“Before I learned the art, a punch was just a punch, and a kick, just a kick. After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick, no longer a kick. Now that I understand the art, a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick.”
— Bruce Lee
Over the last couple of weeks, my fiancée and I enjoyed an actual holiday: our first real holiday/trip/pretend-I’m-Captain-Kirk-and-explore-a-new-world, in 3 years. This meant we did a lot of flying from Conakry, Guinea to Nairobi, Kenya, then to Djibouti, Djibouti, and then to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and then back home. We flew Ethiopian Airlines the whole time, largely because it is affordable, but it is also one of the only safe African operating airlines.
But this isn’t a post about the trip and the safaris where we were blessed to see real lions, elephants, zebras, wildebeests, and other antelopes and gazelles along with a few hippos and rhinos. This is not a post about survival and the eat-or-be-eaten world of the African plains. This post is about the food I got to eat on the plane. The amount I ate on the plane. Even better; it’s about the food I did not eat while flying, because the portions on an airplane are, by North American standards, small! They would, on any tray they served, only give a couple of ounces worth of food. You get one bun, one 1-ounce desert, and the choice between chicken, fish, or beef, each only being approximately 3 ounces, and in the same dish you have about an ounce of mashed potato or rice complemented with an ounce of cooked veggies. A separate tiny dish would contain about 2 ounces, at a guess, of a small salad.
If this was what was served to us at a 5-star hotel, we would likely flip our lids. But when you are 39,000 feet above sea level, in a cigar tube with wings accompanied by 300 other people, we tend to be less angry and appreciate that we are getting a meal (or two) and that they have the room to do so despite everyone trying to carry everything they own as a carry on.
I am into health, fitness, and nutrition. I read, podcast, YouTube University all the time on and about these subjects. There is a lot of science and studies on how to get the most out of your food sources for nutrients; how to, even when busy, maximize your time to build a strong fit body. At the end of the day, though, it’s just not that complicated!
While in Djibouti, we were staying with friends. One of them works for the American Embassy, which means they get some of those Embassy perks of having access to American television. So, while enjoying a glass of wine and enjoying their company, we had the news on in the background. It wasn’t that Fox News went on and on about Amazon buying Wholefoods and MSNBC going on and on about the healthcare bill (which was odd/ironic) that struck me. It was the commercials. Did you know there is now Jenny Craig for Men?! Or a new miracle procedure to help you lose those last pesky few pounds that you have spent years trying to get rid of, but keep failing? There is also a new cream to target your lower back pain. Everything advertised was not some cool new product that will help me fly to Mars, but to fix something wrong with us, which, honestly, if we just took care of ourselves, wouldn’t be wrong with us. It is hard to watch so many commercials about weight loss when you’re in Djibouti*.
People will object that eating less is easier said than done. They are right. To eat less, until your body becomes used to it, will feel awful! We talked about that in a previous post. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable for a while. But also, remember that we can live several weeks without food. Eating less and less often will NOT kill you. In fact, quite the opposite! At least, when it comes to the First World, eating less will save you.
*Djibouti is a tiny country, originally uninhabited with exception to some nomadic goat herders and considered part of the Axumite Kingdom (Ethiopia) before being deemed a strategic location for a port by the French, who occupied the small gulf beginning in the 1890s. Djibouti is on the Horn of Africa with the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden on its respective coasts, and with Ethiopia on its western border, Eritrea to its north, and Somalia on its southern border .