Saturday, July 26, 2008

Japanese attitudes to sugar

We're currently hosting a Japanese high-school student, Takuya Kozai, for three weeks. He and his classmates, who are staying with other host families in our city, frequently (though very politely, of course) comment on the large portions and the sweetness of Western food.

For example, we took Takuya out for Chinese food, and he found the Lemon Chicken much too sweet. He and his friend Yasuhiro also laughed incredulously when I served them THREE scoops of ice cream -- this struck them as totally excessive and sent them off on a discussion of the general largeness of North American life, including enormous shopping centres, cars, etc. (Our local shopping centre is actually quite small compared to those in Vancouver!) As well, Takuya has told me a couple of times that the packed lunches I send for him are too large. . . I'm slowly learning!

A couple of times during the visit I've eaten sugar by mistake (e.g., setting hospitable example and eating Japanese dumplings with (sugary) dipping sauce, eating at a restaurant) -- the resulting increase in sugar cravings and general appetite is surprising.

On the other hand, I've discovered a pitfall -- in times of stress, my appetite tends to diminish anyway, and this effect is even more pronounced now that I'm sugar-free. Last week I was so busy and tired that without realizing it, I didn't eat enough, and almost fainted at work (to the alarm the colleague with whom I was meeting at the time).

Perhaps due to aforesaid stress/busy-ness, weight is now 136.5 lb - inching closer to high-school weight of 128. Having said that, though, I feel very strongly that body composition is much more important than weight -- better to be heavier and leaner than thin and flabby, as I am now. But I can fix that!