On a sunny day, at the university department, there was an eatery at the extreme end of the faculty. Well located not to distract students with its aroma.
I walked to this eatery, order for my food and sat down. I observed in this small but comfortable space, nearly everyone I could remember vividly that morning was having a soda drink along with their food.
This scenario shows you have money (menu on a bigger bill) or you are someone of a high status. Well, that’s the way an average student will interpret it.
However, on my part, I was having a pure sachet water, not even table water with the ever available and popular white rice, fried plantain, fried fish, and all blankets with stew. For me, that menu was fair to my healthy food standard which you’ll understand later.
But, if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s considered poor.
Now, imagine if you had soda drink again, it would’ve been graded very poor. And this is one of the many popular Nigerian diets.
If you’re trying to lose weight and still indulge in such diet, you’re not going to get any result.
If guilty, don’t feel worried. Just remain happy. Only accept it as a mistake that will not be repeated. Besides, I was once in your position; so, feel free!
You’re not the only one with wrong and unhealthy eating habit. The most important thing is to fuel your heart with knowledge. As you’re reading this, think about it very well and practice as your gut feels “this is right for me” (judgment).
You need to change and it is going to be gradual.
That experience in that campus restaurant was one of the many scenarios I’ve seen.
The way I interpreted it that day was my fellow students need to understand the mechanism of what they’re ingesting; its relationship with their health and body.
The likely result they might have to be obsessed or get fat stuck only around the chest to belly zone. That is especially if they love the experience to an extent it becomes a habit or perhaps they possess the gene to be overweight.
For those like me who do not possess the gene, such eating habit also has a negative result. Although it might not have any warning signal in terms of excess fat- and that can even be fatal!
How the meal described above becomes Unhealthy and Causes Overweight
1. It’s unhealthy to take soda drinks while or immediately after eating.
Have you ever seen any of these soda drink company advertising their products picturing someone drinking it while having a meal?
I’ve never seen one.
So, why will you be gulping soda while eating or immediately after eating even snacks?
Carbonated soda drinks popularly called minerals by many Nigerians are made from artificial chemicals substances that are harmful and unhealthy.
They contain lots of sugar which make you fat (you’ll learn how the fat emerge as you read on).
Don’t blame them; they are producing what people demand.
You like sugary things as many others too. So they’re in business to serve you and make their profits.
But if you and I change our eating habit in Nigeria today, they’ll get it twisted as well and serve us what we want: healthy drinks that aren’t sugary but nutritious.
This is a form of social challenge.
The name mineral drink as Naija people call it is wrong. Maybe the unique tasty experiences you feel in your mouth bring about the genesis of the name.
What can be called mineral drink, be healthy for your body and help you lose weight is a smoothie or fruit drinks: drinks made from fresh fruits and vegetables.
2. About the food: A combo of white rice, fried plantain, fried fish, and stew is an unhealthy option for you to lose weight.
I graded it fair for my body, poor for those people I saw eating that day and very poor for you.
Point 1: White rice is a refined carbohydrates food (bad carbs).
This is a food that has been highly processed, strip of its nutrients and minerals to an extent. It has little or nothing left to offer your body in terms of helping you lose belly or body fat.
Despite manufacturers fortifying it with vitamins and minerals, still, it is considered an unhealthy option to lose weight.
Brown rice is better as a healthier option.
It contains more nutrients, minerals, and fibers that will make you eat less and at the same time feel satisfied for long.
Point 2: Fried food such as plantain and fish are unhealthy to lose fat because fat and oil contain more calories.
A calorie is a unit of measuring energy in food.
You consume energy from any activity such as reading this book, thinking, walking to every physical intensity activity you can think off such as running.
The major purpose of eating food is to supply energy (both internal and external) for optimal performance and functionality.
Fat and oil contain 9 calories. When compared to carbohydrate and protein, both have 4 calories per gram, that’s more than double?
Besides, it might have been fried with an unhealthy oil that contains more saturated and Tran fat. These oils contain more calories which help add more fat to your body.
Though fish is rich in protein and healthy for weight loss, the cooking process has rendered it unhealthy and this is what happens when fried.
Therefore, if you want to lose weight, you should aim to eat low-calorie food per meal, which can further be achieved by minimizing your fat and oil consumption.
Point 3: The stew contains more oil, thereby increasing the fat content and calorie of your meal.
Point 4: While the food is being eaten, you now push it down with soda drink which is made up of simple sugar with unhealthy minerals.
When you consume such drinks during and after your meal or snack, it quickly breaks down the food and results into an increase in blood sugar level (glucose) that causes fat storage.
Your body is well designed to absorb excess glucose, but what happens when it has got enough? It starts converting them into fat especially if you’ve been wired with the information (gene code) to be fat from birth.
Some will be concentrated around the chest to stomach region and perhaps, the whole body. Besides, if you observe well, you always feel hungry again about an hour later after eating such a meal.
Not because you didn’t eat to satisfaction but such food get digested quickly and this encourages fat storage. More importantly, they lack nutrients that can help you lose fat and improve health.
When you’re hungry again, you again eat an unhealthy meal especially if you have food around you and there is money. As months and years pass by, this vicious cycle causes you to have excess fat.
The rice, stew, fried fish and plantain with soda drink is one of the many examples of unhealthy Nigerian foods that constitute your diet.
You might be the type that doesn’t eat much. Perhaps after understanding your diet is the major cause, you adjusted. You also maintain good physical activity as well. Nevertheless, you can’t understand why you keep adding fat.
It’s because of the unhealthy food and drinks you’ve been ingesting. No matter how small. You may also think you’re eating right but you are wrong.
