartment.  Not wanting to embarrass them, or maybe embarrassed myself, I started walking towards school as if I hadn’t just seen two kids looking for food in my trash bin.

I had seen them before, one time during the day.  It was a few weeks ago and I was backing out of the parking lot.  I noticed them lingering around the garbage cans and I wondered what they were up to.  Something shady, I thought.  One boy, the taller one, was acting kind of like a look out and the other littler one was fiddling with his backpack behind the fence that the garbage bins sit next to.  I thought maybe they were drug lookouts or maybe they were child thieves.  They had backpacks and clothes without holes and shoes.  They looked like regular kids, except a little shifty eyed.  I’m not sure what it says about me that my first suspicions were that these young boys were part of a drug ring rather than that they were hungry and waiting for a chance to look for food.

I remember going through primary and high school continually hearing how lucky we were to be living in Canada.  I thought maybe they meant no war, clean water, no dirt roads.  I heard it so many times that it became kind of a cliche.  But Grenada is a middle income country.  On a scale of all the countries of the world, Grenada is average.  If you just arrived to the planet and asked to see how an average country lives, Grenada could be an example.

I still don’t really comprehend fully how lucky I am to have grown up where I did, but I think it’s a step to realize that you don’t really know.  It’s like realizing you don’t really know what the rest of the world is like, even what most of the world is like.  I’ve been raised in a bubble and it’s almost ridiculous how safe and easy it is there.


Made in Grenada: Carib

29 Oct

Tagline: “Drink What You Like”.  I think around Carnival time it was “Drink Who You Are”, which kind of inadvertently highlighted the whole beer/urine comparison.  Smart move Carib, smart move.

Carib: Made in Grenada. Just down the road in fact! Down the highway about 5 minutes drive from school.

Feel: Cool, smooth, bottle-y.  Nice on a hot day, which is every day.

Find it: Anywhere.  Tis ubiquitous.

Price: Not sure the individual price but 3 for 10 is the usual deal.  Do these even come individually?  Either way, it is typically your cheapest drink you’ll find.

A familiar sight: The famous 3 for 10EC Caribs. 15 if you are MJ's.

Taste: Coming from Canada, I don’t have high expectations for the national mass-produced beers.  But Carib is surprisingly good!  I’m not a regular beer drinker, but when I do… I choose Carib.

Insider Tip:Mispronouncing it may tend for you to be waiting longer for the drink as your server tries to get what you are saying to them. It is “Care-ib”, not “Cariiieeb” which sounds even more shrill when you’re yelling it across a bar. And by you I mean me. (Still fun to say though. Cariiiiiieb!)

Sexy veggies

28 Oct

With the end of Micro is the start of Medical Nutrition.  In honour of that, and also of upcoming Hallowe’en (with all those “sexy costumes”), here’s to the 10 Naughtiest Vegetables on Earth!

I showed Frond this and he was not as amused as I thought he’d be.  I still chuckled (sophistication has never been my most defining trait).  Tomato has a penis!

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