How ‘Old school’ generation lived longer by eating well and why the current generation is dying young

Today I want you to open your eyes to a form of generation and take a closer look at what has become of the “current generation” in light of what is regarded as “old school mentality eating habits”.

Former President Moi and Kibaki, Former VP Awori, are among the older generation who we can say have lived a long life: all of them in their 80-90’s is a total blessing. Care to think how they eat? How their lives are? Well, this article will shed some light.

Traditional foods diet of old generation

In their upbringing, foods like pizza, chapati, sausages, bacon, biscuits, sodas, sugar, cakes, sweets, oils and fatty foods were not present on their plates. Their diets were mostly comprised of traditional foods – for STARCHES – brown ugali, matoke (cooked green bananas), roasted bananas, roasted potatoes, boiled maize, boiled sweet-potatoes, boiled arrowroots, mukimo (maize,beans, vegetables and potatoes)- the kikuyu style for Kibaki;

They also had a lot of traditional VEGETABLES in their diet – managu, terere(amaranth), kunde, pumpkin leaves (kanyuria), mrenda. Lets just say spinach, kales, broccoli and the rest are current generation foods introduced to kenyans from the western world. Just take a guess (when was the first time you ate spinach or broccoli or cauliflower?); Well they had an abundance of FRUITS – growing wildly in the farms with the different seasons; their dairy products, for Moi is Mursik, goat milk and cow milk were also good sources.

They would also have their share of PROTEINS from grains (beans was the most common grain) and meat (chicken, beef and mutton) and blood (this is still have issues with to date).

What comes out clearly from their eating habits is that they enjoyed healthy foods. This term healthy is used in this article to imply – low fat diets, low sugar diets, complex or whole carbohydrates and nutrient dense foods, something that is lacking in our current food preferences. Most of their foods was either boiled or roasted or fermented to enhance its taste and palatability. This goes to say that their diets didn’t have oil or fats that we are so used to nowadays.

Junk food everywhere in the new generation

Then we have the current Generation: generation Y and Z, whose foods are fried – deep fried or shallow fried (chips, bhajia, chicken, mandazi, doughnuts, mahamri, chapatis ); foods are comprised of sugars -a very addictive component, one can even compare this habit with drugs abuse due to the detrimental effects; Diets that highly processed like bacon, sausages, ham, with a lot of chemicals added to them; then we have the carbonated drinks – sodas, juices, energy drinks etc. these are empty calories or low nutrient foods, just fueling the body with sugar and chemicals that slowly eating up our system. Lets us not forget the accompaniments – salads, very small portions of vegetables that have all manner of salad dressings added to them- be it mayonnaise, or dips or oils. All these foods, my readers, were not in the old school generation plates.

With the rising numbers of fast foods joints, both local and international based, the food preferences is getting worse by the day. You can place your order from your phone and the Pizza is delivered to your doorstep, cakes or whatever food you want.

Should we be getting back on track or carry on with the current eating habits?

In comparison to these two generation, one thing is apparently clear, food preferences are different. Where does that leave us, you may be asking? a review of the consequences of these diets, may be a good place to start.

As you can tell, life expectancy has taken a downward trend – unlike the old generation who were blessed with 70-120 years on this planet, currently life expectancy is 55 years for men and 58 years for women. Some may argue the changes are not entirely food based but this is a fact we cannot refute – food has it share of blame.

Life expectancy is affected by what we eat

Life expectancy is not the only aspect affected by food preferences; the health care bills are scaling up due to the rise in obesity, cancer, diabetes, strokes, heart attacks, gout, osteoporosis etc. These illnesses are classified under Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). These NCDs are very expensive to manage for the healthcare sector. One fact is clear, NCDs are not curable but they are preventable. NCDs are well known as lifestyle diseases. They are as a result of poor dietary changes that are common among generation Y and Z.

Are you eating healthy? This is an indicator that you need to change your current patterns. Do you portray the following habits:

Practical eating solutions – the easier the better – pop in a fast food joint, grab your fatty food for lunch or dinner; cooking at home is old school.. is this where we need to go?
Snacking all day long – do you snack on soda, biscuits, doughnuts, mandazi, chocolate, sausages, smokies, cake, samosas? well this is generation Y and Z food preferences.

Late eaters – do you find yourself eating at 9 p.m., 10p.m., 11p.m. at night? well old school generation eat as early as as 7p.m. to allow food to be digested before lying down.

Staying connected – any food joint offering internet services is sure likely to attract this current generation – staying connected with social media is very important for this generation every single minute on their phones, tablets, mac-books – provide internet and attract a bigger clientele – this is the catch for food joints.

Final Thoughts

I may not have exhausted all I had in mind, but as a Nutritionist, I can say there is dire need to address the current habits. We should eat healthy foods like the older generation did. Yes, they may not be as tasty and colourful as the fast foods, but the detrimental effects of the current eating habits can be prevented. I am pretty sure no one wants to be diagnosed with NCDs. You have seen a loved one struggle with diabetes or high blood pressure, well you do not want to go down the same road.

Consult a Nutritionist today for proper eating habits

Author Profile:

Lilian Muraya

Cell: +254 726 169414
I'm a nutritionist with a passion for making people live better and longer through providing consultation on how they should eat to keep fit.
After all, you are what you eat.

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