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Old 11-29-2013, 02:39 AM   #1
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Low carbing in Iraq?

So... anyone in Iraq, and anyone trying low carb here?

For the time being, that's where I am, and I'd like to go back to more of a low carb plan for health reasons, but I'm not sure if it's feasible given the high cost of meat. I'm not even sure it's ethical given the fact that so many people can't afford meat at all.

Given the social expectations for eating rice and bread, and the general view where I am that bigger is better for women, I don't think it's possible to be fully low carb without seriously offending people, but I think it is possible to limit that to occasions and to in general cut out rice/bread/sugars.

Anyway, anyone in this boat?
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Old 11-29-2013, 09:00 AM   #2
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Just wanted to say hello and I hope you are safe this holiday season!
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Old 11-29-2013, 10:54 AM   #3
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Wow, Avicenna, that's a tough spot to be in! Because we don't have to worry so much about culturally offending people with our food choices in the US, and most people have access to enough food (not all, I know), I think we probably just take things for granted. It's thoughtful of you to recognize the less fortunate among whom you live, and to desire to be sensitive to their situation. That said, what about eggs? Are they available and inexpensive there? They may get old quickly, but they can be used in so many different ways. Hopefully somebody else will jump in here with other ideas.
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Old 11-30-2013, 09:14 AM   #4
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ethical? Hmm. I would eat meat if others were not. That wouldn't be a point for me. What I can afford is what I would eat. I have neighbors that can't afford what I do but in the end, we all do what we do in life. I shop my way for us. nothing will change that.

Are you Iraqi or just living there? I would not worry about offending anyone on how you eat. the world is global. You are WHO YOU are. I would not put that on the back burner at all. You are you. They are them.

I would do my thing in this life NO MATTER where I was living. If someone offered only rice and bread as a meal to me I would not say---no I don't eat that---I would find a nice excuse as ---I am allergic and it could hurt me. That way you give the person offering a legit excuse that would hold merit, vs. just 'I want to eat only this way' which MANY can not ever understand.

if you allow a little carbs of rice and bread into your day, then accept a little, be nice and say you are full.



to me this isn't too hard at all. I am me and I am going to stay me and do what I want to do thru life. I have a strong personality and it comes thru I think in the end you must (within reason) live for yourself no matter where you are.
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Last edited by Trigger828; 11-30-2013 at 09:15 AM..
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:55 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies!

Yes, lots of eggs here, fortunately. Part of my problem is I do have a lot of allergies and so there are a lot of things I can't eat to begin with anyway, in addition meat is much more expensive here than in Western countries (even though the currency is lower).

Beforehand when I did low arb I was living in a Western country and low carb was much easier with the the convenience of having certain cheap and easily available convenience foods like canned salmon, frozen vegetables, frozen filleted fish etc, whereas over here you basically have to do most things the old fashioned way, although there are a few low carb-acceptable convenience foods

Regarding the above...I've lived in several different countries, and I've always tried my best to be part of whatever society I am in, rather than to have an "us versus them" mentality. I know many immigrants are not like that and really keep to themselves wherever they are, but that's been my philosophy - I feel like it's a part of being a responsible member of whatever society I happen to be in. That doesn't mean that I embrace everything that everyone else does - certainly there are many things here that I don't agree with and don't intend to embrace - but I try to respect people's feelings and customs. Right now this is my home, so that's what I'm trying to do.

The way of thinking over here is quite different than in the West and even much of the Middle East, due to the suffering a lot of people experienced over the past few decades. In this part of the world, there is little awareness of food allergies (saying "I can't eat this because I am allergic to it" usually earns you a blank stare and another offer of the food, unless you're talking to a doctor), and in general in the Middle East, refusing food as a guest is a giant insult, especially keeping in mind that here many people are in a poor financial condition but still go out of their way to spend beyond their means to feed guests well. Of course as you mention, one can try to eat as little as possible while still being polite.

The long-term deprivation of food that many people experienced here during the time of the sanctions (before the war started) affected a lot of people psychologically, and so I think there is a general view among adults that, if it's here today, enjoy it, because you don't know if it will be here tomorrow. Public health services and sanitation are also quite poor, so unless eating something is going to make you drop dead immediately, there is a lack of urgency about caring about the finer points of one's health.

