A month ago, I moved to Canberra, Australia for 6 months. As you can imagine, it was a busy and somewhat stressful time. Packing, traveling, finding a living space. Surprisingly, everything worked out somehow. I almost feel settled in, almost like I know this town. But one thing that keeps me up on my toes is eating, or I should say finding the right things to eat.
Every time I go to a grocery store, I get lost. Everything I see is new. The brands? Unknown! The labels? Different! The products? Who knows! The only way around is to read and then give it a try. I haven’t done too bad so far, but it consumes so much energy and so much time. I am not a shopper; I like it quick, follow the list, in and out. But here, every shopping experience is like a black hole sucking me in, stealing my time. Sure, some things are simple, fruits and veggies never fail, but anything else is just pure pain. Don’t remember how many times I have been asked by store assistants if I was fine. I guess my puzzled look must have been very obvious.
Two weeks ago, I incorporated a new strategy. My flatmate, Alisha, is a vegetarian and an athlete too. So I have been watching her eating habits, watching the products she gets, and if I like them, I just get them too. I guess, I am slowly getting better, slowly adjusting. Last Friday, I set my new shopping PR and nobody asked me if I was fine.
Being aware of food choices takes time, even for someone like I who knows what is healthy and what the needs are. But if you are new to eating healthy, you will probably feel like I feel now, a stranger in a new country. Make no mistake though, with patience and time you will learn your way around. And if you are a shopping type, you might actually have fun.
By Dorota Porazinska
Photo By M. Rex