BATTLING WITH WEIGHT LOSS?LOVE YOURSELF FIRST.

The year is coming to an end and i would bet my last shilling that there will be millions of people whose new year resolutions will be to eat more healthy food in 2012 and lose weight.

Sadly most of these resolutions do not go past January 15th because the battle for losing weight will have been lost in their minds and their hearts.

If you want to lose weight ,you need to ask yourself not how much you want to lose,but how much do you love yourself ?

How much do you love yourself that you are willing to forego unhealty fod choices for the sake of your heart,arteries and self esteem.

Are you willing to give up loving yourself for the sake of french fries and a piece of chicken that has been deep fried?

Is your self love worth the weight of a  bottle of  soda?

Any successful weight loss program should stand on the premise of loving yourself so much that you are willing to do the muscle work involved by sticking to an exercise routine.

Secondly that you have willed yourself to be making healthier choices in terms of the kind of food you are putting on your plate.

That is the kind of love we are talking about.

Too many of us love the “things” in  our life more than our very health.

We faithfully take our cars for regular servicing,hunger for the latest tech gadgets,spend enormous amounts of time on acquiring many degrees.

But how many of us ever go for regular medical checkups at least once a year,spend as much time in the kitchen preparing healthy meals for ourselves and our families or even bother to read the food labels on the soft drinks and other processed foods we feed ourselves and our children?

(Y)our health is the greatest investment you will ever have and the only time we get to know the consequences of our bad choices is when we are lying on our backs in a hospital bed wondering what hit us.

Invest in your  health today,learn to prepare healthy meals,spend more time in the kitchen,minimize your consumption of processed foods and soft drinks.Your body will thank you in your old age.

Yes,battling with weight issues is easy if you love yourself,sadly too few of us love ourselves that much.

ALL ABOUT CHOLESTEROL

‘Cholesterol free’ is  a term that most manufacturers of cooking fats and oils use to describe their products.It is a term used to tell you the customer,that their fat or oil is good for your heart and health.

But what really is cholesterol and what does it do?

Cholesterol contrary to popular belief is present in our bodies and our bodies actually need this much villified globule of fat or lipid.We actually have this little globules  floating around in our blood plasma and the consumption of certain types of foods high in   “bad” cholesterol  is what is bad for your health.Consumption of certain foods (e.g peanuts)  that have the “good” kind of cholesterol is beneficial to our bodies.

Cholesterol then is actually a good thing because the body needs it  in the production of certain bodily functions like  bile acids,production of sex hormones and conversion of sunshine to vitamin D.

Low density lipoprotein  LDL is the bad kind while high density lipoprotein or HDL is the good kind.

You maybe wondering why we are referring to lipoproteins when we should be talking about cholesterol…it is because cholesterol is carried in our bodies and into other parts of our bodies by lipo proteins.

Foods rich in fibre will help lower your levels of cholesterol and drinking orange juice(real orange juice not that form a packet)increases the good kind of cholesterol.Garlic also when included in your salad dressing or when cooking food also helps lower your cholesterol levels .

Vitamin A,C and E that are present in foods like papaya,carrots,pumpkin,most citrus fruits and nuts like peanuts ,almonds and sunflower seeds also may help moderate levels of cholesterol in your body.

Foods that contain LDL,the  bad kind of cholesterol and which should be consumed in moderate  amounts include chicken liver,cow liver,meat,eggs and butter

HOW AFFLUENCE AND POVERTY FUEL CANCER RISKS

Back in the days when nutrition was a relatively new area of specialization ,about 10 years ago,everyone thought a nutritionist belonged either in refugee camps,hardship areas or hospitals .

Most of the Kenyan population still thinks so but a growing number of people are now realizing that a nutritionist is key towards achieving overall good health.

A number of them are being sought by all and sundry to advise on how to live healthier lifestyles.

Sadly every Tom,Dick and Harry now claims to be a nutritionist,even a gym instructor.

Affluence and better incomes in Kenya have brought  a lot of things with them,and one of the most significant is dietary changes.

A lot of people when they get more money to spend on food items,the firs thing they think about is diet change.Processed and packaged foods are thought to go well with their elevated socio- economic status.

You will then find a lot of people having lots of processed foods like cereal-out-of-a box,sausages,hot dogs and all manner of packaged foods ,loaded with preservatives just because they can.

At the bottom of the economic pyramid are the very poor who for lack of choices will eat everything and anything of what is available.

Both of these groups have one thing in common,they  suffer malnutrition for different reasons.

While one group suffers because it lacks knowledge and not choice,the other suffers from lack of choice because of limited economic resources.

Both of these groups need nutritionist but for different reasons.

Lets us start with the higher end of the socio-economic bracket,the upper middle class and the über rich .

What do they have for breakfast?lots of processed foods because they have more money to spend they  shun porridge,arrow roots,sweet potatoes and go for high-end cereals,preserved meats just because we can afford it or don’t have time to prepare healthy meals.

Most of the cereals mask hidden sugars in all it forms from sucrose,glucose to fructose.