Like I said, I don't personally feel the need to take on this way of thinking, but I do understand why people think the way that they do. I am not saying this is healthy because there are a lot of food-related diseases here such as diabetes which could be treated with a healthier and lower-carb lifestyle (for those who can afford it)... but what I am saying is that there are much deeper issues, and I respect that even while, at the same time, I'd like to maintain my own health.

Anyway...I do know one person from here who has managed to do this... people who can afford to eat meat do eat it enthusiastically... just wondering if anyone else is trying this around here and generally open to suggestions! (Especially practical suggestions such as certain foods that might be available!)
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trigger828 View Post
ethical? Hmm. I would eat meat if others were not. That wouldn't be a point for me. What I can afford is what I would eat. I have neighbors that can't afford what I do but in the end, we all do what we do in life. I shop my way for us. nothing will change that.

Are you Iraqi or just living there? I would not worry about offending anyone on how you eat. the world is global. You are WHO YOU are. I would not put that on the back burner at all. You are you. They are them.

I would do my thing in this life NO MATTER where I was living. If someone offered only rice and bread as a meal to me I would not say---no I don't eat that---I would find a nice excuse as ---I am allergic and it could hurt me. That way you give the person offering a legit excuse that would hold merit, vs. just 'I want to eat only this way' which MANY can not ever understand.

to me this isn't too hard at all. I am me and I am going to stay me and do what I want to do thru life. I have a strong personality and it comes thru I think in the end you must (within reason) live for yourself no matter where you are.


There are people in the U.S. who can't afford meat...or even enough food...so I don't think it's an ethics question at all. I also don't think it's a problem to turn down food for health reasons (and it is a health reason). If you were allergic to peanuts, would you eat the food anyway so as not to offend? If you had celiac's, would you eat the gluten anyway so as not to offend? Of course not. So this isn't any different.
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:16 AM   #7
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Eco-Atkins anyone?

There is such a thing as vegetarian Atkins. If you are trying to be ethical or even if the cost of meat is prohibitive to you. I would maybe just do one vegetarian meal a day. Like a salad lunch or something full of hummus and dressing and Bacos (do they have fake bacon bits there? They are halal.). Eggs in the morning. Meaty dinner.

Might be cheaper. How much are veggies there?
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:33 AM   #8
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hi there Avicenna, do you get invited around to peoples home to eat a lot? I'm based out in Kuwait, we're neighbours! You are completely right about rejecting food to be considered impolite (same pretty much everywhere really), to be honest if it is often I would eat a little if not so often I would just go with it and be extra careful otherwise.

Iraqis have really been suffering so if someone is sharing their food it's a big deal. But yeah the middle east is flooded with pita and rice!

everywhere you go in the middles east there are a bunch of people who cannot afford what you can, and other people who can afford a lot more, if it makes you feel any better in the UK there are people who can afford organic meat and people who cant, inequality is unfortunately true everywhere. it bothered me at first and still does but to be honest it is what it is, you aren't feeding anyone else by not feeding yourself. The stuff you don't buy isn't going to be given away. The experience just makes me plan better so there is little waste, I'd feel worse if I was chucking out food every week.

I guess the Iraqi bigger is better thing is because of sanctions and scarcity, in the rest of the middle east bariatric surgery is getting popular!

Halloumi is a good option to go for which isn't a meat. It all depends on how often you are offered food. good luck with Iraq, it sounds pretty scary there, stay safe x
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Old 12-04-2013, 06:06 AM   #9
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I am not sure the common cuts of meat in Iraq. I am assuming lamb and goat. Goat is considered a delicacy thoroughout the western world now. I mean middle eastern cooking is pretty easy to do low carb. StewEd lamb and chicken, salads, olives, olive oils. and high fat is your friend!

Remember , low carb does not mean high protein--- so I'm thinking you could eat very modest proteins eggs, and stews and add in olive oils , clarified butter etc. and NUTS. I think you will be able to get nuts. Almonds???

The dishes are easy enough to convert. And you don't have to eat that much more meat. Just eat more fats. Fattier meats or parts of the meat.

I still think you can eat healthy low carb and eat occasionally rice or pita dishes. People incorporate these foods into their plans all the time. I'd kind of feel my way around whether I was comfortable turning something down or not. For a good friend who i could explain things to and knew me well I might say "no" but a new aquaintance I would go the polite route a d just adjust my plan for the day.

Or maybe you will choose a low carb plan that is easy to accommodate Itaq

Last edited by Spanilingo; 12-04-2013 at 06:11 AM..
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