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I beat crafty brokers at their own game by selling to ‘mama mboga’

2 months ago 85 Views No comments

By LEOPOLD OBI

Francis Odoyo sifts through rows of shoulder-high tomato plants, picking ripened fruits dangling off the trusses.

Sweat shines on his face, and he repeatedly wipes it with a piece of cloth before resuming the task.

It is about 8am and the 26-year-old must harvest several crates of tomatoes by 10 o’clock, otherwise he will let down his new clients, mainly the mama mbogas (women selling vegetables).

Having had a nasty experience in the hands of brokers stationed at the local markets in Rongo, Migori County, where he farms, Odoyo decided to change strategy.

According to him, he would take his produce to the market but could not sell directly to the traders dealing with consumers. The practice is that the brokers buy from farmers, then sell to the market women.

“They would buy from me and other farmers after colluding amongst themselves to lower prices. Sometimes I ended up selling a crate for as little as Sh1,800 and they would then sell at triple the price.

I did it twice and gave up,” says Odoyo, noting enquiries revealed that is the standard practice in markets across the country, especially for the highly-valued produce like tomatoes.

He recounts that the brokers have perfected the practice because they know too well that tomatoes are perishable.

BOYCOTT BUYING FROM FARMERS

“They boycott buying from farmers at the market and won’t allow you to sell directly to traders. I scouted for mama mbogas and asked them to come and buy at Sh50 a kilo from the farm directly. This has paid off,” says the acquisition officer at Chase Bank, Narok, who farms on family land and started harvesting weekly two months ago.

“Tomatoes are profitable. Each plant offers at least 10kg a season, which for me with my 1,000 plants translates to 10,000kg in total, so even if I sell a kilo at Sh50, I’ll still be making some profit,” he adds.

Odoyo owns a 8 by 3m wooden greenhouse, a project he started in February with Sh180,000 from his savings.

The capital catered for the greenhouse structure, drip irrigation kits, water tank with 1,000 litres capacity, electric water pump, 1,500 tomato seeds and agronomic services for one planting season.

“I started growing tomatoes after realising that those consumed in Rongo town and environs are sourced from as far as Narok. I approached a Kisumu-based greenhouse dealer who sold me the greenhouse and fixed it,” explains Odoyo, a 2013 alumnus of Maasai Mara University where he studied Communication and Public Relations.

The farmer has planted tomatoes on beds in neatly arranged rows with drip irrigation pipes running along.

“Water is not a problem, we have a borehole at our home. What I needed was only a pump,” says Odoyo, who has so far raked in Sh70,000 from the crop.

He has employed a farmhand and his wife helps him look after the farm while he is away.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES PROTECTING FARMERS

Failing to done a soil test before embarking on the venture will, however, be the farmer’s biggest regret, and he has indeed learned his lessons the hard way after several plants were hit by bacterial wilt just when they were beginning to flower.

Bacterial wilt has no known treatment but can only be controlled by uprooting the affected plants and treating the soil through solarisation (burning).
Haggai Oduori, an Assistant Research Fellow at the Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, Egerton University, points out that there are government policies aimed at protecting farmers at the market against opportunistic brokers.

However, weak enforcement remains the boon for the middlemen.

“There is a lacuna such that there is no legal basis for the market officers to take action on the middlemen. The market officers lack powers to prosecute,” explains Oduori, while advising farmers to form co-operative unions to make them a formidable force.

Dennis Ongech, an agronomist at Hortitechno Produce and Services, observes that bacterial wilt is a major threat to farmers, especially, in the western part of the country.

“The moment you see your crops wilting at the tip even when there is enough water, know that they are under attack by the wilt. The affected plants must be uprooted and properly disposed after which the soil is treated,” Ongech says, advising farmers to plant tomatoes in beds and use drip irrigation system so that in case one bed is attacked, the disease cannot spread to other beds.

My attempt to beat cunning brokers once and for all flops

2 months ago 104 Views No comments

By JOSEPH MACHARIA

Every time I listen to farmers talk about their many woes, the word brokers always features.

The leeches are sweet-talkers and they always give very “plausible” offers. They come to your farm and pay for produce in cash. That means they sort your immediate money problems but make a killing selling your hard-farmed produce at twice the price.

I wasn’t ready to fall prey to these leeches. I vowed to block them from accessing a single coin from my cabbages. So when my 2,000 cabbages were ready for harvesting, I made an impromptu tour of Githurai market in Nairobi.

There, I discovered they were selling a cabbage at Sh40, four times more what we were selling at our farm.

I consulted my friend Karago on how he could assist me hire a truck and deliver the cabbages to the market. We approached Kiogora, a former army officer, who owns an old rickety truck he bought while still in the military.

Kiogora agreed to charge us Sh5,000. To sweeten his deal, he said we could pay him after the sale. With each cabbage going at Sh40, we saw ourselves collecting Sh80,000 from the booming Githurai market.

After deducting Sh5,000 for transport and Sh150 for lunch of three (though I had been told Sh50 gets one a king-size sumptuous meal in Githurai), I figured out I would end up with Sh74,850.

My research revealed that Saturday was the best time to invade Githurai market and walk away with real money. I was afraid of raiding the market alone but the heavily-built Kiogora assured me of security.

We landed at Githurai market at exactly 7am. The truck was full of cabbages, to the brim. We were ready to teach the brokers a lesson of their lifetime; that farmers did not need them, after all.

Kiogora’s moral support was quite encouraging. “The shamba is yours; the seedlings are yours. You work on the farm yourself; you know where the market is, so why should someone idling in the market ‘eat’ your sweat?” he posed.

I had also sought the services of Kimata, a childhood friend and a teacher at a local primary school.

Kimata has a booming voice and after promising to pay him Sh1,000, he agreed to be the one shouting for customers. I would collect the money and Kiogora, now that he would not be driving, would check out for those treacherous characters who would attempt monkey games with our cabbages.

“When in Githurai, you must have somebody to be on the lookout just in case. Remember we shall be having real cash,” I advised, determined to kill the brokerage system at the notorious market. I knew so much was at stake.

The first 30 minutes were busy. Market women with torn lessos strapped around their waists scrambled for our produce. On two occasions, catfights erupted as one of them stepped on another’s toes.

MONEY WAS FLOWING

Money was flowing into my hands. “Mbao, twenty! Mbao twenty!” Kimata shouted in his creative way of calling out Sh40 per cabbage.

Just as we were selling, a well-built man chewing a roasted maize approached me. He whispered. “Sell all the remaining cabbages at Sh30. We are paying cash then you can go your way instead of spending the whole day here,” he said.

I roared back. “Kwani wewe huoni tunauza 40. Nyinyi ndio wale wakora mnaharibu soko. (Can’t you see we are selling at Sh40. You are the crooks who spoil market prices).

His once polite voice turned louder and more combative. “Nani amepatia hawa ruhusa ya kuuza vitu hapa?” (Who has given these people permission to sell in this market?).

He posed the question to nobody. He was now more menacing. “You must sell to us at Sh30 or you go away!” he shouted forcing some market women to move back.

Kiogora heard the argument and came rushing through the crowd and pushed the man. “Kwani wewe ni nani hapa? Ati unasema nini? Hatuwauzii,” Kiogora barked. (So who are you here? We shall not sell to you).

A stone landed on Kiogora’s shoulder. The next one on me and the third one on Kimata. More stones started raining on us but we could tell it was not from the man we were arguing with.

Banana peelings also followed, some landing on us and others on the lorry. Kiogora sensed danger and got into the truck and reversed quickly. I followed him and I was just in time for the door as a haggard pack of youths went for my pockets. Kimata slithered in the crowd and disappeared.

The market was now in chaos. Stone missiles followed us as women scampered for safety into their makeshift stalls. Some buyers sneaked into the crowd without paying for cabbages.

Out of the market, we checked and saw we had sold about half. Determined, we parked the lorry on the roadside in Mwiki and tried to sell but no one was interested.

Kimata called and confirmed he was safe. “I feared those guys were planning to lynch us. You see the petrol pump was just nearby,” he offered.

It dawned on us that the market cartels would not let us do all the work, that is farm and sell. “Soko zina wenyewe,” Kiogora said (These markets have owners). I am now thinking of selling my produce online.

City food markets a brokers’ paradise

2 months ago 103 Views No comments

By LEOPOLD OBI

Passenger vehicles honked incessantly as they piled into Nairobi central business district, dropping the early birds.

It was about 5am at Wakulima Market and among the early birds were smallholder vegetable sellers, also known as mama mbogas.

The traders flocked to the famous fresh produce outlet for their day’s supplies. Soon, the market was full of the vegetable sellers, handcart pushers, brokers and suppliers of produce.

Trading had started some minutes earlier after one of the brokers rang a bell.

Seeds of Gold team had gone to the market last week with one of the tomato suppliers, who had brought a pick-up full of the produce.

However, one would have expected that once the bell is rang, as is the tradition, the buyers would flock the tomato supplier for the produce.

But that was not the case. Like the other suppliers, he left his produce with one of the brokers, who then sold it to the vegetable sellers as he watched.

“That is how business is done here, you have to go through the brokers, who also determine the prices, sell on your behalf, deduct their charges of sometimes up to Sh300 per crate and give you the rest. It is a brokers’ paradise here,” said the tomato supplier who we cannot name for safety reasons.

Seeds of Gold found out that the brokers’ system at Wakulima (Marikiti) is replicated in every fresh produce wholesale markets in Nairobi, including Gikomba, Muthurwa and City Park and in major towns across the country.

“These brokers are a mini-government. They dictate the cost of every commodity, when to sell, who to buy from and most importantly, they ‘own’ the customers.

In Nairobi, the county government officials have learned to co-exist with them,” said the supplier.

The system has ensured that the brokers reap the most in the value-chain, with farmers being the biggest losers.

Hii Marikiti iko na wenyewe,” Maurice Gikonyo, not his real name, told Seeds of Gold.

HEAVY WEIGHTS AND LIGHT WEIGHTS

The broker, who has been dealing in onions for six years, let us into the intricate world of the agents.

“You cannot come from the farm with your produce and sell here directly to customers, how will we earn our living?” he posed.

A market vendor sells her tomatoes.

A market vendor sells her tomatoes. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

He explained that every farmer or supplier has to surrender their produce to them and wait for whatever they will be given.

Sometimes, he told us, farm produce has to be transferred to a vehicle ‘known’ by the brokers to get access into the market.

“If I sell your onions, I earn at least Sh40 per net, and you will pay another Sh40 to the county government for every net sold, plus the offloading fee,” the broker said.

Therefore, from 200 nets of onions, which is the capacity of a medium-sized truck, a farmer parts with Sh16,000, half which goes to the county government and the rest to the broker.

By selling up to five lorries in a day, Gikonyo makes a tidy sum. Comparably, a farmer will take home Sh35,000 from a lorry of onions after subtracting expenses, that include the broker’s charges.

A 10kg net of onions currently goes for Sh500.

Not all brokers in the wholesale markets are equal. There are those with the financial war-chest who can buy farm produce at a dictated price in a single file then later sell it at double the amount.

And then there are the light-weights like Gikonyo.

Light weight or not, most of the brokers are not your average trader. Some boast of owning apartments on the outskirts of Nairobi and others drive sports utility vehicles, all courtesy of their fees.

Sasa wewe mkulima ukikuja hapa kuuza utauzia nani? Hauna hata customers,” (If you come here as a farmer, who are you going to sell to when you don’t even know the customers) quipped Gikonyo, matter of factly.

Onions packed and displayed for sale.

Onions packed and displayed for sale. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Jonathan Kiprotich, who grows potatoes and vegetables in Uasin Gishu County, and has been selling his produce at Wakulima market, has learned how to co-exist with the brokers.

“I specifically sell my produce through one broker,” he said, adding that the broker has enabled him sell his produce at good prices even when there is oversupply.

NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED

However, he noted that Wakulima market is not for the faint-hearted.

“Sometimes when there is a shortage of commodity, brokers come fighting for your produce. You have to be careful lest you lose your produce,” Kiprotich warned.

While the cartel has made many farmers sell their produce at the farm level, Kiprotich said he has stuck with market brokers.

“Most of the traders who come to buy from the farm use scales they have tampered with and further offer low prices. They can weigh your produce on the farm and get 1.5 tonnes yet it is 2 tonnes, and buy at half price because they have come for it.”

A kilo of melons at the farm can go for Sh15 and at the retail market Sh25.

“I took my green maize for sale at Wakulima market last August and regretted. The county government charged me Sh5,000 offloading fee, then I had to pay the broker Sh5,000 for selling my produce, the men who were offloading Sh2,000 and I ended up losing my maize to some brokers who forcefully took on credit and disappeared,” said Stephen Njuguna, a farmer in Eldoret, noting if the brokers were not there, he would only pay the county government the fees.

Confronted with the state of affairs at Wakulima market, city government authorities appeared hapless.

Anna Othoro, the Nairobi City County Executive for Trade, denied claims that farmers are being denied freedom to access retail markets in the city.

County Trade executive committee member Anna Othoro. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

She appeared to shift the blame to farmers, accusing them of creating the brokers themselves by allowing transporters to pick produce from their farms to take to the market.

“The problem started when farmers allowed transporters to pick produce from them and then sell to traders at the market who would then sell to retailers. As time went by, the traders turned into brokers as they insisted on taking the produce on consignment and would only pay the farmers once it is sold after deducting their commission,” said Othoro.

EMPLOY TECHNOLOGY USE

Haggai Oduori, an Assistant Research Fellow at the Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, Egerton University, pointed out that whereas there are government policies aimed at protecting farmers in the market against opportunistic brokers, there are weak enforcement mechanisms that have given middlemen a leeway to operate freely.

He noted that the brokers have taken advantage of the state of affairs to help organise produce marketing through aggregation, transportation and storage.

“It would be very difficult to eliminate brokers. They are very powerful because markets should be overseen by company franchises running like commodities exchange, which therefore allow farmers to buy shares,” he said, adding the brokerage companies will have to be registered, pay taxes, provide cold storage facilities to reduce the desperation farmers experience when they take perishable produce to the market and cartels hold them at ransom because they know that there is no place to keep it, and, therefore, be held accountable for malpractices while remaining private sector.

He observed that county governments have little experience in running private sector business and are political entities focused on provision of public goods.

“Providing public goods does not translate into efficient markets. The county governments need legislation that provides heavy penalties for malpractices. Farmers also need to be more active in seeking market power.”

Further, Oduori noted that use of technology, including online marketplaces, can cushion farmers against the ravenous brokers.

“Educating consumers to directly source produce from farms would eliminate brokers. Providing accurate and timely information on produce supply, demand and prices at no cost to everyone would reduce the advantages brokers enjoy.

The Government needs to improve on that.

****

County government market charges

  • Melon per tonne Sh1,200.
  • Red onions per bag (seven nets) Sh 550.
  • Onions per bag Sh70.
  • Onions per extended bag Sh100.
  • Sukuma wiki per tonne Sh1,200.
  • Tomatoes medium box Sh80.
  • Tomatoes small box Sh70.
  • English potatoes per bag Sh70.
  • A hawker with motor vehicle Sh7,000

Offloading of goods:

  • Below seven tonnes per trip Sh500.
  • Over seven tonnes per trip Sh1,000.
  • Truck offloading at market between Sh4,000- Sh10,000.

​A glimpse into Kenya's billion shillings wee hour-business oiling the economy

2 months ago 111 Views No comments

By Dominic Omondi | Updated Tue, March 21st 2017 at 06:57 GMT +3

Nairobi is a ghost town at 2.30am. Except for a distant howl of a hound or a croaky snore from a sleeping quarter, the country’s capital city is as silent as a graveyard at these wee hours. Because these are out-of-business hours, the almost Sh3 trillion city economy is fast asleep. The scene is the same when you drive through the Central Business District (CBD) — the commercial hub of this country with its well-lit streets, well-paved roads and monumental buildings with workstations for those who run the economy. There is not a soul, not even a sentry’s silhouette.

