Chao Ban (hello) friends!
I am officially impressed with the Vietnamese cuisine. Gone are the days of curries simmered to a soupy paste and here lies the fresh salad rolls and decadent bahn mi (sandwiches). Thanks to the French occupation of Vietnam in the late 1800s, the Vietnamese have adapted baguettes and french breads to create mouth-watering savoury sandwich creations. Don’t get me wrong – the Thai curries, Balinese gorengs, and Cambodian amoks were bowls of steaming deliciousness; but the cilantro, mint and other fresh herbs the Vietnamese use to garnish their dishes – yuuummmmmmmmy. And BONUS – they are high on my ph360 profile list.
It has been difficult to navigate my way around the Vietnamese staple of rice. You’ve got steamed rice, fried rice, rice paper, rice wine, puffed rice, rice flour, the options are endless. No matter how many times you crash up against the language barrier when you say “No rice”, it accompanies each dish you order. This grain is low, low, low on my ph360 list. So how do I find my around this?
Well, I surrender. I’m not going to live in fear of this ubiquitous grain. Up until a few days ago I was stressing myself out trying to avoid it at all costs. It got me thinking: the stress I was putting myself under was probably worse for my health than just eating the rice in the first place. So I decided that I would avoid rice where I could, but wouldn’t stress if it was in the dish I was delivered.
Life is for living, not for fearing. I was here on this trip, integrating ph360 into my life as much as possible. Implementing food, fitness, social, place, talent and mind suggestions each day. I know that my body will hold weight if it senses any type of stress. So if I am stressing out about what I am eating, I am going to sabotage my own weight loss efforts. I need to focus on the fact that I have a tool that gives me the ability to make informed choices. And when I order food in restaurants, I will make informed choices based on the options available. I will always do the best I can with what I’ve got. This is how I will love myself and my health, and release my food fears while in Vietnam. This actually feels like a huge mindshift for me as I release old eating habits and patterns and build empowering new ones based on love and positivity.
Plus, there are some yummy foods high on my list, too! I first discovered “morning glory” when I was in Thailand. It is like a vine-like type of spinach which grows in the mountainous regions and sautéed up with garlic and chillies. I love sautéed spinach and it is high on my list, so this quickly became a delicious go-to for me. Here it is an a trendy sidewalk cafe where we met up with a friend who is teaching English in Ho Chi Mihn. This is quite the hot spot apparently with recycled pallet tables and chairs and old tarps for a roof. And yes, I indulged in the occasional beer as well 🙂
The fruit was also a highlight for me in Vietnam. I fell in love with jackfruit which tastes just like bubblegum to me. The dragonfruit, apple pears, tiny bananas, and the clementines – OH the clementines! They were abundant and super high on my ph360 list so I am so happy to have access to them so juicy and fresh.
I figure that as long as I am crowding my diet with high items on my ph360 food list, keeping up with my exercise, spending time with my travelling buddy, and being mindful of my environment needs, I can give myself permission to indulge a little bit here and there and not feel guilty about it because the guilt is probably worse for me than the indulgence.
And I feel FREE!