This is one of those articles you read and immediately know the writer isn’t just in the mood for it.
So I’ll start with a story.
Weeks back, I checked my phone and was confronted with a post about a young man sick from some cancer of the gall. I was immediately broken by the news. Where the hell is the gall by the way? I did a quick search online and got a little info on this type of cancer.
It seems it’s the new number 1 cause of deaths among Nigerians. We don’t even have a proper cancer centre nor modern equipment to care for patients.
I lost my joy the rest of that day and subsequent days after that. I moped for some time, I worried, I said a few words of prayer but I didn’t call the young man. I didn’t know what I’d say to him but I made sure I followed up on details about him from the group chats.
It’s disheartening when young people who have no business being sick just wither away from diseases like this. You see, this particular young man is the type we used to call ‘whazup guy,’ back in the day. To describe him; you’ll use the words, ‘trendy, lover of good life, popular with the girls, sharp’, these would best describe him and with not too positive connotations, either.
He was also a smart alec, in the true sense, you share an idea with him, he refines it and passes it off as his own. You know that kind of guy? Ehen,
So a few ‘friends’ weren’t quite as sympathetic as I would have liked them to be; not that their sympathy would have made him better, yet, I felt they were wrong to suggest, ever so subtly that this guy deserved to have cancer or any disease at all. Who say disease dey look face?
One commenter said, ‘Oti like ije ku je ju’ meaning he likes to eat too much junk food. While the statement may not entirely be the reason our common friend is ill, I can’t but agree that many times, the junk we consume is the root cause of it all and I don’t need to be a nutritionist or doctor to make that assertion.
My grandma lived to be 98 years, she lost her sight two years before her 98th birthday but her teeth were still intact. She used kpako or native chewing stick everyday along with toothpaste and brush, needless to say, her smile was one of her greatest assets. She cooked her meals by herself until a few months before she passed and she hated soft meat. You’ll think at her age she would eat just mashed potatoes and be quite content, not for grandma, who we fondly called Maami. She loved fresh fish, hard meat and vegetables and she hated frozen foods.
These days, no thanks to the fast paced lives we all live, fast food solves many hunger pangs for individuals and families alike. No thanks to the pizzas, the ice creams, the sausages and bacons we have all acquired a taste for, we are slowly killing ourselves with the processed food consumed on a daily basis.
I grew up in an era where fast food joints were few and far, the most popular of such were the Leventis and Kingsway pastry stores of those days, then of course, with the advent of joints like, Chicken George (where’s Chicken George by the way?) and a good number afterwards, I won’t mention for fear of libel, our eating habits evolved; families feast on junk practically every weekend, denying our kids real soul food and therefore flailing to inculcate a culture for the appreciation of real food.
Kids don’t want to eat ‘swallow’, they raise their noses at meals that require soups to eat. Instead they brighten at the sight of pastries and quick meals. Visiting days at many boarding school these days is always a competition of fast food takeaways.
Pastries aren’t the only culprits dangerous to our health, all those amala joints located near faeces infested gutters and piles of dirt with huge cauldrons of fatty ‘roundabout’ ‘ponmo’, ‘shaki’, ‘abodi’ are culprits; so is the tuwo from fly infested, unwashed pots and smelly cooks with equally smelly wrappers slapping the mould of tuwo as the cook turns the ladle, the shawarmah from hands caked with dead skin scratched off hairy pits, the genetically grown fruits that litter the streets of Lagos are no more healthy than that barbecued meat we so love!
Much as I hate to cook, I realised long ago the benefits of eating healthy; the benefits of vegetable cooked fresh and not the one frozen for one month, the good that comes from drinking ordinary water instead of that chilled bottle of soda that calls your name, the feel of life that you derive from long walks instead of simply hopping from car to car.
Are these the a to z of healthy living, possibly not but it’s a good start. Life is good folks, let’s give our bodies the best they need to make it really worth living!