I've been living in India for a few months now and eating Paleo is a challenge, to say the least. Chicken, mutton and fish are my only protein options, so I've included dairy out of desperation. The rural village I live in has cows so the paneer, curd, yogurt and milk are all "organic", which is awesome and I don't seem to have an issue with dairy. The fruit & vegetables are fresh, picked daily from the fields and in abundance, which is another bonus.
Anyway, I've just accepted a 1 year position here as the Fitness Director for a tennis academy. I'm on the Food Committee and I'm totally gobsmacked at what qualifies as healthy here. So much so that I don't even know where to start. Heavy oils such as "pomace olive oil" (must be good for you! It's olive oil! :S) & canola oil are used to cook everything. Thick, creamy, oily sauces filled with spices and deep fried foods are present at every meal. The kids live on grains and legumes. More than half the academy are vegetarians. They add sugar and/or salt and/or both to EVERYTHING, I'm just feeling so overwhelmed on where and how to start educating the kids, teachers and coaches on what they can do differently. I've tried to add more protein to their diets and what they've come up with is "chili nutri", basically processed soy chunks; battered, deep fried fish (it's healthy because it's fish!), chicken or veg (soy) "sausages" or cutlets (processed); peanuts (legume but the best of the options I have) and so on. I could seriously cry.
Sorry this is so long. What I need from you: Any suggestions on where to start? What are the best resources that will help me communicate the basics in a simple manner, as the kids are mostly ages 9-19 and they LOVE their rotis/dals (wheat and legumes). I plan to do a presentation to the kids using slides, playing videos, whatever I can do, to communicate the importance of their food choices.
I know I'm fighting an uphill battle but I just want to have a positive impact on their health, as much as I can because a) they're kids so they probably won't listen to me and b) even if a few listen, it will be worth it. I'm going to try to appeal to them on whatever level I can - vanity, health, athleticism, etc. Any suggestions you have would be so appreciated. We had a meeting today and I negotiated down from Cocopuffs to muesli. :S Help.