Since it is now going on 6 months of me living in this wonderful country (sarcasm), I decided to write about all of the wonderful foods that I miss because they are not available here in the kingdom. I also recently took a trip to France and Switzerland and was in a total culture shock. When the time came to visit these lovely places, I thought at least I will be back in a similar element with all the foods I love. WRONG! I thought these foods were just unavailable here in KSA but was shocked to find that it's not just the Middle East. Most people take for granted what's readily and always available for consumers in the US. These are items that are either non-existent here or takes days of going to several different grocery stores to track them down.
The first and most important kitchen essential I am missing is my slow cooker. Since arriving here we have been searching every electronic and kitchen store and have yet to find one. As you can can see from my recipes I looove using my slow cooker for healthy meals. It is so convenient and everything comes out so savory. Luckily we have kind friends here who have one and will let us borrow theirs from time to time. ;)
Spinach is an extremely important food in my healthy lifestyle. I use it for my smoothies, salads, and toss it into many recipes for an added vegetable when needed. The thing is, they have spinach available at the supermarket that I have tried to purchase and it is just awful. It is very dirty and this dirt does not come off when washed. This may sound like I am being picky, but I just could not eat it. They do sell packaged spinach but very sporadically. I know what you're thinking, substitute with Kale. Also something I have yet to find.
One of my favorite healthy snacks back in the US was cottage cheese and wheat thins. These are two items I have not discovered in the supermarkets here. They have every other kind of cheese except this. They even have huge cheese counters, but no cottage cheese. I have found Chobani Greek Yogurt once or twice but that's it.
As you probably know, pork and alcohol are the two most forbidden items here. They do sell turkey bacon, but again I have to go searching a few stores for it, which I am okay with since I prefer it over regular bacon. Alcohol, I actually do not miss. This last trip was just a reminder that I hate being hung over and it's just not worth it. What I do miss is a nice cold glass of red sangria. mmmm
Another total shock for me was the lack of turkey. As you can see from many of my recipes, I use a lot of turkey. I prefer it 100x over chicken just because I think it tastes so much better and can be more versatile, especially ground turkey. I also tend to think it's more moist and healthy, not sure if it actually is or not. Most of the recipes I have come up with since being here I likely would have made from turkey if I had it.
One really important item to a healthy lifestyle is bread! The kind of bread you eat is so important when you want to incorporate healthy grains. At first I was eating "wheat" or what they call "brown" bread. Then I tried a multigrain. One day I decided to look at the ingredients, which I have started to do more and more, and I couldn't believe all of the crap that was in it. I found frozen spelt bread with very few ingredients and all natural. I tried this for a few weeks but it lacked flavor. One Saturday I actually went to multiple stores because I read online that a certain supermarket chain sold ezekiel bread. Do you think I found it? Nope. As of two week ago I finally decided to do the most healthy option and bake my own whole wheat bread. I have started to experiment with it and so far so yummy!
The number one item I miss here has to be Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee!!! Yes they actually have a dunkin donuts here. I couldn't tell you how disappointed I was when I walked in and they told me they did not have iced coffee. It's +90degrees here 85% of the year here and you don't have iced coffee? There are coffee stands and Starbucks everywhere, and yes they do sell starbucks iced but it's just not the same. Those who prefer dunks know what I am talking about!
So there it is! Call it a bitch session or whatever this is! I was convinced it was this awful place but after my recent trip to europe I realized it's not just the Middle East and how lucky I was before. I just couldn't believe that these items that were always at my finger tips are now a project to find or not available at all. The most frustrating thing has to be how inconsistent the supermarkets here are and one week they will have something and the next they won't. I have become so much more appreciative of healthy food and how lucky we are in the US. It's kind of ironic how it is the country known for it's fast food and obesity, yet one of the few with these amazing healthy options. This is something everyone should learn to appreciate and take advantage of..I hope you all will. :)
I hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday!
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27, happily married currently living in Saudi Arabia with my husband. In LOVE with my dog Agent 1 who is a cockapoo. Love to cook and a fitness fanatic! ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Aspiring Fitness Nutritionist. Personal Instagram @kaylaperrycpt