Eat­ing healthy should be an ev­ery­day thing

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion/feature - Gen­der Tsun­gai Chek­erwa-Ma­chokoto

IT is of­ten said that we are what we eat. But do we re­ally be­lieve that? If we re­ally did be­lieve it, the way we eat would be dif­fer­ent. Con­di­tions like di­a­betes and diseases such as can­cer can be con­trolled by diet. It is im­por­tant for peo­ple to know that we ac­tu­ally are what we eat. My hus­band is di­a­betic and his con­di­tion has taught me quite a few les­sons about health in gen­eral and the ef­fect of what we eat on our well­be­ing.

There are di­a­bet­ics who con­trol their blood sugar lev­els with just eat­ing un­re­fined foods such as sadza rezviyo (isitshwala sam­a­bele) and mil­let in­stead of white sadza, lots of veg­eta­bles and other low GI foods.

Can­cer cells that feed on an­i­mal pro­tein if di­ag­nosed at an early stage, can may be slowed down by cut­ting out meat com­pletely.

A close friend of mine be­came ve­gan af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with can­cer and she is manag­ing well three years later.

Med­i­ca­tion cou­pled with good eat­ing habits can have a dra­matic ef­fect on your life.

First of all, it is im­por­tant to drink lots of wa­ter. Peo­ple are sup­posed to drink a min­i­mum of eight glasses of wa­ter per day. Ap­par­ently there are ways in which wa­ter can be most use­ful.

The mo­ment you wake up, you are sup­posed to drink two glasses of wa­ter be­fore you eat any­thing.

This ap­par­ently ac­ti­vates your kid­neys. You are to later on take the next two glasses 30 min­utes af­ter break­fast.

Be­fore lunch you are to drink the next two glasses and then the last two glasses an hour be­fore din­ner.

Dur­ing the course of the day, one is to main­tain hy­dra­tion by sipping on wa­ter through­out the day. You are not limited to eight glasses, it is only a min­i­mum.

In this hot weather with an an­tic­i­pated heat wave, a wa­ter bot­tle should be every­body’s best friend.

It’s im­por­tant to eat un­re­fined foods. In Zim­babwe, we are gifted with cheap or­ganic foods.

What the West calls or­ganic food is our ev­ery­day priv­i­lege. It is un­for­tu­nate that some of our chil­dren, if not most, do not par­tic­u­larly like healthy tra­di­tional foods and veg­eta­bles and we let them al­ter their fu­ture by not eat­ing veg­eta­bles.

Good eat­ing habits should be in­her­ited, and be car­ried on from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion. When my hus­band got his di­ag­no­sis, they sat us down and ex­plained that our chil­dren could end up di­a­betic as well and they ad­vised us to change our eat­ing habits.

We met with a nu­tri­tion­ist who ed­u­cated us about the im­por­tance of a min­i­mum of five veg­eta­bles per meal and two of them should be raw.

Every­body who knows me knows how healthy my home is. Our lives lit­er­ally de­pend on how well we eat. ere are some diseases that are called life­style diseases. Some of them in­clude hy­per­ten­sion.

You will con­firm that what you eat in your house to­day is what you grew up eat­ing.

It is how­ever said that knowl­edge is power and when you are aware of cer­tain in­for­ma­tion, you are em­pow­ered to make a change in the right di­rec­tion.

Adding salt on the ta­ble causes an in­stant hike in your blood pres­sure.

It is not en­cour­aged to add salt on the ta­ble. Par­ents should teach that to their chil­dren.

If it be­comes a rule that there is no salt to be added on the ta­ble, you would have contributed to your child’s health.

There have been fam­i­lies that re­duced their salt in­take and the re­sults on their health were phe­nom­e­nal. They have not ex­pe­ri­enced hy­per­ten­sion in years.

Eat­ing fruits on an empty stom­ach does won­ders for your di­ges­tion. We are sup­posed to have a fruit be­fore food.

When one is con­sti­pated, fruits will help with bowel move­ment. Or­anges, which are a rich source of vi­ta­min C, for ex­am­ple, are a bet­ter al­ter­na­tive to tak­ing vi­ta­min C sup­ple­ments.

Drink­ing ice cold wa­ter af­ter food is not ad­vis­able. Room tem­per­a­ture wa­ter is best.

I have trav­elled to China nu­mer­ous times and their eat­ing habits fas­ci­nate me con­stantly. Their peo­ple live to well over 110 years old.

They sell healthy fast food — it is not oily and comes with many healthy op­tions with veg­eta­bles and boiled rice and corn among other op­tions.

They do not give you added salt sa­chets. The Chi­nese spend the day drink­ing green tea, and other teas that cleanse and con­stantly detox­ify their bod­ies.

They drink warm wa­ter and their food is mostly steamed and boiled. If you go into a Chi­nese restau­rant, you are most likely to find some dishes that will be float­ing in wa­ter.

They use minimal oil. While we love fried food, they pre­fer boiled food.

While we like sal­ads with lots of mayonnaise, they eat a med­ley of veg­eta­bles with­out any dress­ing.

They snack on sweet pota­toes and maize cobs that are very tasty.

They sell water­mel­ons and pineap­ples on the road­side. They also sell nuts and freshly squeezed juices. We ought to learn a lot from their diet.

Fizzy drinks are a def­i­nite no no. There is just way too much sugar in those drinks that is ter­ri­ble for us be­cause sugar turns into fat.

Caf­feine drinks should be re­placed with the cleans­ing herbal teas and drinks. Wa­ter is the best bev­er­age ever.

Exercise is manda­tory in our busy lives to­day. Walk­ing is the ul­ti­mate exercise, not to lose weight or any­thing, but just to stay fit.

If you drive to work, park your car a few blocks away from work place to en­able you to walk a bit.

When you get to work and there are el­e­va­tors, it is best to take the stairs — it is good for your heart. Exercise does not mean go­ing to the gym.

Times are tough and a large num­ber of peo­ple are not able to sub­scribe to a gym but that should not be an is­sue at all.

Work­ing out at home and just mov­ing up and about is good exercise.

Our com­plete well­be­ing is im­por­tant and that is the com­bi­na­tion of our phys­i­cal, men­tal and spir­i­tual per­son.

It is pos­si­ble to re­verse or con­trol some med­i­cal con­di­tions with how we han­dle our food.

Drink­ing lots of wa­ter and exercise is en­cour­aged. Fruits and veg­eta­bles should be a reg­u­lar on our ta­bles and caf­feinated drinks should be re­placed with freshly squeezed fruit juices or bet­ter still, wa­ter.

Tsun­gai Chek­erwa-Ma­chokoto can be reached on tsungi­ma­chokoto@gmail.com

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