Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eating Well in Nigeria

Why do I have to wait until I’m approaching 40 or when I’m pregnant with my first child to start paying attention to what I put into my mouth? We are truly what we eat. The first time I personally witnessed this was in 2003.

I had just moved to America and was a freshman in college. I was feeling a bit off so I decided to take advantage of the medical insurance and run blood tests to make sure I was okay.

Days later, the nurse was reading through my blood tests results and I noticed a particular column indicated red because it was about 200% more than the average level! I panicked and asked about it. She said it was good cholesterol - “you must eat a lot of fish right?” Mmmh, not anymore I told her and went on to explain how when I lived in Nigeria, I ate fish almost every night, and I’m not kidding - 5 out of 7 nights for about 1 year!

At first my sisters and I loved ithe round smoked fish in stew with rice, eba, beans. One whole fish to ourselves, yum! But after a while, we began to beef the fish: fish fish fish all the time. Ahn Ahn!

So you can imagine the irony when I found out that that very fish had kept me healthy and was still present in my blood even 3 months after I had stopped eating it!

We are truly what we eat.

So I’m trying to put quality items into my body now. To teach my body to crave the good stuff. It’s not been easy though because while America over processes its foods, over here we love to overcook and fry ours.

Some weeks ago, friends and colleagues kept telling me I was glowing and wondering what I was doing?! I had no idea what! It wasn’t until I had ended my fast did I realize that it probably had something to do with the lack of food! I had read somewhere that human beings over eat in general and that these days we put more toxins than nutrients into our bodies. But shouldn’t I be looking gaunt and miserable if I was skipping meals? I am still trying to figure that one out. I must glow again oh!

In the past few days, I have instituted 3 healthy to do’s on my list. Here’s a synopsis of how I’ve been faring:

#1: Say no to Coke - I haven’t bought a coke for the last 2 weeks, instead I’ve been drinking other beverages (Lucozade, Swepps heh heh I know it’s cheating) but my colleague gave me an ice chilled canned Coke today. I let it sit on my desk for an hour then… drank half a can before I chided myself and dumped the rest in my abandoned cup of water.

#2: Eat 1 piece of fruit a day – I had two apples for dinner yesterday because I was bored with the alternative: eba and vegetable. But for some reason, my stomach ran all night! Was my body having a reaction to the sudden infusion of healthiness?!

#3: Cut down on fried foods – I just finished eating boiled plantain and stew for dinner. I don’t fancy plantain in general, but I found the boiled taste a refreshing change.

#4: Take top quality supplements – Not the kind that adds more chemicals to your body. When I was fasting, I accompanied my evenings meals with a glass of water and vitamin C – perhaps that’s the secret behind the glow? Because our foods are so altered and overcooked, it often lacks the nutrients that our bodies need. If you’re an inconsistent eater like me (think feasting during the weekends and snacking during the week) supplements can make all the difference.

Am not doing too badly don’t you think? Oh and my cold is gone and the subsequent cough is finally breaking. Thanks for all your concern!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Nigerian Wedding Planning

My people, besides eloping, what do you think is the best way to pull of a small wedding reception in a culture that calls for large, loud and lavish weddings ?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dirty hands, Dirty girls and Dirty boys!

When I lived in Israel, for some reason I always caught colds in the summer. Regularly. Does the flu spread faster in hot weather…?

I’d be miserable because Israeli summers and freezing air conditioners go hand-in-hand. Every mall, bus, office, classroom greets you with a blast of ice-cold air. For a chick with a sniffling nuisance of a cold – it meant blocked noses, nasal voice and congested sinuses whenever I stepped into a public building. And the tissue! My trademark was wads and wads of used tissue everywhere. Shout out to my mum for being so tolerant when I left them on her dining table! My misery blocked out all sense of propriety. Ahh, those were the days.

I still dislike having a cold in hot weather. Fortunately for me, it hasn’t happened much since I moved back to naija. I wash my hands and keep them away from my face. Works for me. (It’s either that or my immunity is looking up).

I can’t count how many times I’ve seen ladies jump out of the loo without washing their hands. (Don’t even get me started on this topic!)

Unfortunately, those of us who do wash our hands still have to use the same door handles and we have to shake their hands and share the germs…. Kai. Ladies, ladies, ladies! How many times did I call you? Wash your hands whenever you are using a shared loo! Ahn ahn.

By the way, MEN, just because you can, does not mean you should stop and pee out in the open! Nobody wants to see it. Put it away! Lagos walls and gutters have seen wonders!

Apparently…having a cold on a hot Monday in a smoggy city sets loose a cranky blogger. Abeg, let me go and I blow my nose…