I like my fried beef and steak, especially the ones with interlocking torso meat, hmmm yummy! How about a bottle or can of chilled sprite to top it up and of course I cannot resist nicely baked Nigerian ‘Meat-Pie’ and sausage roll with crusty pastry! My day is made already! Just that I could do with some nicely baked Victoria cup-cakes and then a little bit more of my favourite chilled sprite. Oh I forgot (How could I?), some nicely fried puff-puff and sugared doughnuts would be nice to nibble at whilst I work as I am too busy to go and get a proper meal at lunchtime. Now we are getting there. Its 9pm and for my main meal after a long day at work (my only meal for the day—-same day), I will have a full plate of white rice with four large sized pieces of beef and top it up with my favorite bottle of sprite or better still a pack of ‘Juice’ from concentrate. There! You have it; my typical daily meal plan or should I say meal day!
I decided to take a second look at the contents of my ‘meal plan’ or typical ‘meal day’; Interlocking Torso Beef, grilled or fried, are you thinking what I’m thinking? RED Lights FLASHING!! Did I hear you think ‘Red Meat’? Or is anyone complaining about my choice of carbonated drinks, but what is wrong with Fruit Juice from concentrate? After all I only ate one meal for the day.
Now here’s the reality: Red meat contains a high level of saturated fat. Studies have shown that regular consumption of saturated fat raises the level of bad cholesterol in the blood that clogs up your arteries and increases the risk of heart disease which is a major cause of death in today’s world. So want to avoid a heart attack? Reduce your intake of red meat to less than once a week and choose the lean beef which contains lesser saturated fat. Oh No! Did you just say that? Yes I did but I’m not done yet.
Recent studies are also beginning to associate three extra servings of red meat per day to increased risk of ‘Type 2 Diabetes’. Researchers have also produced findings linking high consumption of Red meat especially processed red meat (e.g. Bacon, Sausages, and Salamis) to high risk of Colon Cancer; whilst more research is ongoing and pointing at high consumption of red meat as a major cause or encourager of different forms of cancer.
So in my new meal plan I have decided to totally avoid Red Meat. I have now replaced it with Chicken and Fish to meet my need for meat in my daily food intake.
So much about red meat and back to my earlier ‘typical meal day’; Puff-puff (fried dough mixed with yeast and lots of refined sugar), ‘Meat pie’ (minced beef baked in pastry), Sausage Roll (processed beef in pastry). These are all ‘delightable’ snacks made with white flour and our already ‘red flagged’ red meat, they are also high in salt and sugar.
Simply put, white flour is refined carbohydrate meaning it has been stripped of its original nutritious content leaving you with pure starch which the human body processes as pure sugar resulting in high blood sugar and then low. So a daily intake of all the above and other white flour products means you keep having sugar high and then low or here we go again, a health condition referred to as ‘Type 2 Diabetes’.
Now my typical meal appears to be going down the drain so what do I eat then? Replace white flour products with whole wheat products which still contain the natural fiber components that the body needs. Ok looks like I heard another whisper flagging ‘Gluten’. Some day very soon, we will talk about choice between White flour (refined wheat), Whole-Wheat and wheat products, and alternative grains. For now let me just cling to the ‘healthy’ bit of my typical daily meal plan, Yes!….My full pack of fruit juice from concentrate.
This is a dicey one now; all fruits contain sugar. What???? Yes you read and heard me right. To fill a small glass with orange juice you would have to juice several oranges and in getting the juice you dispose of the fibre content which is the balance in fruit intake. American researchers are already coming up with live studies to show that some children who were found to have been taking 3 to 5 glasses of fruit juice per day had high blood sugar and were obese
Fruit juices from concentrate means the fruit juice was squeezed, the water extracted to produce a concentrated (or frozen) form. The process of extracting the water automatically removes some of the nutritional value in the juice. Also some manufacturers of fruit juices (including the not from concentrates) are not sincere and nice enough to tell you that they have added other refined sugar components to their packs. So then skip the purchase of those packs of juice from or not from concentrate and make your own fruit juices at home. Also keep your consumption of fruit juices low and eat the whole fruit instead, it is healthier. (Topic for another day).
For now I better go and ‘re-plan’ my typical ‘Meal day’ See you soon.
Funke Fasanya, an authority on healthy living writes from the United Kingdom.