People in Uganda seem to be very surprised when I tell them, in some important aspects they are superior to us Westerns. I am from Germany and know that in fact people from the Western world admire many things Ugandans have. Uganda is incredibly rich in fruits and plants that keep the body healthy and going. Think about the bananas, maize, sweet potatoes, pineapple, jackfruit, peanuts, eggplant, avocados, tomatoes .. just to name some. A variety of so many amazing dishes can be achieved, or wonderful fruit snacks.
Just to compare, a little list of what fruits (bio quality) can cost in Germany in 2015:
- Avocado ~ 6700 UGX*
- Jackfruit ~ usually not available, a frozen pack 16,750 UGX*
- 6 Bananas ~ 7000 UGX*
- Freshly squeezed 0,1 cl glass of orange juice ~ 12,000 UGX*
In comparison, you’d pay this for industrial foods in Germany:
- McDonald’s Cheesburger ~ 3350 UGX***
- 1 Pck of Toasts ~ 1700 UGX*
- 1 Pck Gummibears ~ 2000 UGX*
- Coca Cola 1L ~ 3350 UGX*
As you can see – the stuff Uganda has, is luxury to us and the other way around. Now that wouldn’t matter so much, if the stuff that is luxury to us Westerns weren’t the stuff to keep us healthy and going, and the stuff that is affordable makes us sick in many cases. There is a clear link between western diet and cancer.
Hardly any long period studies exist on industrialized foods. Not only because there is a big interest of not bringing negative press about industrialized foods to the surface, but also since it is a relatively young development. Farming exists only since 8000 years, the human and it’s ancestors since 15 million years. To draw the picture clearer: if you’d take the history of human (plus ancestors) diet and put it into a calendar of 365 days, farming would have been invented on the 31. Dec. 7pm. The industrialization of foods only 3 minutes to midnight.**
So, what am I getting at? Many Ugandans seem to think Western stuff like Toast and Coke are fancier than what they grow in front of their doors. But the truth is – it’s the other way around. Western countries want to have your fruit and veggies, my friends! They like to sell their cheap products all over the world for a maximum of profit, but it is not going to serve you well. It has hardly any nutrition yet is full of harmful chemicals. Think twice before swapping your Jackfruit for a toast, you might regret it one day.
But not only food wise this is valid, but for many industrialized products, that Uganda has little access to, yet. Hence Ugandans have things we Westerns often cannot afford anymore. For example take hand crafted goods – a nice, wooden bed can cost about 2,000,000 UGX* in Germany, which is quite average yet expensive for many Germans. Thus many people buy cheap mass produced beds from brands like IKEA for about 670,950 UGX*.
So the ultimate idea of this article is really:
Cut on toast and Coke or what not, it will make you sick. Eat what’s growing in your nature and support the local business. Find a way to live peacefully with your nature, don’t destroy it, for one doesn’t know what one has ’till it’s gone.
*About all the prices I name here today: there is a variety of course, but I tried to narrow it down to one figure for each group that I feel represent it best and are based on my experience and common observations.
** Source: “Les aliments contre le cancer” Prof. Dr.med. Richard Béliveau, Dr. med. Denis Gingras, 2007
***Further Info about the Big Mac Index
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