Once in a while on a side-walk, we spot scantily dressed women braving the morning chill as they carry on with humanity’s oldest profession. At exactly 3am, our car glides into the outskirts of the CBD; the chaotic and filthier part of the city centre. And, voila, there is a burst of life. We have literally walked into a totally different time zone. There are lots of movements — of people, cars and hand carts. Shops are open, hawkers are busy. We are at the Wakulima Market — Kenya’s largest wholesale fresh produce market. Popularly known as Marikiti, this is the first place most of the fresh produce you consume lands first. It has travelled overnight having left different farms across the country. Marikiti, which is joined at the hip with Muthurwa Market, is a bee-hive of commercial activities. There are trucks full of assorted farm produces — lemons from Uganda, bananas from Kisii County and cabbages from Naivasha.

These nightshift traders and workers labour through rain or no rain and, on a dawn when the temperatures dip to unkind levels. Irrespective of the odd hours, these trucks have already taken up almost all the available space outside of Wakulima House, making it difficult for us to find parking space. More space is taken up by hand carts or mkokoteni. Also milling around the trucks like a cackle of hyenas around a prey are porters described here as human carriers. One of them, Wilson Ritiria, tells us that often times they don’t sleep. And the few times that they do sleep they convert a pavement into their bedroom. They sleep with one eye open, looking out for the arrival of the trucks carrying supplies. It is evident that a pint of alcohol works miracles for these nocturnal men. Marikiti is an important thermostat for the prices you pay for most of the vegetables and fruits that you get from your mama mboga. Everyone of these — from the wholesale trader who left his farm in Kirinyaga at 2am, to the drunk porter who gobbles up pints of aclohol to stay awake, to the mama mbogas who will start arriving here at 4am, have trooped here this early in search of one thing: a decent profit margin. The vast majority of vulnerable workers in the informal economy are women, who also form a big chunk of the night-shift workers. More and more people have been losing their jobs since 2008 as a result of the financial and economic slowdown. Many of them have to look for work in the informal economy, in which earnings are generally low, accident rates high and social security seldom offered. The price you pay for a dozen tomatoes from mama mboga, for example, will pay all those in this chain of nocturnal business. Your price will include the wages to the farmers and all those who helped load the produce to the truck; transport from, for example, Loitoktok (and in times of scarcity, Uganda) to Muthurwa; trading fee to County Government, and payment to the porters who offload them from the trucks. A hand cart puller will be paid to transport them to where they will be sold to your mama mboga — it might be within Marikiti Market, which officially opens for trading at around 5am, or to other parts of the city. All these costs will be passed on to your mama mboga, and ultimately to you. In addition to these costs, your price will also include transport to and from the market, County Government fees for her business, electricity to her kibanda, and the water she uses to wash the grocery. But critical of all costs will be her margin — or what she will be left with to pay her rent and other bills in her home, feed her family, school her children and, desirably, clothe them. Profit margin The margin price for your dozen of tomatoes works out to about Sh36. But in order for her to get an even better margin, she has to arrive at the market even earlier. Here, more than anywhere else, the early bird catches the worm. And she has to come with ready cash. If, for some reason, she does not have ready cash, she will have to borrow. According to the Central Bank of Kenya Governor Dr Patrick Njoroge, she will most likely borrow the money from her mobile phone. And this will most likely be between 3am and 5am when, according to the Governor, a third of all mobile loans are taken up. By evening, she will have repaid this credit. “When we dig deeper into our statistics, we found that these loans are taken by the mama mboga who wakes up at this odd hours and takes Sh5,000 loan... sends the money to a wholesaler at Marikiti...sends some to a mkokoteni guy who knows where to drop off the goods,” explained Njoroge.

There are three banks in Kenya that have taken advantage of the high penetration of mobile money transfer services to offer loans through mobile phones to people like the mama mbogas — Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), which has partnered with Safaricom to launch KCB-M-Pesa; Commercial Bank of Africa’s (CBA’s) M-Shwari in partnership with Safaricom; and Equity Bank through its Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) Equitel. Loans running into billions of shillings are disbursed day-to-day through these three platforms. In the year ending December 2016, nine out of ten loans given by KCB were through the mobile phone. A total of 5.3 million loans worth Sh9.9 billion were disbursed through KCB M-Pesa. For Equity Bank, the number of loans disbursed through mobile phones reached 5.4 million in this financial year. These added up to a whoping Sh38.5 billion loan disbursed through Equitel. By the time of going to press, CBA had not released their financial results. However, as of December 2015, a total of Sh64 billion loans had been disbursed through M-Shwari since its inception.

At around 3.45am, matatus (mini-buses) roar to life. They stop at Wakulima, dropping off women with wide baskets on their backs. Some of these women head straight to the only M-Pesa agent operating at these crazy hours. The M-Pesa operator says he never goes to sleep. The number of people crowding at his shop is a testimony to the lucrativeness of the business at this non-traditional working hours. Most of the transactions here are done in cash. But traders have come to prefer mobile money transfer services such as M-Pesa for their safety, according to George Mburu, a tomato farmer and wholesale trader. We did not spot any police officer. So, it is not clear how secutiy issues are handled here. One of those who arrived at 4am with a kiondo on her back was Julie Mutuku. She has a grocery store in Nairobi’s Eastleigh area, which is 20 minutes drive from the CBD. She looks relaxed by the time we meet her. She has already done all her shopping, and now she is just killing time. She says she borrows up to a maximum of Sh5,000 from M-Shwari (she has not subscribed to the other services). On the other hand, Mama Gitau who arrived 45 minutes later was not so lucky. We met her at around 5am, cursing under her breath as she rummaged through a mound of carrots at Muthurwa. Mama Gitau has a hotel in Gikomba Market, and by 8am, her customers start trooping in, hungry after an overnight work at East Africa’s biggest open-air market for second-hand clothes. “It is my son’s school bus that did not come on time. It normally arrives at 4am, and while he goes to school I go to the market. So I had to take him to school myself,” says Mama Gitau as she scraps for carrots. The best carrots have gone with the early risers. These nightshift traders of fresh produce will start leaving Muthurwa grounds the same time the moon will start fading from the sky at around 7am, paving way for dealers in electronics, clothes, shoes and stationery. Most of them will have moved on to the sheds at Marikiti and will carry on with the trade until 1am. PRICE STABILITY For people like Mutuku and Mama Gitau, all their overnight efforts will amount to something if they get their profit margin. That is why they choose to be awake early to beat Nairobi’s early traffic. They don’t know, and probably don’t care, that they are among the people who ensure that food leaving the farms reach the forks. They do this using hand carts, popularly known as mkokoteni, a non mechanised wheel whose usefulness ended more than a century ago. “The maximum I can borrow is Sh5,000 from my mobile application, but the capital I need to run my business is about Sh50,000,” explained Mutuku. And when things get tough here, as it is currently, it gets tougher for the most vulnerable in our economy — the poor.

Under the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics’ basket of goods, food and non-alcoholic beverages takes up over a third of poor families’ expenditure. For poor households earning a minimum income of Sh12,000, over Sh4,000 goes into buying such things as potatoes, sukumawiki, cabbages and tomatoes. The price of these items has dramatically shot up, going by the latest figures from the national statistician. A kilogramme of cabbages, for example, has increased by 56 per cent from Sh48 in February, 2016 to Sh75 in February, 2017. Perhaps, that is why, as President Uhuru Kenyatta put it in his State of the Nation address, most wananchi cannot relate to the colourful economic indicators of GDP growing at an average of 5.5 per cent. “Wananchi want to know what these economic indicators mean to their lives. They cannot relate to how GDP impacts on the price of unga. Many of our citizens are wondering why their children are still struggling to find jobs. These concerns are legitimate and they are questions that every citizen is entitled to have answers from their government,” said Uhuru.

dakure@standardmedia.co.ke
Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/business/article/2001233461/a-glimpse-into-kenya-s-wee-hour-business-oiling-the-economy

Baileys Flat White Martini

5 months ago 262 Views No comments

INGREDIENTS:

  • 50ml Baileys Original Irish Cream
  • 25ml Espresso
  • 10ml Milk
  • Ice cubes
  • 0.9 units per serve

MIX IT UP

  1. Pop some ice cubes into a cocktail shaker and pour in the Baileys.
  2. Add the espresso and milk.
  3. Shake it up until everything is perfectly blended and the liquid is silky smooth.
  4. Strain into a cocktail glass, finish by gently placing three coffee beans on the top of the cocktail and enjoy.

Big Baobab

7 months ago 420 Views No comments

The World’s Only Pub That’s Inside a Tree is in Sunland Limpopo Province, South Africa. ‘Big Baobab’ is famous internationally for being the widest of its species in the world. Africa is symbolised by these magnificent trees. The Sunland Big Baobab is carbon dated to be well over 1 700 years old and has even made the front page of the Wall Street Journal!

When baobabs become a thousand years old, they begin to hollow inside. In the Big Baobab this has resulted in wonderful caverns and caves, where the world famous Baobab Tree Bar now amazes visitors.

While many people know of the baobab tree, not many people know that it has a fruit - and even less know that this fruit is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world.

In fact, every part of the baobab tree is valuable - the bark can be turned into rope and clothing, the seeds can be used to make cosmetic oils, the leaves are edible and can store water and the fruit pulp is extraordinarily rich in nutrients. Women in Africa have turned to the baobab fruit as a natural source of health and beauty for centuries.

Baobab is the only fruit in the world to dry naturally on the branch. This means the fruit simply needs to be harvested, deseeded and sieved to produce a 100% natural superfood powder that is exceptionally nutrient-dense - and super tasty!

Baobab powder is an extremely rich source of vitamin C. It is almost 50% fibre and has the highest antioxidant content of any fruit. The benefits of baobab include:

  • Energy release
  • Immune function
  • Digestive health
  • Healthy, younger-looking skin

Top health benefits of tomato

7 months ago 1442 Views No comments

To Control Cholestral levels

Tomatoes are very high in the anti-oxidant Lycopene and regularly including tomatoes in the diet would help to reduce cholesterol levels. Consumption can be in the form of a salad, juice, soup or just including them in everyday dishes.

tomato slices

Tomato – a superfood for Type 2 Diabetes

Tomatoes contains various nutrients such as iron and vitamins C, K and E. It has a very low GI (Glycemic index) and hence is an ideal food for people with Type 2 Diabetes. However it is better to eat it in the form of soups or in dishes rather than as a juice form since any fruit consumed in the form of a juice for diabetes may not be the best option.

Tomato for overall skincare

Just slice a piece of tomato and apply it on your face. Leave it on for twenty minutes and wash it off with a mild soap. If you aren’t particular about using soap, you could go the Ayurveda way and wash it with a natural scrub – Gram flour (Referred to as Besan in India). This is a great combination and gives skin an instant glow. The results are unending . Tomato is a remedy for almost all skin problems and can help you keep it healthy!

Tomato graphic2

For better vision

Lycopene is found in abundance in the blood and is a carotenoid. This anti-oxidant serves as a guard and prevents Age-related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) and thereby blindness due to ageing. They also protect eyesight and result in better vision due to large amounts of Lutein and Zeaxanthine present in this fruit.

Tomatoes as a remedy for urinary tract infections

A bowl of tomato soup with mint leaves will provide relief from urinary tract infections when consumed over a period of time. Alternatively, tomatoes can also be consumed along with ginger to have the same effect.

To reduce Hypertension

Tomatoes are also rich in potassium. This immediately translates to the fact that, they can reduce the chances of developing high blood pressure or hypertension. Due to the role of potassium as a vasodilator (that which reduces the tension in arteries and blood vessels), the stress on the heart is reduced due to better circulation and blood flow.

How to include tomatoes in your diet

I don’t think there could be another vegetable or fruit that is even half as versatile as tomatoes. Starting from salads to soups, tomatoes can be used in various ways and in almost every cuisine that we’ve heard of.

Tomato drink – Steps:

  1. Take two big tomatoes, chop them roughly and blend them with a few mint leaves, some cumin seeds and a dash of pepper.
  2. Add little water to dilute the juice.
  3. Chop and add a few leaves of coriander to this juice.

Tomato juice

Tomato Rasam (Tomato lentil soup) – Steps:

  1. Cook one tablespoon of Toor dal with little salt (lentil) till the dal is soft.
  2. Dry roast cumin and coriander seeds.
  3. Chop two medum sized tomatoes, add the roasted coriander and cumin seeds, add little pepper powder and puree them in a blender.
  4. In a pan, mix the cooked lentil, pureed tomatoes, add salt and brink it to boil.
  5. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and asafoetida to the boiling soup.
  6. Add water as required.
  7. After 5 – 6 minutes, add finely chopped coriander leaves. Switch off the stove.

Drink this hot or warm.

Tomato soup

Who should avoid tomatoes?

As far as tomatoes go, they do no harm if consumed in moderation. The below pointers are only for those who consume high quantities of tomatoes in any form.

  • Those who have GERD – High quantities of tomatoes when consumed leads to acid reflux. This is due to the presence of citric acid, malic acid and oxalic acid in tomatoes. This could then cause heartburn for those who already suffer from GERD.
  • Those with cardio vascular disease – If you already have high sodium content in your diet, eating tomatoes could be harmful to you.

27 Health and Nutrition Tips That Are Actually Evidence-Based

9 months ago 607 Views No comments

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to health and nutrition.People, even qualified experts, often seem to have the exact opposite opinions. However, despite all the disagreements, there are a few things that are well supported by research.

Here are 27 health and nutrition tips that are actually based on good science.

​Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken with Zucchini

10 months ago 452 Views No comments

Author: Alyssa the blogger behind The Recipe Critic

Crispy Permesan Garlic Chicken with Zuccini is a fantastic one pan meal that the family will love! The chicken is so tender and breaded with an amazing parmesan garlic crust and the zucchini is sautéed in a delicious buttery parmesan garlic!

crispyparmesangarlicchickenwithzucchini2

Zucchini is my favorite veggie. So I get pretty excited when it is actually in season even though I buy it all year long. My favorite way to eat zucchini is to sauté it until tender. I could eat it with every meal.

The awesome thing about this recipe is that I had all of the ingredients on hand. It was dinner time and I was staring in my pantry wondering what I should make. One of our favorite things is this Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken. My entire family devours it. We love the crispy flavorful crust on the chicken.

So I decided to put the two together and the result was delicious! A crispy delicious chicken with tender zucchini that is full of flavor and only require one pan.

The less dishes that I have to do the happier that I am.

Lets just take a second to discuss the amazing flavors in this meal. First of all anything with parmesan and garlic is already a winner in my book. But it coats the chicken perfectly and gives it such a crispy texture to the tender and juicy chicken. What I especially love is removing the chicken and sautéing the zucchini in a buttery garlic parmesan sauce. And the crispy sediments of the chicken also are incorporated in the sauce. IT IS AMAZING!

This is a simple 30 minute meal that is full of flavor and my favorite vegetable is the star of the dish! You guys are going to love this one.

crispyparmesangarlichickenwithzucchini4

How to make it.


Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken Breasts, sliced in half, or 4 thin chicken breasts
  • 8 Tablespoons butter, divided
  • ½ cup Italian Bread Crumbs
  • ½ cup plus 1 Tablespoon grated parmesan, divided
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat melt 2 Tablespoons butter. To make the chicken: Melt remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and flour. Dip the chicken in the butter and then coat in the bread crumb mixture and place in skillet.
  2. Cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes until the outside is crispy and the chicken is cooked throughout. Set aside on plate.
  3. Add 2 Tablespoons of butter back to the skillet and saute the minced garlic for a minute. Add the zucchini to the skillet and saute until tender. Salt and pepper to taste and add some 1 Tablespoon parmesan. Add the chicken back to the skillet and heat for a minute or so. Serve immediately.

​A HEALTHY JORNEY – BY A TYPICAL KENYAN MUM

10 months ago 379 Views No comments

This is the day I made the decision to eat healthy in addition to my cultivated habit of visiting the gym on a regular basis. I have decided it’s time to get that lithe body I have always wanted. Not because I am constantly bombarded of images of slim women in wonderful clothing and not because it has become a woman mantra to “loose the weight” but because I believe loosing those extra Kg’s leads to a more fulfilling life especially when everything is in balance.

I believe in the law of process. Trying to beat nature by subscribing to diets in order to lose weight in my opinion (and that is my opinion) technically does not work. I am the type who wants to entertain my sweet tooth once in a while. After all what is life for If you cannot enjoy its abundance? Like Oscar Wilde saids “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful.” However enjoyment of course comes with its consequences. So, one has to find a way to deal with the consequences. I have chosen the path to reducing portions and gyming. That’s my solution and this is my story.

