‘Junk food costs more than healthy food’

Vegetarian advocates healthy living

KENEUOE NKUATSANA

MASERU – Local businessman, Fallang Khechane, has said being a vegetarian and living a healthy lifestyle not only prolongs life but also maintains an active lifestyle with less diseases and sicknesses to complain about.

Speaking to Life&Style on healthy living Khechane said Lesotho is very fortunate to have arable land where farmers can grow their own crops, limiting the dependency on buying every food item they consume on a daily basis.

He continued: “It is just unfortunate that most of us have been programmed to buy and not produce for ourselves and the major disadvantage that comes with that is basically consuming food that is not properly grown with either too much artificial fertilizer added to them or dairy products that are grown within a very short time.” “Accessibility has shown to be one major obstacle in healthy living,” he said. He explained that in every corner of the town there is fast food being sold everywhere but very little healthy food is available because demand for healthy food is low.

“The food market is saturated with funk food; it’s the new normal and eating healthy has been labelled in different ways. For instance, many people think you can only eat heathy when you are rich and can afford all sorts of different food but the reality is unhealthy food is actually more expensive than healthy food,” he added.

Among a plethora of reasons why Basotho do not seem to be interested in healthy living he mentioned social status. He explained that in this day eating unhealthy is deemed to be of a higher social status however the diseases that accompany unhealthy living are not a laughing matter. “Many people have died before their time because of their lifestyles, many have contracted diseases and awakened dormant diseases because of what they eat and unfortunately most of them are incurable and therefore will be lifelong diseases,” Khechane said.

He continued that it’s high time that people should call a spade a spade, saying “when you go to the doctor because of heart failure, no doctor is going to diagnose you with ‘too much pizza consumption’ but in state they will say the heart is malfunctioning due to a lot of cholesterol or some long medical word and this has put so many people in danger because they only address the situation when it is now out of hand and not the actual root cause.” Influenced by the grievances he saw in his own life after discovering that it was caused by the things he ate, Khechane changed his lifestyle to vegetarian in 2003 and started selling healthy products in 2007 which were 100 percent organic.

His business grew and he opened a shop which was officially registered in 2013 and was later on renamed Healthy by Choice. “I feel great, all the diseases that used to bother me are a thing of the past and most importantly I age backwards”, he excitedly explained.

It is important for people to understand that being healthy does not mean spending a lot of money on products to keep in shape or supplements, the very same herbs that grow in our gardens are sufficient to keep us healthy for instance thepe, tenane and leshoabe that grow in our own backyards are not weeds but rich herbs that could help fight to defend the immune system,” he said.

He continued that natural grains are more beneficial than cereal in the morning, which makes it important to learn to grow what we need, buy only the things that cannot be grown in our country because of factors like weather. “80 percent of lifestyle diseases, which are killer diseases are caused by unhealthy eating,” he continued.

Lesotho spends approximately 144 million to South Africa for its patients, the underlying reason still being unhealthy eating which leads to killer diseases. Medication they take is for life and this can be reversed if they change their lifestyle and eat healthier food. “Imagine if the millions of maloti spend on South Africa can be reversed to sponsor agricultural products that could ensure that we grow our own food, many people would gain their health back and millions of maloti could be used to boost the economy,” he concluded.

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