Save your heritage, eat traditional foods and stay healthy.

Do you know that most of your traditional/local foods are more nutrient dense and nutritious than packaged and processed foods? Now let’s know more about traditional foods.

What are traditional foods?

From its name, traditional foods are foods consumed in the way our ancestors ate them. They are naturally grown, nutrient-dense, and thoughtfully prepared. They are foods in their original form i.e. they’ve not been modernized, processed, or packaged.

I’m from Imo state in Nigeria, and one of our traditional food in my locality is Ugba (oil bean seed). In all traditional occasions or family get together in Owerri, Ugba must be served. Let me quickly brief you on its preparation.

Method of preparation

Before oil bean seed is considered edible, you must slice the cooked seeds into thin strips and wash, after which you leave to ferment for 3-4 days. The mixed culture fermentation process converts the bitter and hard seeds to a soft, cherished protein rich product.

It is prepared with fresh and locally available ingredients like palm oil, crayfish, fermented locust bean (Ogiri), onion, fresh or grounded pepper, stock fish, and salt to taste. I’ll write on the recipe for Ugba (oil bean seed) soon.

Everyone who has an origin, has a traditional food. But most people prefer processed and packaged foods probably because they feel traditional food is old school and tedious to prepare. How sad!

Some have good reasons for not eating their traditional foods. Relocating to an area that is far from their home can make traditional foods unavailable. This shouldn’t stop such ones from eating healthy foods. They can adopt the traditional foods of the people in their new locality. (Remember our last post on travelling and tasting new recipes and cuisines as a tip to elevate the quality of life?)

The main aim of advocating traditional foods is this: Since fresh ingredients are used for their preparations and because of their method of preparation, all the nutrients in the food is preserved, thereby allowing the person consuming it get maximum satisfaction.

If you are one of those that have completely forgotten your traditional foods, can you please say this to yourself? “Self, tomorrow I shall cook and eat that soup granny prepares anytime I go to visit”. And make sure you do.

For those that eat their traditional foods often, you deserve a handshake. Keep it up! Stay healthy, save your cultural heritage, eat traditional foods!

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