Jared Ning


africa diet


last time i returned from africa, i had lost a significant amount of weight. i’m a couple of weeks and change into this trip, and i’ve already noticed significant weight loss. i have to figure out this african diet and take it home with me.

here we eat a lot of carbs and vegetables. the best part is that everything is fresh fresh fresh. forget organic. this is yank it out of the ground, toss it onto a wheelbarrow, go to town, and sell it. there are 2 main markets and countless individuals selling produce scattered all over the place. they’re like sonics in oklahoma: 2 on every corner.

there are no fast food chains. the closest thing you can get to fast food (and probably the most unhealthy) is chips. you can get them just about anywhere including restaurants and street vendors. despite how common they are, i just get the feeling they’re not as unealthy as the ones you can get from any american fast food burger chain.

last year i stayed at the hostel hoff where breakfast and dinner were included. this year, it’s just the 3 of us in the house and we have to fend for ourselves. most of the stuff i cook at home comes in a box with instructions on it and has most of the ingredients included — i just have to add some milk and meat. and i almost always have leftovers. we have a fridge here, but no practical way of heating up leftovers, not to mention no good way of storing leftovers. so as you can see, being the inexperienced cook that i am, there are few ways for me to get food. but i’m still pretty spoiled compared to some. for instance, i get lunch for free when i’m at amani. but this year i haven’t gone there as often as last year and have probably only eaten 3 times there. and miho is a miracle worker when it comes to scrounging around our kitchen and conjuring up some fantastic little snack. in the end, i just don’t eat as much here as i do at home.

we walk A LOT EVERYWHERE. while living downtown in oklahoma city, i walked about 40 minutes each day going back and forth to work. that’s pretty rare for oklahoma. here in moshi, if i walk somewhere, it’s at least an hour. and the walk isn’t as easy as it is in downtown okc. the terrain is often dilapidated pavement, and there are more hills as well. i’m usually pretty close to sweating, which for me is probably the equivalent to damp clothing for a normal person.

add all that together, and you get my africa diet. my diet at home is not quite as natural. not in the sense of natural ingredients, but more of an evolutionary sense. our technology has surpassed our natural evolution. our bodies have not evolved enough to compensate for automobiles. our bodies have been adapting slowly over the span of hundreds of thousands of years. but in the last 100 years, the train, automobile, airplane — any form of technological advancement in transportation — has changed our way of life. i doubt our bodies have caught up with that yet. in terms of food, us industrial folk have production down to a science. we get 3 squares a day without breaking a sweat. take a block of frozen food, toss it in a magical box, press a few buttons, 3 and half minutes and a stir later, voilà