A Fitness Folk Tale for Africa’s Middle Aged Middle Class

If you are like many people who take the entrepreneurial plunge, you do so most successfully when you are approaching or entering into middle age. Your middle-aged years are also ironically around the time many people start to suffer problems with eroding health and weight problems. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have the best of both worlds: financial freedom and optimal health?

I once heard Dr. Dennis Kimbro say on a television interview that most millionaires fail a few times in business, and suffer some bankruptcies before they become successful. Another salient point he made is that most of people become millionaires around fifty years of age. Why this is the case I don’t exactly know, unlike Dr. Kimbro I can only speculate on these matters.

My observation of many people makes me think perhaps the middle-age launch into business ventures has to do with people finding the confidence later in life. You have to have self-assurance to risk business ventures. Usually people don’t have this type of business confidence until after they have run other peoples businesses.

Or at least they feel more confident once they have worked for other people.

Andrew Morrison, the owner of Small Business Camp, alluding to the book “Think and Grow Rich” said that many men become more successful in their middle years because they are less focused on sexual pursuits. I can relate to this because when I was in my twenties I would be too focused on dating, to have the focus to run a viable business.

(In Africa middle age is around 25-35, given that average life expectancy in 2017 is around 47! At 70 an African would be considered old – and lucky to still be around….)

And so, most of Africa’s “young Turks” are already middle-aged! Just when they are coming into the money…

However, what would be the point of having a successful business if you don’t have the health to enjoy it?

Most people would agree business is a very competitive and challenging. It also stands to reason you should try to be at peak performance when undertaking a business venture. This is why you should seriously consider investing in your health to afford you the extra push — to drive you to business success.

Some of the major reasons you may want to bolster your health and overall fitness are because:

  • Studies show exercise helps relieve stress
  • Exercise helps elevate your mood
  • Exercise will help you think more clearly
  • Resistance training will help increase your muscle and bone density which tend to decrease with age
  • Stretching after exercise will to help keep you flexible which also tends to decrease with age
  • Regular strenuous exercise can help you increase natural hormones in you body like testosterone which will increase muscle mass, sexual desire, and overall health

These are just some of the many well-known benefits you will achieve with a regular exercise program. It is no wonder that I find many people who are successful in business come from athletic or sports backgrounds. Many successful entrepreneurs have a regular fitness programs.

If you are a woman who has had children and find yourself with some undesired pounds good balanced workout programs could be considered from people like Denise Austin or Donna Richardson. For men you may like the workouts of people like Billy Blanks.

According to fitness trainers like Denise Austin, the focus of your workout should be on the balance of strength training, aerobics, and flexibility.

Most fitness experts like Jason Martin have made the point that strength training as alluded to earlier “will increase bone density and muscle mass, aerobics will burn fat and give you more cardio fitness, and yoga or martial arts will help counter the inflexibility associated with age”.

One thing you may experience as you age is you don’t obviously have the natural energy you had when you were sixteen years old. Another problem you may experience is pain in your joints like your knees.

If you notice pain in your knees and elbows especially on damp or humid days you may be experiencing the on-set of arthritis. Arthritis can be demoralizing when you are trying to obtain optimal health. It is definitely something you didn’t have to worry about or contend with when you were in your twenties. Don’t let arthritis totally derail your pursuit of health in your most productive midlife years!

Seek the help of your doctor and perhaps explore some alternative remedies of relief. Personally I have found that some alternative treatments to be superior to pharmaceutical drugs.

The most important thing is to remember when embarking upon a health and fitness program is to do so with moderation. Don’t overdue it and risk injury. Make sure you invest in good fitness shoes with good heel and ankle support. In Denise Austin’s words “avoid boredom by doing various physical activities that you enjoy with your family”. If you are quite a bit overweight maybe you should start out with walking more.

In the end what does if profit you to become a millionaire, if you are totally unfit to enjoy your investment? Like the saying goes “your health is your greatest asset”.

