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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Man Vs. Food

Photo Courtesy: www.standardmedia.co.ke


In the last couple of decades, the world has leaped in its development so much so that someone from the fifties might have a heart attack if they were to come into these times. From technology to anthropology, the developments are limitless and continue to be so. Food is one of these developments. It is simply put, eat or die. Epic, I know. Because we love ourselves, we have been able to create so many dishes that explode in flavor and taste that have proven to have an emotional influence to us. Not that they are necessary, but doing anything frequently ultimately becomes, well, boring. That’s why every day we applaud the guy who rustled up, ‘too much of something is poisonous.’ Apparently, this also applies to what we consume.


There are so many choices out there. I mean the number of food varieties is just overwhelming and their taste is even more so, but unfortunately, we have only one tummy. So the brains of society discovered how to store and multiply them. They didn’t stop there, they have even introduced substitute and supplement ingredients that save us all the trouble of going to the farm. Now you can have any type of food you want regardless of where you are, it’s just a matter of defrosting, heating and these days up to a mere addition of water, and you won’t believe how good it tastes. Some even come with their own heat producing fluids, awesome. Food has now became a blend of creativity seasoned with a little bit of science topped up with a lot of taste, a master piece of innovation. But something’s gone terribly wrong.


Normally, food gives us nourishment and is essential for our survival, eat or die, but over consuming it doesn’t mean you’ll have an extended lifetime. We all know that familiar feeling when we lie on our beds after that finger licking meal. Air becomes limited at those times so we know why the life extension theory is a major fail. However, something is eating away at us. Young people are starting to develop old people diseases like hypertension and high/low blood pressure (no offense to old people). Mortality rates are increasing and it isn’t the old dying (also no offense for that, we still love you more than you know). Our physical attributions are degrading, to the genetic level, and this is subsequently from the consumption of food, the same thing that’s supposed to nourish and develop us. I don’t know about you but that is scary. Imagine having a heart attack while in class….what??


It turns out the art of innovation isn’t all awe as we thought. The basis of cooking is oil. In medieval times, oil was extracted from nuts by beating them into paste and boiling them in pulp or water. The product was floating oil that was skimmed off and kept for later use. Animal oil was also derived commonly from boiling. This is a long process and frankly a tiresome one if you consider stock for a whole month. So what scientists did was find suitable substitutes that play the same role, add preservatives and integrate it with the original extract to add that natural touch. Clever, but not quite.


Fast food has won the hearts of countless since it is a quick meal, tastes out of this world and it’s found anywhere, often around the clock. By taste I mean the most liked fast food out there, Burgers. Just kidding, where are all the Pizzeria dudes in the house! Don’t make some noise because you are reading this :-p. It is beautifully constructed with unlimited varieties of toppings and the sheer sensation of stringy hot cheese oozing out as it melts in your mouth with every bite while being complimented by the toppings of your choice. It’s literally a hot mess. This is the kind of meal that makes you want to eat it for breakfast lunch and supper. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t agree.

Photo Courtesy: travel.qunar.com


Even if you have the pockets to fulfill this dream, the recurrent use of processed oil among other bases in cooking pressures your body in acquiring nutrients from it. See, your body converts food nutrients like glucose into fats when it is in excess and uses it later for emergency situations like being broke in main campus colleges. But converting them back to glucose takes a lot of energy and oxygen and this stresses the body. Exercise workouts use this system to burn calories by depleting the glucose in your body thus forcing it to convert the stored fat to keep up with the exercise. This is why most workout coordinators stress on breathing a lot to support the breakdown so you don’t end up doing zero work and get muscle sores in the process. So as your body fights to get some good out of the meal, you add another load, and another one, and another one, and its pushing forward and stressing until it all comes toppling and shuts down. And that’s when those whale noises start and you bloat up because you were eating with your eyes.


If the body can’t digest anymore you don’t get nutrients. Don’t get nutrients, no energy. No energy, weak. Finally that’s when you feel tired every time of day and when you sleep at night you wake up even more tired. Make sense? They call it Lethargy. It’s basically a lack of energy and enthusiasm, which are the pillars of that side plate called Laziness. Regardless of some researches linking laziness to intelligence, you are what you eat, it’s as simple as that. And if what you eat doesn’t give the body what it needs, Houston, we have a problem. As much as I hate to agree with the guy that classified pizza and its competitors like chips/fries as Junk food, I am bound to. So does this mean we cannot eat pizza and chips?
Photo Courtesy: eatthis.com

Slap yourself for reading that question. Of course not, we can still eat pizza and chips. But before I dive in to the how, I realized I had forgotten about Pastry (Yeah, not getting away this time). Lovers of dark desires and mouth coating chocolates and cakes are too not in the clear. Chocolate is every one’s dreamy relaxing munch, probably because the plant it's processed from sounds like a cousin of cocaine extract 😜, but nonetheless still sweet. Its sugary taste and calming effect is caused by hormonal triggers that release oxytocin in our brains, the hormone responsible for happiness and pleasure, hence dubbing it ‘dark desire’. Beautiful isn’t it. After all the oxytocin and tastes comes digestion where it releases high levels of glucose that cause high blood sugar. This means more energy, and all that energy has to go somewhere. I don’t believe they’ll form a queue waiting for the conversion process to fats, so they make your body cells go crazy. Imagine your cells on steroids or each of them turning in to a hulk. Thus man doth becometh Hyper.
Photo Courtesy: gangafoodfactory.com



Everything that goes up, must come down and man do your cells fall. And apparently in science there is a name for that, Lethargy. Sounds familiar?


