Sunday, August 01, 2004

Eating well

Fritzi
Fritzi, originally uploaded by Miloflamingo.
I've come to the sad conclusion that crunchy Cheetos are bad for my arthritis. Having fallen off of at least 30 horses during my unlustrious riding career, I have all sorts of misalignments, cracks, crinks, and other assorted inauspicious joint ailments, with the worst being my left knee which is minus its miniscus. (Surgery done here for a 10th of the price of Canada or the US and a very good job too) If I spend too much time sitting down, as was the case through the four years of seemingly endless meetings and negotiations after my husband's death, I have trouble walking evenly for the first few minutes. That's a great excuse to go out and "exercise" it in the saddle! But to go back to the Cheetos, these wonderful cheesy, crunchy empty junk food morsels are my only true 1`junk food vice, and luckily, they are relatively hard to come by here. Today was payday and I went shopping for groceries, found some Cheetos, and decided to treat myself. My hands don't feel so great and I think that maybe I will cut the Cheetos off the treat list. Besides, mangos are in season and they are much nicer, as well as being better for me.

Most of my food money goes on my menagerie. The dogs get a diet of some kibble for the vitamins and protein in it, along with a cooked stew of pureed (before cooking) zucchini, carrots, some garlic and some ground meat, into which the whole wheat baladi bread is put to soak. This is a traditional canine diet here, since it's only very recently that dry dog food or cat food has even been available. And for the most part, it is still very expensive. As my oldest dog, Stella, a 15+ yr old baladi dog is in brilliant health, it must be a pretty good diet.

The parrots actually get the most variety in their diet, but then I have two species, one Old World..the African Greys..and one New World..the Cuban Amazons, Both are very flexible in their eating habits, but I notice that they don't all have the same tastes. Mona (a Grey) really likes a circle of banana first thing in the morning, while her mate Fritzi probably just wants a good cup of coffee because he mostly tries to bite me. The general diet for these feathered ones involves a dish of cut fresh fruit and vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, grapes, pomegranate, apple, banana, guava, melon, hot peppers, soaked corn or chickpeas, orange...and other fruits in season that I might pick up. They also get a bread that I make up once a week that consists of ground broccoli, beets, carrots, whole eggs with the shell, hot peppers, corn meal, soaked black-eyed peas, green peas, whole wheat, sorghum, and chick peas. Amazing how much birds can eat, and the chickens who get the leftovers lay the most delicious eggs.

The tortoises mostly wander around the yard eating the grass and young flowers. They've been with us for over 15 years, and when one gardener complained that they were eating all the nasturtiums he was just told that he could plant more then. I had him place boxes around plants that he really didn't want eaten rather than putting the tortoises in a box, which was his idea. After all, plants don't need to move around. He wasn't a very happy gardener in a house where the animals had more rights than the plants.

The equids (I have both horses and donkeys) started their lives in a fairly normal Egyptian fashion, living in boxes and eating a diet very heavy in grain, specifically barley. It took me years to be able to arrange for them to live out of doors and eat a lot of rice hay instead, and many people think that I'm totally nuts. But they are much happier out side and are generally found under the sprinklers on hot days. Oddly enough, the changed diet is much cheaper than the original.

While the feeding of the animal side of the family is more costly, good nutrition for humans also comes of it. After all, if you fill your refrigerator with fruits and vegetables for parrots and dogs, there isn't much room for other less healthy things. And chopping fruits and vegetables first thing in the morning (hungry parrots can make quite a racket!) is a good chance to nibble through a good breakfast.

So thank you birds, and Fritzi, let go of my finger!

10 comments:

South Yarra Steve said...

Hi Living in Egypt - I just wanted to let you know that I love your blog - it is very interesting and inspiring and the entire managery of reasons why I have put it with my favourites. I am constantly amazing with this whole concept and it, in ways has filled one of my dreams... to become a published author! Have a nice day and keep up the good work. Cheers South Yarra Steve

Skadi said...

Mmmm that sounds like a yummy household *G* And the logic is right you know. By spending so much on healthy food, you're certainly going to eat it yourself. I have arthritis in my left knee as I dislocated it multiple times and have damaged the tendons and ligaments. I know exactly what you mean when you start walking again after a long period of sitting down. My knee cracks and often gives way under me sometimes (very embarrassing in public because people think I've been drinking - I'm almost 30 :-D)

Look forward to the next enty

rowena said...

Nice post to see in the morning....yes, I also have a weakness for crunch Cheetos, but not able to get it here (sigh). A relief to my husband however...

Victoria said...

your site is beautiful. i recently started my own as well, feel free to explore- http://behindyourbeliefs.blogspot.com

Eyes said...

How lovely to hear that you give your dog and birds natural foods. I live in America, and people are flat out stunned that I cook for my dogs. I cook about twice a week.

Americans have a hard time understanding that canned or dried dog food is sub-par, unacceptable human food that has rotted or has other health issues. They seem to think that all dog food is like gold "moon food" from another planet that they can't possibly replicate in fresh form. Hello!

Your life sounds so interesting! Thanks for your posts...

Chandra said...

I'd go for Mangos over Cheetohs any day. Sadly Mangos are harder to come by than cheetohs where I'm at.

Hindu said...

We have heard all of our lives that ‘you are what you eat.’ In my early twenties I was diagnosed with arthritis in my feet and hands. At that point it was easy enough to ignore the diagnosis, but the older I grew the worst my situation became. By my late twenties I was on my way to self destruction if I didn’t change my diet. At that time I was a bike messenger in a major American city and lived off of breakfast burrito and coffee from the local corner vendor. Although the exercise was great for my condition, my diet seemed to be out weighing the good and making it more and more difficult to get on my bike. I soon came to my senses I biked up to the library to research naturopathic solutions to my challenge. After many months and dozens of books that came to the same conclusion I decided the only way to make a difference was to change my diet. My first step was a nutritional fast and after that began my life long diet to better well being. Though change in diet and yoga I have over come many obstacles that western doctors never thought I would. I wish you luck on your journey and hope that you realize those veggies in the frig are not just for Mona and the others.

Lylou

venus said...

think i need to change my diet...your animals eat healthier than i do!

Samanta Lanerd said...

Hi, Today I have spent a whole hour reading your blog. Wow, you can write! I will be back for more. I would love to travel to Egypt, but I am worried about germs. I have been living in Panama for a year, and when I came back I was sick. I went to many doctors, then I found a website http://www.mycleansingprogram.com/colon-cleanse.html and did a serious colon cleansing for 4 month. Now I hope I got rid of germs. Since this experience, I am afraid to go to the third world countries. So, what do you think? If I travel to Egypt, how can I keep away from germs? Thank you again for writing so great! Sam

Maryanne Stroud Gabbani said...

Samanta, you have every bit as much chance of staying healthy in Egypt as just about anywhere else. The fact is, germs are everywhere. I usually get sick when I go to the US.