So supper today by default was cheat day six fries, roast goat meat and cucumber and tomato salad. No guilt as I had a hard workout an hour before supper. So I have begun the journey. Maybe I should take a before and after picture or maybe not. I do not expect results overnight. This will be a long ride.

By the way loved the recipe of the cucumber tomato salad by Rachel Ray (see recipe below). Get the ingredients from Taimba.co.ke

Cucumber Tomato salad


  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, diced (KES 150/KG)
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced (KES 70/KG)
  • Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped (KES 20/Bunch)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped ( KES110/KG)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, a couple of splashes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions; Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Dress with vinegar and oil, salt and pepper, to your taste

Enjoy and Keep Healthy!


Peeling Down the Onion

10 months ago 502 Views No comments

Whether white, yellow, or red, onions are one of the world’s most popular and versatile vegetables, delivering an unmistakable, pungent heat – some more than others. They’re in demand for cold salads and hot soups, sliced in rings or solid disks on burgers, and chopped in relish. The delicious caramelization that takes place when onions are sautéed is due to their high sugar content. (Try them sautéed with bell peppers for a tasty fajita ingredient.) Spanish red onions are generally milder than white or yellow. The Vidalia variety is one of the sweetest.
The sharp fragrance and flavor emitted by onions is due to the sulfur compound allyl propyl disulphide; it’s allyl sulphide that brings you to tears when peeling one, serving the good purpose of washing the thin epithelial layer of the eyes. Holding peeled onions under cold water for several seconds before slicing minimizes this effect.

Brown Rice with Sauteed Spinach, Lemon and Garlic

11 months ago 345 Views No comments

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 1 cup quick-cooking brown or white rice
  2. 3 tablespoons Crisco® Pure Olive Oil
  3. 2 cups packed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  4. 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  5. 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
  6. 1 clove garlic, minced
  7. 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt

PREPARATION DIRECTIONS:

  1. COOK rice according to package directions.
  2. HEAT oil in large skillet. Add cooked rice, spinach, walnuts, lemon peel, garlic, rosemary and salt. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Serve warm.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION PER SERVING:

Serving Size (1/6 of recipe), Calories 180 (Calories from Fat 120), Total Fat 13g (Saturated Fat 1.5g, Trans Fat 0g), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 110mg, Total Carbohydrate 13g (Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 0g), Protein 3g; Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 6%, Vitamin C 4%, Calcium 2%, Iron 4%.

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

​Why Brown Rice?

11 months ago 485 Views No comments

As we become more aware of what is beneficial to our bodies, healthier options become more attractive. Why brown rice?

All About Changing Diapers

11 months ago 420 Views No comments

They say practice makes perfect. Three kids and five continuous years of diapering later, Changing a diaper has become easy and quick. I've changed diapers in the dark, in a car, and in all manner of places. Here is what I have learned about changing diapers

First, the Good News

  • It's a great time to get to know your infant. For a few uninterrupted minutes, it's just the two of you. .
  • You can make it fun fun for your baby. Consider it playtime. Talk about what you're doing. Tickle some piggies. Blow a raspberry on her belly. You can have fun too.
  • It's a wonderful way to monitor how much she's grown. You start with the tissue-size newborn diapers, and in no time you're wondering whether your toddler will be potty trained before she makes it to the newest King Henry VIII size.


Setting Up

Diapering can be as simple or elaborate as you want to make it.

Some tips:

Your diaper choice

The disposable diaper as one of modernity's Great Gifts to Mothers! Believe me it’s the next best thing after a car. They're convenient, fast, mess-free, easy (once you get the hang of those tabs). Of course, like most of the big questions about parenting, which kind of diaper to use boils down to personal choice. (personally I prefer huggies)

Your changing table

Being able to change your baby without stooping makes the job more comfortable and goes easy on your harassed back especially after childbirth and especially when the baby is tiny. Whether you use a multipurpose dresser with a changing area in top or an inexpensive table just make sure you are in a comfortable non stooping position. Another advantage of a changing table is that it provides a central place for storing dippers and wipes..

On the other hand, more than half the diaper changes I've done have taken place on a low ottoman in the sitting room that's been covered with a ratty old shuka.

Set up a diaper-changing station on each floor of your house. No sense in making a chore harder by climbing stairs to make diaper changes

Many changing tables come with a safety belt, though they can't keep a wriggling baby in place and they provide a false sense of security. Better keep one hand on your baby at all times (even atop a low ottoman).

Your diaper trash bin

I like my old-fashioned plastic bin. You can roll up a dirty diaper and sealed it with its own tabs. Much less messy than just tossing it.

Time to Change

There's really no right or wrong way to change a diaper, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

Newborns
Until your baby's umbilical-cord stump drops off, use the kind that has a notch for the belly-button area so you don't have to awkwardly fold down the top to keep the area dry for healing.

Boys
To avoid being sprayed, don't leave a boy exposed for too long while you're transitioning from a dirty diaper to a clean one. Draping a cloth diaper over his penis will offer protection.

Girls
Wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from her bottom to her vagina. Don't clean the white gunk from her labia; it's a normal protective discharge that's supposed to be there.

Stoolgazing

It may sound, well, anal, but you can tell a lot about a baby by examining her output:

What she's eating

For the first few days, newborn stool is a blackish-green, gummy substance called meconium, made up of amniotic-fluid refuse. After that, what comes out pretty much reflects what goes in. A breastfed baby's stool is a mustardy yellow and runny; it has little odor. A formula-fed baby's stool is deeper-hued and strong-smelling. When your baby begins pureed foods, don't be surprised to see a rainbow of poops that reflect her last lunch. They may even turn blackish if she's on an iron supplement. And when she graduates from baby food to solids, the rapid transit time through her gut means that sometimes whole bits of undigested carrots or corn show up -- again, surprising to see, but not a problem.

Breastfeeding moms often worry about whether their baby is getting enough milk, since they can't visually monitor intake. Rest assured that if your infant is wetting more than six to eight diapers a day and the urine isn't dark in color and strong-smelling, she's probably consuming plenty. If you're concerned about dehydration, you can tell when a super-absorbent diaper is wet by looking for a characteristic doughy lumpiness.

Blood or mucus in your baby's stool, or a foul odor, warrants a visit to your pediatrician. Watery BMs may indicate diarrhea. All babies, breast- and bottle-fed, have stool that's loose and unformed in the first months. With diarrhea, stools are liquidy and frequent and may exit explosively.

A baby can have a bowel movement after every feeding or not for a week or more. Diet has an impact too. A baby under 6 weeks old who's on formula might poop once a day, but a breastfed infant the same age may go three times or more, even after every feeding. So how do you know when to be concerned? Tell your doctor if your infant hasn't pooped for a week; don't resort to laxatives, suppositories, or enemas without her direction.True constipation often becomes a problem during potty training. A child who's pressed to train before he's ready might decide to withhold his bowel movements as a way of exerting control. The more he holds it in, the more impacted the stool becomes, making it painful to get rid of. So don’t push potty training after all now that you are a diaper changing expert why let the knowledge go to waste?

Baobab Oil

11 months ago 421 Views No comments

Baobab oil is obtained from the seeds of Adansonia tree. This tree is one of the most characteristic trees of Africa, and it is often called the upside down tree because it looks as though it is growing roots upwards. The oil is quite viscous, with a rich, silky feel and a mild aroma. Baobab oil is an excellent moisturizer and ideal for numerous cosmetic applications. It is one of the few oils which is added in its raw state in cosmetic products. Baobab oil is one of the most prominent oils from Africa.

These trees have a thick trunk which is usually thickest in the middle. Of all the species, the Adansonia grandidieri trees look the most picturesque. These trees store water in their trunks and are able to survive years of drought. They also live upto thousands of years.
The seeds of this tree are rich in soil. They have been used traditionally in Africa to extract cooking oil. Its fruit resembles coconuts, but the taste is somewhat tart.These fruits are high in many nutrients, and as such are of great nutritional importance.

The oil is obtained from the seeds using cold pressed method, in most cases. This is the best in terms of conserving nutrients and preventing contamination of oil with unwanted chemicals. However, baobab oil may not be edible because of the presence of certain toxic compounds.

Properties

These are the healing therapeutic properties of baobab oil.

  • Emollient – It is an excellent moisturizer for the skin.
  • Insulator – It protects the skin from excessive high and low temperatures.
  • Rejuvenator – It promotes rejuvenation of skin cells.
  • Non-siccative – It does not dry for a long time.
  • Cicatrizant – promote wound healing.
  • Antioxidant – It prevents the skin from free radical damage.
  • Anti-Inflammatory – because of the presence of omega fatty acids in it.

Color, Taste and Aroma
The oil has deep golden yellow color, earthy aroma and a nutty taste.

Health Benefits

The biggest use of baobab oil is as a cosmetic agent. One can use it directly on the skin, or combine it with other natural ingredients, like essential oils to impart certain benefits.

1. As a Massage Oil
Baobab oil has a really different texture that most other oils. One can use it as massage oil to get silky, smooth skin. The massage is easily facilitated because of this oil. Massage with this oil is good for dry, damaged skin. It helps the skin to restructure and heal itself. This way, it can help to heal dry skin patches. It is quickly absorbed into the skin. However, it does not leave the skin completely dry because of its non-siccative property.

2. Home Remedy for Stretch Marks
Baobab oil is a nice home remedy for stretch marks. Regular application on area affected by stretch marks reduces the appearance and depth of these marks. It is possible that the oil stimulates collagen and elastin synthesis under the skin to heal the stretch marks. Similarly, it can be used to heal wound scars, like post surgical scars.

3. As a Daily Moisturizing Lotion
After the shower, apply a small amount of baobab oil on the skin. This helps to lock in the moisture. The oil is readily absorbed, thus leaving a non greasy feeling within a few minutes. Alternatively, one can add it to a moisturizing lotion to increase its effectiveness.

4. Chapped Lips
Baobab oil is naturally great for chapped lips. Just a small amount of oil applied to the lips gets rid of the chapped lips condition.

Dealing With Dipers. Typical Kenyan Mother's View

1 years ago 549 Views No comments

What dipers do you prefer? I prefer huggies. They hugged my children and made my work easier. Read more to see why huggies.

​Grilled Tomatoes Recipe

1 years ago 321 Views No comments

How to grill tasty tomatoes. Use this simple recipe to get your children to eat vegetables!.

Natural Raw Honey Skin Treatment

1 years ago 381 Views No comments

Honey can help moisturize, fight aging, and fight bacteria. Plus, it’s loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, and healing compounds. Here are eleven ways to treat skin using honey. Get raw honey from Taimba.co.ke, which hasn't been heat-treated or pasteurized; it contains more active phytonutrient antioxidants and enzymes for enhanced benefits. Read more to learn how to use honey.

How To Restock For The Week

1 years ago 623 Views No comments

This blog gives insights. tips, and tricks on how to be effective in your grocery shopping and avoid impulse buying.

What About Weaning and Feeding - Typical Kenyan Mother View

1 years ago 2544 Views No comments

How do you determine when your baby is ready for weaning? Most mothers wait for the traditional doctor advised six months to start weaning the baby and most Kenyan mothers start with uji or pumpkin and potatoes before advancing to other types of vegetables. At this stage mothers get a lot of advice but we struggle with what and how to offer the food to the baby.

My first born was an experience. Being a mother of three now I look back and wonder what all the fuss about weaning was. My daughter was the typical baby. By month 6 she was reaching out and crying for whatever she found you eating. So when we reached the six months deadline, I was excited to start weaning. Typical of a first time mother, I boiled the utensils to make sure they were germ free. The uji that had been brought specifically for my daughter by my mother-in-law was cooked carefully with just the right amount of milk and no sugar. This is what my daughter took the first time and she loved it despite no sugar. I have since concluded what children like and dislike is what we feed them from an early age.

Anyway back to my story. The uji was introduced from the first day. Then came a mixture of boiled potatoes, carrots, bananas, pumpkin, and spinach – no salt. Ordinarily one should introduce one produce at a time however I went all in due to excitement. My daughter took it in well and we have never looked back.

To start with I practices a lot of the traditional weaning however as months progressed I also introduced baby led weaning. Baby-lead weaning is a relaxed and unstructured approach based on a baby being offered solid foods for him/her to feed themselves, with no help from an adult. The foods would usually be soft pieces held in the hand, rather than being offered on a spoon. Essentially, manageable chunks of different family foods are put onto baby’s plate or a tray, baby can then feed herself how and what she wants.

By eleven months my daughter was eating ugali and spinach and enjoying it thoroughly. I had stopped blending her food by nine months and would just mash it leaving some small pieces not completely mushed so she could learn to chew. One day, my husband, who told me on the day my daughter came home for the first time that he had raised many children (I am yet to verify that), told me to set my daughter down and give her a plate. I was aghast. What! down??? Like on the floor? Well I am a liberal mom so once the floor was cleaned thoroughly with disinfectant and a table mat placed carefully where my daughter would sit, I set her plate with some rice and soup stew with a little vegetable and let her dig in. She loved it! You could see her enjoying the texture of the food as she picked it up felt it and then finally explored taking the food to where she knew her mouth was.

My third and last born is now one year, we occasionally sit him on a dining table chair or on the floor and put a plate of bread dipped in milk on his plate or chapatti cut in small pieces or spinach and let him explore picking up the food and taking it to his mouth. He mostly eats what we eat which means we do eat some salt-less (Read: tasteless) food but we are healthier for it.

In my experience as a mother you need to make food and meal times interesting for the child to enjoy feeding.

7 ways to improve feeding times;

  1. Set a standard place for the child to always know when I sit here its meal time
  2. Make a variety of food. Today it may be Matoke, tomorrow it may be minced meat and rice, next beans and rice, next macaroni and chicken soup with tiny pieces of chicken (for the 11months and older). Do not let them get bored eating the same food
  3. Eat at the same time with the child/children. This helps him focus on eating the food as opposed to getting distracted. It also helps you bond with your child.
  4. Let him occasionally feed himself/herself for the 11 months and older babies. From 8 months you can give them a slice of seedless orange to eat (they generally suckle the orange at month 8)
  5. Do not mind the mess. Children should be children. Let them explore. It will get messy but that’s how they learn. By age 1 my children know to sit at the table and eat. When they start fussing when they are full.
  6. I generally keep the leftover food for them to eat in the next few hours if they are unable to finish. But at no time do they leave the table to go play then come back to eat. Once you leave the table its assumed you are full and you take your plate to the kitchen (for the toddlers and over)
  7. Never give them too much food. Children do not eat large amounts as we adults. Put a little on their plate and let them ask for more. If they are hungry they will request for more if not they will at least finish the little you put on their plate

This was my experience what was or is yours?

THE SPARKLING WINE COCKTAILS

1 years ago 355 Views No comments

Sparkling wine is wonderful to drink on its own, but it can be even more enjoyable as the main ingredient in a cocktail. The most important thing to remember when making a cocktail with sparkling wine as the base is that the key ingredient is good quality wine. Using something cheap simply because you think it’s going to get mixed with other flavors is one of the quickest ways to not only make the drink taste bad, but also develop one nasty hangover.


While most people know how to make the mimosa (if you don’t, see this guide) there are four other sparkling wine-based cocktails every self-respecting host should know how to make. These are some of the most storied and famous sparkling wine based cocktails out there, so it’s high time you learned how to make them! Plus, adding these four drinks to your tool belt will prevent you from simply adding OJ to a glass of Champagne any time someone wants a cocktail with bubbles, you amateur.


THE CHAMPAGNE COCKTAIL

Champagne Cocktail Finished

Considered the classic among these four drinks — it’s the only drink here that actually gets to call itself the Champagne Cocktail — this sparkling wine cocktail traces its roots all the way back to 1862, where it seems to have first been written down in theBon Vivant’s Companion. The classic version allows the sparkling wine to shine, which is why choosing a high quality one is important, and features a nice balance of bitter and sweet.

Ingredients:
1 Sugar Cube
Angostura Bitters
Chilled Sparkling Wine
Lemon Twist

Drop the sugar cube into a Champagne glass and soak it with two to three dashes of Angostura Bitters. After the sugar has slightly dissolved, fill the glass with wine and top with the lemon twist.

THE BLACK VELVET

Black Velvet

Around the same time the Champagne Cocktail was invented, a bartender at The Brooks Club in London invented this sparkling wine and Stout combo. Said to have been originally created to mourn the death of Prince Albert, the drink creates a band of golden wine topped with one of dark beer that is similar to the colors worn by mourners. The drink became popular in England, and now Guinness is pretty much the only stout used to make it.

