Healthy Living is two years

I have decided to put a hold on the fermented food series because it is our second anniversary. I am dedicating this edition to you, my esteemed readers.

The journey started two years ago and I have now reached a point where I need to reflect on the impact the column has on society. Though I still look forward to seeing a stronger connection, I can say that a bridge has been built between orthodox, herbal health care systems and lifestyle. Orthodox and herbal health care systems are Siamese twins, after all, most of the pharmaceutical products currently dispensed by physicians have a long history of use as herbal remedies. A large percentage of drugs considered “basic and essential” by the World Health Organisation are “exclusively of flowering plant origin.’’ However, herbal medicine should be given a chance to thrive, medicines and prescriptions should not be the only approach to healing.

Let me let you into what happened behind the scenes on November 24, 2019, when this column debuted. Someone dear to me suddenly fell sick and was rushed to the hospital. At the hospital, we were informed that she had to go through an emergency surgery. It was like my world ended. While I was running around at the hospital, I was replying to all the congratulatory messages that flooded my phone at the same time. Like they always say, “the show must go on.” So, each time this column is a year older, it is always a double celebration for me because it is a reminder of how my dear one had a close shave with death and survived.

Dear esteemed readers, I am deeply touched by your show of love. It became so real to me when words of encouragement started pouring in when I mentioned that a reader sent a nasty text message to me. You have my deepest thanks for this. I know that I do not say this often but today, I want to tell you that I appreciate you and your support. You may not realise it. The feedback I get from you always makes me happy. Thanks for the push too, your medical questions make me broaden my knowledge in medicine. In fact, there are times I wish I can return to school to study medicine. I have readers who are constant with their text messages, some send messages once in a while. I know that there are readers who have not said a word. Whichever group you fall into, you are highly appreciated. The criticisms are acknowledged too.

PUNCH titles have been my favourite as a young girl. I would wait impatiently for my father to be through with reading so as to start reading. As they say, no one knows tomorrow. I had no idea one day I would have a column in it. My gratitude goes to the management of this number one newspaper for making my voice heard. When I started, I did not envisage the impact was going to be this real. It is not a localised thing. I get text messages from all over the world. Readers have called from the United States of America for seedlings of the plants I have discussed. A reader once chatted with me from Damascus and I was just laughing because it reminded me of the biblical story of how Saul encountered Jesus on his way to Damascus. To my family, I am more grateful to you than you will ever know.

Over a 100 articles have been published. The first article was an introduction into what to expect in this column. The second one was about dangers in the abuse of herbs. I have done many series out of which are vegetable species of our land, spices of our land, Nigeria’s chewing sticks, inspirational lessons from plants, medicinal plants and more. Currently, I am on the fermented food series. By now, we have all seen that what we eat has a profound effect on our health and like they say, you are what you eat. Also, we have all seen that how we eat them also matters. For example, the discussion on soybeans has opened our eyes to the fact that the safest way to eat it is by making it go through fermentation. We have also seen the dangers in taking milk and we now know that yogurt is better. My discussion on some diseases and how to manage them is an eye- opener to the fact that eating a healthy diet is not enough, we need some lifestyle changes too to be healthy. Though it is not a medical platform, still we all get exposed to some medical discussions that we have all benefited from. I have also tried to be fair in all I write. I do not spare myself or portray myself like a super-human being, I break health rules too like everyone and I have once reported myself to you all as that woman who hates drinking water (I have changed though).

However, I did not envisage that I will be getting into “little troubles” with some of my discussions on this platform. The discussion on milk raised a dust and as usual, unfriendly words were used. Well, I have come to a point where words do not get to me again. Now, I practically squeeze a joke out of them instead of getting angry. All I can say is that people should not be too rigid about their stand on certain things. That something has been in practice for a long time does not mean it is right, not all ethnobotanical knowledge is right. For example, the fact that people have been drinking bitter leaf water for ages does not mean it is safe. Science has proven that it is unsafe.

Everything I have ever said on this column has scientific evidence so, even if it contradicts what you have been used to, such evidence should assure you that they are factual and not tales by moonlight. One of the studies I mentioned while talking about soybeans says that children fed with soybeans will likely develop peanut allergies and people have been coming out to confirm to me that their children who were fed with soybeans while young have peanut allergies. While on the series of some diseases and how to manage them, I just chipped it in at the beginning of the discussion on male infertility that parents should take care of their male children properly whenever they get mumps (segede). Readers who suffer from male infertility have sent messages to me that their doctors asked if they had mumps while young and when they checked with their parents, they were told they had. All these are confirmations that all the discussions here are true.

Once again, I want to tell you all that you mean so much to me. I promise not to relent in my efforts in providing educating discussions. Happy anniversary to us.

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