NUTRITION IN A PILL:WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

 

 

 

If you were in your pre-teens in the 1990’s and are reading this,your parents may have made the very wise decision to send you to  boarding school and among the many items that were on your back to school shopping list was either a bottle of Scott’s Emulsion or Seven Seas Cod Live oil.

Unlike today where Scott’s Emulsion is available in Strawberry flavor and you can get it in chew-able Pastilles or Gummies then we had to deal with the arduous task of taking a teaspoonful of this fish oil as it was.

That was our first introduction to nutrition in a bottle and then because we did not know better,we took it whenever we felt like it and consequently by the end of the term you would end up with more than 2 unfinished bottles of cod liver oil which when you went home you could not  satisfactorily explain to your mother why you had not been taking .

The contents of the bottle of Cod liver oil were meant to strengthen our immune system as    the boarding school we went to  tucked somewhere in the scenic location of Kyeni   could get really cold especially in the second term , the longest term of the year  when temperatures were very low.

On a clear morning,you might probably see the tip of Mount Kenya the air was crisp and fresh,no other place could boast such fresh air,but wait till  winter set in during the months of May-July,that is when we saw our breath turn into mist when we walked  outside of the dorm for some of the quickest   showers I have had. Later we would cover ourselves in scarves and what we then called leg warmers which were knitted socks but without a heel  and which we put on over our white socks.Second term was the period in school when you made the most visits to the school matron who  also doubled up as the school nurse .For anything she could not treat she sent you to Kyeni Hospital which was tucked into these cul de sac that included a primary school,high school and church complete with a nunnery and a hospital. That’s is when you got to spend a few hours out of school ,sitted on a hospital bench waiting your turn to see a doctor.

The purpose of the cod liver oil was meant to keep these visits to the hospitals to a minimum but  we adhered to our own rules and with no one to  ensure we took the fish oil  daily,well we ended up at the sanatorium more often than our mothers would have liked.

There are various stages in our lives where our dietary intake of the required nutrients,especially vitamins and minerals may not be adequate or maybe needed in extra amounts .Ideally we should get all our nutrients from our diets but changing dietary patterns  or conditions necessitate intake of supplements.

Thanks to scientists who found a way  to package some of the 13 essential vitamins we need as humans   in a pill format a  in  the 1930’s and 40’s and nowadays there are a  wide range of nutrition supplements you can buy over the counter.

However,before  you go buy that bottle or box of supplements,a key question to ask yourself would be ,do I really need it?

And how do you determine if you really need that supplement.

If you are eating healthy and at every meal y are able to eat your recommended amounts of energy giving food(carbohydrates),protein,vegetables and fruits  then supplements will not be the first thing you reach out for every morning.A balanced diet should be able to cater for all your nutritional needs.

It becomes an issue when your diet consists of mostly highly processed foods that are high in fat  which puts you at  risk of suffering from a deficiency of  vitamins and minerals.Our bodies need 13 vitamins to thrive,Vitamins A,C,D,E,K and 8 from the B group of vitamins.The Global Micro nutrient deficiency crisis has only become of major concern in areas where there is over nutrition and people especially in urban areas have increased their intake of calories,animal protein and are taking too little of the plant proteins, fresh fruits ,vegetables and in areas where we have humanitarian crisis and there is under nutrition.

In vulnerable groups such as in young children,pregnant and lactating mothers and the elderly ,doctors may recommend taking of supplements to safe guard against potential risk of running into deficincies.Mircronutirents are especially important in the stages in life like childhood and pregnancy because these are periods where  a lot of  physical changes are taking place and micro nutrients play a very vital role in these bodily changes .(You may want to refer to the previous post to learn about the very important role of micronutirents).They are  key ingredients of  growth and a deficiency may result in a lasting physical impairment.

In the elderly their intake of nutritional supplements may be necessary as they may not be able to absorb it very well from what they eat daily. Due to a decreased appetite  we tend to   consume less as we grow older which affects the consumption of certain foods that provide  essential nutrients. Of special importance is the intake of calcium in the elderly which is highly affected as we get older and research has shown that we consume less calcium as we age.Calcium is essential for healthy bones and no wonder there is an increase in bone related injuries as we age as bones due to a decreased intake of both Calcium and Vitamin D which are essential for healthy bones results in weak and brittle bones .

For post menopausal  women  the risk of injuries is higher as the levels of estrogen in the body decrease,among the many functions of oestrogen is that it protects our bones and ensures they are strong and healthy .The drop in oestrogen levels after menopause leaves women prone to  bone loss and increases the risk of osteoporosis which is a condition where the bones become thinner and may easily fracture.

For women a  diet of 3-4 servings of dairy is recommended as well as physical exercise but more on that in the next article.

