Thursday, May 24, 2012

Weighty Concerns

Laughing Buddha carved out of a Cliff - Hangzhou

The weight was just falling off! That's how it felt when we first arrived in Nanjing,China for our three-year adventure as ex-patriates of the USA.  The excitement of a long-term move across the world, the emotion of leaving my cherished job of ten years, instantly retiring and leaving loved ones behind...well, all of it had us eating less and moving more. Initially arriving in the Jiangsu province we found it challenging to find 'acceptable' food for our western palates. So, we did LOSE weight, which is a desirable outcome at our age and
ever-slowing metabolism.

Soon we became accustomed to the Nanjing cuisine. With time I could tell the difference between a baozi and a jaozi and even dim sum. Condiment selection went from catsup, mustard, fresh ground black pepper and Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce to Zhenjiang vinegar and red pepper flakes. Our taste was slowly becoming more local.

In the USA this 'lily-white' turned her nose up at anything laying claim to the word "tofu."  Asian cooks often use tofu in their dishes, here it is much less expensive. With time my tofu 'vocabulary' has expanded. I'm still trying different forms of  tofu/bean curd in all sorts of protein packed ways with it's zero trans-fats.  There are many, many choices. Blocks, sheets, cubes, you name it, they've got it. Our neighborhood grocery store has a tofu selection that rivals a delicatessen's cheese counter back in the USA.  

With that said, (and I just can tell by your smirk that you know where THIS is headed) it is no surprise that the weight we initially LOST has been creeping back ON. Our weekends  revolve around food, drink and laughter and only the last one is non-caloric. 

Now with less than 6 weeks to go before we come home for a summer stretch we have a goal in sight of losing weight. It will take discipline and more physical activity, right?  Oh, and yes, oh wise ones, less caloric intake of fat and carbohydrates.  That is always the spoiler, isn't it?  We don't want to look this way, it just sorta happened.

Lo and behold, as we've traveled among the seemingly perpetually thin people of China we've been toting our EASY PEASY scope to discern their secret.

 It's not the tried and true putting LESS food in their mouths, let me make that clear right now. All these people do is snack ALL DANG DAY. There are aisles of snack foods hanging on pegs in the grocery store and residing in bins awaiting purchase. Most seem to be sodium soaked and deep fried too.They love savory snacks and jellied ones.

It didn't make any sense to me. But earlier this month I happened upon a lean in because I've figured it out.

I am here to share this magical- wonderment- super-deluxe discovery and an 'Ancient Chinese Secret' aka the BEST WEIGHT LOSS SOLUTION on the PLANET! 

You won't believe how SIMPLE it is!

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::Green Tea::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: 

Yep, Green Tea...

Here's the back story:
We traveled to Hangzhou (Hong-Jo) in the Zhenyang Province for a 48-hour tour with twenty-five other  "thrill seekers" in a small touring bus. This Nanjing International Club (NIC) sponsored tour was our first venture into group touring.  It was as simple as:

A) Pay the Fee
B) Provide your Passport
C) Pack your Bag
D) Get on the Bus
E) Follow the Red Flag
F) Be Respectful of Others and Adhere to the Scheduled Itinerary

The NIC expat group from UK, USA, Germany, Canada

Tour guide Jason sharing history, telling a story or singing a song

And so we did.
And it was a lot of fun and so stress-free that I'd highly recommend it.

In the past we've prided ourselves on the research and independence of what I like to refer to as "discovery tourism."  We would slurp up history and culture and come across awesome places on our own with the help of a Lonely Planet or Frommers travel guide. This works well without a language barrier or lack of personal transportation. We have Nanjing friends who prefer "discovery tourism" and I admire them. Their photos and adventures are unmatched.  <See Kim Kim's Far East Adventures blog below for her most recent trip.> 

But during this trip the Big Guy and I became flag-followers in China.

It was easy to follow the lady in the orange hat

Hangzhou is the tea capital in China so we visited a tea plantation while there. The surrounding terrain reminded me so much of the California wine country and photos of Tuscany.  Lush green undulating hillsides, sunshine and pretty blue skies.

A tea demonstration was on our itinerary and we were all savvy enough to know that we were going to get "the pitch" to purchase, but oh, well, what the heck.  The demonstrator showed us how to steep  :::::::Green Tea:::::::.   in our glass cups touting a plethora of benefits.  

One such benefit was the cure for tired and sore eyes.  She told us to place one eye over the steeping tea glass.

We all followed directions in a sort of "monkey see - monkey do" sort of way and placed one eye and then the other over the steaming brew. 

I laughed to myself as if on a game show. I imagined two prankster demonstrators hedging bets beforehand on the likelihood of getting their target audience to do this or that.  This time, in my mind the bet was ON for putting our eyes over the glass. 

And so we did.

What will it be the next time? Maybe get the next group to dip both elbows in the broth simultaneously to bring good fortune?   

Compliant believers and even non-believers followed suit as seen below.

Monkey See - Monkey Do
Of course the benefits didn't end there -  

Here are some of the words she spewed to get us caught in a swirling
 :::Green Tea::: Coma:

.....packed with antioxidants
 ........cure for sore eyes
.............a natural diuretic
................less caffeine than evil coffee
....................a bargain since each pinch of tea can be brewed up to 5 times
.......................their Emperor brand is ONLY sold in Hangzhou, never exported
 ..........................a significantly lower incidence of cancer
...............................amazing Heart Health

and then she threw down a Royal Flush (pun intended):


Well, at that point our eyes were clear, the room was steamy and she and her counterparts were pretty and thin. That's all it took for the Big Guy to give her the signal to hand-pack us a green tin full of it.  (Thank the good Lord there were NO time share properties offered by these petite beauties!  I wouldn't want to commit to 2 weeks a year at the "White Tiger Tundra Resort" of Inner OR Outer Mongolia, thank-you very much.)

No surprise, right? 

If you are Chinese, it is imperative that you ask me how much we PAID for our purchase. This legitimate question is always considered rude in the USA except among the closest of friends, but not so in China. However, I'm not going to divulge our "get me outta here" price just in case you want to travel to Hangzhou on your own, sometime.

After our weekend away we bought our very own personal double-walled glass tea containers and we've been drinking the :::Green Tea::: (not Kool-aid) ever since.

Chances are the weight will be falling off......soon.......very soon...yep, any day now...shouldn't be too much longer...and if not...well there will be more to Hug when we return home (USA) from the land of perpetually thin people (China) for that summer visit!

Thanks for Reading,


Some Photos from our Hangzhou Trip
Nanjing International Club - NIC - Hangzhou Trip - May 2012

Fire to light the Incense stick offerings in the Temples

Two Older People we Happened Upon

Pete and Angie- USA
Big Guy Striking the Bell 3 Times to make 3 Wishes

 Cooper, Jim, Natalie & Brady - USA
<see The Bond Family Adventure Blog below>

Professor Bruce and Doreen Wiltshire - UK
One of Several Buddahs

Buddies not Buddahs

Brigit- the NIC co-president  - Germany

Two Wise Guys

Resting near the Drum Tower in Hangzhou
Sisters Doris and Rita - Germany
More than just Brothers

Enough Photos!  Back-off Paparazzi!

1 comment:

Buff said...

Rest assured, while people were changing in China over the past year, those of us in the US were keeping pace. On my way to purchase some Emperor Green Tea!