When I was 8 and 10 years old my mother and father ran a shop stocked with a wide variety of foods; so I was engaged in using some of the products that were not very good for health.
I ate the salted cake butter placed on biscuits and crackers or the buttered bread with soft drinks similar to our pepsi kola, ginger beer, and the endless number of drinks (some of which were not then in circulation). The dried fish of many varieties was well known in our markets. Then just the salted fish was widely used. The mackerel in the barrel was especially famous. We used it with the bananas and the different other kinds of fruits that we grew in our gardens. These variety of fish was eaten with dasheen, tania, potato, breadfruit, rice, corn meal, and our famous cassava, ochro, peas of different types. While all these nice foods were intended to build us into strong healthy people, we had the bad habit of using them with too much salt and sugar. As a result of that, we too often poison ourselves, and had to find the doctors to deliver us from diseases; but I was really afraid of the hospitals and the use of drugs that were the main things in our health facilities.
Being of that disposition, I was always in the habit of searching for ways to heal my self, so like Dr. Henry Bieler and many other doctors, I went hunting for things that would enable me to remain out of the reach of drugs and medications. I met with amazing success. When it was almost impossible to distance myself from use of those things that carried too much salt and sugar, I boiled the salted fish to avoid too much of its salt or I would not drink any beverages that had plenty of sugar. I used plenty of water-cresses with my meals. Then I became a vegetarian when I used plenty of fish and the local crayfish of the fresh water. So many fruits and vegetables were available: mango, cashew, sapodilla, plums, golden apples, apples, pine-apples, coconut water gotten fresh from the trees, ripe bananas, sorrel, ginger-beer, mauby. I was taken by surprise when I noticed that it was not necessary to visit the doctors often, because my body passed through some changes that made it possible for me to remain healthy, so that it was not necessary to see a physician. As I grew older I thought it wise to consult a doctor, especially when I was getting ready to travel abroad.
Regardless of the endless wide varieties of foods and drinks that we now see in our groceries or shops or local markets, be careful to examine them as best as you can. Some of these foods may contain chemicals that are not good for your health. Read the labels on them and do not just buy them without serious consideration of how they may affect your health. Here I want to sound a valuable note about the dry coconut. This most valuable source of nutrition has kept us alive for a very long time when that dry coconut was grated and added to almost anything we cooked: rice and peas, chocolate tea, various kinds of soup, dasheen, bananas, potatoes, a combined meal of all our foods. This miraculous coconut without any meat has helped to make us strong, vigorous, lively, powerful, amazingly charming to some degree even when they were spraying from the air to protect the bananas from the attack of blights or parasites.
Wherever we are, let us all do not forget our coconut bake, coconut tart, coconut biscuits, any coconut drinks without too much additional preservatives that would weaken the vital and powerful energy of this valuable coconut that Nature has given us for our enjoyment. Just trying to help. Rev. Matthew Rae.