If you are eating well already,you might not need to use nutrition supplements as a nutirient rich diet should be able to cater for all the nutrients your body needs .However if your diet is poor and you are prone to infections   seek your  doctors advice before you get on the path of  taking  nutrition supplements.

 

 

 

 

SALE OF MARIDADI BED THROWS

Get our beautiful Ankara Bed Throws and bring character to your space.

Because I am extremely fond of the bright prints of Ankara,a friend and I are making these beautiful throws which are big enough to fit a couple of kids for movie night and are a great way to add character to your rooms.

Get yours today by getting in touch.

Email me at santinanyagah@gmail.com

WHY I STARTED DOING YOGA

 

Have you ever lived in denial like I have been doing for the last couple of months?

We all do .At least I know there might be at least one person reading this that will identify with living in denial about some aspect of their life.

For me it is the fact that I need to be taking better care of myself.

Am a fastidious eater and I exercise,though not much  .When I started having stiffness in my joints especially when the cold season started I knew it was time to get out a yoga mat and engage in some exercise that would do my joints some good.

Yoga would also give me some me time,Nairobi is such a fast paced city and one can easily forget to take time out for themselves,which might explain why we are seeing a rise in the number of people having to deal with stress related conditions getting younger by the day.

I have tried yoga before  and I like the fact that it is a low impact work out program that will be easy on my joints because I cannot run !

Yoga  is a great option for me because as I said I cannot run and I did not want a work out program that would hurt my joints .

In the short time I have done the yoga workouts which take me about one and a quarter hour every morning,I have righted my posture,learned to listen to the cues my body is sending me and not push it too much.My knee joints feel much better already and I thought to myself why not organize a fun work out for a Saturday morning then follow it with lunch at a swanky upmarket in Nairobi ?

In the hope that some one else out there might be interested,I have space for just 20 people who would like to enjoy a low impact fun work out with some amazing people.

If you feel some time out for yourself on a Saturday morning feels like fun,then by all means sign up for the event.

Use this Yoga Brunch Sign Up Link.

The details of the cost,venue and date will be communicated.

We hope to have our first class on the 26th of this month at a great outdoor venue.

Sign up and invite a friend.

LOVING YOUR 4C HAIR..AS IT IS

Photo credit:www.studio2121.com

Before we talk about my hair type,let me get this quote from Americanah out of the way,it sets the stage for what I consider is a travesty that has gone on for far too long but thankfully is almost obsolete as more women are now getting to fall in love with their hair,the way it is and without having to resort to having it relaxed .

“Relaxing your hair is like being in prison. You’re caged in. Your hair rules you. You didn’t go running with Curt today because you don’t want to sweat out this straightness. You’re always battling to make your hair do what it wasn’t meant to do.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

When I first decided to go natural and shave  off my relaxed hair,I walked into a barber shop  in Nakuru ,told the barber to  chop of my shoulder length hair straight hair and I looked at him as he shook his head,he could not believe it and it felt like he was willing me to change my mind.

And also 8 years ago,not very many women were walking into barber shops….willingly.

He looked at me,asked  if I knew what I was doing and of course I answered that I was very clear headed , that the only thing I had  that morning was tea.

He walked me,almost in slow motion to his chair,draped a gown over my shoulders, took out his shaving machine and he proceeded to shave off more of my hair than I had asked him to.

That was almost 8 years ago and  since then I have relaxed my hair once ,in a moment of pure madness which  I regret to date,then shaved it again….. and now..I am happy with my  type 4 hair and would not want it any other way.

In that 8 year period,I have seen more  women embracing the natural hair look and beauty shops in Nairobi are now stocking more natural hair products than ever before.If you walk into Super cosmetics on Mama Ngina Street it is a natural hair haven with hair products your hair will love and over the years,natural hair products have been taking up more shelf space even in supermarkets.

One of the dangers   that come with having natural hair though is that you run the risk of   becoming a product junkie.You go to town to buy one hair product,just one,  before you know it, you have 10 products in your shopping cart.And out of the 10,your hair will be in love with just one..1!

To avoid spending money on products you do not need,it is important to know you hair type.

Thanks to growth in the hair industry we now can tell our hair types,thanks to one man whom I will call The Man.

That man is Andre Walker.

Andre Walker is a hair stylist developed a hair typing system to help us understand our natural hair ,be able to identify our hair type so that  we can better take care of it.You may have seen his work as a stylist on people like Oprah Winfrey and remember that pixie hair cut Halle Berry is famous for..Andre Walker is the man behind that look.

At the beginning of this post,I included  a simple chart to help you identify your hair type,a simple rule of thumb to follow is that the more tightly curled your hair is,the more delicate it is (yes its true) my hair is type 4 and this type of hair needs a lot of moisture as it tends to dry out quickly.