Ingredients:
Guinness
Sparkling Wine

Fill a Champagne flute halfway with sparkling wine, and top with Guinness.

THE FRENCH 75

French 75
Invented in 1915 at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, which was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway, the bar is also the birthplace of classic cocktails such as the Bloody Mary and the Side Car. The drink is a mix of gin, lemon juice, sparkling wine and sugar. It’s insanely refreshing.

Ingredients:
1 Ounce Gin
½ Ounce Lemon Juice
1 spoonful of Powdered Sugar
Chilled Sparkling Wine
Lemon Twist

Fill a shaker with ice and add the gin, lemon juice and powdered sugar. Shake vigorously. When chilled, strain into a champagne glass and top with wine. Add the lemon twist.

THE BELLINI

Bellini

It’s unclear when exactly the Bellini was invented (Italians aren’t the best at keeping records!) but most think it occurred sometime in the 1930s or ’40s at Harry’s Bar in Venice (no relation to Harry’s New York in Paris) by Giuseppe Cipriani, who named the drink after his favorite artist. At this point, this drink has become just as ubiquitous as the mimosa, found on bottomless brunch menus everywhere, but it’s often made way too sweet, using peach syrup instead of fresh purée, which was never how the drink was intended to be consumed. If made correctly, this is a refreshing and dry cocktail that allows the true flavors of peach to shine through.

Ingredients:
3 Ounces Sparkling Wine
2 Ounces Peach Puree (simply peel and slice a peach and purée in blender or mash with fork — don’t forget to remove the pit!)

Place the peach purée in the bottom of a Champagne glass and top with the wine. Stir and serve.

Adapted from: http://vinepair.com/wine-blog/sparkling-wine-cockt...

About Sparkling Wine

1 years ago 400 Views No comments

We’ve all tasted sparkling wine, at the very least around the holidays or when celebrating a special occasion, yet many of us have no idea what the difference is between wines such as Champagne, Cava and Prosecco—or how they even get the bubbles into the wine in the first place. Let us explain.

Méthode Champenoise (Champagne method) or Metodo Italiano, which is also known as the Charmat-Martinotti method.

The myth we like best is the story of Monk Dom Perignon. As the story goes, in the 1600s the monk was making white wine in the Champagne region of France. He decided to bottle the wine he had fermented earlier than usual because, when he checked the fermentation tanks, it seemed to him that the yeast had finished converting all the sugar to alcohol. In fact, the temperature in the Champagne region had become so cold that the yeast in the tanks had simply gone to sleep, even though they weren’t done eating all the sugar. When the spring came and the wine in the bottles began to warm, the yeast woke up and hurriedly began eating all of the leftover sugar. As they ate the sugar, the carbon dioxide they were creating had no place to escape, as it would in a large fermentation tanks, so instead the CO2 was absorbed by the wine, thereby carbonating it. When Dom Perignon went to check on his wine he encountered corks popping all around him; he tasted the wine and loved the results, thus the birth of Champagne. Since the discovery of the Champagne method, which is often called the traditional method, Champagne has exploded across the world, quickly becoming the most well-known and highly regarded sparkler.

is an excellent way to explain the Champagne method. Using this method, Perignon “discovered” that a secondary fermentation in the bottle could be used to create the bubbles we associate with a sparkling wine.

Since the discovery of the Champagne method, which is often called the traditional method, Champagne has exploded across the world, quickly becoming the most well-known and highly regarded sparkler. It is for this reason that most other wine regions adopted the method as the way to make sparkling wine, including Spanish Cava. So if the majority of sparkling wine is made using the Champagne method, why don’t we call all sparkling wine Champagne?

As you might expect, the French are pretty territorial over the name, allowing only sparkling wine that is actually made in the Champagne region of France to be called Champagne. Just as Kleenex wouldn’t like it if a rival brand referred to their tissue as a Kleenex, the French hate it when wine that is not from Champagne is called Champagne. This why we had the creation of the name Cava to refer to sparkling wines from Spain. For a long time the Spanish referred to their products as Champagne, knowing that consumers’ familiarity with the name as a quality sparkling wine would benefit their sales, but the French cried foul, and lobbied the EU to forbid any other country from using the name Champagne unless it comes from that region in France.

Sparkling wine has four levels of sweetness. The level of sweetness of the wine will be printed directly on the bottle. These levels are:

  1. Extra-Brut: This is the driest kind of sparkling wine you can buy. In this type of sparkler, the yeast has eaten absolutely all of the sugar, so there is a complete absence of it in the wine.
  2. Brut: This is the most popular type of sparkling wine. The wine is dry, but there is just a hint of sweetness. In this sparkler, the winemaker stopped the fermentation process just before the yeast ate all of the sugar, leaving a tiny amount behind in the wine. Champagne is the most common sparkler to be labeled Brut.
  3. Extra Dry: This type of sparkler is dry, but not as dry as Brut or Extra-Brut, meaning it retains a slight sweetness. It’s not sugary sweet, although they are noticeably sweeter than Brut wines. Prosecco is most often Extra Dry.
  4. Demi-sec: This is a sweet sparkling wine. One would usually drink Demi-sec with desert, as there is a prevalent amount of noticeable sugar.

Adapted from VinePair (Vinepair.com)

How to Treat Constipation Naturally

1 years ago 511 Views No comments

Constipation is a condition where there is difficulty in emptying the bowels; it’s normally associated with hardened feces. Causes of constipation include low fiber diets, hormonal disorders, medication, bad bowel movements, lack of regular exercise, insufficient water, advanced age and high levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy can lead to constipation.

Some symptoms of constipation include hard or small stools, infrequent bowel movements, lower abdominal pain, bloating, swelling and discomfort, anal fissures caused by hard stool, diseases of the central nervous system like multiple sclerosis and stroke, and bowel movement strain.

Part of treating constipation involves altering your diet plan to incorporate more foods with high fiber content. Dieticians normally recommend 30g of fiber every day. Good food sources of fiber include:

Beans

They have a resistant fiber-like starch which helps improve transit time in the colon, acts as a mild laxative and assist balance bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract.

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Broccoli (Taimba Price KES 260/kg)

A ½ cup of cooked broccoli has 2.8 grams of fiber that aids with constipation, and it’s also full of vitamin C

.fresh brocoli

Carrots (Taimba Price KES 100/kg)

Carrots are high in fiber. To improve your stool movement, incorporate raw carrots into your diet. Cooked carrots could lead to constipation though

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Pineapple (Taimba Price KES 100/kg)

Pineapple juice is a good way to regulate your digestive system and can help you avoid constipation in the first place.

Whole grain bread

Are full of fiber which is not only good for your bowel movement but also helps with your heart.

Berries (Taimba Price Strawberries KES 240/kg)

Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries) are tasty and easy to eat. Substitute your normal snack with berries as they are full of fiber necessary for relieving constipation.

Sweet Potato (Taimba Price KES 160/kg)

The potato skin contains most of the fiber in potatoes. Leave the skin on when preparing potatoes. One medium baked sweet potato with skin has 3.8g of fiber which helps prevent constipation.

Other foods that have fiber and can help with your constipation problem include air popped popcorn, brown rice, pears, apples, spinach, green beans, yoghurt and legumes. Most people have suffered from constipation at one point in life and the symptoms have inconvenienced our daily routine or spoiled our plans. To prevent constipation, increase fiber intake in your diet plan. Besides eating foods with dietary fiber, and regular exercise, drinking lots of water is an essential factor in relieving constipation, water helps stool move easily through the colon.

Content By Higher Image

Photography by Filmic

​ Beet Salad Recipe

1 years ago 389 Views No comments

Roasted beets are known to be sweet and delightful. With very earthy and aromatic essence beets are very great for a salad. Here is how you can prepare beet salad.

Ingredients

  • 6 Medium beets
  • ¼ Cup of olive oil
  • ½ Tablespoon of mustard
  • 3 tablespoons of vinegar
  • ½ Teaspoon of honey
  • 1 Stalk of celery finely chopped
  • ½ Teaspoon of salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 large Shallot finely chopped
  • Pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at about 400 degrees.
  2. Divide the beets in between 2 foil pieces and crimp them into packets. Roast the beets until they are tender enough about 60 minutes. Then unwrap the beets and let them cool.
  3. Whisk the olive oil, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl to make the dressing.
  4. After the beets cool, peel off the skins and cut into cubes. Place in a bowl and add the shallot, celery and the dressing. Toss well to coat and serve immediately or chilled.Fullscreen capture 4192016 40159 PM.bmp

Carrot Soup With Ginger Recipe

1 years ago 359 Views No comments

he most nourishing foods at times are those that are simple and quite easy to make. This carrot soup with ginger is just that.

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 Pound carrot finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 Yellow onion finely chopped
  • 2 Teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 Cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon of finely chopped chives

Method

  • Place a cooking pot on medium heat and melt the butter.
  • Add the onions and the garlic. Cook until tender for about 6 minutes or so.

  • sir in the ginger, carrots and the vegetable stock. Heat until it boils. Reduce the heat and let it simmer. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until its tender enough.


  • In small batches pour the soup into a blender and carefully puree until it’s smooth.
  • Add water or vegetable stock if needed to achieve desired thinness.If necessary you can reheat the soup then stir in the lemon and use the chives as garnish. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

​Parental influence on children’s food preferences and energy intake

1 years ago 717 Views No comments

New research suggests that the food preferences of young children could be related to their risk of becoming obese later in life. Parents and caregivers can influence young children’s food preferences, and here we discuss strategies that may be helpful and those which may be counterproductive.

Is Organic Food Expensive?

1 years ago 545 Views No comments

“Organic food is expensive” is one of the excuses that most people give when asked why they don’t eat organic food. But how much do you value your life? How much is your health worth to you? While researching about this article, I read about a farmer who always responded to people who always complained about the high price of organic foods by asking them “Have you priced cancer lately?”

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It’s true that certified organic food and products are normally more expensive than conventional food. This can be attributed to the fact that organic food is limited in supply compared to its demand, the cost of production of organic foods are usually higher reason being that there is a greater labor input per unit of output and greater diversity of enterprises meaning economies of scale is not achievable. Also post harvesting handling of relatively small amounts of organic foods leads to higher costs incurred and organic food grows more slowly.expe3

Due to the fact that organic food is grown without any pesticides and chemicals, rather they use compost manure and natural ways to deal with pests. This limits your exposure to chemicals and pesticides if you have health issues. Organic foods are more nutritious and have higher amounts of antioxidants on average than conventionally grown food. No chemicals are used to preserve organic foods. All in all organic foods offer food safety benefits to the body.

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Conventional food is more affordable due to the fact that it grows faster because of the chemicals and fertilizers used in the growth process. But would you rather eat food grown with a lot of chemicals and pesticides and suffer from diseases that you could have avoided to begin with? Cheaper is not always better. The cost of health insurance, treatment and medication has increased and most people are unable to afford it. However, consumption of organic vegetables and fruits can lower the risk of you getting diseases as well as help contain some of the diseases you may have.

In the long term, organic food is cheaper. Eating organic food is paramount to your health and protecting the environment. As much as you spend now on organic products, you will reap immense health and beauty benefit. Eating organic foods can improve your health in the long run and cut back on the cost of your hospital bills and improve on your productivity. Take a chance on organic and see the benefits for yourself.

Content by Higher Image

Photography by Filmic

Health benefits of Organic coconut Oil

1 years ago 808 Views No comments

Coconut oil is one of the healthiest beneficial oils to the human body. Some of the types of coconut oil that our vendors sell at the market are compressed coconut oil, virgin coconut oil and cooking coconut oil. Organic coconut oil has shown immense positive health results when consumed or used on the skin, some of those health benefits include:

Improve the blood cholesterol level in the body which reduces the risk of suffering from a heart disease over long term. It also reduces the occurrence of injury or harm to the arteries which helps prevent atherosclerosis.

Organic coconut oil is quite important during weight loss. Coconut oil has short and medium-chain fatty acids that reduce your hunger hence help you eat less and loose excess weight. It increases the metabolic rate in the body by reducing the amount of work on the pancreas which allows more energy to burn allowing overweight people to lose weight. Coconut oil is easy to digest and assists in the reduction of abdominal obesity in women as well as help to maintain a healthy functioning of thyroid and endocrine system.

It strengthens the body’s immune system because of the lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid found in coconut oil which helps in antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. Approximately fifty per cent of fatty acid found in coconut oil is the 12-carbon lauric acid. When enzymatically digested, coconut oil forms a monoglyceride known as monolaurin. Lauric acid and monolaurin together can kill harmful pathogens such as fungi, viruses and bacteria that cause diseases like herpes, influenza and even HIV. Bacteria like helicobacter pylori which cause stomach ulcers can be fought using coconut oil.

Coconut oil is good for the skin, especially dry skin because it can improve the moisture and lipid content in the skin. It is good as massage oil and has no side effects to the skin. It delays wrinkling and sagging of skin which come with aging due to its antioxidants properties. Skin diseases like dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections can be remedied with coconut oil.

Coconut oil protects against hair damage and helps in the healthy growth of hair and giving it a shiny glow. It a good hair conditioner and prevents the loss of protein which could potentially cause unhealthy qualities in one’s hair.

Finally people who live around coastal towns where there is availability of organic coconut oil and they use it for cooking, on their skin or consume it, are generally considered healthier. These people have reduced heart diseases and they rarely suffer from obesity.

Content by Higher Image

Photography By Filmic

​RECIPE- TIERRA MORINGA MANGO MADNESS SMOOTHIE

1 years ago 505 Views No comments

Moringa Mango Madness Smoothie. For a non dairy, caffeine free, natural, all day energy option, simply blend:

1 Frozen Banana (peeled)
1 cup frozen Mango flesh
1 tbsp Tierra Moringa powder
½ cup chilled coconut water
½ cup chilled soy or almond milk
If using fresh fruits add 2-3 cubes of ice instead.

Serves 1

WARNING: Please consult your physician if you are pregnant or nursing, taking prescription drugs, or are Under 18.

Click here to buy Moringa

The Health Benefits of Broccoli

1 years ago 638 Views No comments

fresh brocoli

Broccoli is a vegetable that’s known for its array of nutritional values and health benefits. Cancer prevention, immune system boost, effective remedy for anemia, relief from stomach disorders and low blood pressure are some of the health issues that broccoli can help with. Broccoli can be eaten raw, steamed or shallow fried but eating raw has more nutritional value.

Health benefits of broccoli include:

Detoxification process

Planning on natural ways to detox? Broccoli should be on your diet. Vitamin C, sulphur and certain amino acids present in broccoli are very good at detoxification. Itches, rashes, gout, arthritis, skin diseases like eczema are some of the problems related to having toxins in your body. Broccoli assists in the removal of free radicals and toxins like uric acid from the body which purifies the blood, taking care of any problems you may face related to toxins.

brocoli

Skin Care

For healthy, glowing and radiant skin, consume a lot of broccoli. A lot of exposure to the sun has negative effects on your skin. Glucoraphanin is one of the phytonutrients present in good amounts in broccoli; it’s been linked to reversing the negative effects to sun exposure. Beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, vitamin A, vitamin K, omega 3 fatty acids adds glamor to the skin, and folic acids are all present in Broccoli for keeping your skin glowing and young, as well as vitamin E which gives shine to the skin and hair while reviving skin tissue.

Strengthen your Immune systems

Broccoli has antioxidants like beta-carotene, minerals and vitamins, in particular copper, zinc and phosphorus. These help a great deal in boosting the immune system and protecting you from infections.

Healthy bones

Elderly people, children, pregnant women and lactating mothers are prone to weakening bones and teeth and calcium deficiencies. Broccoli is super rich in calcium and other nutrients like magnesium and zinc which are vital for your bone health.

Heart Health

Potassium available in broccoli acts as a vasodilator that can enhance your blood flow and oxygenation of important organs by relaxing tension and stress of veins and blood vessels. It has higher fiber content as well as good levels of beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins which lessen bad cholesterol and assists the proper function of the heart by regulating blood pressure.

