In Uganda, the man is the leader and provider in the home. Even the emancipation of women has not changed that status quo as most men confess they do not know how their working wives spend their salaries.
The women go on the defensive, saying a woman’s money is a woman’s money and the man has no business poking his nose into how she spends it. But that’s a story for another day.
For today, the focus is on the healthy choices the man must make to live long and strong to fulfill his roles in society.
Good health and wealth is God’s will for man: “Dear friends, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 1:2).
But how can it be well with your body, soul and mind when you feed poorly, have inadequate rest, and rarely do exercises? And if it’s not well with you in body, soul and mind, how will you be able to lead and provide for your family efficiently and sufficiently?
At a recent Men’s Conference organised by the Men’s Ministry of Makerere Full Gospel Church, the key presenter, Dr Joseph Mwebe, told men that despite advances in research and the glut of accessible information, people are more unwell than before: “Because of poor healthy choices, many men have been hit by an epidemic of diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, allergies and asthma, obesity, low immunity, ulcers, infertility, dehydration, stress and other illnesses that could have been prevented with better health choices.”
Dr Mwebe proposed healthy choices that will keep some common diseases at bay, help in better blood circulation, and keep the mind alert, helping the man to stay vibrant physically and mentally.
Know your health
First, every man who values life should go for a health screening. Test for HIV, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and blood fats, know your waist circumference, body mass index, do a liver function test especially if you drink alcohol, screen for cancer (testicular and prostate for men) and visit a dentist. Prevention is better than cure and a timely health screening can prevent all sorts of diseases.
Secondly, most men focus on making money at the expense of their health. They often catch a quick late lunch washed down with soda before they rush back to their desks.
But Heather Morgan, a nutrition expert, says, “Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding a disease or fighting it.” It is important for men to feed on a balanced diet.
What your body needs
“Ninety per cent of our diet must be based on plant foods because plants have complete protein and more protein per calorie than animals,” says Dr Mwebe, “and 50 per cent of our foods must be eaten raw. Foods must ideally be eaten ‘whole’ - unrefined and unprocessed; preferably with their seeds and skins.”
Health benefits of eating vegetables such as spinach, nakati, dodo, sukamawiki, cabbages, cucumber, carrots, not forgetting tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic are well known. Even the Bible vouches for vegetables. Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego refused King Nebuchadnezzar’s choice delicacies and wine in favour of vegetables and water.
And in 10 days they were healthier than those who were eating the king’s delicacies (Daniel 1:5-16). So forget chips and sausages. According to Dr Mwebe, sausages cause cancer and are as dangerous as cigarettes. Also, ditch red meat in preference to white meat (fish and poultry - preferably local chicken).
It is important to have enough rest to relax the mind and body after a good day’s work. Doctors recommend at least eight hours of sleep for a reason. That is when the body recharges ready to take on another day. A well-rested body and mind can hardly be stressed. MPs doze in parliament because most of them are unfit and rarely have adequate rest. Realise how important sufficient sleep is and do not stay out late with the boys drinking alcohol or watching soccer.
A man who applies the above healthy living principles will live long and strong.
Drinking lots of water is also a great healthy choice because water is the “single most important nutrient for our bodies.” Dr Mwebe says we are 65 per cent water, our brains are 75 per cent water and our lungs 80 per cent water.
Basically we would be doomed without water. So men, we must drink at least two litres of water each day; room temperature - not hot nor cold.
Also, do not drink while eating, rather drink thirty minutes before and two hours after your meals. Some of the signs that you are not drinking enough water include headaches, backache, constipation, joint pains, fatigue, memory loss and weight problems.
To the workaholic men who rarely have time for exercises you’re unknowingly committing suicide. As Dr Mwebe said succinctly, “Money and insurance can’t make us healthy!” So it’s better to rise from that swivel chair and engage in some sweat-breaking physical activity.
Jog, lift weights, punch a sand bag and achieve maximum fitness. Before you know it you’ll be walking as if on springs like Okonkwo and will become superman to your wife and children.