Once you have identified your hair type , read as much as you can on how you can take care of it and do not follow everything you see on You Tube and use what you learned to identify the best type of products that would go well with your hair.

A lot of disappointment  will accompany you   once you start on your natural hair care journey and your  hair does not behave as well as that of You Tubers. It does not have to. Hair like your finger print is unique and will be affected by things such as the humidity of the part of the world  you live in,the kind of water you wash your hair with (  soft /hard),what you eat,do you smoke ,drink alcohol, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables ?

I also have to say that a particular hair product may give very different results   depending on the hair type it is used on.

In addition ,something we  cannot run away from are our genes,they  play a big role on the kind of curls we carry on our heads.

Now about my  type 4 hair  which a lot of people find difficult to maintain but which i absolutely love.This hair type contrary to popular opinion is actually very fragile as its made up of very thin strands of fine hair ,densely packed together.When this hair type is not well moisturized it tends towards a coarse texture and will easily break.

One of the best ways I would recommend of knowing what works on your hair type,especially if you are type 4 is trying out one particular product at a time,that way you get to know what works and what does not.

With time I have come to learn what my hair likes and what it does not,below I will give a simple guide on what I would recommend if you are type 4 hair,it works for most hair types as well  with simple variations for those whose curl patterns are not so tight.

1.Liquid/Water

Washing my hair daily has always been a great way to keep it full of shine as well as moisturized and when it’s not in braids I wash it daily and even with braids I make sure i wash it at least  every 2 weeks.

Sometimes, but only rarely do I  ever use hair gel as I have seen that it dries out my hair too much.

If you find that spritzing your hair with water is not doing much,it is because your hair products are sitting on your hair shaft clogging it and making it hard for moisture to get through.

This is when you pre poo it and give it a good wash preferably with a clarifying shampoo.

2.Oil

After the hair wash,you need to keep that moisture locked in and a good way to do this is to use a hair butter or a natural oil like olive oil.I did a post on how to know if the olive oil you are buying is the real thing.

Using an oil on your hair which is part of the L.O.C method for natural hair  helps to seal in moisture thus preventing moisture loss which leads to dry brittle hair.

3.Cream

You can follow up the oil with a hair cream that locks in the moisture in your hair and I can vouch for  the Dax Roots Olive Cream ,my hair loves it.

The cream acts  a sealant to the moisture you introduced in steps 1 and sealed in step  2 with oil.

Because my hair is a type 4,the above method works out very well and  will also do for most hair types.If you hair is more loosely curled  read on The Natural Hair Rules blog about  the L.O.C.O method which  works out pretty well for these other  hair types.

This is where you use a Liquid.Light oil.Cream then a heavy oil like coconut or olive oil as a sealant.It would be great to confirm if any of you with finer hair have used this method and what the results were.

Back to the conversation about type 4 hair..I have found out that with hair you just need to know what works and does not work for it,for me as stated earlier,hair gels  my hair  does not like,it dries out , breaks and on the occassion that I have to use it, I make sure it is washed  out by evening.

My hair type  loves moisture and the daily wash is a must after which I apply olive or coconut oil and sometimes a cream.

I also try to avoid any heat treatments like having it blow dried and combing it out and only finger comb it during a wash or when I am applying oil to it which reduces on the breakage.This approach has helped it retain its curl pattern which when people ask what I use on my hair to be able to retain the curl pattern,I simply say I hardly ever use a comb on it.

At the moment I am in Nyasuba Locs which I had done by Onea on Hair ,what I love about them them is that they are light and that there was no need to have my hair straightened in order to have them done which is a win win for my hair and my scalp as well.I am maintaining the locs and my hair by using olive oil on my scalp  every other day .I have had the locs for about 2 weeks now and I am doing a wash next week.

Do you have type  4 hair? what is your hair care regimen like ?

Would love to hear from you as well as hear on your experience with hair products.

 

 

 

HOW TO TELL IF YOU ARE BUYING REAL OLIVE OIL

A few years ago,there were only  3 brands of olive oil that were available on supermarket shelves in Nairobi, that was unless you knew about the Italian convenience store in Valley Arcade ,New ItalyCor , where there was more variety and not just of olive oil but a lot of Italian food products and wine.

At my last visit to a local chain of supermarkets  I counted  at least 8 different brands and was surprised to see a brand that is bottled  locally.

There has been a rise in the demand for olive oil as people are becoming more aware of its benefits.

If you visit beauty stores and if you have been following the natural hair movement you will have noticed  that a lot of people swear by olive oil for both their hair and skin as well.Olive oil forms part of a daily regimen that helps keep hair especially nappy hair moisturized and healthy as its chemical structure that makes it easier to get absorbed into our  hair follicles.

