My country prides itself in the beef industry – an industry that has sustained it and is the reason for growth.
Somehow, these cows have been faithful to changing lives and defining a family. I mean every family must have at least one cow to call their own. And this is a blessing that we must be grateful for.
A groom`s father stands proudly as he pays only the fattest and healthiest cows to his son’s in laws; a grandfather ko morakeng walks with his head held high as his neighbours adore his stock. This goes the same for chickens.
Imagine life in Botswana without quarter chickens or hot wings; there literally would be no fingers to lick. So we respect the world of meat and its juicy flavours…well, except for its fat portions.
The problem now begins when all we eat is meat and nothing else. I probably am treading on dangerous ground writing about meat but, wait a minute, this is not an article about why and how you should quit meat, not yet.
There is nothing wrong with eating meat, but there definitely is something wrong with not eating the leaves, especially the green ones. I get that our climate does not necessarily support the whole idea of growing greens throughout the year. With little rain and not so fertile soil, it becomes somewhat impossible to turn a land into a produce field with big leaves of spinach and proud cabbage heads.
Instead, it is a ground perfect for rearing cows, knowing that these cows will not only be food but a source of school fees for the kids and income for the parents.
It goes beyond this; someone overseas is dining on Botswana’s finest beef brand, enjoying a healthy piece of steak. But does this then mean that we forget all about our vegetables or we do eat them but just not a whole lot. We have become so accustomed to serving a spoon of spinach and coleslaw salad with a cup of pap and a whole half chicken or beef steak.
There hardly is a time when one would have a whole platter, overflowing with a Greek salad, chopped and salted spinach with no meat. It only becomes easy if you are a vegetarian either because of your faith or personal choice.
It’s not so easy to ignore the smell of meat for vegetables or even eat a meal without meat.
“If there is no piece of meat, then there is no food on the plate,” said a friend.
But this should not be the case. Eating meat does not mean we do not eat our greens; it actually gives us a reason to eat more of these leaves so we balance the nutrients in our bodies.
Since the birth of time, earth was filled with food that was not in any ways contaminated or genetically grown. The abundance of fruits and vegetables became breakfast, lunch and supper.
Herbs of the land flavoured meals and just the sight of the greenery on a plate was reason enough to salivate. There didn’t know what obesity was, nor were they ever told to reduce their meat intake so that it lowers their hypertension or instructed to discard the meat fat so that they avoid the occurrence of heart attacks.
They inclined to the rules of nature; looked to the earth for food and it was such a fruitful life. This is because these leaves have very low calories that do not make one overweight regardless of how much they feed on them. The nutritive power of leaves has a pool of richness in vitamins and minerals. Phytonutrients, which are only found in fruits and vegetables, are cancer fighting and life sustaining nutrients which are determined by the colour of the food.
Lutein, which is present in all green veggies, allicin in white, resveratrol in purple, betacarote in orange are an army that defends the body against invaders.
Vitamin A, B1, thiamin, niacin, which are responsible for healthy tissues and organs, are found in vegetables and also contain antioxidants which remove free radicals in the body.
In his book, ‘Own And Know Your Health’, Dr Ross says that vegetables are God’s natural medicine to men, and should be taken in 3 times a day at a high dose without fail.
I know some probably have been struggling with the idea of living meat and becoming a vegan, what will people say, how would you ever survive? Well you do not necessarily have to quit meat because it also has nutritive values, but you definitely have to increase your intake of veggies for a healthy stomach, a perfect weight and a life free of cancer threats.
So go on and eat your greens; turn a new leaf.