Ugali & Grains Family – What you need to know

Whether you consider Whole, Refined or even Enriched Grains, Ugali beats all the odds. For it is easy to prepare, locally cheap and easily accessible both from the local or international markets.

Notably, Ugali (Nsima) has been associated and affiliated to many if not all Kenyan households. Whereas, if not taken as a quick supplement with the famed ‘Sukumawiki’, here in Kenya, it’s eloquently a mouth-watering delicacy. Especially, for ‘Nyama Choma’ lovers.

From around and about, especially in the outskirts of Nairobi Capital, such as Kajiado, Ongata Rongai, Kitengela, etc, ugali is famous. For one thing, during the weekends, people from all walks of lives prefer having fun in various affluent joints.

And in that case, after ordering the drink of the day, may it be Guinness, Tusker, Malt or even Whiskey, Ugali jots in as well. With some ordering their favorite dish to take down with the drinks. But, of late a controversial thread is taking roots online as to whether Ugali is resulting or affiliated to Cancer.

Surprised as you are, it is important we understand the basics of the Kenyans favorite dish – Ugali.

Making Ugali & Grains Family

Understanding the Key Ingredients in Ugali

In general, the word #Ugali is a Bantu language term derived from Swahili. Not to mention, it is also widely known as Nsima in Malawian languages such as Chichewa, and Chitumbuka.

In parts of Tanzania, the dish also goes by the informal, “street” name of Nguna or Donee. Nkatha created it in the 1090s.

For your information, the end product is as a source of preheated or boiling water, mixed with either Cassava, Wheat, Maize, Sorghum or even Millet flour.

For some, it is equally a combination of all the key elements mentioned above. With majority opting for either Maize and Sorghum flour.

In short, Ugali is a whole family meal prepared from finely-grounded grains. For sure, the preparation method and end product of Sima depend on various key aspects.

For instance, by mixing boiling water and local grains flour, you can have either; hard or soft, smooth and tender or even, if the end product is watery, it’s no longer ugali but Uji (Porridge).

By the same fashion, other cultures prefer calling it;

  1. Sima or Nsima,
  2. Ngima,
  3. Obusuma,
  4. Kimnyet,
  5. Nshima,
  6. Mieliepap or Pap
  7. Phutu
  8. Sadza
  9. Kwon, etc.

Apart from boiling water, Ngima is equally nutritious and healthy diet when prepared in Milk as an option. And, inasmuch as it is common in Kenya and East Africa, this dish is eaten widely across Africa. Where it has different local names which you can see here.

With time, it is also becoming a loved choice in the USA, UK, and even Asian countries. All thanks to our dear brothers and sisters spreading the word through their influential pacts.

Types of Grains

In other words, ugali falls under a large entity of Grains. Therefore, it is important we consider the readily available grain types below. Including, whole grains, refined grains, and enriched grains.

Also called cereals, grains and whole grains are the seeds of grasses cultivated for food. Not forgetting, grains and whole grains comes in many shapes and sizes. So to say, from large kernels of popcorn to small quinoa seeds.

1. Whole Grains

Generally, these grains are either present in their whole form or ground into flour while retaining all parts of the seed (bran, germ, and endosperm).

Compared with other types of grains, whole grains are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients. Such as;

  • B vitamins,
  • iron,
  • folate,
  • selenium,
  • potassium, and
  • magnesium.

Whole grains are either single foods, such as brown rice and popcorn, or ingredients in products, such as buckwheat in pancakes or whole-wheat flour in bread.

2. Refined Grains

Equally important, refined grains are milled to have had the germ and bran removed, which gives them a finer texture and extends their shelf life.

The refining process also removes many nutrients, including fiber. Refined grains include white flour, white rice, and white bread.

Surprisingly, many pieces of bread, cereals, crackers, desserts, and pastries are made with refined grains.