When my son was younger and suffered from bouts of eczema,I got tired of the steroid  cream we were using and resorted to using the extra virgin  olive oil from my pantry.It worked beautifully  as it easily blended and melted into his skin leaving a lovely  and healthy glow .

Now along with this  phenomenal popularity in the use of  olive oil,there has emerged a counterfeit market where blends of olive oil are being sold as the real thing and it is going  for astronomical prices.This counterfeit industry is not new and has gone on for years and it is estimated to be worth billions of dollars.

Actually ,if you can, get this book Extra Viriginty:The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive oil .

Why the rise in counterfeit versions of olive oil?

Because olive oil has for millennia been known for its health benefits like ,you can read up on a previous article I wrote on why olive oil has been revered for millennia.

And because it is grown in very few countries,it has become hard to meet the demand and a few unscrupulous individuals have found a way of selling of blends of low quality olive oil or even vegetable oil and touting them as the real thing.

Some of the health  benefits of olive oil that make it such a sought after commodity are :

1.It helps in lowering bad cholesterol because it is high in monounsaturated fats.

2.It has been known to improve digestion,metabolism and prevent aging.

3.Can help in weight loss because  its high in monounsaturated fats .

Even with these health benefits,it is recommended not to consume  more than 2 table spoons of olive oil because of  by its nature  being an oil,it is high in calories.

How can you tell  real olive oil  from fake  olive oil?

1.When buying olive oil,be sure to check the label to know where the olive oil comes from.On some bottles you may find that the olive oil has been blended from oils from Italy and Spain.Some of it just says product of Italy.

The real olive oil however should state from what region of Italy it comes from.The more information provided on the bottle,the more likely it is that it is the real thing and the more expensive it will be.

2.Do not buy any olive oil in a plastic bottle.Olive oil is stored in dark colored glass bottles usually gree on brown to protect it from UV light which degrades it..

3.Be on the look out for labels such as light olive oil,pure olive oil or just plain simple olive oil.When the oil is labelled extra virgin olive oil,it means it has come from the first pressing of the olives and color range of the oil is from yellow to deep green depending on the type of olives the oil was harvested from.

4.Check the dates for when the olive oil was produced.Ideally the best olive oil is one that has been newly harvested ,unlike wine olive oil does not get better with age and olive oil should not be stored for long.If your bottle as a harvest date then you can be sure you are getting the real deal ,as  it is bottled without any preservatives,good olive oil should keep up to two years though the idea is to use it up  as soon as you get it in order to make most use of the flavors.

Locally in Kenya,I have found that the best brands are Olitalia and Pietro Coricelli.

Recipe ideas:Drizzling some olive oil over some toasted bread topped with  cheese , tomatoes and a dash of black pepper … absolutely delish.

If you love sun dried tomatoes,soak them in olive oil and use them in your vegetable  sandwiches,….our taste buds will be in heaven!

It is also great when added to a warm bowl of pasta or for your salad dressings.

If you are planning to buy olive oil for your hair or skin,both of these brands that I mentioned above are excellent choices .

 

 

 

WHY YOGHURT IS A WOMAN’S BEST FRIEND

 

At one point in their life,a woman will get her first yeast infection and she will go rushing to her doctor,scared , confused and itchy.

Yeast infections  are fungal infections,pretty common among women and are caused by the organism Candida albicans and affect the skin and mucous membranes of a woman’s  vagina ,they could also affect your oral cavity as well.If you are a mother and have breastfed your baby,you maybe familiar with oral thrush,these two conditions are caused by the same fungus.

Candida albicans is commonly found in our mouth,digestive tract,vagina , skin  as well and is usually harmless.The reason for the harmless existence of this fungus is because good bacteria is also present and this ensures  a  perfect balance is   maintained between  the candida albicans and the good bacteria .

However some certain conditions do occur which affect this balance and the result is that  there is overgrowth of the candida albicans which then results in  a yeast infection.

The conditions that favour an increase of the candida albicans could  be  illness or  if someone is on  medication like  antibiotics .

Antibiotics kill both the good and bad bacteria and the death of the good bacteria causes an increase in the amount of the candida albicans.

The main symptoms of a yeast infection  are  itching of the vulva and area around the vagina and there  may also be  discharge.

Left untreated it is  possible for the infection to be passed on to her partner or it may end up in a woman’s blood stream which then makes it very difficult to treat.

Normal treatment for yeast infections is a topical cream or oral antifungal medication.

Something  you might want to do to ward of yeast infections  whether you are on medication or as part of living healthy  is  take natural yoghurt.