Stomach disorders

Broccoli is high in fiber which is responsible for curing constipation. Fiber contributes to healthy bowel movements by retaining water and adding to the bulkiness of food. Magnesium and vitamins in broccoli cure acidity and aid in proper digestion and absorption of nutrients from food and soothe the stomach by reducing inflammation.fresh brocoli


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I beat crafty brokers at their own game by selling to ‘mama mboga’

2 months ago 85 Views No comments

By LEOPOLD OBI

Francis Odoyo sifts through rows of shoulder-high tomato plants, picking ripened fruits dangling off the trusses.

Sweat shines on his face, and he repeatedly wipes it with a piece of cloth before resuming the task.

It is about 8am and the 26-year-old must harvest several crates of tomatoes by 10 o’clock, otherwise he will let down his new clients, mainly the mama mbogas (women selling vegetables).

Having had a nasty experience in the hands of brokers stationed at the local markets in Rongo, Migori County, where he farms, Odoyo decided to change strategy.

According to him, he would take his produce to the market but could not sell directly to the traders dealing with consumers. The practice is that the brokers buy from farmers, then sell to the market women.

“They would buy from me and other farmers after colluding amongst themselves to lower prices. Sometimes I ended up selling a crate for as little as Sh1,800 and they would then sell at triple the price.

I did it twice and gave up,” says Odoyo, noting enquiries revealed that is the standard practice in markets across the country, especially for the highly-valued produce like tomatoes.

He recounts that the brokers have perfected the practice because they know too well that tomatoes are perishable.

BOYCOTT BUYING FROM FARMERS

“They boycott buying from farmers at the market and won’t allow you to sell directly to traders. I scouted for mama mbogas and asked them to come and buy at Sh50 a kilo from the farm directly. This has paid off,” says the acquisition officer at Chase Bank, Narok, who farms on family land and started harvesting weekly two months ago.

“Tomatoes are profitable. Each plant offers at least 10kg a season, which for me with my 1,000 plants translates to 10,000kg in total, so even if I sell a kilo at Sh50, I’ll still be making some profit,” he adds.

Odoyo owns a 8 by 3m wooden greenhouse, a project he started in February with Sh180,000 from his savings.

The capital catered for the greenhouse structure, drip irrigation kits, water tank with 1,000 litres capacity, electric water pump, 1,500 tomato seeds and agronomic services for one planting season.

“I started growing tomatoes after realising that those consumed in Rongo town and environs are sourced from as far as Narok. I approached a Kisumu-based greenhouse dealer who sold me the greenhouse and fixed it,” explains Odoyo, a 2013 alumnus of Maasai Mara University where he studied Communication and Public Relations.

The farmer has planted tomatoes on beds in neatly arranged rows with drip irrigation pipes running along.

“Water is not a problem, we have a borehole at our home. What I needed was only a pump,” says Odoyo, who has so far raked in Sh70,000 from the crop.

He has employed a farmhand and his wife helps him look after the farm while he is away.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES PROTECTING FARMERS

Failing to done a soil test before embarking on the venture will, however, be the farmer’s biggest regret, and he has indeed learned his lessons the hard way after several plants were hit by bacterial wilt just when they were beginning to flower.

Bacterial wilt has no known treatment but can only be controlled by uprooting the affected plants and treating the soil through solarisation (burning).
Haggai Oduori, an Assistant Research Fellow at the Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, Egerton University, points out that there are government policies aimed at protecting farmers at the market against opportunistic brokers.

However, weak enforcement remains the boon for the middlemen.

“There is a lacuna such that there is no legal basis for the market officers to take action on the middlemen. The market officers lack powers to prosecute,” explains Oduori, while advising farmers to form co-operative unions to make them a formidable force.

Dennis Ongech, an agronomist at Hortitechno Produce and Services, observes that bacterial wilt is a major threat to farmers, especially, in the western part of the country.

“The moment you see your crops wilting at the tip even when there is enough water, know that they are under attack by the wilt. The affected plants must be uprooted and properly disposed after which the soil is treated,” Ongech says, advising farmers to plant tomatoes in beds and use drip irrigation system so that in case one bed is attacked, the disease cannot spread to other beds.

My attempt to beat cunning brokers once and for all flops

2 months ago 104 Views No comments

By JOSEPH MACHARIA

Every time I listen to farmers talk about their many woes, the word brokers always features.

The leeches are sweet-talkers and they always give very “plausible” offers. They come to your farm and pay for produce in cash. That means they sort your immediate money problems but make a killing selling your hard-farmed produce at twice the price.

I wasn’t ready to fall prey to these leeches. I vowed to block them from accessing a single coin from my cabbages. So when my 2,000 cabbages were ready for harvesting, I made an impromptu tour of Githurai market in Nairobi.

There, I discovered they were selling a cabbage at Sh40, four times more what we were selling at our farm.

I consulted my friend Karago on how he could assist me hire a truck and deliver the cabbages to the market. We approached Kiogora, a former army officer, who owns an old rickety truck he bought while still in the military.

Kiogora agreed to charge us Sh5,000. To sweeten his deal, he said we could pay him after the sale. With each cabbage going at Sh40, we saw ourselves collecting Sh80,000 from the booming Githurai market.

After deducting Sh5,000 for transport and Sh150 for lunch of three (though I had been told Sh50 gets one a king-size sumptuous meal in Githurai), I figured out I would end up with Sh74,850.

My research revealed that Saturday was the best time to invade Githurai market and walk away with real money. I was afraid of raiding the market alone but the heavily-built Kiogora assured me of security.

We landed at Githurai market at exactly 7am. The truck was full of cabbages, to the brim. We were ready to teach the brokers a lesson of their lifetime; that farmers did not need them, after all.

Kiogora’s moral support was quite encouraging. “The shamba is yours; the seedlings are yours. You work on the farm yourself; you know where the market is, so why should someone idling in the market ‘eat’ your sweat?” he posed.

I had also sought the services of Kimata, a childhood friend and a teacher at a local primary school.

Kimata has a booming voice and after promising to pay him Sh1,000, he agreed to be the one shouting for customers. I would collect the money and Kiogora, now that he would not be driving, would check out for those treacherous characters who would attempt monkey games with our cabbages.

“When in Githurai, you must have somebody to be on the lookout just in case. Remember we shall be having real cash,” I advised, determined to kill the brokerage system at the notorious market. I knew so much was at stake.

The first 30 minutes were busy. Market women with torn lessos strapped around their waists scrambled for our produce. On two occasions, catfights erupted as one of them stepped on another’s toes.

MONEY WAS FLOWING

Money was flowing into my hands. “Mbao, twenty! Mbao twenty!” Kimata shouted in his creative way of calling out Sh40 per cabbage.

Just as we were selling, a well-built man chewing a roasted maize approached me. He whispered. “Sell all the remaining cabbages at Sh30. We are paying cash then you can go your way instead of spending the whole day here,” he said.

I roared back. “Kwani wewe huoni tunauza 40. Nyinyi ndio wale wakora mnaharibu soko. (Can’t you see we are selling at Sh40. You are the crooks who spoil market prices).

His once polite voice turned louder and more combative. “Nani amepatia hawa ruhusa ya kuuza vitu hapa?” (Who has given these people permission to sell in this market?).

He posed the question to nobody. He was now more menacing. “You must sell to us at Sh30 or you go away!” he shouted forcing some market women to move back.

Kiogora heard the argument and came rushing through the crowd and pushed the man. “Kwani wewe ni nani hapa? Ati unasema nini? Hatuwauzii,” Kiogora barked. (So who are you here? We shall not sell to you).

A stone landed on Kiogora’s shoulder. The next one on me and the third one on Kimata. More stones started raining on us but we could tell it was not from the man we were arguing with.

Banana peelings also followed, some landing on us and others on the lorry. Kiogora sensed danger and got into the truck and reversed quickly. I followed him and I was just in time for the door as a haggard pack of youths went for my pockets. Kimata slithered in the crowd and disappeared.

The market was now in chaos. Stone missiles followed us as women scampered for safety into their makeshift stalls. Some buyers sneaked into the crowd without paying for cabbages.

Out of the market, we checked and saw we had sold about half. Determined, we parked the lorry on the roadside in Mwiki and tried to sell but no one was interested.

Kimata called and confirmed he was safe. “I feared those guys were planning to lynch us. You see the petrol pump was just nearby,” he offered.

It dawned on us that the market cartels would not let us do all the work, that is farm and sell. “Soko zina wenyewe,” Kiogora said (These markets have owners). I am now thinking of selling my produce online.

City food markets a brokers’ paradise

2 months ago 103 Views No comments

By LEOPOLD OBI

Passenger vehicles honked incessantly as they piled into Nairobi central business district, dropping the early birds.

It was about 5am at Wakulima Market and among the early birds were smallholder vegetable sellers, also known as mama mbogas.

The traders flocked to the famous fresh produce outlet for their day’s supplies. Soon, the market was full of the vegetable sellers, handcart pushers, brokers and suppliers of produce.

Trading had started some minutes earlier after one of the brokers rang a bell.

Seeds of Gold team had gone to the market last week with one of the tomato suppliers, who had brought a pick-up full of the produce.

However, one would have expected that once the bell is rang, as is the tradition, the buyers would flock the tomato supplier for the produce.

But that was not the case. Like the other suppliers, he left his produce with one of the brokers, who then sold it to the vegetable sellers as he watched.

“That is how business is done here, you have to go through the brokers, who also determine the prices, sell on your behalf, deduct their charges of sometimes up to Sh300 per crate and give you the rest. It is a brokers’ paradise here,” said the tomato supplier who we cannot name for safety reasons.

Seeds of Gold found out that the brokers’ system at Wakulima (Marikiti) is replicated in every fresh produce wholesale markets in Nairobi, including Gikomba, Muthurwa and City Park and in major towns across the country.

“These brokers are a mini-government. They dictate the cost of every commodity, when to sell, who to buy from and most importantly, they ‘own’ the customers.

In Nairobi, the county government officials have learned to co-exist with them,” said the supplier.

The system has ensured that the brokers reap the most in the value-chain, with farmers being the biggest losers.

Hii Marikiti iko na wenyewe,” Maurice Gikonyo, not his real name, told Seeds of Gold.

HEAVY WEIGHTS AND LIGHT WEIGHTS

The broker, who has been dealing in onions for six years, let us into the intricate world of the agents.

“You cannot come from the farm with your produce and sell here directly to customers, how will we earn our living?” he posed.

A market vendor sells her tomatoes.

A market vendor sells her tomatoes. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

He explained that every farmer or supplier has to surrender their produce to them and wait for whatever they will be given.

Sometimes, he told us, farm produce has to be transferred to a vehicle ‘known’ by the brokers to get access into the market.

“If I sell your onions, I earn at least Sh40 per net, and you will pay another Sh40 to the county government for every net sold, plus the offloading fee,” the broker said.

Therefore, from 200 nets of onions, which is the capacity of a medium-sized truck, a farmer parts with Sh16,000, half which goes to the county government and the rest to the broker.

By selling up to five lorries in a day, Gikonyo makes a tidy sum. Comparably, a farmer will take home Sh35,000 from a lorry of onions after subtracting expenses, that include the broker’s charges.

A 10kg net of onions currently goes for Sh500.

Not all brokers in the wholesale markets are equal. There are those with the financial war-chest who can buy farm produce at a dictated price in a single file then later sell it at double the amount.

And then there are the light-weights like Gikonyo.

Light weight or not, most of the brokers are not your average trader. Some boast of owning apartments on the outskirts of Nairobi and others drive sports utility vehicles, all courtesy of their fees.

Sasa wewe mkulima ukikuja hapa kuuza utauzia nani? Hauna hata customers,” (If you come here as a farmer, who are you going to sell to when you don’t even know the customers) quipped Gikonyo, matter of factly.

Onions packed and displayed for sale.

Onions packed and displayed for sale. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Jonathan Kiprotich, who grows potatoes and vegetables in Uasin Gishu County, and has been selling his produce at Wakulima market, has learned how to co-exist with the brokers.

“I specifically sell my produce through one broker,” he said, adding that the broker has enabled him sell his produce at good prices even when there is oversupply.

NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED

However, he noted that Wakulima market is not for the faint-hearted.

“Sometimes when there is a shortage of commodity, brokers come fighting for your produce. You have to be careful lest you lose your produce,” Kiprotich warned.

While the cartel has made many farmers sell their produce at the farm level, Kiprotich said he has stuck with market brokers.

“Most of the traders who come to buy from the farm use scales they have tampered with and further offer low prices. They can weigh your produce on the farm and get 1.5 tonnes yet it is 2 tonnes, and buy at half price because they have come for it.”

A kilo of melons at the farm can go for Sh15 and at the retail market Sh25.

“I took my green maize for sale at Wakulima market last August and regretted. The county government charged me Sh5,000 offloading fee, then I had to pay the broker Sh5,000 for selling my produce, the men who were offloading Sh2,000 and I ended up losing my maize to some brokers who forcefully took on credit and disappeared,” said Stephen Njuguna, a farmer in Eldoret, noting if the brokers were not there, he would only pay the county government the fees.

Confronted with the state of affairs at Wakulima market, city government authorities appeared hapless.

Anna Othoro, the Nairobi City County Executive for Trade, denied claims that farmers are being denied freedom to access retail markets in the city.

County Trade executive committee member Anna Othoro. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

She appeared to shift the blame to farmers, accusing them of creating the brokers themselves by allowing transporters to pick produce from their farms to take to the market.

“The problem started when farmers allowed transporters to pick produce from them and then sell to traders at the market who would then sell to retailers. As time went by, the traders turned into brokers as they insisted on taking the produce on consignment and would only pay the farmers once it is sold after deducting their commission,” said Othoro.

EMPLOY TECHNOLOGY USE

Haggai Oduori, an Assistant Research Fellow at the Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, Egerton University, pointed out that whereas there are government policies aimed at protecting farmers in the market against opportunistic brokers, there are weak enforcement mechanisms that have given middlemen a leeway to operate freely.

He noted that the brokers have taken advantage of the state of affairs to help organise produce marketing through aggregation, transportation and storage.

“It would be very difficult to eliminate brokers. They are very powerful because markets should be overseen by company franchises running like commodities exchange, which therefore allow farmers to buy shares,” he said, adding the brokerage companies will have to be registered, pay taxes, provide cold storage facilities to reduce the desperation farmers experience when they take perishable produce to the market and cartels hold them at ransom because they know that there is no place to keep it, and, therefore, be held accountable for malpractices while remaining private sector.

He observed that county governments have little experience in running private sector business and are political entities focused on provision of public goods.

“Providing public goods does not translate into efficient markets. The county governments need legislation that provides heavy penalties for malpractices. Farmers also need to be more active in seeking market power.”

Further, Oduori noted that use of technology, including online marketplaces, can cushion farmers against the ravenous brokers.

“Educating consumers to directly source produce from farms would eliminate brokers. Providing accurate and timely information on produce supply, demand and prices at no cost to everyone would reduce the advantages brokers enjoy.

The Government needs to improve on that.

****

County government market charges

  • Melon per tonne Sh1,200.
  • Red onions per bag (seven nets) Sh 550.
  • Onions per bag Sh70.
  • Onions per extended bag Sh100.
  • Sukuma wiki per tonne Sh1,200.
  • Tomatoes medium box Sh80.
  • Tomatoes small box Sh70.
  • English potatoes per bag Sh70.
  • A hawker with motor vehicle Sh7,000

Offloading of goods:

  • Below seven tonnes per trip Sh500.
  • Over seven tonnes per trip Sh1,000.
  • Truck offloading at market between Sh4,000- Sh10,000.

​A glimpse into Kenya's billion shillings wee hour-business oiling the economy

2 months ago 111 Views No comments

By Dominic Omondi | Updated Tue, March 21st 2017 at 06:57 GMT +3

Nairobi is a ghost town at 2.30am. Except for a distant howl of a hound or a croaky snore from a sleeping quarter, the country’s capital city is as silent as a graveyard at these wee hours. Because these are out-of-business hours, the almost Sh3 trillion city economy is fast asleep. The scene is the same when you drive through the Central Business District (CBD) — the commercial hub of this country with its well-lit streets, well-paved roads and monumental buildings with workstations for those who run the economy. There is not a soul, not even a sentry’s silhouette.