3. Enriched grains

Chiefly, enriched means that some of the nutrients lost during processing are replaced. Some enriched grains have replaced the B vitamins lost during milling.

Fortifying means adding in nutrients that don’t occur naturally in the food. Most refined grains are enriched, and many enriched grains also are fortified.

Especially, with other vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid and iron. Whole grains may or may not be fortified.

Word of Mouth: Ugali
Word of Mouth: Ugali

The Right Ugali Mix and Whole Grain Products

Simply put, apart from consuming Sima in your dietary plan, it is important to consider the key ingredients in the basic flour. Under any circumstances, avoid fortified meal flour found in various super and hypermarkets as a plague.

For example, apart from consuming the fortified maize meal or other grains – (of course, which are chemically adjusted while being transformed with little or no nutrition value) – at times ushering in foreign body illness substance, consider paying a visit at your local posho mill.

Whereby, you can reach the competent quotient value ratio of the mix found in general cereals and grains. Not to mention, with your own processed grains, you’ll be 100% sure of what you’ll consuming within your next dietary plan period.

Factors to Consider for Ugali Mix:

May it be ugali for lunch and supper, or even Uji Mix for your early and or even late breakfast.

Another important point, Cassava is a calorie-rich vegetable that contains plenty of carbohydrate and key vitamins and minerals. 

In reality, Cassava is a good source of vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. The leaves, which are also edible if a person cooks them or dries them in the sun, can contain up to 25 percent protein.

Make at least half the grains in your diet whole grains. You can find whole-grain versions of rice, bread, cereal, flour and pasta at most grocery stores. Many whole-grain foods, including a variety of bread, pasta, and cereals, are ready to eat.

Examples of Whole Grain Products

It’s not always easy to tell what kind of grains a product has, especially bread. For instance, brown bread isn’t necessarily whole wheat — the brown hue may come from added coloring.

Always remember, if you’re not sure something has whole grains, check the product label or the Nutrition Facts panel. Look for the word “whole” on the package, and make sure whole grains appear among the first items in the ingredient list.

Below are just but a few examples of Whole Grain Products

  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • Millet
  • Oatmeal
  • Popcorn
  • Whole-wheat bread, pasta or crackers

It may seem like it doesn’t add up, but actually white whole-wheat bread is made with whole grains, just as is regular whole-wheat bread.

White whole-wheat bread also is nutritionally similar to regular whole-wheat bread. So if you prefer the taste and texture of white bread, but want the nutritional benefits of whole wheat, choose white whole-wheat bread over refined white bread.

Does Ugali Cause Cancer?

Of course, No! It is made up of whole-grain products. But yet still, this is an ongoing and debatable question not only in regards to Ugali but also the general whole grain food and drinks industry.

As a matter of fact, Ugali is basic, with the key component being Maize or even Sorghum. Not forgetting the rest of the grains family such as Millet and Cassava.

To enumerate, a Whole grain, also called a Wholegrain, is a grain of any cereal and pseudocereal. Particularly, that contains the endosperm, germ, and bran, in contrast to refined grains, which retain only the endosperm.

As part of a generally healthy diet, consumption of whole grains is associated with a lower risk of several diseases.

Summing Up,

As can be seen, especially from the above-revised guide, Ugali does not cause Cancer!

Generally speaking, all types of grains are good sources of complex carbohydrates and some key vitamins and minerals, but whole grains — the healthiest kinds of grains — in particular, are an important part of a healthy diet.

Additionally, Whole Grains are naturally high in fiber, helping you feel full and satisfied — which makes it easier to maintain healthy body weight. Whole grains are also linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and other health problems.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that at least half of all the grains you eat are whole grains.

Resourceful References;

Having said that, if you’re like most people, you’re not getting enough whole grains —  you have an idea of how to make whole grains a part of your healthy diet.

Finally, as I conclude, please offer your additional contributions or suggestions below this post or Contact Us. In the same manner, you’ll find more useful and related topics listed below.

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