In Summary
  • The inequitable distribution of the available food in our societies leads to some people missing out on their entitlement of the food while others are oversupplied, indeed with enough to gorge themselves, and even waste and throw away.

  • I hear the proportion of food that we waste and throw away in Africa is a third of what we produce!

Let me start with a confession. I love food, and I love good food passionately. My son, who used to observe my habits closely when he was growing up, would spell out my preferences eloquently. “Daddy’s idea of a good meal is a grilled fillet steak,” he would say, “with French fries, a platter of salad and a glass of red wine.” The lad had a stake in my diet, as you can see.


But things have changed since those days. I rarely eat beef fillets and other red meats, as I hear that they are not particularly good for my health. I have also dropped wine from my menu since I cut all alcohol out of my diet just over 30 years ago. Recent research-based findings, however, show that a glass or two of dry red wine a day may have benefits for the body.

That said, I remain hooked on to vinaigrette dressed green salads, a choice of fruits, like green apples, lemon and its citric relatives, and all sorts of berries, including plums, strawberries, and grapes (from which comes the wine). I am also addicted to nuts (you could say I am a nut for nuts), all the way from my favourite njugu karanga (groundnuts) to cashew nuts.

Incidentally, lemon is best consumed as juice or pulp, since it is not only overly sharp to the taste but also injurious to the enamel of the teeth. Indeed, nutrition gurus advise that a drink of lemon juice should always be followed by a glass of plain water, to get the lemon remnants off the teeth. As for water, we should always take generous doses of it every day.

The oft-mentioned “eight litres” of water per day is a lot of liquid, and one may be forgiven for feeling dismayed at the prospect of downing it all within the space of 24 hours. But the secret of water is to take it in small quantities but at frequent intervals. Moreover, it does not have to be always dull, plain H2O. You can consume it in the form of juices and teas, or simply spice it with squeezes of fruit, slices of ginger, cucumber and other tangy fruits.


I am, however, yet to verify advice I got from India recently that I should always be seated when I drink my glass of water. Do we possibly deny ourselves the benefits of “seated” water in these days of constantly eating and drinking on the go?

Overeating, however, is what got me thinking of food and drink today. It started with a broadcast conversation I heard over the radio recently about overeating. It may sound ironic, to talk of overeating on a continent or in a country, and in cities, where having one square meal a day is a veritable challenge for many of our people. There are even people dying of hunger not far from us, despite our strenuous efforts to deny the ugly reality. Maybe we should more appropriately be talking about malnutrition and starvation.

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