This article was originally published by Kamau Austin

Overweight Africa: The Search for Thin African Celebrities

I was inspired recently to write pictorial piece on thin African celebrities after reading about this legendary evergreen African American woman, and so I entered the search in Google, that is, “thin African celebrities” hoping to compile a list for this healthy living African blog. You can’t believe how shocked I was! The most relevant search according to Google was this compound photo:

african skinny celebrities

Lately in the West celebrities are shaping the weight loss agenda, and so I was looking for local color to maybe kick start the revolution back home.

The nearest relevant search result was this spare photo of Lupita Nyongo, which was a big disappointment because I wanted a good shot for the African weight loss campaign.

Anyway, back to the weight loss agenda for Africa, we seem to have very few role models everywhere you look. Many of our politicians are either obese or overweight and just like they have failed to tackle corruption, they are ill-equipped to advise the population about weight loss matters – with two possible exceptions: Robert Mugabe (who at 90 plus can only shrink) and Paul Kagame (who could still be recovering from post-traumatic stress)…

You also have to exclude the police in this campaign as they are some of the worst offenders. And the military are away keeping the fragile peace across the continent – in Congo, CAR, Somalia….and soon coming to a place near you.

That leaves our celebrities to spear head the African weight loss war.

Shape.com published an article I referred to earlier, with the title,”Celebrity Weight Loss: Did These Stars Get Too Thin?“. This article got me thinking and I came to the conclusion that maybe what we need in Africa is to get too skinny? Given our notorious so-called “thrifty genes”, our fad for fast food, our poor exercise culture, getting skinny could be the counter-weight to obesity that our teens currently need!

If you know a skinny African celebrity let me know in the comments so that I can enlist him/her for the campaign.



The Low Potassium Diet

Potassium is one of the essential minerals for the body and it is found in many of the foods you eat. Increased intake of potassium has been shown to lower blood pressure, while low intake of potassium is one of the factors that contribute to the development of high blood pressure, especially when coupled with high intake of sodium – a common problem these days, and especially ominous for Africans.

High potassium intake on the other hand stresses the kidneys, and so a low potassium diet is mandatory in cases of chronic kidney disease, CKD. Recommended daily intake for normal individuals is 4700mg. A potassium restricted diet, for example a CKD diet, should typically provide around 2000 milligrams only per day.

foods high in potassium

What does potassium regulate in your body?

Potassium is important for keeping your heartbeat regular and your muscles working right. However the amount of potassium in your blood has to be carefully controlled, by the kidneys, because high concentration of this mineral in the blood stream can be dangerous. Abnormally high levels of potassium can cause irregular heartbeat or even a heart attack.

Who Needs a Low Potassium Diet?

People with kidney disease need to limit certain foods in their diet that can increase the potassium in the blood to these dangerous levels. But this is a trade-off at best. This is because, as we have seen, increasing potassium intake has been shown to be beneficial to health in general.  Plus, low levels of potassium are linked to a number of unwelcome side-effects. These include glucose intolerance…

Low levels of potassium in the blood in addition are strongly related to glucose intolerance, which is itself a big problem for pre-diabetes and for people who may be at risk of developing diabetes.

What is the effect of potassium in the body?

Many questions have been asked about the benefit of potassium in the body… Such as; can potassium lower your blood pressure? Absolutely!

Research suggests that a higher intake of potassium may reduce the adverse effects of a high sodium intake on blood pressure. Blacks and those with hypertension may especially benefit from an increased intake of potassium, as we saw in the article on low sodium diet. It has been shown that increasing potassium intake has the effect of reducing cardiovascular disease mortality.

In addition to its effects on blood pressure, a higher potassium intake may reduce the risk of developing kidney stones, and might decrease bone loss.

One other benefit of increased potassium intake is the lowering of urinary calcium excretion. This is important in the management of hyper-calciuria and kidney stones and works to decrease the risk of osteoporosis.

Which foods contain potassium?

Foods that have higher potassium content include fruits and vegetables, milk and yogurt, and protein foods including meat and poultry, some fish, and beans and peas. Grains and grain products, fats and oils, as well as sweets typically contain much less potassium.

