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November 30, 2012
Star Features


We need to eat healthy!

A few weeks ago, I was forced to step back and take a look at my life. I realised that in chasing my dreams, my ambitions, I forgot to look out for myself and found that I needed to change my lifestyle - how I work, how I eat, and how I lived. Since that time, I have dropped more than 30 pounds and my life has taken a turn for the better.

During that time, I have also made some general observations about how we live that in the end can be a lot more expensive than we ever imagined. One of the most glaring discoveries, if you will, is how we eat. We eat a lot in Jamaica.

What we eat at one sitting could pretty much be what we eat for an entire day! Still, we manage to gorge ourselves with tons of food, just because somewhere in our consciousness the amount of food brings a certain sense of satisfaction.

I spend a lot of time each day on the road. Press conferences, meetings, picking up and dropping off my kids and going to the studio to do my radio show mean that most of my time each day is spent in my car between destinations. As such, eating on the road is a necessity. This means frequent stops at eateries across the city, most of which I find really don't cater to people who want to eat healthy.

proper meal

There is this one place I eat where they will work with you to ensure that you get what you want on your plate. At some other places, how-ever, it's not so simple, and this is due to how we perceive what constitutes a proper meal. For example, I will go into a restaurant and order some baked chicken with lots of vegetables (half my plate worth) and a little slice of yam or a finger of banana since I really don't eat rice anymore. Bearing the request in mind, it is usually hilarious what eventually arrives on my plate. At one such eatery, my chicken was there, so too were my vegetables although not as much as I would have hoped. But along with my slice of yam or finger of banana, there is usually a few dumplings, some potato and other starches which I don't remember asking for.

At one place this week where I ordered fish, I asked the server if I could get just a slice of yam and she said: 'Sure!" When my plate arrived, it was stacked so high I could barely see the girl carrying it. I started looking around to see if there was someone else waiting to be served with what was enough food to cure hunger in West Africa. When I asked where she was going with this plate full of rice and peas, two dumplings and my yam, she said she thought I wanted the yam with everything else. I was dumfounded.

At another restaurant, the person who served me said they didn't think I was being serious when I said I didn't want any rice and wanted a small portion of ground provisions 'food', I think, was the word I used. Hence, she filled my plate with four dumplings and two fingers of banana and some sweet potato.

Things have settled down a bit now that they are getting used to my requests, but we all need to look at what we're doing to ourselves. The vast amount of starch we consume daily was perhaps great for us 60 years ago when most people were working hard in the fields and walked to many of their daily destinations, but these days everybody drives or takes the bus. Many others sit behind a desk all day. We don't need as much starch. The amount of starch most of us consume could feed four or five people daily.

Trust me, when I say we need to check ourselves because medical bills are expensive and diseases that afflict us because of what and how we eat are as common as rain in Portland.

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