Not that I’ve been lax. No, I haven’t. I’ve been walking for at least 30 minutes a day and eating salads. But, of course, along with salads, there’s been yummy-salty-moldy Azeri cheese and this Tiramisu ice cream I discovered at Park Bulvar. Then there’s the SCRUMPtious cheesecake at the Baku Roasting Company and the local nutty-tasting beer – Xirdalan. Literally quenches your thirst!

So today, I’m taking a step towards shaving the fat off my diet, and curbing my sugar and caffeine addiction.

And I’m launching my Healthy Eat regiment with kefir!

Jala kefir from Citimart in Sahil, Baku.

Jala kefir from Citimart in Sahil, Baku.

Kefir has been touted in the international community as a health drink, good for your digestion because it’s of full of bacteria and enzymes. I decided to find a bottle at Citimart, Sahil and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s 75 quepic for the Jala brand and it is filling! I consider it a meal in itself.


The texture is very similar to India’s lassi. The taste, well, it’s a little sour, or let’s put it this way, it’s like slightly moldy cheese in semi-watery yoghurt form. I know that I’m not making this sound appealing to many of you, but I really do like moldy cheese and the lassi-like texture. I loooved it! And I’m thinking of making kefir a regular afternoon snack. For more information on what kefir is and it’s nutritional value, please visit

I’ve also decided to replace some of my winter staple food choices with healthier options. Here’s a peek at my list–

1. I love Jala’s 100% sugar-free juice. Especially the peach and pineapple flavors. I’m not 100% sure if it’s sugar-free, but it is good. It’s now been replaced with bottled water flavored with fresh lemon slices.

2. Speaking of water, I’ve taken to qazli, sparkling water, ever since I arrived in Baku. I love the kick and it has no calories. But it bloats me. Again replaced with bottled water flavored with fresh lemon slices.

3. Jacob’s 3-in-1 latte, I feel sad to say goodbye to you. (Sniff sniff.) You have kept me awake for the past nine months! But alas, this will be replaced by sugarless teas.

4. Goodbye ice-cream and paklava. Hello, fresh apples and oranges.

5. Instead of white bread, I’ve found tasty rye bread at Citimart. More on this rare find in another blog entry!

So this is my brief list. I think it’s a good start. Of course, Saturday or Sunday will be my cheat day so I have more gastronomic adventures to look forward to!

How about you? Are you upgrading your diet this spring?

First tree with blossoms in the park in front of Icherisheher.

First tree with blossoms in the park in front of Icherisheher.

It’s spriiiing! I’m delighted to see blue skies again, and anticipating white and lilac blossoms, as well as the tulips last year’s Baku-dwellers are raving about. The days are warm, the nights are chilly but I’m simply happy because it’s spriiiing again!

Lots have happened since my last blog entry. Not able to share everything just yet, so I’ll be cryptic 🙂 Let it suffice to say that winter is over. My mourning, black drape shroud–that’s over. And the dead, it’s been raised to life. (Giggling as I scribble this.)

Life has overtaken writing. My students are growing up. Fast. Old acquaintances from India have become friends, and friendships that have budded late last year are continuing to blossom. There were new books read and book reviews left unwritten. There were new haunts to explore, although my fave still remains the same–Nargiz. (Will rave about this find in another entry!) Then, of course, I caught the winter flu and ended up teaching as my fever flamed on.

But rainy winters devoid of snow, thankfully, end.

White blossoms near School 6.

White blossoms near School 6.

Spring also means significantly cutting down on my unlimited craving for cheese and ice cream! Just discovered this little market behind Chiraq bookstore that sells greens with all these spices that tingle on my tongue for 20 quepic per bundle. The little shoppe sticks prices on their veggies and there’s a helpful storekeeper who knows basic English. What more can a hopeless foreign-language-learner ask for?


I’ll also be trying kefir for the first time in a moment. It’s a drink that’s originated in the Caucuses, and health nuts are raaaving about it.

It’s spriiing! Excited to chase sunshine as flowers blossom on the trees along the Bulvar.