By: Abbey Bowen
I spent a month of my summer in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India for an internship with a magazine called “Simply Jaipur.” I went toward the end of July and came back around the same time in August.
It was honestly the most meaningful, wonderful experience of my life. But that’s not why I’m writing this blog. I could write about my adventures all day long. What I really want to focus on is health and fitness in India.
Almost everything about Indian culture is different from that of America, and I noticed it was especially different when it comes to diet and exercise.
First of all, the diet is completely different. Many Indian people, especially those of the Hindu religion, are vegetarians. In fact, it’s actually really hard to find any meat in northern India, where I lived, besides the occasional chicken and mutton.
The Indian diet relies heavily on vegetables, bread and rice. I ate flat, tortilla-like bread called “chapatti” every single day. I would either dip it in a spicy sauce of some kind or vegetables that the cooks who worked at the house I was living in prepared.
I also had access to the yummiest fruit! I ate fresh mango, pomegranate, watermelon and papaya.
My diet was so healthy while I was living there that I lost over eight pounds without even trying!
I also got my exercise by taking a Bollywood dance class. Two girls around my age ran a yoga, meditation and dance studio out of their home, which was only a few blocks away from my house. I attended these classes when I could and had the time of my life. But oh, boy did I sweat! India is so hot to begin with, and jumping around for an hour doesn’t help.
Besides yoga and dance classes, I cannot say for certain what other Indian people do to keep in shape. I never even saw a gym. Honestly, I only saw two or three people the whole time I was there that would be considered “buff.” I guess the veggie-heavy diet and fresh fruit is enough to keep people within a healthy weight?
I wish I could’ve packed all the Indian food into my suitcase and lived off of it in America. It was so nice to eat food I knew wasn’t polluted with chemicals and that was SO DELICIOUS!
I hope to go back someday :]
~Remember, you have to learn to love yourself before you can truly love someone else~