Sugar Rush

Type 2 Diabetes commonly surfaces in adulthood, and though there are multiple risk factors it can be brought about by an unhealthy diet and inactive lifestyle. Knowing what I do about my teenage students’ eating habits, it’s no surprise that as a country the UAE ranks 15th worldwide in reported diabetes, with 19% of the population living with this disease.
The backstory: Our high school “canteen” serves snacks twice a day. The students don’t have a formal lunch period; there’s a 20-minute break in the morning and a 15-minute break in the afternoon. Since it’s customary to eat dinner around 9 or 10pm, most of the girls hold off on lunch until they get home from school at 4pm. But because they wake at 5am for their first of five daily prayers, even if they have breakfast they’re hungry at school and snack all day. Unfortunately, nobody brings healthy food from home. There are ZERO fruits or vegetables to be found when the bell rings for breaks; instead, they all bolt to the canteen to buy their all-important sugar and caffeine-laden snacks.
I have to say the girls are more than willing to share the food they consume at school. The Islamic culture expresses love through food and drink; my students will offer me their half-empty water bottle or a piece of chocolate that’s melting in their hand. This is done out of genuine care and it’s nice to see this side of them. Today, one of my students walked up to me and shook my hand (as I say from time to time, there will be an entire blog post dedicated to something I’m only briefly mentioning today… hand shaking in the UAE is on the list.) I said, “Your hand’s freezing! Did you just eat ice cream?” And she responded, “Yes, do you want me to buy you some?” Despite their kindness and generosity, their offerings aren’t at all appealing. Here’s a short list of snacks I see most frequently scarfed down:
Chocolate milk
Mountain Dew
Kit Kats
Popcorn
Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
Ice cream novelties: cones, popsicles, freeze pops
Energy Drinks
BBQ potato chips stuffed inside a cheap, white-flour hot dog bun (sans dog, not that a hot dog would up the nutritional value).
Teachahhh… why don’t you try this?? It’s delicious!”
Teachahhh, have one! Everyone eats this! It’s our favorite snack!” (yeah, talking about the chip bun.)
To compound the food issues, the older girls don’t have PE class or play on any sports teams. See where I’m going with this? Unhealthy diet + inactive lifestyle= Type 2 Diabetes.
This past weekend I joined 18,000 people for Walk 2014, which was held to promote awareness of badly needed lifestyle changes. I have to admit that I agreed to do the walk partly because it was held at Yas Marina Circuit and the 5K took place on the Formula 1 track where the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is held (and is going down in two weeks!). The walk began at 5pm so the weather was beautiful, and it was yet another awesome people-watching opportunity. I’m often torn between trying to take photos without capturing unwilling subjects, requesting permission to take photos (especially of Muslim women, which is protocol here) or not taking photos at all. Here are the results:

Entrance to bldg at Yas Marina Circuit

Entrance to bldg at Yas Marina Circuit

Pre-race with Chris

Pre-race with Chris

Fancy chair decorations in the coffee shop. I smell a Pinterest pin!

Fancy chair decorations in the coffee shop. I smell a Pinterest pin!

Happily surprised to see a veg stand at the walk

Happily surprised to see a veg stand at the walk

There's just something refreshing about women who pair abayas with baseball caps

There’s just something refreshing about women who pair abayas with baseball caps

Relaxation is a priority in this country!

Relaxation is a priority in this country!

At the starting gate

At the starting gate

Yas Viceroy, a luxury hotel that straddles the track

Yas Viceroy, a luxury hotel that straddles the track

On our way...

On our way…

Almost finished

Almost finished


Oddly enough, I consumed more sweets this weekend than I normally crave. There’s a coffee shop at the track, so I belligerently walked the first km with a chocolate Frozzychino in hand. I felt a little guilty about that, but when it’s 90 degrees and you happen upon a place that serves frozen drinks, things can spiral out of control. To add insult to injury, I went out last night and picked up a container of banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery. I haven’t eaten this much sugar in a long time. I hope my students aren’t rubbing off on me. If you ever see me biting into a hot dog bun filled with chips, feel free to slap it out of my hand.

Advertisements

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Deb
    Nov 09, 2014 @ 20:40:31

    If you put some ketchup on those chips in the bun, I think it could be quite tasty!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Archives

Follow suzannainthesand on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: