Out with meat, in with sorghum: Lifestyle change is never easy
It starts in late June 2020, you probably won’t remember what was happening in your life back then unless you look at a photo or something. We have just hired our new Help and I am a few months away from birthing our son.
Our new help is from Busia, she’s tall and gentle, like a Nubian giraffe, she moves with grace and silent rhythm, as though in slow motion. She’s never in a hurry yet she’s never late. Time seems to warp itself around her. It’s mesmerising.
She’s also meticulous in demeanour and with her cooking and cleaning. She reminds me of a quote from the movie ‘John Wick’: How you do one thing is how you do everything.
No sooner has she unpacked her carry-on and settled into her room does she get down to cleaning. We wake up in the morning and she’s cleaned, sorted and organised that ugly cluttered corner in the laundry that everyone pretended not to see.
In the weeks after she does the same to the pantry, the cupboards. Then she cleans the walls, all the windows in the house. She removes the curtains and sheers and washes them as well, same goes for the covers on the chairs and cushions.
We always hear the tap running as she collects water to clean… something. We buy more detergent, more bleach, more brushes to support her cleaning. It’s madness. If you visit us and you leave your shoes outside the door, she’ll clean them for you.
When she’s finished cleaning the outside of things, she gets down to cleaning the inside of other things: the fridge, deep freezer, oven, toaster. Things go south when she cleans the toaster.
Ours is a silver Moulinex toaster with a vintage posture, no one can reach its insides to clean out the old bread crumbs but our Help tries anyway.
We wake up to a sparkling toaster no one can recognize as ours. Hell, even the toaster can’t recognize itself. It’s halfway into toasting our breakfast when it coughs and sputters like an old man taking his last breaths. It heaves one last time then goes silent.
The fundi says it’ll cost us about as much money to resurrect it as to buy a new one. We move to toasting our bread on a pan, on the cooker, and this, dear reader, is where the story turns.
Bread toasted on a pan is so delicious, my goodness. It’s fluffy and browned to a controlled degree, and when it comes from piping hot from the pan and you lather on layers of Blueband… it elevates the experience.
When we’re not eating too many of her pan-toasted bread, we’re eating all the other delicious things our Help cooks for us. Everyone has a favourite day of the week because of her food – GB loves Thursdays for the beef fry, Muna and Njeeh love Fridays for the chips and burgers, I love Wednesdays for the chapatis.
One of the reasons her chapos are so sweet and soft is because she puts sugar in them and about 20 litres of cooking oil. They’re very unhealthy but very delicious.
And so days come and go, the house is immaculate, the food is delicious, the years segue into the next and the next.
What we don’t realise while we’re stuffing our faces with all this delicious food is that it’s gradually killing us. Especially me and GB. We’re both almost 40 and if we don’t stop eating long enough to ponder our choices, we’ll be both kicking down the door to lifestyle diseases.
The warning signs are already here. I regularly get excruciating headaches that cripple me – I can’t work, I can’t talk, I can’t do anything but lie comatose in a quiet dark room. I always have to stick a finger down my throat before I lie down, to empty my stomach.
GB is struggling with his weight. One moment he was a lean, mean machine now he’s a bloated, ballooning bazenga.
It’s for this reason that for the next 30 days, GB and I are embarking on an eating-better challenge. I’m writing this after our meeting with our ‘eating consultant’ – he’s a South Sudanese who’s now a well-travelled global citizen, a spiritual and self-aware man.
He too was teetering on the cusp of lifestyle diseases until he pulled himself out. Now he guides others to this wisdom.
Under his guidance, GB and I are cutting out all the delicious deadly food from our diet: wheat, red meat, vegetable oil, normal salt, sugar, margarine, processed food like sausages and burgers.
We’re replacing it with sorghum, millet, white meat, ghee, sea salt, honey, moringa and a host of other super foods.
We start our programme next Monday, Inshallah, after one last hurrah this weekend with our delicious deadly food. I’ll keep you posted.
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