Dr. Olubunmi Ogundimu is the Managing Director, John Ken Hospital, Lagos. She champions the cause of exclusively breast-feeding among mothers.. The cause she has taken upon herself to ensure a bond between a mother and her child to live a better life. She is our guest on this edition of Celebrity Tummy Talk She speaks on her love for good food .
Enjoy it! What was growing up like in terms of food?
In those good old days, regular foods were available. It’s only on festive periods, Christmas, Easter and New Year or birthday party, that we had rice served on our table. In those days, rice was our exclusive preserved.
There was a particular beans seller living adjacent our house. So, whenever I was going to school, I must stopover and buy it as my breakfast. As well, a woman used to sell sweet potatoes and fried plantain (dudu and dodo) very close to St. Louis School. We were sure of getting very soft dudu for the break too. I use my pocket money which was about three pence to those foods. And so, after school, grandma would have prepared our meals like efo elegusi, efo riro and ewedu soup. Ewedu and efo riro soup were constantly prepared alongside amala while efo elegusi goes with eba. We used to eat eba and amala two to three times per week. Those were the two major foods.
After Sunday service, our mother would serve us rice while pottage (ebe) made with groundnut oil accompanied with a little sardin was prepared during our birthdays. This was a particular food that we usually watch out for during birthday parties.
And for fruits, we used to get it through a programme in the church on regular occasion. We were going to Celestial Church then, so, whenever a sacrifice (Ipese) is made using all kinds of fruits, we were sure of eating them. That was my source of getting or eating fruits.
However, dinner was constantly eba, but, I love smoking garri so much that I had to forego my other meals. At a point, grandma was afraid that I was emaciating. She took me to the hospital but the doctor confirmed that nothing was wrong with me. The doctor advised that she should encourage me to eat more vitamins for growth.
But that lifestyle changed at the time our parents came back. We were served with good foods and that was when I knew there was cornflakes and custard. And we were eating egg regularly. And because my parents were educated, we were widely informed on the basics of nutrition, so our nutrition balanced. We had a timetable of different nutritious foods.
Looking back, what would you say, you missed?
I missed gbegiri. There was a particular Hausa lady that was beside our house then, she was cooking gbegiri so well. And at a point, we were using gbegiri as dinner, Now I don’t know where to get gbegiri even when I feel like taking it. I think good food tasted better at that time than now.
And what is your favourite?
I’m a choosy kind of person but, not as if I don’t see a particular food to eat, I would die. Right now, I lay more emphasis on eating living food; that is eating food as fresh as possible. For instance, I prefer to eat raw tomatoes and onions instead of frying it. I eat lots of lettuce, cucumber, garden egg. I must eat enough of these foods for the cells in them to function accordingly And since they (cells) are still alive, my body reacts better to a living cell than a denatured ones, which is what children enjoy through breast-milk. The cells in the breast-milk are living cells. But, if I see jollof rice, I will eat it although I don’t crave for it.
Were you able to learn a particular meal while grandma was alive?
I learnt all my cooking styles from her. I started following her to the market at the age of eight. My parents traveled when I was three years old so she was teaching me all the techniques in marketing (buying). At age eight , I could price a particular product myself. She taught me how to price a particular product until that person reacts. So, by age 10, I could cook my ewedu. She taught me how to chop ewedu until, it’s tiny. I also learnt how to boil meat, fry it and then prepare soup. Because of the age, my parents never thought I could participate in any of the household work, so they were surprised when they came back and saw me cooking in the kitchen.
As a doctor, how would you relate those foods to what it is right now? Was it as a result of your idea about food that changes what you take now?
What I take now with emphasis on the living food is as a result of the knowledge that makes me know that the fresher your food, the better it works with your system. And the more the natural, the better, not the synthetic. Rather than buy meat-pie, I will go for a stick of carrot, instead of gala, an orange is better, and for western foods, I look for a meal, fruits or vegetable that would a lots more good than harm. To take a coke or package juice, I go for water.
What is your kind of exercise?
I do daily exercise in my house. I have a tread mile, sit-up, side stroke and other simple exercises.
Give me a cup of water. But, occasionally, I spoil myself with a glass of red wine. They said that wine is good for the heart.
Is there anytime, you desire a particular food out of fatigue?
Basically, what I look for in any food is the balance, if it has all the essentials. Sometimes, I might request for pap and beans cake (akara) in the morning but not as if, if I don’t see a particular food, then, I won’t eat. If it’s not available, I can always go for something else. As long as it’s balanced diet.
At 59, you look so healthy and attractive, would you attribute your food in-take to your good looking?
To be modest with you, I would rather say as a man thinks in his heart so, he is. If you think, you are old, so be it. If you think, you are young, then you are. In my mind, I am young. Sometimes, when people see my children, they don’t believe they are. I believe it’s grace but at the same time, people should think young always.