Natural yoghurt contains lactobacillus acidophilus, “a good bacteria ”  which is   present in your intestines as well as the  mouth,vagina  and helps provide the good bacteria your body needs  to  keep yeast infections at bay.

There is no set rule on the amount of yoghurt to take while on a dose of antibiotics  but a serving or two a day  of natural yoghurt  while you are on medication is a good idea.

(A serving of yoghurt is a bout 175 grammes or 3/4 of a cup.)

There is a lot of anecdotal advice on how to treat yeast infections but it is always advisable to seek the advice of a medical professional  first .

 

AFRICA IS AT THE WINTER OLYMPICS !

Sabrina Simader during the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang ,South Korea. Photo credits:AFP-JIJI

The Winter Olympics got off to a colorful start in Pyeongchang in Gangwon Province of South Korea.

This year  marks the 94th year since the first Winter Olympic games  in 1924 in Chamonix ,France.

The Winter Olympics are held the second year after the more popular Summer Olympic are held and attract a select group of countries whose weather conditions favour winter sports.Africa did not have any country representing the continent until 1960 when South Africa made its debut at the games with an all-white team, we have had  at least one African country taking part in the games since then.

This year is special as  there will be 13 African athletes flying their countries flags , most of the athletes participating in the Winter Olympic games   have been born or trained outside the continent .A major reason for the small number  of African athletes at the Winter Games is the fact that the  tropical climate on the continent does not provide the conditions that would make  conducive training grounds for the type of sports  at the Winter Olympics.

The African countries taking part in the Winter Olympics are Kenya,Nigeria,Eritrea,Morocco,Ghana,Madagascar,Togo and South Africa.

Sabrina Wanjiku Simader, is representing Kenya and she is the first alpine skier to ever represent the country  and   her debut at the Winter Olympics is an exciting opportunity  for her as well as for the country.The 19 year old whose father is Austrian was all smiles  as she carried the Kenyan flag high during the opening ceremony .

A team you will also  want to keep your eyes on as they are also making their debut is Nigeria,which has a bob sled team and a skeleton athlete as well as being all-female.The team’s journey to Pyeongchang started last year in February when they launched a Gofundme campaign to raise funds for what would be Nigeria’s maiden debut at the Winter Olympics.The bob sled team is made up of athletes Akuoma Omeoga, Ngozi Onwumere and Seun Adigun and  the skeleton athlete Simidele Adeagbo.

Hopefully after whis year,we will see an even higher number of African athletes at the Winter Olympics in Beijing,China 2022 and that African governments will see to it that they support these athletes.

Watch the teams on the  Ellen DeGeneres show ,the games are available on satellite Television provider DSTV on SS12,13 and 14 and on Kwese TV the games are live on Olympics HD channel 306.

At Maridadi Lifestyle we would like to send  the African athletes the best of wishes  as they represent the continent.

 

 

THE POP ART GALLERY AT dusitD2:A SPACE FOR KENYAN ARTISTS

 

Katanu Kay (right) and Santina Nyagah CEO -Maridadi Life (left )

“Art when used well is a powerful , creative force that can change how we see ourselves,the world around us and how we respond to the challenges life throws at us.”

Art has been with us for millenia,for as long as we have had human beings on earth ,we have had art and an appreciation of art is a skill that is as a result of exposure.

The art  scene in Nairobi has become very vibrant and this activity   is what is attracting global attention to the city’s art scene.This vibrancy has been fuelled by a  burgeoning and  educated middle class as well as the high number of expatriates who live in the city who have beome very appreciative of the talent that  resides in the city and its environs.

With no distinct  home-grown art event ,the pop up trend has created an opportunity for artists to showcase their work to an appreciative local and international audience .

dusitD2 has filled this lack of a home-grown art event with the  pop art gallery exhibition  held at its upmarket location on 14,Riverside Drive.

The art exhibition  held every last Saturday of the month  has    a children’s  corner which runs concurrently with the exhibition and is  a partnership with Capital Kids club and  offers  an opportunity for children to get art lessons while  parents  enjoy the art work  from  very talented artists.

Kenyans are not avid consumers of art and through this  collaboration with Google Kenya ,dusitD2 is offering Kenyan artists the space to exhibit and sell their  art as well as   promoting  an  appreciation of art which offers an opportuity  for  artists to  earn a living through the sale of their  work.

On this particular Saturday the artists whose works were on display were:

  • Ssegujja Godfrey
  • Victor Binge
  • Katanu Kay
  • Ronnie Tindi
  • Jak Katarikawe
  • Sam Githui
  • Louis Chvetsova

 

I was very taken by the work of Katanu Kay which incorporated Kitenge fabric ,of particular interest to me was her work Euphoria 2 . We stood in front of that painting  talking about art , what inspires her and in that half hour I forgot she was just 1 month shy of her 20th birthday and that she  had  been exhibiting for just 2 years and  a month . Thanks to the exhibition,which  attended last year for the first time,  her work had found its way to   art collectors  in South Arica,Nigeria,the US and Australia.