Fruits and vegetable together typically provide about 20% of dietary potassium intake, milk and milk products (including flavored milk provide about 11%, while meats and poultry provide around 10%. Grain-based mixed dishes such as pasta dishes, macaroni and cheese, pizza and sandwiches; these, together, account for an estimated 10% of total potassium intake.

People ask, is chicken high in potassium? And the answer is that chicken contains moderate amounts of this mineral. And so, in moderation chicken (fried/baked chicken, patties, and nuggets) should be safe for you if you are following a diet low in potassium…

Here is a list of popular foods rich in potassium, arranged highest first (units are mg per 100grams serving):

Beet greens, cooked …………………903mg


Baked potato, with skin……………531mg


Salmon, canned………………………..336mg

Carrots, baby, raw……………………..320mg

Spinach, cooked from frozen…301mg

Broccoli cooked from fresh…….291mg

Cantaloupe, raw……………………..267mg

Tomato, fresh…………………………237mg

Yoghurt, low fat, plain……………234mg


Milk (1%)…………………………………150mg

What foods are high in potassium?

For people on a normal diet, the best way to increase potassium intake is to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables. The list of high potassium foods below is a generalized list. Those on a low potassium diet need to use these foods wisely in their diet. (These have not been arranged in any order):

Fruits: Raw apricot, Avocado, banana, cantaloupe, dates, figs, dried, most dried fruits, grapefruit juice, Honeydew, Kiwi, Mango, Nectarine, Orange, Orange Juice, Papaya, Pomegranate, Pomegranate Juice, Prunes, Prune Juice , raisins.

Vegetables: Acorn Squash, Artichoke, Bamboo Shoots, Baked Beans, Butternut Squash, Refried Beans, Beets, fresh then boiled, Black Beans, Broccoli, cooked; Brussels Sprouts, Chinese Cabbage, Carrots, raw; Dried Beans and Peas, Greens, except Kale; Hubbard Squash, Kohlrabi, Lentils, Legumes, White Mushrooms, cooked; Okra, Parsnips, Potatoes, white and sweet; Pumpkin, Rutabagas, Spinach, cooked; Tomatoes/Tomato products, Vegetable Juices, and smoothies.

Other food & non-food items: Bran/Bran products, Chocolate, Granola, Milk, all types; Molasses, Nuts and Seeds, Peanut Butter, Yogurt.  Taking snuff & chewing tobacco is also known to boost potassium intake.

What foods are low in potassium?

Fruits that are low in potassium include: Apple, Apple Juice, Applesauce, Apricots, canned in juice; Blackberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Cranberries, Fruit Cocktail, Grapes, Grape Juice, Grapefruit, Mandarin Oranges, Peaches, Pears, Pineapple, Pineapple Juice, Plums, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tangerine, Watermelon (limit to 1 cup) .

Note however that if you take more than one serving then the a supposedly low potassium food could become a high potassium food for the person on a CKD diet…

Vegetables that are low in potassium: Alfalfa sprouts, Asparagus, Beans, green or wax; Broccoli (raw or cooked from frozen); cabbage, green and red; Carrots, cooked; Cauliflower, Celery, Corn, fresh or frozen; Cucumber, Eggplant, Kale, Lettuce, Mixed Vegetables, White Mushrooms, raw, Onions, Parsley, Peas, green; Peppers, Radish, Rhubarb, Water Chestnuts, canned; Watercress, Yellow Squash, Zucchini Squash.

And remember that eating more than one portion of these vegetables will take a supposedly low potassium food and make your daily intake higher than the recommended intake. People ask for example, is cauliflower high in potassium? And the answer is yes and no, depending how much you eat. Plus, leeching the cauliflower during cooking, as we’ll see in the next section, will reduce the potassium content…

Other foods: Rice, Noodles, Pasta, Bread and bread products (Not Whole Grains), Cake: angel, yellow; Coffee (limit to 8 ounces), Pies without chocolate or high potassium fruit, Cookies without nuts or chocolate.

How to reduce potassium content from your favorite high-potassium vegetables

This is done through the process of leaching the high-potassium vegetables. Leaching however does not pull all of the potassium out of the vegetables.