Once in a while on a side-walk, we spot scantily dressed women braving the morning chill as they carry on with humanity’s oldest profession. At exactly 3am, our car glides into the outskirts of the CBD; the chaotic and filthier part of the city centre. And, voila, there is a burst of life. We have literally walked into a totally different time zone. There are lots of movements — of people, cars and hand carts. Shops are open, hawkers are busy. We are at the Wakulima Market — Kenya’s largest wholesale fresh produce market. Popularly known as Marikiti, this is the first place most of the fresh produce you consume lands first. It has travelled overnight having left different farms across the country. Marikiti, which is joined at the hip with Muthurwa Market, is a bee-hive of commercial activities. There are trucks full of assorted farm produces — lemons from Uganda, bananas from Kisii County and cabbages from Naivasha.

These nightshift traders and workers labour through rain or no rain and, on a dawn when the temperatures dip to unkind levels. Irrespective of the odd hours, these trucks have already taken up almost all the available space outside of Wakulima House, making it difficult for us to find parking space. More space is taken up by hand carts or mkokoteni. Also milling around the trucks like a cackle of hyenas around a prey are porters described here as human carriers. One of them, Wilson Ritiria, tells us that often times they don’t sleep. And the few times that they do sleep they convert a pavement into their bedroom. They sleep with one eye open, looking out for the arrival of the trucks carrying supplies. It is evident that a pint of alcohol works miracles for these nocturnal men. Marikiti is an important thermostat for the prices you pay for most of the vegetables and fruits that you get from your mama mboga. Everyone of these — from the wholesale trader who left his farm in Kirinyaga at 2am, to the drunk porter who gobbles up pints of aclohol to stay awake, to the mama mbogas who will start arriving here at 4am, have trooped here this early in search of one thing: a decent profit margin. The vast majority of vulnerable workers in the informal economy are women, who also form a big chunk of the night-shift workers. More and more people have been losing their jobs since 2008 as a result of the financial and economic slowdown. Many of them have to look for work in the informal economy, in which earnings are generally low, accident rates high and social security seldom offered. The price you pay for a dozen tomatoes from mama mboga, for example, will pay all those in this chain of nocturnal business. Your price will include the wages to the farmers and all those who helped load the produce to the truck; transport from, for example, Loitoktok (and in times of scarcity, Uganda) to Muthurwa; trading fee to County Government, and payment to the porters who offload them from the trucks. A hand cart puller will be paid to transport them to where they will be sold to your mama mboga — it might be within Marikiti Market, which officially opens for trading at around 5am, or to other parts of the city. All these costs will be passed on to your mama mboga, and ultimately to you. In addition to these costs, your price will also include transport to and from the market, County Government fees for her business, electricity to her kibanda, and the water she uses to wash the grocery. But critical of all costs will be her margin — or what she will be left with to pay her rent and other bills in her home, feed her family, school her children and, desirably, clothe them. Profit margin The margin price for your dozen of tomatoes works out to about Sh36. But in order for her to get an even better margin, she has to arrive at the market even earlier. Here, more than anywhere else, the early bird catches the worm. And she has to come with ready cash. If, for some reason, she does not have ready cash, she will have to borrow. According to the Central Bank of Kenya Governor Dr Patrick Njoroge, she will most likely borrow the money from her mobile phone. And this will most likely be between 3am and 5am when, according to the Governor, a third of all mobile loans are taken up. By evening, she will have repaid this credit. “When we dig deeper into our statistics, we found that these loans are taken by the mama mboga who wakes up at this odd hours and takes Sh5,000 loan... sends the money to a wholesaler at Marikiti...sends some to a mkokoteni guy who knows where to drop off the goods,” explained Njoroge.

There are three banks in Kenya that have taken advantage of the high penetration of mobile money transfer services to offer loans through mobile phones to people like the mama mbogas — Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), which has partnered with Safaricom to launch KCB-M-Pesa; Commercial Bank of Africa’s (CBA’s) M-Shwari in partnership with Safaricom; and Equity Bank through its Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) Equitel. Loans running into billions of shillings are disbursed day-to-day through these three platforms. In the year ending December 2016, nine out of ten loans given by KCB were through the mobile phone. A total of 5.3 million loans worth Sh9.9 billion were disbursed through KCB M-Pesa. For Equity Bank, the number of loans disbursed through mobile phones reached 5.4 million in this financial year. These added up to a whoping Sh38.5 billion loan disbursed through Equitel. By the time of going to press, CBA had not released their financial results. However, as of December 2015, a total of Sh64 billion loans had been disbursed through M-Shwari since its inception.

At around 3.45am, matatus (mini-buses) roar to life. They stop at Wakulima, dropping off women with wide baskets on their backs. Some of these women head straight to the only M-Pesa agent operating at these crazy hours. The M-Pesa operator says he never goes to sleep. The number of people crowding at his shop is a testimony to the lucrativeness of the business at this non-traditional working hours. Most of the transactions here are done in cash. But traders have come to prefer mobile money transfer services such as M-Pesa for their safety, according to George Mburu, a tomato farmer and wholesale trader. We did not spot any police officer. So, it is not clear how secutiy issues are handled here. One of those who arrived at 4am with a kiondo on her back was Julie Mutuku. She has a grocery store in Nairobi’s Eastleigh area, which is 20 minutes drive from the CBD. She looks relaxed by the time we meet her. She has already done all her shopping, and now she is just killing time. She says she borrows up to a maximum of Sh5,000 from M-Shwari (she has not subscribed to the other services). On the other hand, Mama Gitau who arrived 45 minutes later was not so lucky. We met her at around 5am, cursing under her breath as she rummaged through a mound of carrots at Muthurwa. Mama Gitau has a hotel in Gikomba Market, and by 8am, her customers start trooping in, hungry after an overnight work at East Africa’s biggest open-air market for second-hand clothes. “It is my son’s school bus that did not come on time. It normally arrives at 4am, and while he goes to school I go to the market. So I had to take him to school myself,” says Mama Gitau as she scraps for carrots. The best carrots have gone with the early risers. These nightshift traders of fresh produce will start leaving Muthurwa grounds the same time the moon will start fading from the sky at around 7am, paving way for dealers in electronics, clothes, shoes and stationery. Most of them will have moved on to the sheds at Marikiti and will carry on with the trade until 1am. PRICE STABILITY For people like Mutuku and Mama Gitau, all their overnight efforts will amount to something if they get their profit margin. That is why they choose to be awake early to beat Nairobi’s early traffic. They don’t know, and probably don’t care, that they are among the people who ensure that food leaving the farms reach the forks. They do this using hand carts, popularly known as mkokoteni, a non mechanised wheel whose usefulness ended more than a century ago. “The maximum I can borrow is Sh5,000 from my mobile application, but the capital I need to run my business is about Sh50,000,” explained Mutuku. And when things get tough here, as it is currently, it gets tougher for the most vulnerable in our economy — the poor.

Under the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics’ basket of goods, food and non-alcoholic beverages takes up over a third of poor families’ expenditure. For poor households earning a minimum income of Sh12,000, over Sh4,000 goes into buying such things as potatoes, sukumawiki, cabbages and tomatoes. The price of these items has dramatically shot up, going by the latest figures from the national statistician. A kilogramme of cabbages, for example, has increased by 56 per cent from Sh48 in February, 2016 to Sh75 in February, 2017. Perhaps, that is why, as President Uhuru Kenyatta put it in his State of the Nation address, most wananchi cannot relate to the colourful economic indicators of GDP growing at an average of 5.5 per cent. “Wananchi want to know what these economic indicators mean to their lives. They cannot relate to how GDP impacts on the price of unga. Many of our citizens are wondering why their children are still struggling to find jobs. These concerns are legitimate and they are questions that every citizen is entitled to have answers from their government,” said Uhuru.

dakure@standardmedia.co.ke
Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/business/article/2001233461/a-glimpse-into-kenya-s-wee-hour-business-oiling-the-economy

Baileys Flat White Martini

5 months ago 262 Views No comments

INGREDIENTS:

  • 50ml Baileys Original Irish Cream
  • 25ml Espresso
  • 10ml Milk
  • Ice cubes
  • 0.9 units per serve

MIX IT UP

  1. Pop some ice cubes into a cocktail shaker and pour in the Baileys.
  2. Add the espresso and milk.
  3. Shake it up until everything is perfectly blended and the liquid is silky smooth.
  4. Strain into a cocktail glass, finish by gently placing three coffee beans on the top of the cocktail and enjoy.

Big Baobab

7 months ago 420 Views No comments

The World’s Only Pub That’s Inside a Tree is in Sunland Limpopo Province, South Africa. ‘Big Baobab’ is famous internationally for being the widest of its species in the world. Africa is symbolised by these magnificent trees. The Sunland Big Baobab is carbon dated to be well over 1 700 years old and has even made the front page of the Wall Street Journal!

When baobabs become a thousand years old, they begin to hollow inside. In the Big Baobab this has resulted in wonderful caverns and caves, where the world famous Baobab Tree Bar now amazes visitors.

While many people know of the baobab tree, not many people know that it has a fruit - and even less know that this fruit is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world.

In fact, every part of the baobab tree is valuable - the bark can be turned into rope and clothing, the seeds can be used to make cosmetic oils, the leaves are edible and can store water and the fruit pulp is extraordinarily rich in nutrients. Women in Africa have turned to the baobab fruit as a natural source of health and beauty for centuries.

Baobab is the only fruit in the world to dry naturally on the branch. This means the fruit simply needs to be harvested, deseeded and sieved to produce a 100% natural superfood powder that is exceptionally nutrient-dense - and super tasty!

Baobab powder is an extremely rich source of vitamin C. It is almost 50% fibre and has the highest antioxidant content of any fruit. The benefits of baobab include:

  • Energy release
  • Immune function
  • Digestive health
  • Healthy, younger-looking skin

Top health benefits of tomato

7 months ago 1442 Views No comments

To Control Cholestral levels

Tomatoes are very high in the anti-oxidant Lycopene and regularly including tomatoes in the diet would help to reduce cholesterol levels. Consumption can be in the form of a salad, juice, soup or just including them in everyday dishes.

tomato slices

Tomato – a superfood for Type 2 Diabetes

Tomatoes contains various nutrients such as iron and vitamins C, K and E. It has a very low GI (Glycemic index) and hence is an ideal food for people with Type 2 Diabetes. However it is better to eat it in the form of soups or in dishes rather than as a juice form since any fruit consumed in the form of a juice for diabetes may not be the best option.

Tomato for overall skincare

Just slice a piece of tomato and apply it on your face. Leave it on for twenty minutes and wash it off with a mild soap. If you aren’t particular about using soap, you could go the Ayurveda way and wash it with a natural scrub – Gram flour (Referred to as Besan in India). This is a great combination and gives skin an instant glow. The results are unending . Tomato is a remedy for almost all skin problems and can help you keep it healthy!

Tomato graphic2

For better vision

Lycopene is found in abundance in the blood and is a carotenoid. This anti-oxidant serves as a guard and prevents Age-related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) and thereby blindness due to ageing. They also protect eyesight and result in better vision due to large amounts of Lutein and Zeaxanthine present in this fruit.

Tomatoes as a remedy for urinary tract infections

A bowl of tomato soup with mint leaves will provide relief from urinary tract infections when consumed over a period of time. Alternatively, tomatoes can also be consumed along with ginger to have the same effect.

To reduce Hypertension

Tomatoes are also rich in potassium. This immediately translates to the fact that, they can reduce the chances of developing high blood pressure or hypertension. Due to the role of potassium as a vasodilator (that which reduces the tension in arteries and blood vessels), the stress on the heart is reduced due to better circulation and blood flow.

How to include tomatoes in your diet

I don’t think there could be another vegetable or fruit that is even half as versatile as tomatoes. Starting from salads to soups, tomatoes can be used in various ways and in almost every cuisine that we’ve heard of.

Tomato drink – Steps:

  1. Take two big tomatoes, chop them roughly and blend them with a few mint leaves, some cumin seeds and a dash of pepper.
  2. Add little water to dilute the juice.
  3. Chop and add a few leaves of coriander to this juice.

Tomato juice

Tomato Rasam (Tomato lentil soup) – Steps:

  1. Cook one tablespoon of Toor dal with little salt (lentil) till the dal is soft.
  2. Dry roast cumin and coriander seeds.
  3. Chop two medum sized tomatoes, add the roasted coriander and cumin seeds, add little pepper powder and puree them in a blender.
  4. In a pan, mix the cooked lentil, pureed tomatoes, add salt and brink it to boil.
  5. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and asafoetida to the boiling soup.
  6. Add water as required.
  7. After 5 – 6 minutes, add finely chopped coriander leaves. Switch off the stove.

Drink this hot or warm.

Tomato soup

Who should avoid tomatoes?

As far as tomatoes go, they do no harm if consumed in moderation. The below pointers are only for those who consume high quantities of tomatoes in any form.

  • Those who have GERD – High quantities of tomatoes when consumed leads to acid reflux. This is due to the presence of citric acid, malic acid and oxalic acid in tomatoes. This could then cause heartburn for those who already suffer from GERD.
  • Those with cardio vascular disease – If you already have high sodium content in your diet, eating tomatoes could be harmful to you.

27 Health and Nutrition Tips That Are Actually Evidence-Based

9 months ago 607 Views No comments

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to health and nutrition.People, even qualified experts, often seem to have the exact opposite opinions. However, despite all the disagreements, there are a few things that are well supported by research.

Here are 27 health and nutrition tips that are actually based on good science.

​Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken with Zucchini

10 months ago 452 Views No comments

Author: Alyssa the blogger behind The Recipe Critic

Crispy Permesan Garlic Chicken with Zuccini is a fantastic one pan meal that the family will love! The chicken is so tender and breaded with an amazing parmesan garlic crust and the zucchini is sautéed in a delicious buttery parmesan garlic!

crispyparmesangarlicchickenwithzucchini2

Zucchini is my favorite veggie. So I get pretty excited when it is actually in season even though I buy it all year long. My favorite way to eat zucchini is to sauté it until tender. I could eat it with every meal.

The awesome thing about this recipe is that I had all of the ingredients on hand. It was dinner time and I was staring in my pantry wondering what I should make. One of our favorite things is this Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken. My entire family devours it. We love the crispy flavorful crust on the chicken.

So I decided to put the two together and the result was delicious! A crispy delicious chicken with tender zucchini that is full of flavor and only require one pan.

The less dishes that I have to do the happier that I am.

Lets just take a second to discuss the amazing flavors in this meal. First of all anything with parmesan and garlic is already a winner in my book. But it coats the chicken perfectly and gives it such a crispy texture to the tender and juicy chicken. What I especially love is removing the chicken and sautéing the zucchini in a buttery garlic parmesan sauce. And the crispy sediments of the chicken also are incorporated in the sauce. IT IS AMAZING!

This is a simple 30 minute meal that is full of flavor and my favorite vegetable is the star of the dish! You guys are going to love this one.

crispyparmesangarlichickenwithzucchini4

How to make it.


Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken Breasts, sliced in half, or 4 thin chicken breasts
  • 8 Tablespoons butter, divided
  • ½ cup Italian Bread Crumbs
  • ½ cup plus 1 Tablespoon grated parmesan, divided
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat melt 2 Tablespoons butter. To make the chicken: Melt remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and flour. Dip the chicken in the butter and then coat in the bread crumb mixture and place in skillet.
  2. Cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes until the outside is crispy and the chicken is cooked throughout. Set aside on plate.
  3. Add 2 Tablespoons of butter back to the skillet and saute the minced garlic for a minute. Add the zucchini to the skillet and saute until tender. Salt and pepper to taste and add some 1 Tablespoon parmesan. Add the chicken back to the skillet and heat for a minute or so. Serve immediately.

​A HEALTHY JORNEY – BY A TYPICAL KENYAN MUM

10 months ago 379 Views No comments

This is the day I made the decision to eat healthy in addition to my cultivated habit of visiting the gym on a regular basis. I have decided it’s time to get that lithe body I have always wanted. Not because I am constantly bombarded of images of slim women in wonderful clothing and not because it has become a woman mantra to “loose the weight” but because I believe loosing those extra Kg’s leads to a more fulfilling life especially when everything is in balance.

I believe in the law of process. Trying to beat nature by subscribing to diets in order to lose weight in my opinion (and that is my opinion) technically does not work. I am the type who wants to entertain my sweet tooth once in a while. After all what is life for If you cannot enjoy its abundance? Like Oscar Wilde saids “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful.” However enjoyment of course comes with its consequences. So, one has to find a way to deal with the consequences. I have chosen the path to reducing portions and gyming. That’s my solution and this is my story.

