Sweeter than Purim- Sugar!

I love Purim! It is the most joyous, fun, exciting, sugary, sweet festival. Kids walking all over in a variety of outfits, Colourful happy smiles, sooooo much fun. In Israel they don’t only celebrate one day, we get to experience over a week, if not close to a month of festivities!!! Yippeeee

Chocolates, Cheese cake, muffins… SUGAR! Hamentashen, sweets, donuts… SUGAR! Chocolate mousse, Orange cake, Custard… SUGAR! Mishloach Manot = SUGAR!

I am one of those annoying people that LOVE dress up, I dress up with my kids just for fun. We have boxes of clothing and hats to commemorate dress up. You can imagine my panic when purim was heading our way and our container with all our dress up boxes had not yet arrived. WHAT TO WEAR?

 

Luckily I am a creative and making a plan is my middle name. My son asked to be a pirate and my little miss decided to go as “Cleopatra” (thanks to Katy Perrys’ music video that she had seen). Pirate outfit was sorted within minutes, cleopatra on the other hand…

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We scoured the streets of Kfar Sava, went into every costume and toy store available and after days of tiresome missions, we finally found her an outfit. My sweet little miss tries on the outfit then says, “Nah, I don’t like it anymore”  What? After all that? Now what?

She glances at a costume hiding behind me and says “Mommy, I want to be a doctor like doc Mac Suffins!!!” SUCCESS!

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I’m so sweet and that is why I can’t have sugar. Well; that’s what I keep telling myself! Over a year ago I found out that I was pre-Diabetic, my insulin had stopped producing, my body was heavy and sluggish and I was getting sick a lot. “You’re headed to type 2 Diabetes” they said… “fix your diet or you’ll have to inject” they said. After a number of emotional breakdowns I got over myself. My amazing Homoeopath started me on a 3 month course of “liquid insulin” and a strict NO SUGAR, NO CARB regime. “What??? Then what do I eat? “  

Do you know that sugar is in everything. EVERYTHING! Have you read the labels? Sugar sneaks up on us in every item of food, ketchup = SUGAR, corn flakes = SUGAR… and on and on and on…

The Banting Craze was ripe in SA and I hopped on the wagon. Within days I lost a fortune of water retention, almost 2 kg’s, within weeks 6 kgs, within months I had lost a whopping 10kgs! Now, almost a year later I am officially down 14 kg’s in total. Not everyone agrees with Tim Noakes and his regime of sugar-less carb-less eating, but I am proof that this pudding is no longer a pudding and my body is healthy and happy once more.

The amazing thing about living in Israel is the amount of “No sugar added” products I am able to find. In SA it was a difficult task and I would have to mission to BluBird to get my once in a blue moon fix of Belle’s sugar-free cheese cake. Here in Israel it’s a haven for the sugar-less eater. Lucky me gets to indulge in sugar free Mishloach Manot and have the edible delights that Purim has to offer. With that being said, I am off to grab a sugar-free cappuccino and nut ice cream from “BUY THE WAY” and watch as the festivities and silliness of Purim commences!

 

 

 

 

 

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Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, uummm that red stuff!

I’m a herbalist, a homoeopath believer, a natural home remedy taker, I try clean and organic, fresh and clean, eating and medicating without having to take antibiotics.

The saying that new Olim are new “Cholim” (Which means newly sick) is true. In the short 2 months we’ve been here myself, Jason and the kids have all experienced a bout of illnesses. I got Laryngitis and lost my voice for about 10 days. *happy hubby ran around the apartment with gleeful smirks due to the silence*

I tried every known remedy to get my vocal cords to respond, I gargled with concoctions beyond the imagination, I finally used what we call “Cayenne Pepper” .

I decided to order said Cayenne pepper from the grocery store, I do a shop once a week either on-line through Shufersal On-line or I venture out and do a physical shop… In an earlier blog I started telling you about Shufersal… Shufersal is the supermarket I mainly shop at… It would be the equivalent to Pick n pay in SA. However Shufersal gets broken down into a number of its own chain stores, you get Shufersal Deal, Shufersal Sheli and Shufersal express… Each has similar or same products but the prices are outrageously different for said products, why? Who knows, certainly not me, the shops look almost identical and well they share the same name!

Its not the only place to shop for groceries here in Israel. There are a few power houses that monopolise the grocery store industry and they are found in every area.

So you get :

“Chatzi Chinum” which reminds me of “Checkers”

“Rami Levy” which is like “Spar”.

“Eden Teva market” which is probably the closest option to “Woollies”, Oh woollies how I miss you!

(FYI : Not included in my list are the markets with all the amazing fruits and vegetables, cheese and the fresh produce places, I’m now solely discussing the grocery chain stores…)

HOWEVER

All these shops are super sized, super super super sized; they are the size of Makro, yes, they are that size if not bigger! Tons and tons of products to choose from… Tons and tons… in bulk…

So when going to said shops its a whirlwind of emotions for me, you can’t simply walk in and purchase a milk, there are 12 different milk companies that are offering you percentage after percentage of a variety of milk, in a variety of packaging and a variety of volumes! My brain starts to frizzle then it short circuits and finally goes blank,my eyes gloss and I get a dead pan stare, intense stare at the fridges……………