 

Euphoria 2 is as a result of  a meeting with a lady who after seeing her work on Euphoria 1 asked for an exact copy of that particular piece.Katanu ,however does not do replicas of her work  and asked if  she could do something different ,the client agreed and the result is Euphoria 2.The two pieces ,Euphoria 1 & 2 are  inspired by the same thing ,a celebration of Katana’s African heritage and culture. It is her desire  that through her work  people take every   opportunity to  embrace being African and to  celebrate it.

She is a graduate   of the  BTEC Art and Design program at Brook House school and is headed to SCAD where she will be pursuing  her   studies in  Fine Art & Interior Design which she wants to pursue up to   PhD  level.

Art for Katanu  is a channel that  she uses to express herself , her ideas and it is a platform to share these ideas with the world.She would love that through her art people are able to ask questions,explore ideas and think outside the box of what society terms as the norm and that through this we develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of each other.

It is why she took the very unusual route of incorporating African fabric in her art work – which I thought was such a  great   conversation starter  on her work and what inspires her.

Read:African fabric making its presence on global runways.

When it was time for me to leave ,I found myself on the terrace of the Soko restaurant   thinking about what an amazing point in time it was to be alive,to hear artists like Katana talk about her   hope to have her work exhibited at the New York Art Gallery .

Thanks to dusitD2, this is not the last we have heard of this young lady and all the other equally talented artists who have found a  space to exhibit their art  work as well given an opportunity for Nairobi residents to enjoy local art.Before leaving,I  made a quick trip back to the exhibition to have one last look and some pieces had already been marked as sold and set aside  which only goes to  emphasise the quality of the work on display.

 

Look out for the next edition of the Pop Art Gallery on the last Saturday of this coming month of February and get ready to sample  great art and food .

See you there!

 

HOW TO PREPARE HEALTHY SNACKS FOR YOUR CHILDREN

Snacking for children

A woman wields the  greatest  power over her household as she determines what gets eaten in her house ,she determines how healthy her family will be and most of us forget the power we have.You solely can  set the course over what kind of eating habits your children will carry with them through out their lives and well into adulthood.

As a woman many times I have found myself  asking this very simple question- ” why am I  here?” .

I don’t know if many others struggle with the same question ?This   feeling  that even though I may be doing very well in my career,business,relationships….I am not yet quite there.

It feels like we are in some kind of waiting room,you know like the one at the docotrs where you have to wait out your turn?

Hospital waiting rooms and waiting rooms of any kind are interesting places to get to see what people do when they have nothing to do but wait their turn.

Some are busy on their phones,reading newspapers ,magazine or a book or just people watching.

When you have children and have to take your children to the paedetrician,it is a great time to meet other mother,fathers as well though they are pretty rare.As a nutritionist it is also a time to see the kind of snacks children carry with them.Snacks are a great way to keep children  busy,their  very short attentions spans (15 minutes with my kids)means that they get bored pretty fast.They have very creative ways of keeping you busy as a parent with their trips to the dispenser pouring out cup after cup of water or making repeated trips to the bathroom to wash their hands.

Snack time is an opportunity parents can use to teach children to pick the healthy option rather than the one that looks tempting.Whether it is a hospital visit or packing snacks for school ,whatever snacks we put into their hands should more often than not be a choice that feeds their bodies and their taste buds as well.

Snack time is an opportunity to meet our nutritional requirements and growing children require more micro nutrients which are the vitamins and minerals than adults do.Giving them  a choice of fruits,nuts as well as vegetables is a healthy way of meeting their nutritional needs.

The trick to getting children eat more vegetables and fruits is to present it in a very attractive manner.

After the last post on the building blocks of your child’s nutrition some readers asked if I could give some ideas on healthy snacks they could give to their children .

Just before I share the suggestions I have  prepared I thought I should say some things to every woman who is doing her best to raise her children to eat better and have healthier habits.

A woman yields the  greatest  power over her household as she determine what get eaten and most do not  know it.You are the one that sets the course over what kind of eating habits your children will carry with them through out their lives.

A woman has the power to determine the kind of lifestyle her children,grand children and future great grand children will live.

A woman determines what ends up on the plates of her children,by the choice of the kind of foods she chooses to wean her child on, she is developing her child’s taste buds for healthy food .

The reason why we are told to wean children on a variety of natural foods is to develop their taste for nature’s goodness and not food from little  jars or boxes that is filled with a lot of sugar,salt and other additives and preservatives.

