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Expat wanderer

Condiments Make You Fat

Here is an article I read a couple days ago, and decided not to share with you because . . . I didn’t like what it said! It kept coming back to me, however. I still don’t like it, but I am sharing it with you because I know it is true.

I love condiments. AdventureMan and I are addicted to condiments, like Major Grey’s Mango Chutney, and Sharwood’s Bengal Hot Chutney, and sweet pickle relish, and A-1 sauce. And . . . yep, I bet I eat more because of the condiments.


The essence of this article from Real Age is that if you eat boring food, you will eat less.

Can Condiments Make You Fat?

Put down the ketchup. Set aside that pickled relish. And leave the sauces and salsas in the fridge.

New research suggests that by leaving your condiments in the cupboard, you could end up eating drastically less, overall.

Can the Condiments
In a small study of college students, dressing up fries with ketchup and brownies with a topping caused the nibblers to eat from 25 to 40 percent more of these waist-padding foods. But the theory behind the additional bites isn’t just that a few extras make food taste better. The extras actually increase the amount of time it takes for your palate to get tired of the taste of a particular food. So you end up eating more, regardless of whether you’re hungry or full. Eat this type of fat to stop hunger in its tracks.

Keep It Simple
In fact, a good strategy for curbing overeating is to minimize variety in meals. Focus on a few fresh flavors, not every side dish under the sun. YOU Docs Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen even recommend eating the same thing for lunch every day. And try these additional appetite-busting strategies:

Keep your mind on your food. Paying attention to your food — and only your food — will help you eat less of it.

Diversify your workout.

Overindulge in fiber. Try this root vegetable that’s especially high in appetite-controlling fiber.

Here is the original, interactive article from Real Age with other tips you can also click on. Whether we like the advice or not . . . LOL!

June 10, 2009 Posted by | Exercise, Food, Health Issues | 10 Comments

Baking Cookies for Palestine

When I was just starting out my own life, I had an idea what kind of life I wanted, but I had no clue how to get it. When AdventureMan and I met, we had the same vision, it was so cool, so unbelievable. We married, and this amazing life has unfolded.

Not everyone is born to move. You have to be good at change. Change can be daunting. Some people are better at staying in one place, sinking deep roots, developing lifetime relationships. Some people – like AdventureMan and me – have a need for stimulation, and we get it by changing locations. We feel so blessed.

It is always painful leaving the place we have been living, pulling up roots is just plain painful. The transplantation process takes time for the organism to adjust, for new roots to develop and take hold. Sometimes, the plant fails. In our case, we have had our failures to thrive, but for the most part, every move has helped us to learn and grow in new ways. We feel truly blessed; we have the lives we were born to lead.

Arriving back in Doha, I called my good friend. We have never lost touch, with e-mail and visits we have stayed in contact, and now I am calling her so she has my new number in Doha.

“You must come Tuesday morning!” she enthused, “We are baking cookies for Palestine!”

This wonderful woman was my teacher for reading and writing Arabic, and she did a great job. I read and write about as well as a five-year-old, but I can sound out words, and can write my name. Best of all, I adored this teacher, and when she called and asked me if there was something I could teach her daughters during the long hot Doha summer, I said “yes” and a new adventure began.

One of the things that happened is that I learned I never really knew what the day might bring. Getting to know her, her daughters, and her family better, I learned now ignorant I am of how totally differently others live their lives and see the world. I was learning all the time, and most of it was from the daughters. On one occasion, the daughters called me at 6 in the morning – they are never up at six! They asked if I would take them to the hospital to see their mother, and I sleepily said “Yes, of course,” and asked what time they wanted to go.

“Now!” they replied, joyfully, for this was a birth.

My sweet daughter-in-law was visiting, with our son, and so the two of us rushed over to pick up the girls, who came loaded with carafes loaded with coffee, boxes of finjan (tiny Arabic coffee cups) and sweets, loading up the car with goods and joyful laughter. When we got to the hospital, we had a quick visit with the Mom and then – the guests started arriving.

First – the room. Our friend was in a king sized bed, surrounded by lush curtains which could be pulled. She had a marble floor and a marble private bathroom with private shower, and a small dressing room. There was a visiting area with velvet covered seating for around 16 people, and mahogany paneling everywhere. This is the poshest maternity ward I have ever seen.

Many of the guests were stopping on their way to work. “When you visit someone in the hospital,” the girls informed me, “a thousand angels pray for you, for having made this visit.” These visits are de rigueur, an absolute must. We were there an hour, a constant stream of women came and went, staying around ten minutes, each receiving a small coffee. Then, the girls told us we could go, that they would stay to take care of serving the coffee and sweets.

The entire episode, we never had one clue as to what we were doing, or what was going to happen next. I learned just to go with whatever was happening, stay quiet, watch and learn. Sometimes, I ask questions, if there is a quiet moment.

So when my friend says come bake cookies, I go. I remember when she first baked her first cookie; she called me to come. She didn’t have a mother, growing up, and there were gaps – like how to bake cookies. We spent a morning learning how to make mamool, and it took me three days to get the smell of butter out of my hands. It was so much fun.

As I entered the workroom twenty pair of eyes looked up at me. Everyone was neatly dressed in aprons and headscarves, but my friend wasn’t there! I found my friend, we exchanged greetings, and she came to workroom to get me started. I had my own apron with me, and they provided me with a headscarf; we all looked a lot alike, little baker women. As a beginner, I got to put out the dough, later put the date paste on each piece of dough, later roll the dough around the date paste and put a hole in the top.

Most of the women, vastly more experienced than I, were using little tweezer tools to crimp the dough into the fabulous tiny ridges you can see in the photo. My friend explained that one of the women’s husbands had made the special tools for making the holes in the dough, and the table for them to use packing up the cookies and wrapping them, another had provided a portable oven for baking the cookies, another donated semolina (the flour) and another the dates.

Working once a week, making these beautiful cookies, (biscuits, if you are British trained) the women have built two wells in Palestine, and are currently building a bakery. They took their grief and outrage over Al Raza and turned it into the most amazing effort for good. They feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, they clothe the poor, they take care of families whose men are imprisoned.


“You must come back!” one woman says as I am heading out the door. “You are a good worker!”

I wouldn’t miss it for the world. 🙂

June 10, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Biography, Character, Community, Cooking, Cross Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Fund Raising, Hygiene, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Locard Exchange Principal, Qatar, Relationships, Women's Issues | 9 Comments

Sunrise In Doha, Green for Daggero

Daggero wrote on my Rav4 post about how GREEN Doha looked. It wasn’t Doha. I think the photo was taken in England, but the car looked just like my beloved little Rav4, so I used the photo.

But it got me thinking – my little spot in Doha IS green. And you have mentioned taking sunrise in Doha . . . my blind side of the house faces the sunrise, but this morning, I took some sunrise photos for you.

During the week, the sky in Doha is mostly white, I don’t know why. On Friday and Saturday, it was a brilliant blue. Sunrise, most days of the week, is a sort of non-event, like it’s hard to tell where the sun is!

But here are some photos of the sun through the trees in the early morning, and my little section of green in Doha.



There are some treats – the dual color bougainvillea I planted five years ago is growing lushly against the garden wall. The two lemon trees are taller and lusher. Some other new plants were given to my by my departing friend from her garden, and so my garden doesn’t have that sad, barren look. When the cooler weather comes, I will plant basil. 🙂


June 10, 2009 Posted by | Doha, Exercise, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Locard Exchange Principal, Photos, Qatar, sunrise series | | 7 Comments