I'm going to Kenya for a one month volunteer program, and in most of the pictures I've seen, the volunteers eat a lot of the traditional foods. I cannot decipher exactly what they are eating, but I'm hopeful that it won't be hard to adapt to Primal. Does anyone have any information as to what they typically eat down there, and if I'll run into any road blocks?
I honestly had the thought cross my mind to say I'm deathly allergic to grains... Which wouldn't be so far off, perhaps. Ha.
Thank you :)
I lived in Nairobi for 3 years, and I cannot say the food is memorable - Paleo or not.
It will be hard to avoid corn and beans. Githeri - a maize bean mix - is big. Ugali, from maize flour, is another staple food.
The nyama choma, their BBQ, is quite tasty. Rear or medium is never really an option. Everything is well done whether you want it or not.
Sukumawiki, fried kale, tomatoes and onion, is rather good. I did not mind matoke, which is made from steamed plantain.
The regional cuisine varies quite a lot. Along the coast the food is pretty good, but I guess you will go upcountry.
You can easily get pumpkin, sweet potato and arrow root.
A lot of people have their own herb garden and if they have space, they will grow bananas, maize etc. I had banana trees, avocado trees, a mulberry tree and lots of herbs. Miss it!
Avoiding wheat is possible. You just skip the chapati and the tasteless loaf bread. You will have to give the mandazi a miss too - I admit I loved that stuff - flour, egg, butter, milk and a dash of sugar mixed together, then deep fried! Lovely with Kenyan tea.
Seed oils will be hard to avoid, but you can get palm oil.
Eggs can be a nightmare - I tried to eat boiled egg for breakfast, but about a third of those I bought had to be ditched because of rotten and/or toxic smell or taste. Sometimes the boiled yolk and white had the same white colour. Yes, the yolk was completely white. I do not know what they fed the chicken, but it was bad news.
Fasting is not a good idea. People will not take you seriously if you are skinny : ) I was told all the time that I had to eat more to get an ass. I only got a fraction of the marriage proposals of most other Western women.
Anyway, don't stress with the food. It is not a bad place and people know how to have a good time.
Eat, go dancing and enjoy yourself!
Unless you do have serious food complaints I'd take the opportunity to properly experience the local food and culture. Most traditional diets hold together pretty well and are survivable for a month. Obviously take what opportunities you can to lean towards eating more of one thing than another but for me, being healthy means being able to cope without Trader Joe around the corner.
I spent two months in Uganda as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, mostly eating the foods of the culture with the villagers I was staying with (Ugandan food is very similar to their neighboring country of Kenya). Since we were guests they fed us a lot of their festival and special foods so we were given a lot of meats with sauces to eat over rice ( (mostly goat, but some beef and chicken). We also had tons of fresh fruit, avocados, beans and cassava. Sometimes they served Western foods like bread, but not very often. Plantains were very common, especially with ground nut sauce over the top (national food of Uganda). I loved eating the cultural foods and would not have given that up for the world! It was very easy to eat a Weston A. Price inspired diet and wouldn't have been too hard to stay 90% Paleo without missing too much. It might have been hard to stay gluten-free because most of the meats were cooked with sauces and I suspect some of these had gluten in them (many were not thickened though). I am low carb and low oxalate, which was a little harder to do also. I went ahead and let myself eat more carb and oxalate than usual without going too crazy and listening to my body as much as possible. I did a pretty good job, especially since most Ugandan foods haven't been tested for oxalate!
The only thing I did to prepare for my trip was to take about 20 foil packs of albacore tuna with me and about 5 zip-lock bags full of home-made beef and venison jerky. I am low carb because I used to have severe reactive hypoglycemia and I took my "travel meat supply" with me to make sure I would have at least one high protein meat source every day. It worked out well, and because they ended up serving so much meat, I got to share my jerky with my Ugandan hosts and they thought it was hilarious that I was eating dried up pieces of cow (they'd never heard of jerky). It also gave me a high social standing in the group because serving meat (especially cow) to a friend/guest is considered very special. I did eat all my foil packs of tuna myself though because when I was not at the village and was doing a little extra traveling in Uganda it was MUCH harder to eat healthy. Every backpackers hostel and cafe in the country served western food with only a little bit of traditional food as a special.
Hope you have a great time! I hope to go back to Africa soon. It was a life-changing experience for me that I will never forget.
Edit: I want to add that I had no problems taking my "travel meat" through customs in Uganda, but customs were very relaxed there compared to the US. You might not be able to get homemade jerky through, but the tuna in foil packs shouldn't be a problem and probably wouldn't even need to be disclosed.
I think this will heavily depend on where you are in Kenya, distribution is not as regular there, so it can be highly regional. Ask around and explore the local culture for sure, and if you can tolerate non-paleo foods at all, just eat as much like a local as possible at first as you will be relying on these folks for your information and you need to build some bonds. If you are near the coast there are some good fish dishes, and nuts are grown in Kenya (especially macadamia). A lot of Swahili food is like Indian...so rice or roti and some spiced dishes. I wouldn't think it would be that bad.
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