The new normal

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How the past and present influence my food choices.


We have grown up doing things in a certain way, based on what we have been exposed to by our environment and the habits we have formed along the way. Different cultures have different food cuisines, which tend to be mainly influenced by what’s readily available in their environment. Growing up in Kenya, fresh food was readily available. My parents worked full-time jobs on weekdays and in the evenings and weekends, worked on their small farms. As a family, we were required to help out on the farms as well. We had fresh vegetables all year round and once or twice a year harvested beans, corn, aWe nd potatoes. My mom always insisted on us eating a balanced diet, based on the dietary guidelines at the time.


We did not grow all the food we ate as we occasionally went to the farmer’s market. Farmers supplied food to the markets on a daily basis all year round. Going to the farmer’s market was always an event. My parents had taught us that there was no fixed price on any food item and we would haggle on the price. We were also showered with free samples. My favorite free sample was little sweet bananas. They were so delicious! I knew I was officially a grown up when my mom finally allowed me to go to the farmers market by myself, armed with a shopping list and some cash. My goal was to haggle my way to save money and maybe get some pocket money out of it. Through my limited experience in farming, I appreciated the value of fresh food, and my goal was to find the freshest food at the lowest price.

Needless to say, my parents always involved us in the healthy food process. We started helping in food prep at an early age. We thought it was fun and always wanted to help. That is how my love of experimenting with different food ingredients was nurtured. Looking back, veggies, corn, beans, and potatoes were readily available and were a huge part of my diet growing up.


My normal was challenged when I moved to the United States and learned very fast that there was a restaurant at almost every street corner. The concept of fast food was introduced to me. It was fast service, and I didn’t need to leave my car to order food. My taste buds welcomed the cold sweet thick sugar loaded milkshakes. My sweet tooth could not have been happier. I gradually found a new normal. I found it convenient to eat out. It did not take long to discover that there was also readily available food in a box or a can. My life of convenience without regard to quality became my new normal, and eventually, I noticed I did not feel as healthy as I once did.


This brought me to paying attention to what I ate. I went back to the normal I once knew and starting eating home cooked meals instead of fast food. I made healthier food choices. I started experimenting with different ingredients, but I was still drawn to the same cuisines I grew up enjoying. Most of what I ate was carb loaded and with several years on a high carb diet, my body started to feel the impact. I often was sluggish and tired. When I went to the doctor, my tests would come back normal but I still felt something was not right.


I needed to reset my healthy eating habits and I went back to the habits my parents instilled in me growing up. That was what was normal for me, but I later realized I needed to create new healthy habits. It’s not until I researched the Ketogenic diet when I realized I was not eating a balanced diet. My diet weighed heavily on the carbohydrate side, and very lightly on the fats side. If you can imagine a seesaw, mine was stuck! Carbs at the bottom side and fats on top.


When I started on the Keto diet, I had a short-term goal to lose weight and then go back to my old eating habits. I did not take long to decide this could be a lifestyle change. It became my new normal, due to the health benefits. I felt energetic, had no food cravings, was mentally focused, and seasonal allergies were gone.

One of my goals is to instill these new habits to my kids. Not necessary getting them on the keto diet but teach them to create healthy habits. Teaching them to cook, eat the right food portions (carbs, protein, and fats) and not be afraid to create their new normal.

How has your past influenced your food choices?

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