A magazine for Africans and friends of Africa...Our Voices, Our Vision, Our Culture

Ask Auntie Chambu
By African Magazine Staff Writer

Dear Auntie Chambu,

Weighty Wife

I love my wife but recently she's been gaining a lot of weight pretty quickly. When she joined me here in the States a year ago, she made a point of avoiding fast food. She says she is not eating any differently but why is she gaining the pounds? When I married her back home she was petite like Genevieve Nnaji. I mean, she is still pretty but if she keeps this up??..I don't know. Please help me.

Ola, Atlanta


I think what is happening to your wife is pretty common. African woman experience a drastic dietary change from eating the natural foods grown back home to hormone-pumped American fare. While your wife may be cooking and eating well her body may still be not used to the American diet. In Africa, most of the foodstuff is fresh from the farm: crops are grown naturally without chemicals and animals are fed corn or other grains. American ways of handling these foods is different on the most part. As someone who is interested in the area of nutrition and health, I read a lot and have come across some alternatives. I will begin by suggesting that your wife start by eating organic products which I think is very close to African home grown foods.

Health food stores carry a variety of organic produce. Fresh tropical fruits and vegetables such as yams, plantains, coconuts, cassava etc. can also be found at some super markets, fruit stands or farmer's markets. For meats there are fresh alternatives like free-range animals. With poultry, for instance, she might want to buy country fowl or skin chicken before cooking to reduce fat. Using olive oil and fresh fish in cooking might also be helpful. And by all means, your wife should continue to keep away from helpings of hamburgers, hotdogs and high sugar processed food items like cakes and cookies.

Last but not the least, your wife must never forget the African pastime of walking, walking, walking. Health experts say that this is still one of the best forms of exercise. Hopefully if your wife adapts some combination of the above advice, I am sure she will return to being slim and trim again in no time. Good luck.

Auntie Chambu, 52, was born and raised in the grasslands of Cameroon. This sheltered nineteen year old, boarding school girl came to a rebellious 60's United States to pursue a college degree and her dreams. She garnered degrees in social work and counseling, got married, and had four kids who constantly put her education and home spun wisdom to the test. After over twenty years of living on the two continents, her advice has a great mixture of traditional African insights with a spirited American independent thinker streak.

Need answers to a problem? Send your question to Auntie Chambu at askauntie@africanmag. com. Only letters selected for publication will be answered