Plate with fork and knife

Hard Talk: What are we eating?

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Our beautiful campus is filled with numerous smiling faces but behind all those smiles lie varied, horrible eating habits from skipping meals to ordering extra spicy indomie at dawn. It is imperative that as we forge through school to achieve our dreams, we keep in mind that poor health would prevent us from living our fullest lives. 

Hard Talk, a student initiative started a number of semesters ago in 2015, aims to bring the Ashesi community together to have conversations on hard and sensitive issues affecting the community and the world at large. This semester, the first Hard Talk series was held on 30th October, 2017 on the topic, ‘What Are We Eating?’ This concerned both eating habits as well the content and nutritional values of the foods we eat. Key staff at both Big Ben and Akorno catering services on campus were invited to be a part of this talk, as well as one of the school nurses and a dietician from Accra.

Key issues raised at the talk were incredibly poor eating habits common to students at Ashesi such as skipping meal times especially breakfast and eating late into the night, the former of which has made the incidence of stomach ulcers a normal occurrence. Auntie Badua of Akorno Catering Services spoke about the surge of Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs) and the few times she has had to resort to GMO fruits due to the unsanitary food keeping practices of traders in Ghana. The issue of the over-use of vegetable and palm oil in cooking common in Ghana was addressed as well and using them sparingly was encouraged.

My main take-away was that brown sugar is not the healthier alternative to white sugar regardless of the buzz on that. Also, it is important to stay away from bad sugars such as those in fizzy drinks, and to not over-indulge good sugars such as those from fruits. The head chef at Big Ben made a personal plea to students to develop proper eating habits due to the number of times students have come to order spicy food at 1am in the morning; fizzy drinks late at night and at dawn should be a big no-no.

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