After regaining consciousness I finally decide to follow the lady that just walk by and add whatever she is adding into her trolley. “I am not a stalker lady I just have difficulty choosing my own products due to the variety of choices and the fact that I read Hebrew like a Grade 1 child and that half the ingredients are in Arabic or Russian or the letters all blur and I no longer know what language I’m reading!!!!”  PANIC ATTACK!!!! ALARM BELLS, ALL SENSES ARE ON LOCK DOWN, DO NOT CRY IN THE GROCERY STORE OVER MILK, DO NOT…

Breath… and count 1

Breath…. and count 2

Breath…. and count 3

So I ordered Cayenne pepper right, but Cayenne pepper never arrived, they delivered Paprika. Will this do the same thing? Is this the same thing? They are both red and hot? Right?  WRONG! NO THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING.  Luckily my parents had sent me some Cayenne Pepper that arrived with a family member the following day. Lucky me *happy dance*

At this point I realised that no matter where I do my shopping, on-line or at the actual store;  both are going to take time getting used to. I need to breath…

And when all else fails, I’ll patiently wait for the next person to arrive from South Africa with Cayenne Pepper for me! By the way, gargling with Cayenne Pepper works like a charm and my voice came back louder than ever!

Introduction to Israeli Spice – Salt!

So now that you have read the intro to my life and enjoyed my first blog, I invite you to dive deeper into the smells and sights that have been my life the past two months, lets do this in a nutshell, or as Israel life teaches, in the shell of a bird seed…

What’s with Israeli’s and these small little bird seeds?

Have you ever opened one, bitten into that hard shell, cracked it open and tasted the salty delight inside? After one, you must sample another and another, until after completely attacking the packet you look around and realise that you are surrounded by shells, an empty packet and your mouth is left burnt from the salt, but you can not wait to get your next packet next time you go to Shufersal!!! (Shufersal is this countries version of Pick n Pay, but this topic is for a whole other blog as it deserves at least 2 pages of discussion) Back to the seeds, these bird seeds remind me a lot of Israelis, well, sort of, a little…

SEED VS ISRAELI : They are both hard on the outside but soft on the inside and you cant get enough of them. You get a variety of seeds, Pumpkin seeds, bird seeds, watermelon seeds, and Israeli’s come in a variety too… there are sub categories upon sub category… Sephardic, Ashkenazy, Moroccan etc, etc, etc… So the conclusion is yes Israeli’s = Seeds!

I have met an array of people here in Israel and on top of my list are foreigners – Argentinians, Italians, Russians, South Americans, Australians, Canadians… This country is filled with Olim from all around the world.

I walk my son to gan  (Nursery school) – ((One of my next blogs will include hebrew translations and lingo for you all to know, learn and follow)) and a number of people pass us by, the amount of languages heard on our 10 minute walk is outstanding!

This country is filled with cultural diversity, it is rich and exciting!

I was having a friendly discussion with a mom from Argentina that speaks Spanish, Hebrew and English. At the same time we were joined by a mom from Italy that speaks Italian, English and Hebrew. I speak English, Hebrew and little Afrikaans… Between the 3 of us we were dropping so many words in so many languages (And thank you brain for continuously  swapping on me on your own  accord and who knew I speak gibberish too), The conversation became a comical theatre production of joining of the tribes from the tower of babel! No one can say my life is boring, how could it be with so many colourful spices around, I’m getting to taste and smell flavours I never thought of before and it’s wonderful.

SHALOM, ADIOS, ARRIVEDERCI, TOTSIENS, GOODBYE.

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Spice!

So here goes;

I have never been the type of person that saves my thoughts, never owned a proper diary and when I did, I used it as a doodle pad to doodled hundreds of little hearts and stars and funny faces, is that the moment you realise that you are a dreamer, a creative or;  just in need of some Ritalin?

When I was young I would sit for hours trying to think up topics to write about, but instead of putting pen to paper, I would hit a blank, my thoughts on topics would consume me, no real spice and substance would come out. Thanks to my “ADHD” and hyper personality I would quickly drop the pen and run around trying to find something else to do to avoid the fact that my brain was blank… I would clean, neaten, sort, organise and while doing all these chores (which by the way I absolutely love doing and do not see as chores… that is no joke, I enjoy cleaning and neatening and sorting and organising. I had a de-cluttering company in South Africa and now that I’m living in Israel’, I have to do a lot of that, there is always cleaning and dishes and washing and folding and organising and neatening…)  While cleaning I get some of my best ideas,  I start thinking up a variety of ideas! But; once again the moment I sit still with that pen in hand, when that quiet moment finally arrives after I put down my broom or mop, the ideas and creative processes pass me by. Exit my brain. “poof” Almost like I’ve been “wiped clean”.  Maybe having a pc in front of me will help me focus and I’ll be able to get the ideas out of my brain and into the world? Maybe?

If you are reading this, I have succeeded… baby step number 1.

So here goes;

Here I am, Living in Israel, writing down my thoughts and feeling’s about where I’ve been and how I’ve landed myself here…

Ok, so…..

and all I can do is hit a blank!

BUT THEN, Something really amazing happened, I looked up and realised that I started a blog, a blog about me talking about things and there are words on the page. Well they are on my computer screen, but they are there! VICTORY. I did it, all by myself without help from Ritalin. This is the first entry of my mish mash of thoughts and if you continue watching this space your life might change or it might not, but I know mine is changing and my spice rack is getting fuller everyday and perhaps your spice rack will get spicier and more colourful reading my blogs.