"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing..." -Helen Keller
 
Before coming to China, when I thought of Chinese people, I often conjured up images of a bunch of really skinny people, people living in a beautiful country-- much of it looking like the pictures of ancient China we see on calendars, people eating rice, people making great academic achievements. And, I was right at least in part on each of these fronts.

However, in light of so many skinny people, what I wouldn't have pictured is the lack of health in the food here. Now, I know America has its share of health violations in the eating department, though I'd say Austin and I strive to eat healthier than many/most Americans when possible and reasonable.  So, I have been amazed and challenged by so many things in the food arena here, for example:

-Many/most street foods are deep fried.
-The first three ingredients in almost all foods you can buy pre-packaged in the supermarket are white flour, oil, and sugar. (There aren't really "baked- not fried" options or whole grain options.) All dried fruits except for the occasional raisins are sugar-coated. All "juice", save for one brand, is only 10-30% juice.
-People somewhat rarely drink milk that doesn't have a bunch of sugar and sweet fruity flavoring to it.
-Just about every dish we've had in restaurants here comes bathed in oil (among other liquids, I'm sure, but the oil is unmistakeably present.)
-There are not very many whole grains available-- no whole wheat flour, whole grain bread, no brown rice to speak of, no whole wheat pasta (though the fact that they have pasta at all is impressive to us, so we don't complain).
-Oil is sold by the gallon, actually probably in 1.5-2 gallon containers.
-Pork fat. Everywhere. And little knowledge that it's not nutritious... We've been to more than one home where one of the dishes is literally a big bowl of just chunks of straight pork fat with seasoning on it. Not kidding. Not exaggerating. At all. In some approximation of Austin's words as we walked down the street looking into shops for lunch, "I feel like my choice to not eat pork fat seriously limits my dining options in this country."

(Before I go further, let me say that I'm not trying to be a health snob. Whole grains and healthy foods have not always been at the top of my list, and still, I totally love reaching for the Oreos once in a while... I'm just saying I like to have options when possible.)

SO... What is the point? Well, partially just to share what's going on in the food department over here, but also to point out the sheer miraculous quality of this:
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Yes, what on earth are the chances? While walking down some back streets in a nearby town a week or so ago, I happened into a shop that carries a few foreign food goods from time to time. When I wandered to the back aisle, my heart started beating much faster at the sight of these little goods: Brown rice powder and wheat germ!

I feel like this is the point when I realize I've gotten caught up writing and have spent quite some time building to the point I sat down and began typing to mention, and now it's like that awkward silence in a story when there's just nothing else to say. And it wasn't even a very good story.
 



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