Thursday, January 14, 2010

Keeping Healthy in Khartoum

Greek Pasta Salad - delicious

Having arrived here in our first storey Khartoum flat during the early hours of Saturday morning, all good intentions of healthy eating and excersise were set aside for now. The stopover in Addis Ababa which you can read about here, took a heavy toll on my healthy eating plan. The salads and vegetables served in the hotel, albeit delicious, [the salads]were drenched in high-oil dressings and the vegetables were cooked with lashings of butter. There were also hot bread rolls to die for and I had more than my share of these. However, I did manage to take two oranges to my room which I ate later while watching Amharic television!

By Monday I had settled into life here in Khartoum, so no more excuses. I had been to the supermarket with my husband and bought all the necessary staples and salad vegetables to make healthy meal options for myself. Pasta is very cheap, salad vegetables like cucumber, tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers and lettuce are readily available at stalls on the banks of the Nile river. (I hope to do a post on this exciting excursion soon.) I made a deliciously crisp, tasty and low-calorie Greek Pasta Salad for lunch. It looked so fresh and tempting that my husband brought a plate and dished a portion for his lunch! I have posted the recipe below. It is delicious.

The flight of steps leading up from our flat

On Tuesday I had relocated my gym clothes which I'd left in the spare room before flying out to South Africa in September last year. At 6h30, while it was still dark, I was up, dressed and ready for my home-made excersises in lieu of my regular spinning classes back home. I run up and down four flights of steps inside our flat (forty steps); I do this five times. Then I go up onto the roof and do six laps of jogging around the top. I have to do this in the dark as it is not good for a woman to be seen in a tank top and cycling shorts out in the open. I use a hand-held torch.

Standing on the landing, I photograped the flight up to the roof and back down to the flat

I 'd like to treble my step routine in the next two months and do three times as many laps on the rooftop by then as well. I also have the skipping rope which my dear friend, Ida from South Africa blesssed me with last time I came up. I'll take it up to the roof tomorrow morning and do some skipping! I know that to real hardcore fitness fanatics this may not seem difficult. Yet for me who has been spinning for the past three years, it is quite a challenge to suddenly be pounding the surfaces by running up and down stairs and jogging on the roof.

Halfway up the flight of stairs to the door leading out onto the roof

Up on the roof - above and below

Herewith the pasta salad recipe.

Greek Pasta Salad (Weigh-Less Pasta Recipes)
Serves 1
100g Pasta, cooked weight
22.5g Olives
22,5ml Low Oil Dressing
30g Reduced Fat Feta Cheese
100g Cherry Tomatoes
50g Cucumber
25g Lettuce
25g Onion

Assemble the salad, drizzle the dressing over and serve.


  1. Schools had gegun, so we also start our spinning classes this morning - we are with you in getting fit and eating healthy! Thanks for delicious-looking recipe! Oefening is soveel makliker in 'n groep as alleen. Dis kos baie selfdissipline om alleen te oefen - jy het dit! Sterkte!!

  2. Aw, Ida, how homesick I am now. I wish I was back in your class. You are one BRILLIANT spinning instructor. Ek het vir drie jaar alleen geoefen in Wes Afrika (3.30vm - voor die mans die gym bestorm het) Dus is hierdie maar weer net optel en gaan weer. Ek voel TONNE beter noudat ek weer aan die gang is. Het juis vanoggend 12 "laps" op die dak gedraf en begin dit geniet. Dankie vir jou liefde en aanmoediging! (((Jo)))

  3. You are one energetic lady. How keen to do it in the dark. I walk every morning and play tennis. I used to go to the gym before my operation last May but I haven't been back yet.tut tut. The pasta salad looks easy and delicious.

  4. Walking is your BEST form of exercise, diane. And tennis. That's wonderful. All necessary to prevent osteoporosis. Well done. As you see, I HAVE to do the jogging on the roof in the dark! However, I used to go to spinning in South Africa every freezing, dark morning the winter. Later in the year, it becomes more bearable.

  5. Jo, you need to come and visit me. I am "only" two countries away. If you do, let me know, and I will take you for long rides in the bush. And serve healthy solar cooked fat-free vegetables-rich casseroles!

  6. Your salad looks delicious, Jo - and I applaud your exercise efforts. Makes me feel guilty as since having my baby 7 months ago, my exercise regime has gone 'out the window' so to speak.

    As you know, I used to work out daily (cardio & strength training/light weights) ahhhh .... my muscle tone must still be hiding somewhere under all the baby fat, 'eh ?!

    Anyway, also had a little chuckle at the thought of someone perhaps catching a glimpse of you running laps around your rooftop in the dark with a torch - you know you would forever be branded 'that crazy Western woman !' ... too funny ;) LOL

    Hubby just came in and saw your lovely salad photo over my shoulder .... "oh look !" he said "Jo's posted a recipe for a lovely looking salad" (he likes the look of the cheese, I reckon !). I think he's dropping a hint ;)

    (((HUGS))) to you my super-duper-running-on-the-roof-friend (and don't forget the squats & lunges !)

  7. Yummy. Thanks for sharing Jo.
    I used to go to the gym but I stop lately. and I agree with you, that is is the best exercise.
    (I've been so busy lately and tired walking yesterday :)Got up late today 9:30AM:))

    Regards and have a great weekend.

  8. The recipe looks delicious, and your exercise plan sounds like it will keep you in good shape!

  9. Hallo Esther, you're on! I'll pop over shortly and enjoy walks in that magificicent Nigerien bush and of course, your lovely solar cooking. (((Hugs))) Jo

    Hi Lynda;) you're so right: if anyone saw me, well... Ah, when my hubby took half my salad last week, my heart sank.(ha!)It was my "portion" But in the end it was for the better: I can make that salad again as a light lunch. Yes, the olives and feta are the draw card. Thanks for reminding me about the lunges and squats. I did them this morning! You are such a good mother, Lynda. Never mind - just tending to your little ones has slimmed you down beautifully. You looked stunning when we met you in Gonubie last year. (((Hugs))) Jo

    Hi Regina;) good to see you again. Is it cold in the Phillipines at this time of the year. Early morning exercise is necessary here all seasons because of the incredible heat. Bless you, my friend. Jo

  10. Thanks Janie, it's a tasty easy-to-assemble recipe. Have a wonderful weekend. How are those sub-zero temperatures? (((Hugs))) Jo

  11. What an inventive routine you've set for yourself! I have to say, the stair running doesn't sound fun at all, but running on the roof in the dark in illicit clothes with a "torch" sounds quite dramatic! You could write a short story--sounds like a movie!

    I love the support you give me, Jo. It's the best.


  12. Hi Sandy, reading how you plan and set goals, has RE-motivated me here in the Sudan. It is always a challenge for me: I live in a beauiful home back in SA and had all my routines (including exercising with my dear friend, Ida from South Africa) so to uproot myself and come to HOT (o so hot) and dusty Khartoum, I needed to really reassess my goals and set up a routine soon after arriving. You are a STAR - you are doing so well. Blessings and hugs. Jo


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo