An Ode to Ekmek

My oh my, being in Turkey for the past few months has been no bueno for my waistline. Everything revolves around meat, cheese, and bread – quite possibly three of my favourite food items in the entire universe. And the desserts, good lord, the desserts! I’ve never been to a country that has such an extensive array of sweets: cookies, chocolate, ice-cream – you name it, they probably got it. Not to forget kaymak and honey, which is definetely one of the most *delicious* desserts I’ve ever tasted.

kaymak and honey aka dessert of the gods

kaymak and honey aka dessert of the gods

But we’re not here to talk about dessert today. Oh no, we’re here to talk about a food item that has been creeping its way back into my life for the past week: white bread.

Now, growing up in Toronto, the white bread that most people I knew had access to was that shitty, super enriched, white-on-white bread from the grocery store. My mom always guided us away from that crappy stuff, and as a result, I grew up eating whole-grain bread most of my life (Dempsters, where you at!?) From time to time, we were spoiled with specialty bread (cause my mom is bougie like that), and we would get fresh buns to dip in shaah (aka Somali tea), flaky croissants, and buttery brioche, mmmmm. But most times, it would be that regular whole-grain bread from the grocery store.

crappy white bread

crappy white bread – we’ve all been there!

In uni, I adopted Paleo-based diet, which limits your intake of processed foods and shitty carbs, and instead focuses on the consumption of whole foods and good protein sources. Code word for: no bread people!  (though I still eat a slice with my breakfast) And although I’m far from perfect, I can definitely attest to the fact that eating Paleo (even in a half-assed way) allowed my energy levels to stay at a ridiculous high throughout the year, and not feel sleepy after every meal (the worst feeling when you need to study!)

It wasn’t till I arrived in Istanbul that I realized that bread, or ekmek in Turkish, is literally Turkey’s staple food item. People eat bread with every.single.meal. And considering how much bread Turks consume, they bake it damn well! Fresh loafs of bread, perfectly cracked at the top, and coated in toasted sesame seeds. Rings of fragrant simit to greet you at every corner. Its basically bread all day, every day.

~beautiful ekmek~

~beautiful ekmek~

Overall, I think I’ve resisted the lures of ekmek pretty well – I’ve only bought a loaf of bread a handful of times, and I largely stuck to eating my staple whole grain ish. But for the past week or so, I’ve gone ekmek crazy. I’ve literally eaten at least 3 loafs by myself in the past week #smh #needtogeittogether.

This is a problem primarily because:

(a) bread leaves you hungry quite quickly (read this:http://authoritynutrition.com/why-is-bread-bad-for-you/)

and

(b) I haven’t been working out for the past two weeks (and whose trying to gain weight in Istanbul!? #notthischick)

a girl can dream - my east african hips will always haunt me

my east african hips will always haunt me #truth

So as much as I’ve enjoyed my bread-binge the past week, I’m definitely going to cut back – no point in eating something regularly if it does more harm than good.

#teamekmek #needtochangemyways #dietproblems

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