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YOU CAN’T HELP BUT hear the talk, whether it is a warning or friendly nudge about watching what we eat and drink.
Thankfully, it is all for our good; cutting back on the salt, exercising more, eating smaller portions and avoiding the saturated fats.
The words of wisdom whether from Dr Colin Alert or Professor Sir Trevor Hassell, or outgoing UWI chancellor Sir George Alleyne or medical practitioner, preacher and keep fit advocate Dr Elliott Doughlin are all the same. We need to watch what we eat, and of course drink.
The objective is that we need to stay trim and avoid the excess weight. So, both women and men are rather conscious about their weight, especially around the waist.
If you’re a diabetic or predisposed to diabetes, the warning is ever present what not to eat. This time of the year Drs Carlisle Goddard and Karen Bynoe as well as consultant in the area of health, Lennox Prescod and trade unionist Gabby Scott must be tired talking. Their admonition is always to eat more vegetables and fruits and exercise.
Well, the exception is to watch the kinds of fruits we love to eat. The catch is not to overindulge, but this could be a difficult thing for many people who now mango season is in might find the Julie and Pawi simply too alluring to have but one small taste.
So, many people will want two, maybe three and sometimes four at one go, sometimes with a little black pepper and some salt.
After all, it is a fruit, not a sweet drink, so eating a few can’t be bad . And, we’ve all been told this over the years. The words of wisdom came from people we loved and looked up to and who also loved us; mummy, granny, auntie, daddy and even granddad.
Unfortunately, too much of this good thing is bad.
So too is an overindulgence in macaroni pie or in the barbeque pigtails the French fries and even the rice or cou cou swimming away in some sauce full of fat.
Little wonder we have an epidemic amongst the population in Barbados because of bad eating habits. The challenge is how to introduce positive change from this eating habit which is very much a cultural trait. What is going to make change difficult is that the appeal is coming at a time when Bajans are buying and consuming more fast foods, eating more food prepared away from home and at all times of the day – from breakfast to lunch and dinner.
We have fallen for convenience which has its benefits, but has also comes with a high price.
So many Barbadians have avoided the carrot potatoes, yellow-meat breadfruit, white eddoes and yams in favour of the imported and genetically modified Irish potato.
Many people have a scornful expression when the idea of fish soup boiled with flying fish and dolphin heads is suggested as lunch or dinner, but relish eating some imported meat, canned or otherwise, but uncertain of its contents only assured that it’s high in sodium.
Admittedly many people in order to shed those excess pounds no longer eat white bread and white rice, staples on the Bajan table.
But life can be perplexing, because many people of yesteryear, and not all were obese, ate an interesting mix of foods.
The rice and stew was consumed at lunchtime at home or prepared at Mustor, some cook shop on James Street. Many a man and woman enjoyed this culinary delight at midnight at a fete; people ate cheese cutters and this was with white bread; and rice was a daily favourite of many people – rice and peas, white rice, rice and corn beef and even rice and milk.
Maybe it was the walking and bicycle-riding we did or going to the beach and swimming as well. Yes, many people ate what was available, and there was no great variety and for some people, not much in terms of quantity. On top of it all many people undertook very demanding manual work.
Perhaps that was the balance, in addition to moderation, which is so necessary in our lives.
So, please, don’t overindulge this mango season nor this coming Crop Over season.
• Eric Smith is the NATION’s Editor-In-Chief. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org