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I will quit sugar and eat healthy, but don’t rush me

One of my sisters is very keen on diet. Trying to start her charity at home, a while ago, she started a campaign to dissociate us from sugar.

Hearing her explain the health effects of excessive sugar consumption for adults, it feels like she is describing the inside of a mortuary. If only she was alone, perhaps I would ignore.

But these health warnings find us everywhere these days; no place left to hide. A colleague wants to try cactus juice to ‘cut my stomach’, a friend advises me to take a cup aloe vera every morning, another one recommends shear seeds in every meal, this one tells me supper is not good for my health, … Good Lord!

I feel they have adequately scared me, and I have been thinking of quitting sugar lately. Never mind that I make two steps ahead and about three backwards.

It’s a Matthew 26:41 struggle where “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”. I notice the agony of my tongue every time I put a spoon less, and total protest when I put none. 

You see, growing up, sugar was quite scarce and tightly controlled in some of our families. My mother kept the sugar tin in her bedroom, only bringing it out at breakfast to sprinkle about a spoon and a half into each of our big Tumpeco cups and then about two in her gama. 

We would look on in wishes to get chanced to at least hold it for once. Such was the desire that I even envied the tin for its privilege. So, when she was away, we served ourselves generously – a concentration of sugar that would turn our porridge brown and even tickle the throat.

Well, at least, though highly guarded, the little sugar was often available in our case. I know of families that would improvise by taking their ‘dry tea’ with a piece of sweet potato, to lie to the tongue. Not to mention the cheap bitter sugar we used to call lutunku!

We then grow up and are able to afford the sweet thing; what would you expect? This is why we don’t usually understand those who come to tell us that sugar may not be necessary for our bodies, just about the time when we have arrived.

So, we pretend to be moderate in public but go back home and spoil ourselves. For most of the things that we thought we would grow up to enjoy, we are now bombarded with warnings from everyone with a mouth about their health risks!

We wish to live long healthy lives, but what we should sacrifice to this effect is a real dilemma.  Soda, meat, cooking oil...! In our childhood, soda was for big days and feasts. We sipped it triumphantly while regulating its flow in the straw with our teeth, lest the 300mls got finished before the fact sunk in that the year’s bottle was gone like that.

Now when you can buy yourself a two-liter bottle and gas up yourself properly, someone tells you that you got to watch out. Forwarding you those videos showing a certain soda dissolving a bone! All this after being told that even the ‘Quencher’ that used to play substitute is just sugar, colour and flavours!

You try Minute Maid and Afia, yet still you are told that you are digging your grave with your tongue!

With the exception of most fruits, it looks like many healthy foods which are harmless no matter how much and how frequently we eat them conspired to be either less tasty or bitter! We love our meat, and many love it fatty (enyama ensava).

You can tell this taste from our proverbs. Don’t the Baganda say that ‘mwavu aluma kikonde; nti bwendizifuna ndigiruma bwenti (a poor person bites his/her fist; saying that when I get money, I will bite it [the meat] like this)?  For us, one man’s meat is another man’s wish.

The Iteso also remind us that ‘etiaki akiring ajena’ (meat divides blood relations). So special a meal that sometimes we only feel the need to share it when it is finished!

But we are now told that vegetables and fruits make the best meals. That we just need to add a little eggs, meat, and milk for protein! Listen; some of us grew up on vegetables, and many had to learn that it is food for the poor and misers. 

I am yet to hear a local saying that glorifies greens.  When we can afford it, we need to show some class by frying our stuff with some good amount of cooking oil. We should not let anyone to mistake us for the poor – those people who cannot germinate and maintain a potbelly.

So, now we shall fry the cassava, plantain (gonja), matooke, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, greens, beans, peas, yams, sim-sim... We are also planning for these fruits. 

We know too well our love for fried things and meat. That is why even at our self-service events, we are allowed to serve ourselves anything, but someone will have to regulate the meat and chicken dishes. 