Kenya is seeing an increase in the number of lifestyle diseases like diabetes which previously were unheard of and the patients are getting younger by the day.

It is all because of the hidden sugars available in some of the foods we are giving our children.

Am sure we never read the labels..right?

Next on that list is preserved meats that are loaded with preservatives to lengthen their shelf lives as well as to appear attractive.

The most common preservatives used is sodium nitrite that  gives  preserved meat its fresh looking color.

Its use has been associated with increased cancer risk and especially that of leukemia and brain tumors in children and young infants.This is according to a study done by the American Association for Cancer Research which also linked  the use of this preservative as a leading cause for the increased risk of pancreatic and colorectal cancers.

But did you know you can make your own sausages from minced/ground beef ?well that is a recipe for another day.

Now on the extreme side of the socio- economic ladder are people who for various reasons and especially economic ones cannot afford to eat well-balanced meals.

So what do they do,they settle for fast foods like fries which have been cooked in oil that has fried tonnes of chips before, the oil has literally decomposed and turned color.

Which is always a bad sign,it should be thrown out.

But how many fast food joints throw out their deep frying oil after  a few uses?

If you walk into most informal settlement in Kenya you will meet enterprising men and women frying up potatoes and  little doughnuts and this are especially attractive to young children.

Most of them use wood to cook but just so that they do not use as much fuel as they should and to save on costs ,they pile plastics to get the right temperatures at which to fry their foods.

The result..obnoxious foul smells from the burning plastics and we all know the toxicity of these substances and how they increase cancer risks.

This group of people is especially liked by the manufacturers of soft drinks and other carbonated drinks that are loaded with sugar,preservatives,artificial color and all manner of chemicals that when conusmed in high amounts are increasing Kenyans risks of cancer development.

Now for both groups of people I would suggest re-education on the basics of what is healthy and what isn’t,both of them have the means and ability to be able to live well on their budgets with the food available without resorting to some lifestyles that are increasingly shortening our lifespans and increasing medical costs.

Let us arm ourselves with the knowledge that is available,seek medical advice from medical practitioners and especially consult a nutritionist if you are in doubt as to whether what is on your plate is good for your body.

Most government hospitals and private ones too now have nutrition departments .We should make use of these men and women who either for free or for a small fee can take us back to the basics of good and healthy meals.

NB:Some nformation on the risks of sodium nitirite has been sourced from www.naturalnews.com

WORRIED ABOUT YOUR BABY’S WEIGHT…?

All my babes have never been chubby and i know one other friend of mine who wa sin the same class with me and one day while we were sharing war stories on mother hood we both lamented the fact that our babes have never been the poster images of bouncing bundles of joy.

Too often mothers have this idea in their heads that babies must be for lack of a better word “fat”.So wes tuff our little angels with food just so that when we go the next visit the scales will do us proud and declare that all the porridge,cereal,milk,fruits we gave them did not go to waste.

A lot of the time we forget that being heavy is not always a sign of good health.

Many factors play a part in determining how much your baby is going  to weigh like genes for example.

My babies never weighed more than 3 kilos at birth and seeing that i gave them all the right foods their growth charts everytime  visited the pediatrician were always on a steady rise,they never showed any drastic changes unless they were sick which was rarely.

At one time  made the mistake of going to a different pediatrician as the regular one who had followed my daughter from birth  was out of the country  and he ordered for all manner of tests on my daughter who was then barely two years.

Reason,he thought she was too lean for her age.

They found nothing wrong with her(thank God) but from then on I made sure  I stuck to one paedetrician who assured me I had nothing to worry about,my daughter was growing at her own pace.

For any mothers reading this who may be worried their babies are not as round or chubby as their neighbours,I would like to tell them to take it easy.So long as your child is taking meals that cover all the important food groups from carbohydrates to proteins and taking their fruits and vegetables to cover their vitamin and essential minerals intake there should be no cause for alarm.

Broccoli Crazy…!

Photo courtesy of www.international. stockfood.com

You might be asking why would anyone name their site Broccoli Crazy?

It is  because i love these bulb of green florets like crazy,broccoli is actually called a super food as it comes packed with everything from Vitamins to minerals that when aritten are as  long as your arm and that are great for your body.

This vegetable is a nutritionists dream!

Some of the goodness it comes packed with includes Vitamins A,C and K,it contains folate,iron,magnesium,calcium,potassium,calcium and fiber.

Of course there are other superfoods but this one to me is too good to be true.

The blog will be a way for me to pass on information i know as a nutritionist who studied at one of this country’s finest institutions Kenyatta University and my experiences as a mum and a wannabe chef in my own kitchen.

Leave any questions or comments on anything and everything,i will do my best to answer them.

Hopefully together we can raise a generation of healthier children and we can see the rising numbers of cancer cases in the next generation dwindle.

The information is not medical advice and all care should be taken to consult a doctor in case of any medical conditions.This is just  a journal of my journey into  the conscious  choices  i have made towards adopting healthier eating habits for my family .

Bon appetit!

NB:All photos are sourced from the internet unless otherwise stated