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

BUTTERNUT:Its great for babies and for adults too!

For most of us ,when we see these cute vegetables that are normally regarded as baby food, we never think that we could get much from it too as adults.Butternut squash is rich in vitamin A,Vitamin C,Iron and Calcium.

It can be added to your mashed potatoes to give it color and spiced up with nutmeg and cinammon to give it more pizazz some butter  and ……mmmmhhh heavenly.

You can also add a cup of mashed squash to your chapatis or mandazi dough,gives it great color, not to mention  about the added nutritional value you are packing these items with.

 You can even roast it in the oven ,rub it with some oil,a pinch of nutmeg and cinammon,salt, a dash of blackpepper,bake at a tepmerature of  230 degrees celsius for 30 minutes or until tender.Serve with some french beans and some fried beef yum yum yum.

Go ahead try it and let me know how it went.

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