If I eat unhealthy which I have done when I was ignorant, I can never get fat but it might result in diseases and ailment such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke or even underweight.
Have you seen slim or moderately built people with diabetes before?
That’s why being fat and overweight; you’re not the only one prone to health complications and diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
So, it’s important for everyone to achieve a healthy weight and maintain it, and this can only be done by eating healthy.
Point 5: The macronutrients don’t matter.
Macronutrients are the major nutrients that make a whole balanced meal which are carbs, fat, and protein.
Even if you like eating food dense in protein, its excess will be converted to fat.
I heard a story of a man who loves eating meat as a meal.
Not sure if fried or boiled but eating meat was his habit. He can’t do without it in a day.
He began to get so fat overtime till he became obsessed. He was flown outside the country for surgery.
Whether it is carbs, fat or protein; if you eat a lot of them and you have the gene code to grow fat and bigger, you’ll definitely be.
Therefore, you have to embrace healthy eating, especially for your weight loss.
My final note to the food story, if you want to lose weight, you have to reduce your total daily calorie by 300 or 500 per meal.
That way, you’ll be reducing the excess bag of fat.
Weight loss is a deliberate attempt to reduce body fat, that’s the focus. The body is composed of fat, water, skeletal bones, tendons, muscles, and connective tissues. When you see weight loss, you should term it as fat loss.
List of Nigerian Food that adds Unhealthy Fat
1. Juice and biscuits
Examples are Orange, apple, pineapple, tropical mix juice, and fruity yogurt. As far as they contain refined sugar, stay far away from them.
Fruit contains natural sugar already and with added industrial sugar, it makes for disaster- an unhealthy drink to lose weight.
So, even when consuming natural fruit juice, it should be minimal as well. If in excess, it’ll hinder you from losing fat, thereby sabotaging your effort. The same applies to your biscuit, cookies and others snacks.
2. Soda drinks
Yes, you already know this is not allowed for weight loss. They contain refined sugar as well.
3. Chocolate sweet: The same sugar judgment applies. Most sweet contains industrial sugar and other sweetens substances. Strive to give up on them.
4. Beer, malt and beverage drinks
Yes, they contain sugar, sweeten substances and they’re made from refined carbs.
5. Others are puff puff, buns, doughnut, chin chin, meat pie, cake, white bread, akara, fried potato and yam, French fries, cereal, cornflakes, biscuit, sweeten milk, ice cream, burger, pizza, ice-cream and other snacks that contains sugar, fat, and oil should be avoided for those wanting to lose weight.
List of recommended Nigerian Food for Weight Loss
To lose weight, you need complex carbs. This carb slowly release glucose into the body, thereby making it easy to be absorbed. This gives room for no fat or less fat to be stored.
Examples are: Boiled or roasted yams, Pounded yam, Amala, Cocoyam, Unripe green plantain flour, Unripe green plantain, Sweet potatoes, Garri, Fufu, Cassava flour, Millet, Oats, Barley, Lentil, 100% Whole Wheat, Beans, Bean flour, Brown rice, White potatoes, Red potatoes, Couscous, Whole-meal pasta and noodles, Whole wheat bread (brown bread), Corn and many more.
Protein is highly essential for an effective weight loss. It helps in building and repairing your body tissues and cell.
Nearly all protein sources are healthy. They are wholesome and original in their form but make sure they are organic.
Egg, Lean meats (goat meat, steak, ground beef with no fat on them or being remove), Protein powders/shakes (whey and casein), Fish, Skinless Chicken and Turkey (breast, thigh, and wing), Shellfish (shrimp, clams, oysters, crab, lobster, etc.), Cottage Cheese, non-fat yogurt, Skim milk, Walnut and many more.
Fat is also an essential macro-nutrient for your weight loss meal. It can be gotten from both plant and animal sources.
Examples are Extra Virgin Olive oil, Coconut oil, Palm oil, Groundnut oil, Soya oil, Flax-seed oil, Marine/Fish oils, Avocado pear, Eggs (yolk), Nuts and seeds, Walnut and Sesame Seeds.
They are all rich in healthy fat such as unsaturated fat, omega 3 fatty acids, and omega 6 fatty acids.
Apple, Red peppers, Yellow Pepper, Bell pepper (tatashe), Garden eggs, Pumpkin leaf (Ugwu), Moringa, Okro, Spinach (efo tete, shoko, Ewedu and etc), Broccoli, Lettuce, Romaine cabbage, Spring onions, Green Peas, Green Beans, Leek, Water leaves, Cucumber, Carrots, Squash, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Aubergine, Celery, Onions and many more.
Fruits such as orange, apple, pear, grape, watermelon, pineapple avocado, banana, fruit salad, and others but not overripe
Most of the foods you’ll be consuming for your weight loss are wholesome, minimally processed, rich protein food sources and healthy fat.
TAKEAWAY POINT: Helpful Tips to Lose Fat
1. Always visit your comfort station in the morning.
Make it part of your early morning ritual to remove body waste. It helps in emptying the lower intestine which makes you feel hungry and motivate you to have compulsory healthy breakfast.
Besides, it keeps your spleen clean, not poisonous to your bloodstream. Research has shown that keeping your spleen clean reduces risk to diseases.
Therefore, if you feel you’ve nothing to give, just pay a visit, there might be a waste to give out.
2. Make breakfast compulsory and rich as a meal.
There you have it friend. Meditate on this article if you want to lose weight with Nigeria food and make sure take action.
Share what you think about it, both good or bad reviews, they’re welcome.
And don’t forget to share with friends on your favourite social media. Someone will find it beneficial.