It is June already…and halfway down the month! Where did the year run to? It wasn’t so long ago that it was January and I was trying hard to remember to write ’13 at the back of my dates and not ’12. Let’s not forget those New Year resolutions…to be more careful with spending, keep to a budget etc. And the health resolutions? To go to the gym at least 5 days a week, walk 10,000 steps a day, eat healthier and just find ways of getting our exercise in a day…how’s that coming along? Good…or maybe not so good? The half way mark is usually a good time to take stock and check on how well we are doing or not doing. Especially as there are still 6 months to make amends.
As I take stock, my mind runs through all the events that have been significant to me. I remember writing about Angelina Jolie and her decision to have a double mastectomy. It was a decision that I particularly mulled over…wondering how I’d have handled a clearly difficult decision. I recall that a few weeks after that, she indeed lost an aunt to the disease. I don’t know how close they were but I imagine that if money could have held this disease at bay, Angelina would not have batted an eyelid to do the needful. So it appears she did have a reason to panic and go for the mastectomy. It kinda sounds like the biblical injunction to cut off any part of our bodies that causes us to sin or in this case, causes you to die before your time! (Olorun m’aje!) Can you do that? Food for thought 😉
As I mull over all these, I am particularly happy and excited about the gift of life. I am more encouraged to do the right things so I can live to a ripe old age and see my grandchildren and great grandchildren (yep! And I don’t intend to be bent over at this time! Will be looking absolutely gorgeous and fab ;), if you get what I mean!).
In keeping with the cancer discourse, here are five top foods that help you give cancer a big kick in the….you know where 😉
Green leafy vegetables: These are chock full of anti-oxidants that protect the body against various cancers. These include efo tete (green to my Ibo clan), garden egg or egg plant leaves (Efo gba gba in Yoruba and akwukwo anara in Ibo), ugu (melon leaves). Remember to cook the vegetables minimally and in fact, the leaves like the egg plant are absolutely delicious when eaten raw. My favourite way of cooking the veggies is to put the washed and cut veggies in a pot, add some salt and onions and just cover it for about a minute over low heat. Then I stir and depending on the quantity, another minute or two and it would be steamed and still crunchy and juicy. I use this as a side dish for all my meals when I don’t have a salad. Apart from their anti-cancer properties, these vegetables have copious amounts of folic acid which helps protect an unborn child from neural tube defects…you know those babies born with sacs and soft tissues protruding along the spinal line. So get every pregnant woman you know to load up on this vital food.
Cabbages are known as cruciferous foods and also contain anti-oxidants that fight cancer. Other foods that are in this group that have the same property are cauliflower and broccoli. These can be found in major supermarkets and if you can’t, good old cabbage, found in our local markets, do the trick too! J
Carrots are rich in cancer-protecting anti-oxidants. Their nutrients are better protected when boiled with their skin on. This also keeps the vegetable, moist and juicy.
Berries are also very rich in anti-oxidants. Strawberries, blackberries and blueberries, all found in major supermarkets as frozen or fresh fruits are cancer-protective. The star apple fruit (agbalumo) is also thought to have some anti-cancer properties. Some more work is being done to confirm this.
Whole grains are full of fiber and cancer-fighting ingredients. So load up on brown or Ofada/Abakaliki rice, whole wheat bread etc.
Funny, when I was younger, I made my mum start buying polished rice. She was a great fan of Abakaliki rice and I couldn’t get it…what with the stones (in spite of de-stoning, as they called it) and the smell…which I absolutely adore now and hated then :D. We always had bags and bags of the rice at home. It literally took years to empty our pantry of the stuff. Today, I wish I had that ‘real Mccoy’ here now. Makes me remember the saying that by the time, you’re old enough to know that your mother (or parents) was right, you probably have children who think you are wrong! Talk about generational gap 😀
Here’s to a healthier you!