As much as possible try and develop healthy eating habits in your children as early as you can.

And even when you may have missed the opportunity earlier on,as long as they live under your roof you still have the power to change the course of their eating habits.

Children who develop healthy eating habits from an early age have fewer incidences of disease and hospital visits.They are more likely to perform better in school as well as socially.

You may want to read a post I did on why you should be reading food labels as well.

The foods that are great and healthy alternatives are foods you can pick from your local kiosk or grocery shop and when it comes to fruits,the best choices are the fruits in season,these offer you a fresh as well as cheaper alternative than those that are out of season.

1.Fruits

Fruits are best eaten  whole not blended.

Blending a few fruits for juice may seem healthy on the surface but fruits contain fructose a sugar and drinking too much fruit juice means  children while enjoying nature’s goodness in a glass of juice are also taking in too much sugar.

2-3 fruits daily are enough to meet a child’s dietary requirements .

Instead of blending 2-3 fruits to make fruit juice have your children eat the fruit whole,if it is an orange,slice it and let them have the orange.If an apple let them crunch their teeth  through the skin of the apple or let them peel the banana .Peeling bananas is a good way to develop your child’s fine motor skills as well.

As we live in the tropics,Kenya is never out of fruits,we enjoy a wide variety of fruits all year round,be sure to have your child eat at least 2 in a day by packing them as a snack for school and having another as an after school snack.

3.Salads

Salads are a great way for getting your children to meet their dietary requirements for  vitamins and minerals .

Making salads is a fun and easy way to get children to eat more of their vegetables.

Better still is if you use your own dressing,forget the one you buy from the supermarket that is loaded with preservatives,sugar and salt.Home made salad dressing are easy and tasty.

Try making them with some olive oil,freshly squeezed lemon juice ,black pepper,pinch of salt ,honey and use that dressing to toss your grated cabbage and carrot,or lettuce tomatoes and carrots.

Salads can be served for dinner or over the weekend and are a great way to get kids involved in preparing healthy meals ,lessons that they will definitely carry with them through adult hood and when they bring up their own children as well.

4.Nuts and seeds

Before you start giving your children nuts and seeds,ensure they do not have any nut allergies.

Cashew nuts,macadamia nuts are   favorites with most children , we also have peanuts(some children have peanut allergies)  we also have almonds,hazel nuts that are not produced locally and cost more but are also healthy choices and are stocked in a variety of stores.

Before packing nuts and seeds as a snack for children ensure they are past the age of 4 years and can comfortably eat them in your presence as they are a choking hazard for younger children.

There are also nut butters available and these nut butters can be used on bread,on sandwiches as well and are healthier than margarine as well as most commercially produced fruit jams.

5.Dried fruits

Dried fruits like sultanas,dates  and raisins are also good but not too much though as sugar is used as a preservative to lengthen their shelf life.These you can mix in with your favourite nuts to create some variety or added to breads you make at home and to cakes as well.

Salads can be jazzed up with some nuts,dried fruits and seeds like sesame seeds as well.

6.Sandwiches

Everybody loves bread(at least I thought so until we started thinking gluten was evil)

You may want to read :WHY YOU MAY NOT REALLY BE ALLERGIC TO GLUTEN.

You can make sandwiches from left over chicken and add tomatoes and with a simple simple dressing of olive oil and lemon you will have  a really delicious sandwich.You can add some crunch to it by first grilling the bread,rubbing some garlic clove on it and what you will end up with your children will keep asking for every time you have left over chicken.

One of my favorites as well as my kids is placing a slice of bread on a plate and layering it with thinly sliced avocado pieces  ,slices of  tomatoes  and topping it with a slice of bread then slicing the bread  diagonally into 4 cute triangular pieces.

You can come up with as many sandwich varieties as you like depending on what your family likes and as long as it is a healthy.Make your sandwiches  irresistible  by cutting them into fancy shapes using cookie cutters,your children will love them.

The secret to  getting it right with  sandwiches is to buy sandwich bread which is denser in order to hold the filling(s )and pick a healthy filling as well.

Fillings for sandwiches can be anything from fruits like avocado,tomato  to salads like guacamole or left over roast beef,chicken,turkey or tuna.

6.Making your own fruit yoghurts

A lot of the fruit yoghurts available in the market have a lot of sugar in them,a great idea is to buy  plain yoghurt and it with a fruit of your choice and pack it for your child  which they can have  as a mid morning or after school snack when they come back home.

Fruits that will give you a really great flavor when blended with yoghurt are strawberries,bananas,avocado,blueberries and just  one fruit per serving of yoghurt at a time .

