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Okay, You Can Have Peas and Rice

In a recent article, I questioned whether the Bahamian daily diet of peas and rice, macaroni and cheese, potato salad and cole slaw was healthy.  I suggested that the traditional method of preparing these dishes causes great harm to the health of many people.  They are high in fat, cholesterol, sugar, and refined ingredients.   However, in this article, as promised, I will share ways in which the same dishes and others may be prepared healthily, with a lesser risk of causing hypertension, diabetes, kidney failure, liver disease, heart problems , or cancer.  If you haven’t read the previous article entitled, “No Peas And Rice in 2005,” you may do so by visiting the website www.soencouragement.org/articles.

BASIC GUIDELINES
Here are a few basic principles for cooking that can prolong your life.  First, as far as possible use no or very little refined food.  Instead of eating lots of refined pasta and white rice, use sweet potatoes, yams, cassavas, and whole grain rice, etc.  The secret is to eat  complex carbohydrates.     Second, avoid deep-  frying  herbs, vegetables, and meats.   Use very little oil when sauteing foods.  The best cooking oils are canola and olive oil because they are better for the human body.  Although fat helps bring out the flavor in the food, it should not look or taste greasy.  Thirdly, do not overcook food.  Overcooking destroys valuable nutrients.  Fourth, eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables.  There should be at least two raw or uncooked vegetables or fruits at each meal.  Focus on the dark green and bright yellow or red vegetables; for example,  beets, tomatoes, spinach, cabbage, romaine lettuce, carrots, brussel sprouts, etc.

Fresh vegetables are sadly missing from most Bahamian meals. Scientific research tells us today that eating lots of vegetables and fruits can greatly reduce the risk of colon cancer, heart problems, digestive problems, liver diseases, strokes, hypertension, etc.  Finally, do not eat after six o’clock in the evening.  Regular late-night eating is a cause of obesity and many other illnesses. Let the last meal of the day truly be the least important meal, not the largest one.  The largest meal should be breakfast.  Too many people have their eating habits backwards.  They work before eating.   They spend all their energy all day by working hard, then they come home and reward themselves with a large, trophy-dish of rich, fat-laden, food.  Then they relax and watch television or go to bed on a full stomach.  That food is not used for energy, but it is stored away in forms that can damage the system.  We should eat before working.  Breakfast should provide the fuel for the day.  The energy put forth during the day will burn up the calories and use them more wisely.  Most overweight Bahamians would lose weight if they would stop eating after five o’clock in the afternoon.

PEAS AND RICE
Peas and rice can be a very nutritious meal.  Pigeon peas are high in protein and fiber and other nutrients. This is the reason lactating  mothers on the family islands were encouraged to eat lots of pigeon peas.  Most Bahamians use white rice with the peas.  Although this is not ideal, yet the pigeon peas help to balance what is missing in the white rice.  When cooking a wholesome pot of peas and rice, try the following instruction: Avoid deep frying the herbs.  Frying increases harmful cholesterol. Use very little oil, preferably canola or olive oil.  Try using whole grain rice.  Vary the way you cook the rice.  Sometimes cook them separately and serve the stewed peas or beans on top or side of the rice. Remember to aroid using lots of fat.  Healthy peas and rice does not shine (look greasy) when it is cooked.
 
POTATO SALAD
Mayonnaise is not healthy for the human body.  It is loaded with eggs and other harmful ingredients.  It is high in cholesterol. That’s why many beauticians find in valuable for conditioning the hair.  It is excellent for the hair, but not for the body.  When making potato salad, try using Nayonaise, Soyanaise or Veganaise.  They do not have eggs and are more nutritious.  If you insist on using your traditional mayonnaise, do not drown the potatoes in it.  Use just enough to flavor them a little.   Avoid using whole eggs.  Use only the white of the egg.  The yellow of the egg is loaded with cholesterol. 
 
MACARONI AND CHEESE
Traditional macaroni and cheese is the Bahamian bombshell to cooking and a sure shortcut to the grave.  It is loaded with these deadly ingredients: high-cholesterol cheese and eggs, fat-laden whole milk and rich butter.  The secret to a healthy, tasty macaroni and cheese is to eliminate the whole milk and use soy, rice, or nut milk.  If you insist on using cows' milk, then use the low fat milk.  Use low-fat cheese and eliminate the eggs.  What can really add spice to macaroni and cheese is a zesty tomato sauce.  Try also using soy cheese.  Eating the traditional macaroni and cheese every day, or even every week, can be dangerous to your health.  Avoid it.  St art making it in healthy ways, you will shed a few pounds, and you will live healthier and longer.    
 
VARIETY PLEASE
A real problem with the Bahamian diet is that it lacks variety and creativity.  We eat the same thing every day of our lives.  The embarrassing part about it is that we are proud of it. Rice, rice, rice and more rice.  Macaroni,  macaroni, macaroni, and more macaroni.  When will it all end.  It is boring and deadly.  It has caused the health bill of our nation to be extremely high.  Now is the time to change that.  Become creative.  Add variety to your diet.  Eating healthily may be more expensive; however, the  high cost of medical bills due to a high fat and cholesterol diet is ten times more expensive.  In addition, a healthy diet gives us a clear, peaceful mind and spirit.  Come on Bahamas, let’s start eating healthily.
 
JOIN ME
Join me at the Twelve Weeks to Wellness Program and learn how to cook, exercise, and live the right way.  Call 341 4021 and ask about the program.  Special classes will begin on Monday, February 7.   Come to the New Englerston Seventh-day Adventist Church, East Street on Sunday, January 30, at 5:00 p.m. for the required pre-screening and registration.  The registration fee is $5.   The go now to the FIRST article.

Barrington Brennen is a marriage and family therapist.  Send your questions or comments to P.O. Box N-896, or call 242-323 8722 or send an email: question@soencouragement.org 

 

 
 
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Permission is granted place links to these articles on social media like Google+, FaceBook, etc..    Permission is also granted to print these pages and to make the necessary copies for your  personal use, friends,  seminar, or meeting handout.  You must not sell for personal gain, only to cover the cost to make copies if necessary.    Written permission (email) is needed to publish or reprint articles and materials in any other form.   Articles written by Barrington H. Brennen, Counseling Psychologist, Marriage & Family Therapist.  P.O. Box CB-13019,  Nassau, The Bahamas.   
 
 question@soencouragement.org or barringtonbrennen@gmail.com  Phone contact is 242-327 1980.   
 
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