This means you still need to limit the amount of leached high-potassium vegetables you eat per serving.  If you are on a low potassium diet you may consider asking your dietitian for guidance what quantities of leached vegetables are safe to have in your diet.

Let’s end this look at the reduced potassium diet with a look at how to leach vegetables for purposes of removing excess potassium.

Instructions for leaching vegetables

For Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Beets, Winter Squash, an

d Rutabagas:

  1. Peel and place the vegetable in cold water so they won’t darken.
  2. Slice vegetable 1/8 inch thick.
  3. Rinse in warm water for a few seconds.
  4. Soak for a minimum of two hours in warm water. Use ten times the amount of water to the amount of vegetables. If soaking longer, change the water every four hours.
  5. Rinse under warm water again for a few seconds.
  6. Cook vegetable with five times the amount of water to the amount of vegetable.

Image1: Source-NutrientsReview.com


Low Sodium Diet – 10 Easy Steps for Cutting Sodium

A low sodium diet is prescribed for people with high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, people aged 51 years and older – and for Africans/African Americans because genetically we are more prone to developing hypertension and type 2 diabetes…

The human body needs a small amount of sodium to maintain a balance of body fluids, keep muscles and nerves running smoothly and help certain organs work properly.

However, most people eat too much sodium in their diets. Many people all over the world eat too much of it – and they may not even know it. Most people consume about 3,300mg of sodium daily.

You should reduce your intake to around 1500 mg per day if you are in any of the following population groups who have been shown to be more susceptible to sodium’s blood pressure-raising effects:

  • People with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease
  • African-Americans
  • People ages 51 and older…

If you are African and already overweight, a low sodium diet is probably mandatory. And if you are African with chronic kidney disease, CKD, you should also look into adopting a low potassium diet

Learning about the sodium in foods and new ways to prepare foods will help you to achieve your goal for a low sodium diet.

And, if you follow these tips for reducing the amount of sodium you are consuming, your “taste” for salt will gradually decrease over time – so eventually, you may not even miss it!

These guidelines are based on a report published by the US government for Americans, but should apply for Africans since we are getting more and more Westernized in our diets and cooking.

  1. For those who use packaged foods from the supermarket, or fast food, read the Nutrition Facts Label to see how much sodium is in the foods you are considering. You should consume less than 100% of the Daily Value or less than 2400 mg of sodium each day. Check the label for lower sodium choices and compare sodium in different brands of foods — like frozen meals, packaged soups, breads, dressings/sauces, and snack foods — and choose those with lower sodium.
  2. Prepare your own food when you can. Don’t salt foods before or during cooking, and limit salt shaker use at the table.
  3. Add Flavor Without Adding Sodium. Use herbs and spices instead of salt to add flavor to your foods. Try rosemary, oregano, basil, curry powder, cayenne pepper, ginger, fresh garlic or garlic powder (not garlic salt), black or red pepper, vinegar or lemon juice, and no-salt seasoning blends.
  4. Get fresh when you can. Buy fresh or frozen (not processed) poultry, pork and lean meat rather than canned, smoked or processed meats like luncheon meats, sausages and corned beef. Fresh foods are generally lower in sodium.

low sodium foods to avoid

Also, check the package on fresh meat and poultry to see if salt water or saline has been added.

  1. Watch your veggies. Buy fresh, frozen (without sauce), or low sodium or no-salt-added canned vegetables.
  2. Give sodium the “rinse.” Rinse sodium-containing canned foods, such as tuna, vegetables, and beans before using. This removes some of the sodium.
  3. Examine your dairy products. Choose fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese and fortified soy beverages (often called soymilk) in place of processed cheese products and spreads, which are higher in sodium.
  4. “Unsalt” your snacks. Choose unsalted nuts and seeds, and snack products such as chips and pretzels, that are marked “low sodium” or “no-salt-added” – or have a carrot or celery stick instead.
  5. Consider your condiments. Sodium in soy sauce, ketchup, salad dressings, and seasoning packets can add up. Choose lite or reduced sodium soy sauce and no-salt-added ketchup, add oil and vinegar to a salad rather than bottled salad dressings, and use only a small amount of seasoning from flavoring packets instead of the entire packet.
  6. Speak up at restaurants. Ask to see the nutrition information in restaurants and choose a lower-sodium option. Ask for your meal to be prepared without salt and request that sauces and salad dressings be served “on the side,” then use less of them. You can also reduce your portion size – less food means less sodium!

