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Opinions of Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Columnist: Albion, Kojo

The Diet Of Our Ancestors

He said that: Our great grandfathers and mothers ate the same kind of food that we eat today- how come you are now saying that:

a. too much greases (oil, fat) are NOT good for us.

b. that too much fufu and rice (carbohydrates) are not good for us.

c. too much salt is not good for us.

d. that too much sugar is not good for us.

We knew even before science got on scene that:"TOO MUCH OF EVERYTHING IS BAD FOR US." Do you agree? Well, so far as you accept this statement from our ancestors, it does not matter what you think. Too much fried foods, fufu, kenkey and gari can kill you. Period! Case closed! You even told me about the diet of "red, red" (fried plantain and beans) that you ate when times were hard for you and what happened to you at the end. You had what? Do you think that it was the “red, red” diet alone? (Note: How often and how much (volume) are of health concern.)

Most people do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. Period!!! Talk about baking their fish and chicken and many people have not heard about that. They eat smoked fish, shito (pepper) and kenkey (in moderation) and they like those a lot, especially, the morning after the Funeral Service or any celebration. They go down good paa but watch the volume!!!! What about sardine and hot Ga kenkey with shito (pepper)? Mmmm mmmmmm good!!!! ‘Stewed koobi’ (Fante style) and…….. “Gyae!!!”

Well, back to our ancestors. Even though I am not a Dietician, I have taken classes and attended too many Workshops to know that what you eat TODAY can have a telling effect on your health tomorrow. Okwonko, said in Things Fall Apart- in those days- "I like fat bodies with sweat." One comedian also said that- "Obesity is a sign of good living.”( ")te yie"). Hmmm... So we thought!

A sad story- a few days ago, a Professor who uses the same Classroom (WD 104) with me; he teaches from 12noon till 12:50pm, and I teach from 1:00pm to 1:50pm. Well, he missed his class and so a search party went out looking for him. At the age of 48 and overweight he was found dead in his house. Cause of death was of an apparent heart attack.

Did our ancestors know that being overweight can cause high blood pressure, stroke, high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer,….. (you add the rest)? What helped some of our ancestors to live to a ripe old age? Before you do, please answer this for me? What is the average life expectancy in the West? (75) What is it in Developing Countries? (57 and less). Why? It is not the diet alone and so don't go there but it helps some people.

Grandma Tegua walked everywhere. She did not drink Coca Cola nor eat fried rice almost everyday. She ate an occasional cake (small volume) but she worked hard. Can you imagine how many hours she put in a day- cooking, going to the farm, washing clothes and attending to visitors? Do I go on? Walking alone helped grandma stay in shape and her stress level was not as high as today’s.

Now talk to me about our ancestor’s diet and today's diet. Tell me about the way of life back then and the life that we live today? What do our Scientists and Dieticians tell us today about fats, carbohydrates, protein, fertilizers, pollution, chemicals and our lack of exercise? When was the last time that you walked from your house to the Office?

‘You are what you eat..’... Watch your diet and please don't ever tell me that “grandma ate ‘koobi’ aaaa and she still lived to be a 100.” What about Uncle Ato in 1956? Paapa Kojo in 2008? They both died at the age of 38 and no one knows what killed them. The colleague of mine who died a few days ago of an apparent heart attack was morbidly obese and he knew it. Uncle Ato had a stroke and he was bedridden for a while before he died.

Now, are you convinced that a person’s diet today can....??/??.... (your witness..) Lack of exercise can….??/??

I rest my case....

Kojo Albion.



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