After a recent annual checkup I was once again borderline on the health charts for things such as Cholestrol, blood pressure, sugar and some other stuff like white and red blood cells which I don't pay attention to much because I don't know what the heck they are! Not that I know more about Cholestrol but at least it is more famous. One of these years I'm going to break the barriers and be screwed!
I recall in the past few visits over the years my Doctor (who is Egyptian so he knows about the polo issue :-) kept telling me that I could reduce my Nitroglycerine by eating less rice and bread. Now as an Iranian we're given chai in our milk bottles and as soon as we develop teeth we're fed Shomali rice followed by khoresht. So when the Doc advises less rice obviously I ignore it. I mean Chinese eat the most rice, more so than Iranians or even the entire Middle East combined, and they're pretty healthy. They seem fit most of the time and you'll be hard pressed to find an obese Chinese!
But sooner or later I have to face the reality and reduce the polo and bread intake. Bread is another issue, the dishes that don't have rice like Kotlet, Oloviyeh, KooKoo or Kashk-e bademjan, still need bread like Barbari bread to wash them down! Doc says less fried food too, so there goes Kotlet and Koo Koo! So I have to be realistic that as an Iranian I can't not eat polo. I can only reduce it for the sake of lower Nitroglycerine. Now the question is how to reduce it.
I was reading Organic jaan's blog on excercising (which I do seasonably and leisurely :-) -- my Doc has stressed so much and every year puts notes in my file that I don't do it regularly to make me feel bad -- and noticed Nazy jaan's comment that asked about ways to have more healthy Iranian food. So I thought to write this blog and share my view and seek alternatives.
I think Iranian food is really healthy to begin with and unless you soak it in fat and grease and Crisco it is made of healthy ingredients and can be cooked very healthy. The issue is not being healthy the issue is not eating polo and bread and reducing them.
So the way I'm solving the problem for myself is to eat other ethnic food like Mexican, Chinese or Italian. Mix and match chicken with vegetables or grilled chicken and green salads and/or wheat pasta hot or cold and tomato sauces. These combinations are endless and you can mix beets with seaweed and olives with walnuts and roots and leaves and so on and so forth.
Perhaps polo is good for 2 or 3 (or 3.5 :-) times a week? We can't give it up, we just have to reduce it. I like brown rice but the damn thing takes forever to cook unless you can eat hard rice which can crack your teeth! Are there even any brown basmati rice? I've not seen one so far. And is wheat bread, like wheat barbari bread that I can find, kosher and all-you-can-eat-ok? I actually like wheat bread, didn't like it before, but like it now and can totally substitute it with white bread but that seems to be only minor and the much lesser of the 2 "evils"!
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