For example, ask the server to put half of your meal in a takeout container before it comes to your table or split an entrée with a dinner companion.

Food Choices Matter!

More than 40% of the sodium you consume comes from the following 10 types of foods:

  • Breads and rolls
  • Cold cuts and cured meats (such as deli or packaged ham or turkey)
  • Pizza
  • Fresh and processed poultry
  • Soups
  • Sandwiches (such as hot dogs, hamburgers and submarine sandwiches)
  • Cheese (natural and processed)
  • Mixed pasta dishes (such as lasagna, spaghetti with meat sauce, and pasta salad)
  • Mixed meat dishes (such as meat loaf with tomato sauce, beef stew, and chili)
  • Snacks (such as chips, pretzels, popcorn, and crackers)

But remember, the sodium content can vary significantly within food categories – so use the Nutrition Facts Label to compare the amount of sodium in different products.

Make sure the serving sizes are similar, and select products with the lowest sodium.

Eat Foods High in Potassium for A Low sodium Diet

Research shows that eating foods high in potassium can lower blood pressure by reducing the adverse effects of sodium on blood pressure.

Examples of foods rich in potassium include potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, apricots, bananas, beans, low-fat or non-fat milk and yogurt, and juices (prune, carrot, tomato and orange).

Image1: Source-Mirror.co.uk

African Mango Fruit Diet

The Newest Health Diet: The African Mango Fruit Diet. Secrets of the African mango fruit diet that you may not know.

Though the African Mango Fruit Diet has only recently been brought here to America, it has been clinically proven to burn fat, help you achieve your weight loss goals and improve your general overall health. The African Mango comes from a tree that grows in Africa and is a natural, successful way to fight obesity. The African Mango has amazing appetite suppression capabilities.


The African Mango is an amazing superfruit that increases a natural hormone in your body called Adiponectin. This hormone controls your body’s absorption of sugars while also increasing your rate of metabolism. This hormone will actually change your calorie intake to energy instead of fat. This, in turn, improves the health of your heart and raises your good cholesterol and lowering the bad cholesterol.


The african mango diet is fantastic in suppressing your appetite. The African Mango is extremely high in soluble fiber, which clears your body of bad cholesterol while simultaneously keeping your body feeling full for longer. The african mango diet has been clinically proven to suppress the hormones that control hunger and the feeling of fullness by increasing the body’s production of leptin. The lower the amount of leptin in your body, the more hungry you will be. Obese people often have very low levels of leptin.

The African Mango is essential for removing toxins and fats from your colon, in turn improving your overall well being while shedding pounds quickly.


Sure, you can diet and exercise and lose weight. But eventually you will plateau and not lose any more weight. Genetics can also play a role in your body’s inability to shed pounds no matter how much you diet and exercise. If you combine your diet and exercise with the African Mango Fruit Diet
, the pounds will start to melt off. This natural extract is an absolute necessity in any dieter’s medicine cabinet. Once you try it, you will be amazed at the difference in both your weight and your overall wellness. It has even been promoted on tv by a famous doctor who swears by The African Mango Diet as a way to stay healthy, lose weight and KEEP it off.


Recent studies have shown that the African Mango extract aids in the breakdown of fat cells at an increased speed. Studies also indicate that it slows the growth of of fat cells, which ensures that the user maintains the weight loss he has achieved. Most participants in the studies also reported a jump in their metabolism, as well as a huge reduction in carbohydrate absorption into their metabolic systems.

The African Mango Fruit Diet has been proven to work. It controls the appetite, raises your metabolism and consumes fat. Try it and be amazed at the results. Get started on your newer, slimmer, healthier you.