Preparing For The Festive Season

As we count down to the festive season, here are ways you can feed your sweet tooth and still be healthy :D

Q: I want to stop sugar because I’m addicted. What can I do doctor?

A: Thanks for writing in. Don’t we all struggle with this???
I’ll reproduce here a post I had made on healthier alternatives/substitutes to foods we generally love which may not be so healthy. This includes sugary foods and those loaded with bad fats. Enjoy…

First, commit to reading labels in supermarkets. For all the foods that you will buy from shops, read the labels and be sure that they contain wholesome nutrients. Look out especially for trans fats, sugars, salt and lack of fiber. Avoid foods that have them…as much as you can!

Try these substitutions:
Substitute white rice with local rice like Ofada, Abakaliki rice or brown rice etc

While shopping for pasta (eg spaghetti, macaroni or the like), look out for whole grain pasta. It will be written on the pack.

Instead of buying white bread, go for whole wheat bread.,,noting that even wheat bread has a significant amount of salt. So, if you casn lay off bread once in a while, please do :D

Remember that just because it’s brown, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s whole wheat. Ask the grocer/baker/whoever you’re buying from.

If you need a sugar fix, don’t get it from a pack of sugar-filled fruit juice, juice your own fruits or opt for fruit slices

You know those sugar filled cereals that tell you that it’s just honey and whatever else, read the pack, you’ll see how much sugar is in them…plus of course, the honey. Substitute with oatmeal or other whole grain cereals. If you hate oats, try this recipe I learnt while shooting my half hour show.

Overnight oats
Put some oats in a bowl, add some milk and unsweetened yoghurt. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, add some fruit slices (I like apple and banana slices), add a sprinkle of cinnamon and if you want a little bit more ‘sugar’, add a couple of raisins/currants/dried fruit. Mix it all up…tastes fabulous! :D

Stay off soft drinks/soda as much as you can. Substitute with water :D or sparkling water which has some drops of lemon in it or you can do same with still (regular) water.

Instead of red meat, go for chicken and fish. And take off the chicken skin.

Substitute butter for cooking with healthier oils like Olive oil.

Substitute butter on bread slices with healthier spreads like peanut butter or even mashed avocado pear.

Try shopping for reduced fat mayonnaise and salad dressings to take the place of the regular goods. You could also try balsamic vinegar as a dressing for salad.

In recipes that need sugar, you can significantly reduce sugar to be used by using some cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla.

Blend up some fruits and add them to low fat, sugar-free yoghurt…and dare I say, use that as a substitute for ice cream??? :D

Reduce salt intake by using other herbs and spices like ginger, garlic etc

Replace pounded yam with oat meal and serve up different varieties of vegetable soups.

Remember that while making your stew, the oil should not be visible on top of the stew when you’re done cooking. If we can see it, it’s too much!

Have a great evening, people :D

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Daily Health Tips: Besides Ultra Sound Scan, How Else Do I Know If I’m Having Twins?

Q: Hello Dr ketch, please, I am 11 weeks pregnant and for the past 1 week, it’s as if I’ve been feeling movements in the stomach. Is it normal or do I need to check a doctor? In my first pregnancy, I did not feel the baby till 20 weeks and above. Again, besides the ultrasound, how can I know if I’m having twins?
A: The first time you feel your baby’s movement is known as quickening and the time women feel it varies person to person. It ranges from 16 to 25 weeks but women who have had babies before may feel this much earlier. Women describe it as different things: a bubbly feeling; butterflies in their tummy; gas etc.
How to know if you’re having twins? Well, ultrasound is your best bet. But there are some other ‘signs’ that may be suggestive:
If your doctor is very experienced, he may be able to distinguish different heartbeats using Doppler system. Ask your doctor about this. This is a small ‘machine’ placed against a woman’s tummy that amplifies the baby’s heart beats.
You may also have excessive morning sickness. Again, this may be misleading as lots of women experience significant morning sickness even when pregnant with one baby :D
You may find that your weight gain is excessive…but then again, if you eat a lot and really feed that urge you have to indulge in all manner of foods, then you would be adding weight; and this is not due to 2 babies :D
The hormone, Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG) is the hormone that is sought for when pregnancy tests are conducted. If for some reason, your doctor decides to monitor its level and it is inordinately high, then this could lead him to think twin pregnancy.
When your doctor checks the fundal height…essentially the size of your pregnancy, the size of your tummy would suggest a much older pregnancy than the real age of the pregnancy.
You would also feel more tired, more frequent fetal movements etc or you may have a history of this or just feel a hunch that this is a twin pregnancy. None of these are fool-proof. So, an ultra sound scan is still your best bet :)
Have a great everyone :D
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Daily Health Tips: Why Does My Baby Have A Cough?

