B.K.S Iyengar once said, “The Body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in”.
We have to acknowledge the fact that sometimes lifestyle changes as we progress along with the rest of the world may not always be a good thing. Like how our palates love anything with high levels of sodium, industrial made trans fat and sucrose. Do not get me wrong, I am no dietician and I am not here to give you a lecture on food and nutrition but just like you, I am in possession of information and statistics of what our health looks like since we changed our eating habits for a western culinary experience. With better ad campaigns pushing for a “cooler” lifestyle targeted at the millennial, it is no surprise that the staples that made our forefathers live to be 101 are shunned and looked at as uncool and quite frankly less tasty meals.
Obesity, heart conditions, cancers especially those attacking various parts of the digestive system and diabetes are on the rise in Africa. We have to admit that we have moved on from our traditional dishes for some fries and mouth-watering burgers with as little as possible exercise on the side.
Aside the fact that our health is in jeopardy, it is also unfair that we do not sufficiently support a sector that employs about 73% of the country’s population- Agriculture. Cereals such as maize, rice, sorghum, millet and wheat provide for staple foods for more than 50% of the population.
I had a chance to work with Africa Centre for Economic Transformation, an organisation founded in 2008 that centres on the drive for economic growth in Africa. Since the agricultural sector is important for that growth to happen, in my mind it also reads better food, better health and a longevity for Africans, something we all know deep inside but something we look at as a mere obiter dictum.
This year’s Super foods Uganda program addressed the fact that for a nation full of youth, the only way to make healthy eating more exciting was to be able to partner with restaurants that could present recipes using millet or sorghum with an electrifying and unconventional approach. These restaurants included; Fairway hotel, Liquidsilk, Kampala Serena hotel, Dancing Cup and Golf Course Hotel.
I had the opportunity to try muffins from Dancing Cup. I have a sweet tooth and sometimes that’s the kind of thing that gets you into an early grave or leaves you with no teeth. Alfred, the chef from Dancing Cup is one of those people that understood that and created a recipe that is low in gluten, sweet with deep flavours of walnuts, honey and raisins.
With 2 and a half cups of wheat flour, 1 cup of millet flour, 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 cup of butter milk, half a cup of honey, raisins, walnuts and 2 eggs, baked for 15 minutes in a pre heated oven at 400 degrees, Alfred presented delectable muffins with a heavy honey scent and flavour made me think of the perfect pairing for these muffins and I chose a strawberry ice cream which was more than perfect. the walnuts added a perfect flavour with the millet as well and I couldn’t help myself-I had to eat another muffin.
These muffins are still available at Dancing Cup so when you swing by Bugoloobi, kindly pass by and ask for the millet muffins and do thank me when you get the chance.
I also had the amazing opportunity of eating the millet bread rolls and slices at the Kampala Serena hotel which were served as starters. A little trick for even a more amazing culinary experience is warming the bread before you spread the butter. I paired this bread with salami and ham, a slice of mozzarella and sprinkled rock salt and black pepper at the top. Which reminds me, for those that want a quick lunch or quick filling breakfast, this would be perfect. It is healthy and the taste is obviously more than pleasant. The millet loaf and bread rolls are available at the bakery at Serena as well.
So why is all this important?
Sorghum has been proven to inhibit cancer hormone growth, bone health, improving digestive health, diabetes control and for those in need of gluten free meals-the perfect ingredient. Millet? Lowers type 2 diabetes risk, protects the heart, prevents gallstones, repairs body tissues and is gluten free as well.
Every year we lose a friend, a relative. We now fundraise to treat cancers because it is impossible to be accorded the right treatments at affordable prices in our country. A medical exam is one that is best avoided because we may not get the best news. A lot of factors are to be taken into consideration as well, but I think we need to eat better and trust me, creative geniuses in the kitchen are coming up with unconventional recipes to ensure that your journey to better health is nothing short of amazing.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food- Hippocrates”