Otherwise, each one serves as if they think it had been reserved for them. When we meet meat, our sense of shame is sent on forced leave.

Where we come from, the potbellies that you want us to ‘cut’ mean a lot. How else will people know that we got some money?

A potbelly is the identity ‘card’ to the middle-class. Continue calling them indicators of impending health disaster while, at social functions and in church, those of us with them are given front seats.


The author heads the Center for African Studies at Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi.



+1 #11 Akot 2017-08-07 21:23
...Uganda is another nightmare of a country when it comes to tobacco!

What if money wasted on healthcare for tobacco consumers is invested in jobs for the young, who are today the biggest tobacco consumers, even when they have no jobs & look old before they are30 & are always sick -caughing-running noses-sneezing...?

Yet, world leaders sing us to sleep saying they are concerned about health, then immediately healthcare department gives out the increading death toll & so many sick/ill due to tobacce!

What a shame, not 1 leader relates reality to published documents that should be awakening & not just news that is forgotten the moment tv-radio are turned off!

Even when a developed country comes up against use of tobacco, it's always the wrong measures taken while we are entertained by movies full of smokers inciting the young to join!...
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+1 #12 Akot 2017-08-07 21:25
...Food that is today health problem in developed countries is not so in Uganda yet, right?

So, we just continue producing our natural good food on our natural rich lands & not even think of poisonous insecticide-GMO that will destroy our lands!

It's time Uganda modernizes agriculture & give us some decency-ease in living!

How can any one talk of introducing GMO in Uganda, a naturally rich land, yet not 1 comes in to help modernize our agriculture yet say he-she is concerned about us?

Our future lies in our hands but we still have to wake up!
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+1 #13 Didaz 2017-08-07 21:36
Quoting ricardo nyanza:
No Mr dedirio Drogba Didaz we r not gonna become Mr fat mutambula mpola AKA Mr kabizzi.

Mr ENNU day by day we are becoming or copying our comrades lifestyle in the west therefore we need to watch what we chew?

Hahaaa but copying aint good.Amazina amajingirire right?

It should come from understanding the benefits of healthy eating then it becomes a belief. Ever done something from belief?

The results are awesome!
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+2 #14 Lakwena 2017-08-08 10:13
In other words Spire, considering your apparent sugar addiction, you could easily be taken for the co-conspirators with M7, Madhvani, Amina and Hon Betty Amongi, their land grabbing agent (Kayunggirizi); to grab our land in Amuru District, in order to grow more sugarcane.
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0 #15 Akot 2017-08-08 18:25
Quoting Lakwena:
considering your apparent sugar addiction, you could easily be taken for the co-conspirators with M7, Madhvani, Amina and Hon Betty Amongi, their land grabbing agent (Kayunggirizi); to grab our land in Amuru District, in order to grow more sugarcane.


This is why if Ugandans don't want to Unite to throw museveni out, Acholi MUST Break Away 1 form Independent Tribal State!

After all, Acholi was excluded for 30 yerars & now that museveni fell out with those who united to bring him in yet they don't want to Reunite to throw him out, how will Acholi exist, especially after museveni becomes constitutiona owner of Uganda?
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0 #16 Akot 2017-08-08 18:34
Ennu, thanks!

You see how it's not right for American-European democracy to be imposed on us as today they want to eat naturally grown food!

Any so called scientist who wants to introduce GMO in Uganda should be brought before court for disrespect & destruction of our land-nature...!

Even body cream used-sell well in Europe are mainly BIO-natural ones: from Shea to Coco Buttter...!
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0 #17 Akot 2017-08-08 18:45
Alex Ssekasi, thanks!

Any one who wants to help Ugandans can only do so by donating modern farm tools, but if they don't want this which is the only way any one can help those they pretend wanting to help, then the best they can do is just shut up & leave us alone!

GMO-scientific experiments have proved desastrous in developed countries, yet they want to continue experimenting in countries ruled by demons knowing very well it's the poor oppressed people without say who are the victims!
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