A few years back I bought a popsicle maker and would often make popsicles with fruit yoghurt. The kids loved it especially when the weather was hot.

You may want to read :BENEFITS OF YOGHURT

A great way to ensure you do not have to push your children to choose healthy snack options is to always have a fruit bowl in the house,make sure its filled with fruits like bananas,oranges,apples ,grapes and by keeping a jar of nuts and seeds as well so that when the hunger pangs strike then they know where they can refill from.

If this post helpful,we would love to hear from you.It is readers like Wambui and everyone else who sends in their questions that keep us writing.

We may not always get it right all the time but when we can get it right 75% of the time when we pick a fruit over a packet of crisps then we are doing the right thing.

See you in the comments section and thank you Wambui!

IF YOU REALLY HAVE TO DRINK……

 

 

BEFORE YOU DRINK,EAT (2)

After having been to a couple of places where people take  adult beverages and where I spend a lot of time people watching I have been  struck by a few things.

There are more people drink than are consuming food.

And women are drinking nearly as much or more than men are (sometimes not always).

Drinking on an empty stomach does you no good whether you are a man or a woman  and women are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol than men.

First let start with what alcohol does to your body  and let us start by watching this short video.

In many developed countries there are guidelines as to how much alcohol a woman or a man can take in a single sitting.The rest of this article is based on those guidelines.

I borrowed the guidelines from the Center for Addiction and mental health because there are many other guidelines supplied by other bodies and they recommend the same amounts of alcohol for both men and women.Research however has shown that women and men absorb and metabolize alcohol very differently.

If you are going to choose to drink the recommended amounts for women and men are as follows;

Not more than 2 drinks a day for women,10 in a week is the maximum amount.

For men,not more than 4 drinks in a single sitting and not more than 14 in a week.

Women have less water in their bodies than men therefore their absorption rate for alcohol is higher  than men with whom they may be taking a similar amount.

Research has also shown that women suffer more organ damage than men from the effects of too much alcohol intake.You may want to read this report that was done by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

When you take alcohol, about 20% of it gets absorbed in the stomach but most of it will get absorbed in  your small intestines .Your body will absorb alcohol faster than it absorbs nutrients and all of this action of absorption of nutrients from food happens in the small intestines.

In the ratio of preference for what your liver will metabolize whether nutrients from food or alcohol,your body will pick alcohol.(Me thinks its because alcohol is a foreign substance and so the body wants to get it out of the system fast,very fast.)

Your liver is where alcohol gets metabolized and it takes an hour for the liver  to process one standard drink of alcohol.A standard drink of alcohol   is equal to a can of beer(5% alcohol),a glass of wine or a shot of liquor or spirit.

It is recommended  not to take more than a drink in the space of an hour, more than this and  your body gets saturated with alcohol and cannot absorb any nutrients from food you take as it is busy metabolizing alcohol.(A good reason to be alternating each drink with water).

What alcohol then does is that it interferes with the way nutrients from food get  absorbed by the body.We have already seen that when taken together with food ,the metabolism of alcohol takes first place before anything else and interferes with how other nutrients from food  get metabolized and absorbed and interferes with an individuals nutritional status.

When alcohol is being metabolized by the body it produces  toxic substances that interfere with  vital body organs like the liver.It is the reason why over consumption of alcohol leads to liver damage which can  affect  metabolism,blood clotting,drug metabolism and other body functions.

Alcohol has no nutritional value whatsoever as it consists  of (mostly)water,pure alcohol(ethanol) and sugars in variable amounts which depends on type of alcoholic beverage.

Alcohol will interfere with your nutrition in two ways.

1.Through insufficient intake of nutrients.

2.Through intake of high fat diet and reduced physical activity it will lead to obesity.

Two nutrients of which alcohol intake affects their absorption and metabolism are proteins and nutrients.

Proteins are used by the body to build and repair tissues and are a major component of every cell in your body  and vitamins play a very major role in your bodily functions-functions such as digestion,metabolism and immunity.

Part of managing alcohol intake as well as its  effects  is drinking responsibly.

1.Eating before drinking and avoiding drinking on an empty stomach.Having a high protein meal at least an hour before drinking is a good idea as well as snacking on something while drinking.

2.Not drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol depending on your gender.

3.Alternating your drinking with water.

4.Keeping track of how much you are drinking.

5.Not drinking alcohol while on medication.

6.Not driving after drinking.

Having heard as well as seen the effects of having people’s drinks spiked I thought I should add these two as well.

7.Do not just sit there drinking fro 5 hours,move around,dance take a walk and do not leave your drink unattended .

8.Go out and drink  with people you know well and trust.

Has this post been helpful,we would love to hear back from you.We love and appreciate feedback.