Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful Thanksgiving, and More Island Foods

*Note: I appologize for the layout issues! I am getting quite tired of blogger's frustrating layouts, and may move to another site in the future...*

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

"Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts." ~Alan Cohen

We had a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving - two dinners and a Pie Night! Oi, so much food!!! So I thought I'd share some more of the wonderful (and sometimes odd) foods we saw while on island.

While the holiday was rife with heavy foods, we did take a few steps to try to remain natural. So, Dave was excited to buy some local lemons so we could enjoy our enzyme-rich morning glass of lemon water! ...but, of course, he was also excited to find Starbucks coffee for half the price they are here. (Since there are no Starbuck shops on island, they are not some big name brand, and they have to keep prices pretty normal there! It was about $2 for the 4 pack you see my dearest hubby putting in our mini fridge.) Ah well, at least he also has the lemon water in hand :)

The first odd thing... we saw these plants, and I thought they were quite peculiar looking! It wasn't until later that we learned these are Betle Nut trees! (Though, the spelling differed depeneding where we were...)

Apparently, betle nuts are a traditional "food" item among some of the locals. According to Wikipedia, "Usually for chewing, a few slices of the nut are wrapped in a Betel leaf along with lime and may include clove, cardamom, catechu (kattha), etc. for extra flavoring. Betel leaf has a fresh, peppery taste, but it can be bitter depending on the variety" This is then chewed, and gives a mild stimulating effect, similar to that of drinking a cup of coffee. And in the Philippines, chewing these is believed to help strengthen the teeth and gums

Here's Wiki's picture of prepared Betel Nuts
While I like the idea of trying new things, and experiencing culture... this was not a tradition in which I felt like partaking. The health downside: a quick PubMed search shows this habit may be linked to reproductive issues including low birthrates and premature deliveries, and possibly heart disease. And then there is the cosmetic downside: as you chew, your mouth becomes stained with the red juices! We were told you can tell who chews, because their teeth will be red. And, many people will spit their reddened saliva onto the ground. Yum, right?

So we saw these signs everywhere:

We avoided betel nuts, but I did love their bakeries!! Fresh, local bread with such a short ingredient list!

I had to wonder how true that list was, though. That bread was too soft and delicious! I couldn't help but be skeptical!
So, those were some of the foods we found. Then there were foods we were served. We spent one day with the staff of a nutrition clinic enjoying a wonderful thanksgiving meal, with all the traditional foods like stuffing, turkey, corn, etc. And there were a few other additions! Some salsa-like relishes and shrimp chowder.

And the next day, we got a second Thanksgiving meal with another friend who had moved from the mainlands to the island for a few years. So much food! After dinner with her family, we went to Pie Night - everyone brought their leftover pies to share! Share the calories, right?!

So, admittedly, it was not the most natural or healthy of holidays for me this time around, but it was full of love and friendship, even half a world away from our families.

Enjoying a fruit drink and fresh fruit on the beach for breakfast! What a way to start a day!
I hope you all had a wonderful, fun-filled holiday! And maybe got to take a walk somewhere in there, or had a smoothie or salad... or at least let yourself be filled with joy!

Hugs to you all :)


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