Trip report, Egypt

Omelettes: Anyway you want!

Hurghada Hilton. Omelettes: Anyway you want!

As they say, “all good things must come to an end” and so here I am, back in the Nordics, freezing my bits off after a fantastic diving holiday in Egypt. As per my previous post, I was concerned that LCHF in Egypt was going to be “challenging”. As things turned out, I am glad to say that my fears were utterly groundless. The food was truly outstanding, with full and varied LCHF-compatible choices. I came back the same weight as I left, but critically with another 1 cm off my waist!

In general, the dishes on offer were a clever combination of local and western cuisine. Typical LCHF dishes on offer: beef of all varieties, roast chicken, fresh fish/ sea food, lamb/ beef kofta, omelettes of all varieties, served to your personal requirements, large selection of fresh salads, including fried peppers and aubergines, hummus, tzatziki, etc., all prepared and served in generous amounts of olive oil. My personal supply of Lidl dried sausage remained largely untouched throughout the trip!

The standard of food preparation was top class, both on the dive boat and on land. Nothing was ever too much when it came to customer service. For breakfast, omelettes were the norm, served absolutely anyway you liked, the perfect start to a long day of 3-4 dives. Since all food was served buffet style, portion sizes were effectively limitless and being fully satiated was never in question! Traditional Egyptian desserts such as honey and date-based kunafa made for an excellent small treat after meals, well within daily carb allowances. In general, the food in Egypt was varied and NEVER boring.

Roast Chicken & Salad

On the dive boat: Roast Chicken & Salad

The morning after my return, I jumped on the scales and measured my waist with the tape. My weight was exactly the same as when I left but my waist was down by another 1 cm, putting that “mythical” 90 cm barrier now firmly under threat. This meant that I had lost fat and gained some muscle without even really trying. Hence, since my bio-markers post in June this year, I have lost nearly 5cm off my waist!! The reason? I have dropped clarified butter (ghee) from my diet and increased olive oil intake. All else remains the same. Indeed, my exercise routine has been very subdued; I haven’t done any yoga for weeks and I was only running maybe once/ week max before I went away. As I stated in this post, I am now TOTALLY dairy-free. I am in a perfect state of homeostasis with extremely low inflammation, the key to successful LCHF, and that’s precisely how I intend to keep it from now on. 3 years of LCHF are REALLY starting to pay off nicely now!

90cm waist barrier under threat!

90cm waist barrier under threat!

The question I kept asking myself throughout my stay was this: If the food is so good and so LCHF compatible, then why is Egypt also struggling with an obesity pandemic? The answer is very simple. Like almost all other non-western cultures, they also “aspire” to the western “life-style” i.e. deep-fried fast foods and soft drinks, plenty of which were to be found. It’s also a sad fact that the soft drinks companies include more sugar in their drinks in these countries compared to the west, simply because the rules are less severe and they can get away with it.  Their goal is quite simple; get you hooked on sugar and sadly, in the case of Egypt, it appears to be working. It’s a tragedy because if Egyptians just stuck to their own traditional foods there would be no problem at all.

Measuring The Unquantifiable

Yours Truly, Red Sea 2015

Yours Truly, Red Sea 2015

As you should know by now, I am scientific about everything that I do with LCHF. I am not afraid to experiment, record, change and adapt my diet according to the now well-proven science of LCHF, but there are still some things you simply can’t measure but are equally as important.

For example, how do you measure the feeling you get when you are doing something you couldn’t even contemplate only a few years ago, such as pushing your mental and physical limits on a technically challenging dive, closer to aged 50 than 40?  How do you measure the feeling you get when your stomach is completely flat again and you can wear tight T-shirts without looking like a joke? How do you measure the feeling you have after a long day of 3 dives and one night dive, when you aren’t even tired and are ready to do it all again at a moment’s notice? Of course you can’t measure these things but they are equally, if not more important than the quantifiables. Your general state of health and overall well-being are part of what makes you the person you are. For me LCHF is now firmly part of what I am. It’s much more than a science, it’s a lifestyle.

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