Many people (mainly adults) dread that word…diet! We tend to think it spells doom for our very ‘spoilt’ palates. And tweenagers I have met and discussed diet with have bulked at the idea too; “dieting is for adults”, some said. I smiled at that comment; nothing could be further from the truth.
A buffet of Indian cuisine
According to merriam-webster.com (an online dictionary) the word ‘diet’ was “used in another sense too, in the Middle and early modern English periods to mean “way of living.” Whilst the word has come to also mean a regimen of eating and drinking to manage one’s weight, I tend to prefer the other meaning, which encompasses more than just eating and drinking. The “way of living” definition of diet is deliberately broad and now more than ever, is a more useful, I think.
I believe your diet must include everything you eat, drink, read, watch, talk about, listen to, participate in, wear, buy…catch my drift? All this amounts to what you consume or what consumes you – don’t restrict your understanding of ‘consume’ to its literal meaning. Check your dictionary for the other implied meanings of this same word.
As we now have settled on what diet means (in our context), may I ask what your diet is?
Books – what kinds of books are you reading? Sci-Fi, horror, dystopian, utopian, (psycho)thriller, mystery, …the genres are endless. You could be a consumer of them all, for all we know! I find that people who read broadly (across genres) are some of the most creative and eloquent persons. Reading is the most fundamental of of activities any (formally) educated person should engage in. I have maintained that people should stop listing ‘reading’ as a hobby. Reading should belong to the category of life skills, for if you cannot read you could end up 6 feet underground!
Groups/Associations – this category will be one of the most influential in your life. The company you keep or join shapes your mindset and lifestyle. If you and your friends (yes, that’s “the company you keep”) are always sitting about, idle-gossiping about any and everybody all of the time, you could easily end up becoming someone who never has anything good to say about other people.
And there are tons of people who fit this bill; such people end up not seeing anything good in themselves either. Or if they do, they tend to think they’re the only smartest people they ever met. Not a good group to find yourself, in my humble suggestion. Create associations or join groups that will uplift you and in so doing, makes you want to uplift others.
Food – now THIS!! The food you eat takes the chunkiest part of the diet you create for yourself. I can’t tell you this enough – you ARE what you eat! If junk is all you eat (fast foods basically) then you, my friend, are sitting on a time bomb. Eating the right foods in your youth usually guarantees you a healthy lifestyle.
I have met too many tweenagers who say they don’t eat or like kontonmire (leafy green vegetable) or garden eggs stew, cocoyam or boiled yam, unripe plantain or anything that isn’t rice or noodles or pizza. And I say to them, if you don’t start including these healthy foods in your diet (3-4 times a week at least) you may have your doctor prescribe it to you as your medicine when you become an adult.
Fried foods and fast foods tend to bring about health complications and it is better to keep such foods to a minimum of a treat (once in 2 weeks for e.g.) Fizzy drinks and sugary ones are silent killers – they bring about lifestyle diseases such as diabetes. Replacing your fizzy drinks and artificial juices with the natural ones are a much better option. Fruit juices are easy to make – get your favourite fruits (mine’s mango), throw into a blender or juicer and voila!
Media – the type of tv, radio and online shows you watch have a great influence on you. I cannot watch thrillers or dark films; they keep me up all night!! I love listening to radio dramas and watching documentaries on nature and the history of events that happened years before we got here.
What other things can we add to our diet, as we understand it?
>>>The writer is a passionate educator who makes learning fun for children under 18 through co-curricular programmes. Through her charity organisation, Young Educators Foundation (YEF) in Ghana, the programmes portfolios have expanded to include literacy programmes in local languages as well as public speaking programmes for the youth.
Based on her work in education and with children, Eugenia is the recipient of many nomination and awards such as a presidential award for the contribution to education over the past decade in 2018. In 2019, she was named as one of the 74 individuals in Those who Inspire Ghana, a global programme that identifies nationals whose experiences are worth sharing. Eugenia believes that children are not the ‘future’, but rather the ‘present’ and so the need to invest in their total development. She is a regular contributor on radio and television shows as well as various public fora on this and related topics.