Q: Good evening Doc, Ketch. How’s family and work ma’am?
Please my baby clocked 2 months today, but over 1 week ago now, she’s been having light cough. She’s not exposed to too much air or cold. She baths with warm water and her food is always prepared with same as she takes much food, formula milk, then breast milk. What could cause 1+ month old baby to be coughing?? Nobody coughs in the house/family. Thanks ma’am!
Waiting for my reply as usual ma’am
A: Generally, cough could be due to common cold, allergies or other irritants in the environment, croup, whooping cough etc.
If your baby has a common cold, giving an antibiotic does not help as it is not a bacterial infection. Indeed, giving antibiotics when they are not needed can make organisms develop antibiotic resistance. Cough syrup is also not a great idea as it may contain substances that could speed up baby’s heart rate. A common cold is a viral infection. With or without medication, the infection will run its course and resolve.
So what can you do? Your baby probably also has nasal congestion too. So:
Try to prop up baby’s head when he’s sleeping at night.
Use an air humidifier to make it easier for your baby to breathe. If you don’t have an air humidifier, you can run a warm shower and take baby into the bathroom to inhale the steam. Be careful that the air is not too harsh and of course, we don’t want to deal with burns.
Be sure to give baby sufficient fluids. At his age, he should still be on exclusive breastfeeding. So, breastfeed judiciously. If nasal congestion interferes with breastfeeding, you can use a cup and spoon to feed the baby. The mouth breathing practised by these children due to nasal congestion exposes them to dehydration and so there is a need for adequate fluid intake.
A suction bulb can help remove mucous from the nose especially if it’s interfering with breathing.
If baby’s cough lasts more than 2 weeks or he develops your fever, please get him to his doctor.
For a related post, please click on this link:
Have a good night, people :D
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Daily Health Tips: My 10-Month Old Baby Wants To Be Fed Only Breast Milk!

Q: Good evening Dr. My daughter is 10 month and she don’t like eating food only breast milk. What can I use for her to boast her appetite for Food. Thanks

A: Thanks for writing in. Exclusively breastfed babies usually have a challenge moving on to other foods. The breast milk is that good! :D

I reproduce below, a post I had made on this subject:
Just like adults, a good number of babies are resistant to change. They are comfortable eating what they had been eating? Life was good…why do you want to change it???? :D Okay, that’s some babies. Others are more than happy to move on to the next stage!

When to start? At 6 months. From birth to 6 months, please focus on exclusive breastfeeding with not even a drop of water. From six months, baby is ready to be introduced to some other food.

For a long time, the standard teaching had been to go for rice cereal as the first add-on meal because it is bland and babies tolerate this well. Other studies question this wisdom now and suggest that foods like meats with lots of essential nutrients like iron may be a good place to start. What should you do? You can boil beef/chicken very soft and blend it up for baby. If baby tolerates this, then by the next week, you could try adding some rice cereal. Try not to introduce more than one food per week so that you have time to study how your baby adapts to it and of course, look out for/isolate food allergy. And, to start off, only one meal of the complementary feed should be given daily. The rest should be the usual…breast milk :D This will, of course, as baby tolerates.

Generally, foods to start off weaning should be just slightly thicker than milk and so, if it retains its shape on a spoon, it may be too thick.

From 9 months, baby can be allowed to start experimenting with regular family meals…minus the spices, of course :D

From one year of age, you can add the cereals mentioned in the question and it’s also okay to introduce cow milk at this time. Full cream cow milk is advocated at this time for proper brain development. Thereafter, please switch to skimmed/1%/2% milk as full cream milk has a lot of saturated fat which may contribute to poor heart health. Grains, green leafy vegetables, cow milk, honey, whole eggs can generally be introduced after the baby turns 1 year old.

Generally, other weaning foods that can be introduced include:
Boiled egg yolk (egg whites contain substances that baby may react to), sweet potatoes, fish, chicken, beef, fruits like banana, avocados, boiled beans (with skin removed if possible etc
Simple recipes include, blend some chicken or beef with the stock or mash a banana and add to baby’s cereal.

Our local cereals can also be used and fortified with some breast milk or formula.

As baby tolerates these meals, you can get a little more adventurous.

Boiled carrots mashed with some coconut oil or a little yoghurt with mashed banana may not go amiss too.

An example of a recipe I make for my children is boil potatoes in a pot and place a stainless plate on top of the pot. Add your egg yolk and a drop Olive oil and when the yolk is cooked and potatoes soft, mash all together and feed baby.

Now I know we are all very busy, but weaning is no easy task and so we must commit to trying as much as to prepare these meals ourselves. Packaged meals usually contain additives that may trigger problems/allergies etc in the baby. Hygiene is also critical!

I hope y’all are having a great day?

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Daily Health Tips: Why Does My Baby Vomit After A Meal?

