Ever since I found out back in December that I’d be going to India, I have looked at it as my opportunity to lose some weight. Four weeks in a country that is known for “Delhi Belly” for Westerners like myself; what could go wrong? I’m the biggest fan of bland food that you’ll ever meet. My favorite snack? Popcorn. It too often becomes a meal because you end up popping a big batch, then don’t want it to go to waste. I also love potatoes. No meal is complete in my life without meat and potatoes. Any beef has to be well done and preferably unseasoned. I am so plain, I don’t even like salt on my food. Ever had to wait 10 minutes for fries at McDonald’s so someone can have them salt-free? Now you know the pain my mom and my husband have suffered.
So really, was it a stretch to think that between the too-spicy food that I probably wouldn’t touch and the tendency for Westerners to have stomach issues in India, I might shed some pounds quickly? I brought 36 Clif bars with me to use as meal replacements. My husband was worried enough about my pending starvation (plus he is just awesome), he bought me huge bags of Skittles, Almond M&M’s, Dark Chocolate M&M’s, and Chewy Sprees. I was so ready for starvation and a little – or a lot of – sugar. What is that saying, something like, “we plan, God laughs?”
I love love love the food here. The team went for French food last night; I went down to the hotel restaurant for some murgh makhani. My biggest decision most days is whether to go with murgh (chicken) or paneer (they consider it cottage cheese, yet it is so much more delicious than American cottage cheese). Some of what we eat the others will comment on how spicy it is, but for whatever reason, Indian spices don’t bother me at all. I’m definitely a bigger fan of the Northern India cuisine than the Southern, though even a good thali works for me. The tomato sauces are amazing. The naan is the best I’ve ever had. And no one ever mentioned to me that Indians love ice cream. How could they have left that out when giving me advice for my trip? Have they met me?!?! Ice cream is pretty close to popcorn on my favorite food lists, and they make some vanilla bean in-house at one of my favorite restaurants here that is scrumptious.
To further ruin my diet plan, my stomach is just fine. No Delhi Belly here. Several of us joked before the trip how we were going to return home thin. Only 3 of the 11 have been intensely sick so far. 2-3 others have had a one-day bug. This plain food queen has been fine. Maybe it is because we are very careful about what we eat, but whatever it is, the second half of weight loss strategy 2016 is as unsuccessful as the first. Looks like I am going to be taking a lot of Clif bars back home with me. As for the sweets, well…
Check out the meal we had on banana leaves. No plates, no place mats, just food directly on the banana leaf. You sprinkle water on it and use your hands to rub the leaf clean, then pour the water on the tabletop. Very eco friendly.