Is it possible to eat healthy in this stressful society of ours? The answer to this question can be likened to a question like, “can the Christian be Holy?” The answer to both questions is a big “yes”. After going through the lent season, in preparation for Easter, and celebrating Easter, which reminds the whole world of the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, people should be able to make sacrifices about their diet. If you can stay 40 days without food or with only one or two meals a day, you can also sacrificially do away with bad food and bad food habits.
Food forms part of the things that make us happy since it quenches the bad feeling of hunger. We have the ability to differentiate between sweet, bitter, sour and neutral tastes in the mouth. No one likes to take anything bitter. No one wants his or her food to be bitter or tasteless. Aside taste, sight also plays a role in accepting food. People would naturally be attracted to a very colourful food. Some would want the food garnished or coated with something that would make the food look nice. Often, having lots of oil on stews and soups makes them more visually appealing to people.
Some people cannot eat food that is prepared without spices, frying and a lot of oil. It becomes a taboo for such people to eat food that is prepared in a way contrary to the aforementioned. You would be making a mistake if you add just a little amount of salt to food for some people even though they are not supposed to be taking so much salt. To such people, taste enhanced by salt is more important than their health in the medium to long term.
It is a must for men to eat their wives’ food even when it is late in the night lest there would be fight in the house. To avoid any such troubles, the man would eat late meals and soon develop pot belly leading to heart and other lifestyle diseases.
A lot of those who depend on alcohol do so due to the pleasure they derive from its intake. Being with peers and taking alcohol brings along some euphoria that spurs them on, especially the youth. If this pleasure is not managed well, they soon become very dependent to an extent that the booze makes them sick. It is only through sacrifice of pleasure that one can overcome this kind of addiction.
Addiction to work and office hours makes it difficult for some people to settle for proper food during the day. They would rather be taking some fruit juice or soft drink while working during the day. This practice is also bad and can be the reason why some lifestyle diseases develop. Through sacrifices, you can change this habit too.
To make a difference in your health, there is the need to make a move to change the aforementioned bad eating habits. This would involve lots of sacrifices. Those who are able to change and stick to the healthy habits only decided at a point and stood by their resolve. You can also do same.
Like the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, I meet a lot of people who default in their clinic attendance only to return some months and years down the line. Mostly, they return with a resolve to remain loyal patients. Even for those people, the decision to eat well and stay healthy gets taken at last. “Better late than never”, they say.
Let’s all note that, most of the foods that look nice are likely to be very unhealthy because of the things we use to make them look nice. The same applies to nice tasting food as well. The icing on the cake is some kind of coloured sugar which when eaten is just like eating plenty sugar; has dire consequencies. Our groundnut soup is more acceptable to the average person because of the oil that settles on top of it. The same can be said of palm nut soup and palava sauce. Following this natural likeness for food can be a recipe for disaster so we need to change. It takes serious sacrifices to change from the status quo.
When done without so much oil, kontonmire stew is healthier and can taste great as well. A bowl of palm nut soup and ground nut soup can also be healthy if the oil on top of it is removed. Those who fetch the oil and place it on top of the soup when they are eating make matters worse. This is just like robbing Peter to pay Paul. Infact, the value is the same. There is the need for change; this calls for sacrifices.
When using meat for stew, you can do well by putting it straight into the stew after steaming. There is no need to fry the meat before putting it into the oily stew again. I know this will be difficult for you to change; but it is a good thing to do. I am glad to inform you that fried fish is not the only companion one can use for kenkey. Grilled fish is a healthier option. When grilling be mindful of the use of cubes; it is better if you grill the fish by yourself rather than buying it from restaurants and the wayside. You can even use steamed fresh fish.
Food colour is of no nutritional necesity but can have bad health implications. It is better to find natural means of making food colourful than the artificial means. Use naturally coloured ingredients like kontonmire, carrots, tomatoes and the like for your meals if you need some colouring; you just need to be innovative about it. Mind you, these naturally coloured foods are full of compounds that will keep your heart healthy and strong.
You also need to be very patient and innovative when cooking without all the artificial spices and cubes. This will help make the taste of your food good and acceptable to the consumers. Food vendors should also have the health of their patrons in mind when doing mass production of their food. Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity thereby endangering people’s lives.
You can remain healthy without alcohol. If the body needs alcohol, it will make it by itself. There is absolutely no need to be drinking alcohol. The more alcohol you drink, the more you would want to drink and the more you feel like you cannot survive without it; thus becoming dependent on it. So just do not start drinking. Alcohol affects almost all organs of the body badly, thus causing one disease or the other; starting from hair loss to very weak bones in the legs.
When it is time for festivals and celebrations, people may think it is impossible to go without alcohol. Easter for instance is a time for spiritual reflection on the sacrifice that Jesus made for the salvation of humankind. It should be marked with all the soberness that man can attain. So if you want to mark Easter by dinking loads of alcohol, you will probably be missing its significance and spiritual benefits.
If all drivers will stop drinking before they drive, there would be little or no accidents on our roads during Easter and other festive periods.
The youth have taken to alcoholism due to indiscipline. This has a bad telling on the future of the country. People who should either be in school or at a workshop learning a trade are happier on the street and at the roadside in the villages drinking pito and akpeteshie. Soon they start families without enough resources to cater for them. Alcoholism may soon destroy this country if nothing is done about it. The one to do something about this situation is you, make a move now. Sacrifice now for a better future.
The world over, health experts are endorsing the massive contribution of bad eating to disease and death. We have the choice to make as a people. No one takes poison knowing its potential effects. Eating the wrong food, not exercising and drinking alcohol is like taking poison, but this one kills slowly, may be that is why people are not scared of it. When it finally strikes, life becomes miserable. Choose right and enjoy your life, especially in old age.
I want to challenge you to start doing some exercise. Start some walking and maintain it. You can do indoor exercises as well. You can get an exercise machine or an exercise video. Just sacrifice, sacrifice and sacrifice. Start slow and improve on duration and frequency with time.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8).
Hope you will make Easter a time of sacrificial choices about your soul, spirit, diet and your health. Stay blessed, healthy and well. God bless you.
By Wise Chukwudi Letsa