Interviews and photos by Dreylan Johnson and David Papannah
This week we asked the man/woman in the street about their eating habits; whether they consider their diets to be healthy, what they can do to improve it and if a family history of diseases such as diabetes and hypertension influences their diet in any way.
Jaya Lall: `No I wouldn’t consider my current eating habits to be healthy. I hardly have breakfast, I eat lunch until 3 and sometimes I don’t have dinner. When I do eat it’s basically junk food. I can’t recall the last time I had a salad. It has a lot to do with my timings I guess. I wake up late, around 11, or 12 because of work, so obviously I can’t have breakfast. For lunch, I’d usually have burgers or fries; a lot of fast foods. I’ve been on a diet before and it felt good, but then again when you’re busy and active, sometimes you don’t have time for a diet—it takes a lot of effort to focus on a diet. When I did diet, I basically focused on drinking a lot of water and eating mostly vegetables and avoiding protein, but that was basically it. I couldn’t keep up with it though. It takes a lot of time and I don’t have that. My family does have a history of diabetes and high blood pressure, so that serves as a wakeup call but I still slip up for whatever reasons. I’m still trying though. It’s an on and off something. I used to drink a lot of water, but sometimes I forget. 2017 is my year for changes when it comes to my diet and my health so it should be better hopefully.
Toshana Dublin: `When I’m with my mom I eat healthy, but when I’m alone, trash. For breakfast I’ll have some cereal if I feel like making it, if not, I’ll just skip breakfast and head to work and have whatever is there — Church’s, pizza. I have fruits once in a while, about once a week. For lunch, I eat a lot, but it’s a lot of junk. I don’t like fish so I don’t have a lot of protein I guess. For lunch I’d usually have fried chicken. For dinner, it’s basically dinner from a fast food outlet again and a glass of milk. I have to have my milk. I’ve been doing this since I was around 19.1 don’t get sick often though. My grandmother has high blood pressure and my aunt has the low one, however, my mom, none of that has surfaced as yet. I have tried a diet before but it lasted for like 4 hours, after that, I see a fast food joint and then I go again. From next year I want to go on a diet. I think I will. I’ll probably have some more protein, and I’ll do more fruits. I’m not really a fan of greens, but I do drink a lot of water, that’s a big thing for me so on that side I’m good.’
Adrian Harlequin: `I eat a basic diet consisting of meat and rice. You can’t overdo it really. I eat fast food once in a while, like every two days. It’s not really healthy and I have tried cutting back because there’s a lot of oil and I get breakouts. But I’m addicted. I like creole food too but fast food just has something. I don’t have a history of diabetes or high blood pressure in my family or anything like that so I don’t really think about those things.’
Stalin Kanhai: `My diet is far from healthy. My diet consists mostly of rice; lots and lots of rice. At first I used to keep up eating healthy in high school but after everything else, we just turned to the fast food more often. I suppose it’s easier for persons to choose an unhealthy lifestyle because of the convenience, especially when you have a job and you realise you don’t have the same amount of time. I like home cooked food as well but I don’t really have the time to prepare it. I started to go to the gym last month and eased up on the fast food. I’m coming off the oily foods one by one and eating more vegetables. That’s about it for now.’
Shania Whaul: `Usually I don’t eat healthy but I’ve recently joined a 21 day no junk food challenge with two of my best friends and whichever one of us loses has to buy everyone KFC so I’m really trying to avoid that. Recently we realized that we eat so awfully and then with Diwali and Halloween and everything, we realized that we need a cleanse. We’re currently on day four and it’s been rough. I haven’t eaten as much because there’s not much to choose from. My gym diet usually doesn’t consist of much besides lots of proteins like fish, awesome red meats, chicken, usually veggies and I definitely stay away from things like sodas and what not. Despite the fact that I go to the gym, if I’m at school and I don’t want normal cooked food I’ll just order fast food, which includes KFC— the burgers, the nuggets, everything. So that’s probably like three or four times a week. I haven’t had any of that in the past four days. The entire purpose of the challenge is so that maybe at the end of the process I’ll like it and stick to it. I don’t think the normal Guyanese diet is healthy, not one bit. I mean, just one simple thing that everyone loves — roti with curry. Roti can be unhealthy considering all the oils and all the carbs. My tip for anyone dieting is to just go little by little and eventually you’ll get to where you wanna be in terms of your diet.’
Jesus Lamazon: `I just eat when I’m hungry and if that’s one time a day then that’s it. My diet is usually just fast food, no greens, but I use a lot of beans. I don’t eat breakfast. The reason I eat so much fast food is more out of convenience than preference. I need to eat three times a day and I need to eat healthy stuff but it’s not really knowing what’s healthy — I don’t really know how to prepare these things and that’s the main problem. If I knew how to prepare it, I would eat it, but I don’t even know how to prepare it so I don’t try. I don’t take multivitamins. I drink water when I remember to or feel thirsty. I think I just work too much. My mom, grandmom and my mom’s older sister all died of diabetes and high blood pressure so now it has encouraged me to eat better, especially since being hospitalized recently for high blood pressure.’
Delon Grandison: `I would say that at least 90% of the time I eat healthy food but I have a 10% cheat time. In terms of what I can do to improve my diet, I think I’d need to do more research because basically my mother is big on healthy foods and healthy diets but I have not taken on that responsibility to ensure that I eat healthy. I think I need to understand more what it means and the importance of it before I can have it implemented. I don’t pay any attention to the calories and the amount as long as it tastes good. Once it’s good tasting…yeah.’
Kester Whyte: `No I don’t consider my diet to be healthy because I ended up eating a lot of junk food since August and I’ve been trying to move away from it but it hasn’t been very successful. I would say it’s because of my organization—we keep doing a lot of events and all these things and there’s a lot of food access there so I keep getting in on that. Also, I’ve found more time to do other things —like, I’m in theatre, I’m in Scouts, so I’ve had to get food fast. I’ve gotten more time so I do a lot more walking though. Instead of taking a bus to go everywhere I try to walk to go places, especially if it’s in the immediate area. I try to eat a bit more healthy and cut back. In the back of my mind I know what needs to be done, it’s implementing it.’
Lennox Somerset: `Nope. I wouldn’t consider my diet to be healthy. All these fast food places they have around the place, they’re too tempting, I got attached to them and that just jeopardized everything. I wouldn’t say I eat fast foods regularly but I do eat it. I think I need to cut out the fast foods, try to stay as far as possible away from it. I know they are unhealthy but at the same time, the mind just calls for it. I try to incorporate vegetables in my diet when I can. Yes I have a history of diabetes and hypertension on my mom’s side and I do think about it at times. Even though I might eat unhealthy at times the next day or even on that same day I would try to work out to burn out back those calories.’
Dexter Van-Veen: `Yes, I would consider my diet healthy. I eat a wide range of vegetables every week. Mommy cooks a different vegetable every day from Monday to Friday and we usually eat cook up on Saturday and Sunday or curry or something. It’s a wide mix. When I get the chance I eat junk food. Yes there’s a history of diabetes and hypertension in my family but I don’t really pay a lot of attention to it because I get a lot of work done., I play a lot of sports — cricket, gym, swimming —I’m very active. What I eat I usually work off very quickly. The only thing I would say I can probably do is take multivitamins because I don’t take any of those.’