So supper today by default was cheat day six fries, roast goat meat and cucumber and tomato salad. No guilt as I had a hard workout an hour before supper. So I have begun the journey. Maybe I should take a before and after picture or maybe not. I do not expect results overnight. This will be a long ride.

By the way loved the recipe of the cucumber tomato salad by Rachel Ray (see recipe below). Get the ingredients from Taimba.co.ke

Cucumber Tomato salad


  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, diced (KES 150/KG)
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced (KES 70/KG)
  • Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped (KES 20/Bunch)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped ( KES110/KG)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, a couple of splashes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions; Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Dress with vinegar and oil, salt and pepper, to your taste

Enjoy and Keep Healthy!


Peeling Down the Onion

10 months ago 502 Views No comments

Whether white, yellow, or red, onions are one of the world’s most popular and versatile vegetables, delivering an unmistakable, pungent heat – some more than others. They’re in demand for cold salads and hot soups, sliced in rings or solid disks on burgers, and chopped in relish. The delicious caramelization that takes place when onions are sautéed is due to their high sugar content. (Try them sautéed with bell peppers for a tasty fajita ingredient.) Spanish red onions are generally milder than white or yellow. The Vidalia variety is one of the sweetest.
The sharp fragrance and flavor emitted by onions is due to the sulfur compound allyl propyl disulphide; it’s allyl sulphide that brings you to tears when peeling one, serving the good purpose of washing the thin epithelial layer of the eyes. Holding peeled onions under cold water for several seconds before slicing minimizes this effect.

Brown Rice with Sauteed Spinach, Lemon and Garlic

11 months ago 345 Views No comments

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 1 cup quick-cooking brown or white rice
  2. 3 tablespoons Crisco® Pure Olive Oil
  3. 2 cups packed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  4. 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  5. 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
  6. 1 clove garlic, minced
  7. 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt

PREPARATION DIRECTIONS:

  1. COOK rice according to package directions.
  2. HEAT oil in large skillet. Add cooked rice, spinach, walnuts, lemon peel, garlic, rosemary and salt. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Serve warm.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION PER SERVING:

Serving Size (1/6 of recipe), Calories 180 (Calories from Fat 120), Total Fat 13g (Saturated Fat 1.5g, Trans Fat 0g), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 110mg, Total Carbohydrate 13g (Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 0g), Protein 3g; Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 6%, Vitamin C 4%, Calcium 2%, Iron 4%.

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

​Why Brown Rice?

11 months ago 485 Views No comments

As we become more aware of what is beneficial to our bodies, healthier options become more attractive. Why brown rice?

All About Changing Diapers

11 months ago 420 Views No comments

They say practice makes perfect. Three kids and five continuous years of diapering later, Changing a diaper has become easy and quick. I've changed diapers in the dark, in a car, and in all manner of places. Here is what I have learned about changing diapers

First, the Good News

  • It's a great time to get to know your infant. For a few uninterrupted minutes, it's just the two of you. .
  • You can make it fun fun for your baby. Consider it playtime. Talk about what you're doing. Tickle some piggies. Blow a raspberry on her belly. You can have fun too.
  • It's a wonderful way to monitor how much she's grown. You start with the tissue-size newborn diapers, and in no time you're wondering whether your toddler will be potty trained before she makes it to the newest King Henry VIII size.


Setting Up

Diapering can be as simple or elaborate as you want to make it.

Some tips:

Your diaper choice

The disposable diaper as one of modernity's Great Gifts to Mothers! Believe me it’s the next best thing after a car. They're convenient, fast, mess-free, easy (once you get the hang of those tabs). Of course, like most of the big questions about parenting, which kind of diaper to use boils down to personal choice. (personally I prefer huggies)

Your changing table

Being able to change your baby without stooping makes the job more comfortable and goes easy on your harassed back especially after childbirth and especially when the baby is tiny. Whether you use a multipurpose dresser with a changing area in top or an inexpensive table just make sure you are in a comfortable non stooping position. Another advantage of a changing table is that it provides a central place for storing dippers and wipes..

On the other hand, more than half the diaper changes I've done have taken place on a low ottoman in the sitting room that's been covered with a ratty old shuka.

Set up a diaper-changing station on each floor of your house. No sense in making a chore harder by climbing stairs to make diaper changes

Many changing tables come with a safety belt, though they can't keep a wriggling baby in place and they provide a false sense of security. Better keep one hand on your baby at all times (even atop a low ottoman).

Your diaper trash bin

I like my old-fashioned plastic bin. You can roll up a dirty diaper and sealed it with its own tabs. Much less messy than just tossing it.

Time to Change

There's really no right or wrong way to change a diaper, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

Newborns
Until your baby's umbilical-cord stump drops off, use the kind that has a notch for the belly-button area so you don't have to awkwardly fold down the top to keep the area dry for healing.

Boys
To avoid being sprayed, don't leave a boy exposed for too long while you're transitioning from a dirty diaper to a clean one. Draping a cloth diaper over his penis will offer protection.

Girls
Wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from her bottom to her vagina. Don't clean the white gunk from her labia; it's a normal protective discharge that's supposed to be there.

Stoolgazing

It may sound, well, anal, but you can tell a lot about a baby by examining her output:

What she's eating

For the first few days, newborn stool is a blackish-green, gummy substance called meconium, made up of amniotic-fluid refuse. After that, what comes out pretty much reflects what goes in. A breastfed baby's stool is a mustardy yellow and runny; it has little odor. A formula-fed baby's stool is deeper-hued and strong-smelling. When your baby begins pureed foods, don't be surprised to see a rainbow of poops that reflect her last lunch. They may even turn blackish if she's on an iron supplement. And when she graduates from baby food to solids, the rapid transit time through her gut means that sometimes whole bits of undigested carrots or corn show up -- again, surprising to see, but not a problem.

Breastfeeding moms often worry about whether their baby is getting enough milk, since they can't visually monitor intake. Rest assured that if your infant is wetting more than six to eight diapers a day and the urine isn't dark in color and strong-smelling, she's probably consuming plenty. If you're concerned about dehydration, you can tell when a super-absorbent diaper is wet by looking for a characteristic doughy lumpiness.

Blood or mucus in your baby's stool, or a foul odor, warrants a visit to your pediatrician. Watery BMs may indicate diarrhea. All babies, breast- and bottle-fed, have stool that's loose and unformed in the first months. With diarrhea, stools are liquidy and frequent and may exit explosively.

A baby can have a bowel movement after every feeding or not for a week or more. Diet has an impact too. A baby under 6 weeks old who's on formula might poop once a day, but a breastfed infant the same age may go three times or more, even after every feeding. So how do you know when to be concerned? Tell your doctor if your infant hasn't pooped for a week; don't resort to laxatives, suppositories, or enemas without her direction.True constipation often becomes a problem during potty training. A child who's pressed to train before he's ready might decide to withhold his bowel movements as a way of exerting control. The more he holds it in, the more impacted the stool becomes, making it painful to get rid of. So don’t push potty training after all now that you are a diaper changing expert why let the knowledge go to waste?

Baobab Oil

11 months ago 421 Views No comments

Baobab oil is obtained from the seeds of Adansonia tree. This tree is one of the most characteristic trees of Africa, and it is often called the upside down tree because it looks as though it is growing roots upwards. The oil is quite viscous, with a rich, silky feel and a mild aroma. Baobab oil is an excellent moisturizer and ideal for numerous cosmetic applications. It is one of the few oils which is added in its raw state in cosmetic products. Baobab oil is one of the most prominent oils from Africa.

These trees have a thick trunk which is usually thickest in the middle. Of all the species, the Adansonia grandidieri trees look the most picturesque. These trees store water in their trunks and are able to survive years of drought. They also live upto thousands of years.
The seeds of this tree are rich in soil. They have been used traditionally in Africa to extract cooking oil. Its fruit resembles coconuts, but the taste is somewhat tart.These fruits are high in many nutrients, and as such are of great nutritional importance.

The oil is obtained from the seeds using cold pressed method, in most cases. This is the best in terms of conserving nutrients and preventing contamination of oil with unwanted chemicals. However, baobab oil may not be edible because of the presence of certain toxic compounds.

Properties

These are the healing therapeutic properties of baobab oil.

  • Emollient – It is an excellent moisturizer for the skin.
  • Insulator – It protects the skin from excessive high and low temperatures.
  • Rejuvenator – It promotes rejuvenation of skin cells.
  • Non-siccative – It does not dry for a long time.
  • Cicatrizant – promote wound healing.
  • Antioxidant – It prevents the skin from free radical damage.
  • Anti-Inflammatory – because of the presence of omega fatty acids in it.

Color, Taste and Aroma
The oil has deep golden yellow color, earthy aroma and a nutty taste.

Health Benefits

The biggest use of baobab oil is as a cosmetic agent. One can use it directly on the skin, or combine it with other natural ingredients, like essential oils to impart certain benefits.

1. As a Massage Oil
Baobab oil has a really different texture that most other oils. One can use it as massage oil to get silky, smooth skin. The massage is easily facilitated because of this oil. Massage with this oil is good for dry, damaged skin. It helps the skin to restructure and heal itself. This way, it can help to heal dry skin patches. It is quickly absorbed into the skin. However, it does not leave the skin completely dry because of its non-siccative property.

2. Home Remedy for Stretch Marks
Baobab oil is a nice home remedy for stretch marks. Regular application on area affected by stretch marks reduces the appearance and depth of these marks. It is possible that the oil stimulates collagen and elastin synthesis under the skin to heal the stretch marks. Similarly, it can be used to heal wound scars, like post surgical scars.

3. As a Daily Moisturizing Lotion
After the shower, apply a small amount of baobab oil on the skin. This helps to lock in the moisture. The oil is readily absorbed, thus leaving a non greasy feeling within a few minutes. Alternatively, one can add it to a moisturizing lotion to increase its effectiveness.

4. Chapped Lips
Baobab oil is naturally great for chapped lips. Just a small amount of oil applied to the lips gets rid of the chapped lips condition.

Dealing With Dipers. Typical Kenyan Mother's View

1 years ago 549 Views No comments

What dipers do you prefer? I prefer huggies. They hugged my children and made my work easier. Read more to see why huggies.

​Grilled Tomatoes Recipe

1 years ago 321 Views No comments

How to grill tasty tomatoes. Use this simple recipe to get your children to eat vegetables!.

Natural Raw Honey Skin Treatment

1 years ago 381 Views No comments

Honey can help moisturize, fight aging, and fight bacteria. Plus, it’s loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, and healing compounds. Here are eleven ways to treat skin using honey. Get raw honey from Taimba.co.ke, which hasn't been heat-treated or pasteurized; it contains more active phytonutrient antioxidants and enzymes for enhanced benefits. Read more to learn how to use honey.

How To Restock For The Week

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This blog gives insights. tips, and tricks on how to be effective in your grocery shopping and avoid impulse buying.

What About Weaning and Feeding - Typical Kenyan Mother View

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How do you determine when your baby is ready for weaning? Most mothers wait for the traditional doctor advised six months to start weaning the baby and most Kenyan mothers start with uji or pumpkin and potatoes before advancing to other types of vegetables. At this stage mothers get a lot of advice but we struggle with what and how to offer the food to the baby.

My first born was an experience. Being a mother of three now I look back and wonder what all the fuss about weaning was. My daughter was the typical baby. By month 6 she was reaching out and crying for whatever she found you eating. So when we reached the six months deadline, I was excited to start weaning. Typical of a first time mother, I boiled the utensils to make sure they were germ free. The uji that had been brought specifically for my daughter by my mother-in-law was cooked carefully with just the right amount of milk and no sugar. This is what my daughter took the first time and she loved it despite no sugar. I have since concluded what children like and dislike is what we feed them from an early age.

Anyway back to my story. The uji was introduced from the first day. Then came a mixture of boiled potatoes, carrots, bananas, pumpkin, and spinach – no salt. Ordinarily one should introduce one produce at a time however I went all in due to excitement. My daughter took it in well and we have never looked back.

To start with I practices a lot of the traditional weaning however as months progressed I also introduced baby led weaning. Baby-lead weaning is a relaxed and unstructured approach based on a baby being offered solid foods for him/her to feed themselves, with no help from an adult. The foods would usually be soft pieces held in the hand, rather than being offered on a spoon. Essentially, manageable chunks of different family foods are put onto baby’s plate or a tray, baby can then feed herself how and what she wants.

By eleven months my daughter was eating ugali and spinach and enjoying it thoroughly. I had stopped blending her food by nine months and would just mash it leaving some small pieces not completely mushed so she could learn to chew. One day, my husband, who told me on the day my daughter came home for the first time that he had raised many children (I am yet to verify that), told me to set my daughter down and give her a plate. I was aghast. What! down??? Like on the floor? Well I am a liberal mom so once the floor was cleaned thoroughly with disinfectant and a table mat placed carefully where my daughter would sit, I set her plate with some rice and soup stew with a little vegetable and let her dig in. She loved it! You could see her enjoying the texture of the food as she picked it up felt it and then finally explored taking the food to where she knew her mouth was.

My third and last born is now one year, we occasionally sit him on a dining table chair or on the floor and put a plate of bread dipped in milk on his plate or chapatti cut in small pieces or spinach and let him explore picking up the food and taking it to his mouth. He mostly eats what we eat which means we do eat some salt-less (Read: tasteless) food but we are healthier for it.

In my experience as a mother you need to make food and meal times interesting for the child to enjoy feeding.

7 ways to improve feeding times;

  1. Set a standard place for the child to always know when I sit here its meal time
  2. Make a variety of food. Today it may be Matoke, tomorrow it may be minced meat and rice, next beans and rice, next macaroni and chicken soup with tiny pieces of chicken (for the 11months and older). Do not let them get bored eating the same food
  3. Eat at the same time with the child/children. This helps him focus on eating the food as opposed to getting distracted. It also helps you bond with your child.
  4. Let him occasionally feed himself/herself for the 11 months and older babies. From 8 months you can give them a slice of seedless orange to eat (they generally suckle the orange at month 8)
  5. Do not mind the mess. Children should be children. Let them explore. It will get messy but that’s how they learn. By age 1 my children know to sit at the table and eat. When they start fussing when they are full.
  6. I generally keep the leftover food for them to eat in the next few hours if they are unable to finish. But at no time do they leave the table to go play then come back to eat. Once you leave the table its assumed you are full and you take your plate to the kitchen (for the toddlers and over)
  7. Never give them too much food. Children do not eat large amounts as we adults. Put a little on their plate and let them ask for more. If they are hungry they will request for more if not they will at least finish the little you put on their plate

This was my experience what was or is yours?

THE SPARKLING WINE COCKTAILS

1 years ago 355 Views No comments

Sparkling wine is wonderful to drink on its own, but it can be even more enjoyable as the main ingredient in a cocktail. The most important thing to remember when making a cocktail with sparkling wine as the base is that the key ingredient is good quality wine. Using something cheap simply because you think it’s going to get mixed with other flavors is one of the quickest ways to not only make the drink taste bad, but also develop one nasty hangover.


While most people know how to make the mimosa (if you don’t, see this guide) there are four other sparkling wine-based cocktails every self-respecting host should know how to make. These are some of the most storied and famous sparkling wine based cocktails out there, so it’s high time you learned how to make them! Plus, adding these four drinks to your tool belt will prevent you from simply adding OJ to a glass of Champagne any time someone wants a cocktail with bubbles, you amateur.


THE CHAMPAGNE COCKTAIL

Champagne Cocktail Finished

Considered the classic among these four drinks — it’s the only drink here that actually gets to call itself the Champagne Cocktail — this sparkling wine cocktail traces its roots all the way back to 1862, where it seems to have first been written down in theBon Vivant’s Companion. The classic version allows the sparkling wine to shine, which is why choosing a high quality one is important, and features a nice balance of bitter and sweet.

Ingredients:
1 Sugar Cube
Angostura Bitters
Chilled Sparkling Wine
Lemon Twist

Drop the sugar cube into a Champagne glass and soak it with two to three dashes of Angostura Bitters. After the sugar has slightly dissolved, fill the glass with wine and top with the lemon twist.

THE BLACK VELVET

Black Velvet

Around the same time the Champagne Cocktail was invented, a bartender at The Brooks Club in London invented this sparkling wine and Stout combo. Said to have been originally created to mourn the death of Prince Albert, the drink creates a band of golden wine topped with one of dark beer that is similar to the colors worn by mourners. The drink became popular in England, and now Guinness is pretty much the only stout used to make it.