Q: Good afternoon Dr Ketch. I have a 3-week old son who vomits sometimes after breastfeeding. Please I will like to know what causes it and what I can do to remedy it. I intend to do 6months exclusive breastfeeding. Thank you and remain blessed
A: Hi dear, congratulations on your new baby. This baby will do super-amazing awesome things…Amen!
Now, is your baby ‘vomiting’ or spitting up the milk? Bear in mind, that when I say spitting up, it’s not the type that you and I do. Spitting up in babies refers to an easy flow of the milk your baby just took out of his mouth accompanied by a burp sometimes. Vomiting, however, is more forceful and would move a couple of inches more from the baby’s mouth.
What causes reflux? There is a ring of muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus (the food pipe). In babies, this muscle is not well developed and so allows food that has moved into the stomach to sometimes come back up. This would continue, sometimes, up till when the baby is about 12 months but is more common within the first 3 months of life. It is also common in babies who are over-fed :D
You can help to reduce this by
• Feeding your baby in an upright position and keeping baby upright, if possible, for a couple of minutes after breastfeeding
• Burping your baby after meals
• Feeding baby small and more frequent meals to prevent overfeeding at any meal time.For those bottle feeding, check that the hole in baby’s bottle teat is not too big.
• You can also check to see whether your diet is culprit. If you suspect one, eliminate for at least a week and see if there is an impact.
If your baby, however, ‘vomits’ forcefully, is not gaining weight, gags, has difficulty swallowing or sleeping etc, please see his doctor for a review.
Please keep your commitment to the exclusive breastfeeding plan. It’s a sure winner. My love to your baby!
Have a great evening, y’all :D
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Abuja, Get Your Copy Of ‘Just For The Health Of It’

The book, Just For The Health Of It, is now available in more places.

For those in Abuja and environs, please call 07030739403 or pick it up at No 5 Bricks Market, Dawaki 11 Market, Dawaki extension.

For those in Awka, please call 08189944090.

Remember that this book is a great gift for anyone who wishes to live and eat healthy, lose weight, get ready for pregnancy and parenting. Buy copies for bridal showers, baby showers, Christmas gifts etc. It’s a gift that keeps on giving :D

Our former channels still remain:

1) Just click on this link and get a copy. You have the option of paying when the book is delivered to you or paying online. This service is available all over Nigeria.

2) Another option for those in Lagos is Laterna Bookshop on 13, Oko-Awo Close, Off Adetokunbo Ademola Street,. Victoria Island.

3) If you’re outside the country, please visit Amazon through this link

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Daily Health Tips: That Yoghurt Recipe!

Q: Good day Dr. I ll appreciate it if u can forward how yoghurt with Loya milk is being prepared and is it okay for a fat person?
A: I’ve received a lot of questions on the recipe for yoghurt. I have re-produced it a LOT of times. But, by popular demand, I reproduce it…yet again :D As added value, I give you two additional recipes!
Here goes…
You can use milk to make some super delicious milk shakes. Everybody loves a milk shake :D An easy one to make is a combination of milk, some fruits (eg mango) and crushed ice. Put all into a blender and whizz away. Watch while blending because if you blend for too long, it becomes runny. You want it nice and sorta thick….and utterly delicious!
Another delicious healthy milky/fruity snack you can make for your children is a milk popsicle. Even you will love it! Here’s how:
• You can juice some sweet oranges, or blend mangoes or any other fruit you like.
• Mix it with some milk
• Put it in fruity shaped ice moulds or even a regular ice tray that comes with most freezers or get a popsicle maker and pour it in with your popsicle stick in.
• Allow to freeze
• And….you’ve got the ideal sugar rush snack for your children.
Try it out and feel free to tinker with the recipe whichever way you want!
For yoghurt, I’ll share with you a recipe that I use to make my own special brand of home-made yoghurt. Remember that yoghurt is full of healthy bacteria that may help fight vaginal infections, prevent brittle bones (osteoporosis) in old age because of the calcium content and help digestion amongst other uses. And now for my home made brew…without fancy machines and stuff…
• Get your measuring cups, warm water, a clean dish towel,, some already made (you can use store bought) yoghurt with pro-biotics, an airtight container and milk. This recipe uses powdered milk. Most store-bought yoghurt contain pro-biotics which are live bacteria and yeasts which are god for your health. Weird, right? To think of good bacteria :D
• Mix one cup of milk with 4 cups of warm water. Whisk it all up.
• Scoop out one cup of the mixture and add a quarter cup of your already made yoghurt that you bought from the shops
• Then pour the mixture from the point above to the milk mixture and whisk.
• Pour in an air-tight container or just cover with a tea towel.
• Do not move, mix or stir the mixture during the ‘setting’ process. Leave it for at least 4 hours. I usually leave mine overnight and wake up to a jar of fabulous home-made yoghurt!
• Remember to whisk the mixture together after it has ‘set’ so that you don’t have the ‘water-on-top’ situation in the last question…or was it a comment? :D
So, mix up your own batch and after the first go, feel free to mix and match the recipe as you like. As you can see, there was no added sugar to mine…wink. This recipe can also use bottled milk in which case it has to be warmed before (not boiled) before use and repeat all other steps as above.
It’s almost a weekend. Hint, hint! Let’s have you try out some of these recipes :D
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