I’ve just returned from Egypt and fell IN LOVE with the white cheese over there – even though I’ve been trying to avoid cheese for the last 15 years – due to lactose intolerance and trying to lose weight or at best “keep my figure”.
The funny thing is I still lost weight while I was over there – which made me wonder if the lack of processing the food in Egypt just makes the food all the more welcome to my body. I have never devoured that much cheese in my life and I also had a healthy does of wheat which has been the enemy in the USA for my body. Bread in the USA is particularly over processed and acts like glue in my belly. AND I’ve never understood how USA bread can last for weeks! I grew up in Australia – bread used to be green within 7 days over there – just think about it!
If bread ain’t decomposing outside your body – it can’t be good to put in your body.!
The most amazing experience in terms of my body image in Egypt – was how most women were covered up from neck to toe (except for the tourists who didn’t care for the local customs!)
After three days – I began to feel more cautious with my body – but paradoxically GRATEFUL that I didn’t have to expose myself and have my body judged by other eyes.
I started to notice that I felt different about the fat on my body. I felt different about the fat on my plate (oh I’m still dreaming about Egyptian white cheese and the hummus). Hummus isn’t an Egyptian dish – but they sure know how to make it – YUM!
I felt more naturally drawn to eat what felt good without caring about the fat content (also because the food was less processed and had REAL nutrition in it!)
The whole obsession with no carbs, no fat and no culture in food in the USA is really devastating to what it does to our pleasure with food.
Finally in a country like Egypt where having extra fat or flesh on your body is not a problem and where you can cover up your body and have less social pressure to be judged for what you are wearing…released a whole pressure that I wasn’t aware of!
In Morroco – if a man brings home a “fat” girlfriend – she is prized by the family – while a skinny girlfriend can be considered unattractive or sickly.
Maybe there is something in the arabic way of approaching the body to have less pressure on women for the flesh and their fat. There are a lot of things a woman can’t express openly in public in some arabic cultures. Not once did I feel comfortable to dance in public (even though they had great belly dance and oriental music). The ladies are free to do what they like at home – but not in the public eye.
So if I had to choose USA or Cairo – I’d have to stay in USA since I love to dance in public!
However the freedom to allow my body to feel beautiful regardless of how much fat I put in or carry around was a huge vacation from the constant monitoring I do over here.
I recommend a holiday in Cairo – to see the greatness of the pyramids and ancient egypt, coptic christian and muslim history AND to take a break from feeling exposed to the body image pressures of a western world.