Ingredients:
Guinness
Sparkling Wine

Fill a Champagne flute halfway with sparkling wine, and top with Guinness.

THE FRENCH 75

French 75
Invented in 1915 at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, which was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway, the bar is also the birthplace of classic cocktails such as the Bloody Mary and the Side Car. The drink is a mix of gin, lemon juice, sparkling wine and sugar. It’s insanely refreshing.

Ingredients:
1 Ounce Gin
½ Ounce Lemon Juice
1 spoonful of Powdered Sugar
Chilled Sparkling Wine
Lemon Twist

Fill a shaker with ice and add the gin, lemon juice and powdered sugar. Shake vigorously. When chilled, strain into a champagne glass and top with wine. Add the lemon twist.

THE BELLINI

Bellini

It’s unclear when exactly the Bellini was invented (Italians aren’t the best at keeping records!) but most think it occurred sometime in the 1930s or ’40s at Harry’s Bar in Venice (no relation to Harry’s New York in Paris) by Giuseppe Cipriani, who named the drink after his favorite artist. At this point, this drink has become just as ubiquitous as the mimosa, found on bottomless brunch menus everywhere, but it’s often made way too sweet, using peach syrup instead of fresh purée, which was never how the drink was intended to be consumed. If made correctly, this is a refreshing and dry cocktail that allows the true flavors of peach to shine through.

Ingredients:
3 Ounces Sparkling Wine
2 Ounces Peach Puree (simply peel and slice a peach and purée in blender or mash with fork — don’t forget to remove the pit!)

Place the peach purée in the bottom of a Champagne glass and top with the wine. Stir and serve.

Adapted from: http://vinepair.com/wine-blog/sparkling-wine-cockt...

About Sparkling Wine

1 years ago 400 Views No comments

We’ve all tasted sparkling wine, at the very least around the holidays or when celebrating a special occasion, yet many of us have no idea what the difference is between wines such as Champagne, Cava and Prosecco—or how they even get the bubbles into the wine in the first place. Let us explain.

Méthode Champenoise (Champagne method) or Metodo Italiano, which is also known as the Charmat-Martinotti method.

The myth we like best is the story of Monk Dom Perignon. As the story goes, in the 1600s the monk was making white wine in the Champagne region of France. He decided to bottle the wine he had fermented earlier than usual because, when he checked the fermentation tanks, it seemed to him that the yeast had finished converting all the sugar to alcohol. In fact, the temperature in the Champagne region had become so cold that the yeast in the tanks had simply gone to sleep, even though they weren’t done eating all the sugar. When the spring came and the wine in the bottles began to warm, the yeast woke up and hurriedly began eating all of the leftover sugar. As they ate the sugar, the carbon dioxide they were creating had no place to escape, as it would in a large fermentation tanks, so instead the CO2 was absorbed by the wine, thereby carbonating it. When Dom Perignon went to check on his wine he encountered corks popping all around him; he tasted the wine and loved the results, thus the birth of Champagne. Since the discovery of the Champagne method, which is often called the traditional method, Champagne has exploded across the world, quickly becoming the most well-known and highly regarded sparkler.

is an excellent way to explain the Champagne method. Using this method, Perignon “discovered” that a secondary fermentation in the bottle could be used to create the bubbles we associate with a sparkling wine.

Since the discovery of the Champagne method, which is often called the traditional method, Champagne has exploded across the world, quickly becoming the most well-known and highly regarded sparkler. It is for this reason that most other wine regions adopted the method as the way to make sparkling wine, including Spanish Cava. So if the majority of sparkling wine is made using the Champagne method, why don’t we call all sparkling wine Champagne?

As you might expect, the French are pretty territorial over the name, allowing only sparkling wine that is actually made in the Champagne region of France to be called Champagne. Just as Kleenex wouldn’t like it if a rival brand referred to their tissue as a Kleenex, the French hate it when wine that is not from Champagne is called Champagne. This why we had the creation of the name Cava to refer to sparkling wines from Spain. For a long time the Spanish referred to their products as Champagne, knowing that consumers’ familiarity with the name as a quality sparkling wine would benefit their sales, but the French cried foul, and lobbied the EU to forbid any other country from using the name Champagne unless it comes from that region in France.

Sparkling wine has four levels of sweetness. The level of sweetness of the wine will be printed directly on the bottle. These levels are:

  1. Extra-Brut: This is the driest kind of sparkling wine you can buy. In this type of sparkler, the yeast has eaten absolutely all of the sugar, so there is a complete absence of it in the wine.
  2. Brut: This is the most popular type of sparkling wine. The wine is dry, but there is just a hint of sweetness. In this sparkler, the winemaker stopped the fermentation process just before the yeast ate all of the sugar, leaving a tiny amount behind in the wine. Champagne is the most common sparkler to be labeled Brut.
  3. Extra Dry: This type of sparkler is dry, but not as dry as Brut or Extra-Brut, meaning it retains a slight sweetness. It’s not sugary sweet, although they are noticeably sweeter than Brut wines. Prosecco is most often Extra Dry.
  4. Demi-sec: This is a sweet sparkling wine. One would usually drink Demi-sec with desert, as there is a prevalent amount of noticeable sugar.

Adapted from VinePair (Vinepair.com)

How to Treat Constipation Naturally

1 years ago 511 Views No comments

Constipation is a condition where there is difficulty in emptying the bowels; it’s normally associated with hardened feces. Causes of constipation include low fiber diets, hormonal disorders, medication, bad bowel movements, lack of regular exercise, insufficient water, advanced age and high levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy can lead to constipation.

Some symptoms of constipation include hard or small stools, infrequent bowel movements, lower abdominal pain, bloating, swelling and discomfort, anal fissures caused by hard stool, diseases of the central nervous system like multiple sclerosis and stroke, and bowel movement strain.

Part of treating constipation involves altering your diet plan to incorporate more foods with high fiber content. Dieticians normally recommend 30g of fiber every day. Good food sources of fiber include:

Beans

They have a resistant fiber-like starch which helps improve transit time in the colon, acts as a mild laxative and assist balance bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract.

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Broccoli (Taimba Price KES 260/kg)

A ½ cup of cooked broccoli has 2.8 grams of fiber that aids with constipation, and it’s also full of vitamin C

.fresh brocoli

Carrots (Taimba Price KES 100/kg)

Carrots are high in fiber. To improve your stool movement, incorporate raw carrots into your diet. Cooked carrots could lead to constipation though

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Pineapple (Taimba Price KES 100/kg)

Pineapple juice is a good way to regulate your digestive system and can help you avoid constipation in the first place.

Whole grain bread

Are full of fiber which is not only good for your bowel movement but also helps with your heart.

Berries (Taimba Price Strawberries KES 240/kg)

Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries) are tasty and easy to eat. Substitute your normal snack with berries as they are full of fiber necessary for relieving constipation.

Sweet Potato (Taimba Price KES 160/kg)

The potato skin contains most of the fiber in potatoes. Leave the skin on when preparing potatoes. One medium baked sweet potato with skin has 3.8g of fiber which helps prevent constipation.

Other foods that have fiber and can help with your constipation problem include air popped popcorn, brown rice, pears, apples, spinach, green beans, yoghurt and legumes. Most people have suffered from constipation at one point in life and the symptoms have inconvenienced our daily routine or spoiled our plans. To prevent constipation, increase fiber intake in your diet plan. Besides eating foods with dietary fiber, and regular exercise, drinking lots of water is an essential factor in relieving constipation, water helps stool move easily through the colon.

Content By Higher Image

Photography by Filmic

​ Beet Salad Recipe

1 years ago 389 Views No comments

Roasted beets are known to be sweet and delightful. With very earthy and aromatic essence beets are very great for a salad. Here is how you can prepare beet salad.

Ingredients

  • 6 Medium beets
  • ¼ Cup of olive oil
  • ½ Tablespoon of mustard
  • 3 tablespoons of vinegar
  • ½ Teaspoon of honey
  • 1 Stalk of celery finely chopped
  • ½ Teaspoon of salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 large Shallot finely chopped
  • Pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at about 400 degrees.
  2. Divide the beets in between 2 foil pieces and crimp them into packets. Roast the beets until they are tender enough about 60 minutes. Then unwrap the beets and let them cool.
  3. Whisk the olive oil, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl to make the dressing.
  4. After the beets cool, peel off the skins and cut into cubes. Place in a bowl and add the shallot, celery and the dressing. Toss well to coat and serve immediately or chilled.Fullscreen capture 4192016 40159 PM.bmp

Carrot Soup With Ginger Recipe

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he most nourishing foods at times are those that are simple and quite easy to make. This carrot soup with ginger is just that.

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 Pound carrot finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 Yellow onion finely chopped
  • 2 Teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 Cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon of finely chopped chives

Method

  • Place a cooking pot on medium heat and melt the butter.
  • Add the onions and the garlic. Cook until tender for about 6 minutes or so.

  • sir in the ginger, carrots and the vegetable stock. Heat until it boils. Reduce the heat and let it simmer. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until its tender enough.


  • In small batches pour the soup into a blender and carefully puree until it’s smooth.
  • Add water or vegetable stock if needed to achieve desired thinness.If necessary you can reheat the soup then stir in the lemon and use the chives as garnish. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

​Parental influence on children’s food preferences and energy intake

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New research suggests that the food preferences of young children could be related to their risk of becoming obese later in life. Parents and caregivers can influence young children’s food preferences, and here we discuss strategies that may be helpful and those which may be counterproductive.

Is Organic Food Expensive?

1 years ago 545 Views No comments

“Organic food is expensive” is one of the excuses that most people give when asked why they don’t eat organic food. But how much do you value your life? How much is your health worth to you? While researching about this article, I read about a farmer who always responded to people who always complained about the high price of organic foods by asking them “Have you priced cancer lately?”

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It’s true that certified organic food and products are normally more expensive than conventional food. This can be attributed to the fact that organic food is limited in supply compared to its demand, the cost of production of organic foods are usually higher reason being that there is a greater labor input per unit of output and greater diversity of enterprises meaning economies of scale is not achievable. Also post harvesting handling of relatively small amounts of organic foods leads to higher costs incurred and organic food grows more slowly.expe3

Due to the fact that organic food is grown without any pesticides and chemicals, rather they use compost manure and natural ways to deal with pests. This limits your exposure to chemicals and pesticides if you have health issues. Organic foods are more nutritious and have higher amounts of antioxidants on average than conventionally grown food. No chemicals are used to preserve organic foods. All in all organic foods offer food safety benefits to the body.

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Conventional food is more affordable due to the fact that it grows faster because of the chemicals and fertilizers used in the growth process. But would you rather eat food grown with a lot of chemicals and pesticides and suffer from diseases that you could have avoided to begin with? Cheaper is not always better. The cost of health insurance, treatment and medication has increased and most people are unable to afford it. However, consumption of organic vegetables and fruits can lower the risk of you getting diseases as well as help contain some of the diseases you may have.

In the long term, organic food is cheaper. Eating organic food is paramount to your health and protecting the environment. As much as you spend now on organic products, you will reap immense health and beauty benefit. Eating organic foods can improve your health in the long run and cut back on the cost of your hospital bills and improve on your productivity. Take a chance on organic and see the benefits for yourself.

Content by Higher Image

Photography by Filmic

Health benefits of Organic coconut Oil

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Coconut oil is one of the healthiest beneficial oils to the human body. Some of the types of coconut oil that our vendors sell at the market are compressed coconut oil, virgin coconut oil and cooking coconut oil. Organic coconut oil has shown immense positive health results when consumed or used on the skin, some of those health benefits include:

Improve the blood cholesterol level in the body which reduces the risk of suffering from a heart disease over long term. It also reduces the occurrence of injury or harm to the arteries which helps prevent atherosclerosis.

Organic coconut oil is quite important during weight loss. Coconut oil has short and medium-chain fatty acids that reduce your hunger hence help you eat less and loose excess weight. It increases the metabolic rate in the body by reducing the amount of work on the pancreas which allows more energy to burn allowing overweight people to lose weight. Coconut oil is easy to digest and assists in the reduction of abdominal obesity in women as well as help to maintain a healthy functioning of thyroid and endocrine system.

It strengthens the body’s immune system because of the lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid found in coconut oil which helps in antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. Approximately fifty per cent of fatty acid found in coconut oil is the 12-carbon lauric acid. When enzymatically digested, coconut oil forms a monoglyceride known as monolaurin. Lauric acid and monolaurin together can kill harmful pathogens such as fungi, viruses and bacteria that cause diseases like herpes, influenza and even HIV. Bacteria like helicobacter pylori which cause stomach ulcers can be fought using coconut oil.

Coconut oil is good for the skin, especially dry skin because it can improve the moisture and lipid content in the skin. It is good as massage oil and has no side effects to the skin. It delays wrinkling and sagging of skin which come with aging due to its antioxidants properties. Skin diseases like dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections can be remedied with coconut oil.

Coconut oil protects against hair damage and helps in the healthy growth of hair and giving it a shiny glow. It a good hair conditioner and prevents the loss of protein which could potentially cause unhealthy qualities in one’s hair.

Finally people who live around coastal towns where there is availability of organic coconut oil and they use it for cooking, on their skin or consume it, are generally considered healthier. These people have reduced heart diseases and they rarely suffer from obesity.

Content by Higher Image

Photography By Filmic

​RECIPE- TIERRA MORINGA MANGO MADNESS SMOOTHIE

1 years ago 505 Views No comments

Moringa Mango Madness Smoothie. For a non dairy, caffeine free, natural, all day energy option, simply blend:

1 Frozen Banana (peeled)
1 cup frozen Mango flesh
1 tbsp Tierra Moringa powder
½ cup chilled coconut water
½ cup chilled soy or almond milk
If using fresh fruits add 2-3 cubes of ice instead.

Serves 1

WARNING: Please consult your physician if you are pregnant or nursing, taking prescription drugs, or are Under 18.

Click here to buy Moringa

The Health Benefits of Broccoli

1 years ago 638 Views No comments

fresh brocoli

Broccoli is a vegetable that’s known for its array of nutritional values and health benefits. Cancer prevention, immune system boost, effective remedy for anemia, relief from stomach disorders and low blood pressure are some of the health issues that broccoli can help with. Broccoli can be eaten raw, steamed or shallow fried but eating raw has more nutritional value.

Health benefits of broccoli include:

Detoxification process

Planning on natural ways to detox? Broccoli should be on your diet. Vitamin C, sulphur and certain amino acids present in broccoli are very good at detoxification. Itches, rashes, gout, arthritis, skin diseases like eczema are some of the problems related to having toxins in your body. Broccoli assists in the removal of free radicals and toxins like uric acid from the body which purifies the blood, taking care of any problems you may face related to toxins.

brocoli

Skin Care

For healthy, glowing and radiant skin, consume a lot of broccoli. A lot of exposure to the sun has negative effects on your skin. Glucoraphanin is one of the phytonutrients present in good amounts in broccoli; it’s been linked to reversing the negative effects to sun exposure. Beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, vitamin A, vitamin K, omega 3 fatty acids adds glamor to the skin, and folic acids are all present in Broccoli for keeping your skin glowing and young, as well as vitamin E which gives shine to the skin and hair while reviving skin tissue.

Strengthen your Immune systems

Broccoli has antioxidants like beta-carotene, minerals and vitamins, in particular copper, zinc and phosphorus. These help a great deal in boosting the immune system and protecting you from infections.

Healthy bones

Elderly people, children, pregnant women and lactating mothers are prone to weakening bones and teeth and calcium deficiencies. Broccoli is super rich in calcium and other nutrients like magnesium and zinc which are vital for your bone health.

Heart Health

Potassium available in broccoli acts as a vasodilator that can enhance your blood flow and oxygenation of important organs by relaxing tension and stress of veins and blood vessels. It has higher fiber content as well as good levels of beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins which lessen bad cholesterol and assists the proper function of the heart by regulating blood pressure.

Stomach disorders

Broccoli is high in fiber which is responsible for curing constipation. Fiber contributes to healthy bowel movements by retaining water and adding to the bulkiness of food. Magnesium and vitamins in broccoli cure acidity and aid in proper digestion and absorption of nutrients from food and soothe the stomach by reducing inflammation.fresh brocoli