Now that all of us food junkies are on the same plate, it’s time to go in to the how (how to eat without “letharging” yourself). If you’ve guessed it, it’s moderation (Aslaksen would be proud) [1]. Each of these foods has very awesome benefits, just have to know how to get them. Chocolate for instance provides a super boost of glucose energy to your body so always eat them when you are going to be active. This will help replenish all the used up energy so you don’t feel like an 80 year old afterwards. Milk is a delicious highway when you compliment chocolate with it and it also keeps you powered up through the activity.

Photo courtesy; bbcgoodfood.com



 Due to us being victims of such irresistibles, studying becomes a torturing nightmare. Makes you sit there and read one line of a sentence like 25 times before you understand it 😑. So munch on a bar of chocolate before you do so and even when going into a test so you like a book-worm monster once you are done. Studies have actually confirmed that people who study for an exam after consuming chocolate understand more than those who don’t as they get higher test scores. Whether they understand or cram, it’s really up to them, but, chocolate does help. Fruits like strawberries and blue berries can also be integrated in cakes and chocolate meals because they preserve the brain cells and taste awesome as well. Be creative and play around with fruits and pastry, they usually complement each other very well but always remember, don’t stuff your face with pastry every time you see one. There are seven days in a week. Don’t eat a week’s pastry in one day, it will turn you into a zombie. Ps. Apples are a good substitute of chocolates and pastry because unlike pastry, they give you a constant release of energy so you are well looked after throughout the day. So next time you see an apple, pick one up and replenish.


Every time you eat a box of pizza or a bag of chips, make sure you take at least 2 tablespoons of plain yoghurt to wash all that down. I would have said a glass but you have to appreciate the power of one unselfish looking box of pizza #respect_your_food. Plain yoghurt is the best because it has low sugar levels that duck lethargy and help with the digestion of oily foods. So put it in your shopping list. WARNING: I said plain yoghurt. Frozen or flavored yoghurt is digging your own grave. And after a meal like that, utaingia mwenyewe (2). You can also have vegetable toppings on your order if you feel you have the heart and stomach to, well, stomach all of that.


Finally, we all at one point have heard of Yellow fever. This is a tropical viral disease that mainly affects the liver and kidneys, causing jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin) and sweat trickling fever that are often fatal. It is transmitted by mosquitos, one of the smallest creatures that have the ability to mess you up at night. What strikes me about this disease is its treatment. Since it shuts down your liver and kidneys, the only organs responsible for detoxification in your system, your body fills with toxins which are manifested by the yellowing of eyes and skin (jaundice). It’s horrible, always itching because you are dirty from inside. To treat this, you are totally stripped off from eating any sort of oily foods, foods cooked with oil or any oil prepared vegetables, completely oil free. This means boiled fish, boiled vegetables and everything else there is to eat because almost everything we eat is prepared with oil. All of this is to detoxify the body and prevent any more oils into it. The other thing prescribed is sugarcane juice. This juice is like a medical miracle. Firstly, it is a diuretic which means it kills infections along the urinary tract and kidneys. It also strengthens the liver and with these two, jaundice is gone. It is also an energy drink filled with carbs, proteins, irons and all this cluster of nutrients that make it I-deal for summer time smoothies which fight off fatigue. (Ps, you should have a glass after reading this far you know). It has laxative properties that improve bowel movement and relieve constipation (now you know why you gotta have one of these after a meal). Lastly, it has a low glycemic index which means it is super for diabetics and if you forget to buy an orbit, take some of this because it prevents bad breath and tooth decay, especially after lunch.


Well, we then come to learn why nature is so important. Even though scientists have made our lives easier, the risks that come with it arrive on a silver platter (sounds positive but it isn't). Yellow fever among many other diseases is just an example of this. So let us not forget what are crucial for our bodies because a healthy one, is a happy one. Spoiling yourself once in a while is nice, keeps the body on its toes, but making it a habit is turning yourself into a zombie.


Ultimately, we have come to learn that in the battle between man and food, Food always prevails, don’t you agree?



Key                                                                                               


  1. A character from the play ‘Enemy of the People’ that always advocated for Moderation
  2. The second part of a Swahili saying which goes ‘mchimba kaburi, huingia mwenyewe’ which loosely translates to ‘the one who digs a grave, will occupy it himself; has metaphorical implications.

      

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