Saturday, 31 January 2015

A one meal per day challenge. Making one meal per day your personal eating policy.

My 2 cents on food. The Real Problem is not Obesity. It's Bigger: It's Food Addiction

 I'd rather be obese yet self-confident, happy and
have high self esteem, than have a perfect bmi and yet be depressed, easily intimidated
and have low self esteem.
A person should be comfortable in their own skin, comfortable in their own size. However, being comfortable does not mean you can't do more to improve your health. Most of us struggle to maintain a steady weight that is close to the recommended bmi. When  we eat too much food consistently it becomes obvious as we gain weight and when it's excessive any of us can become obese. When we eat too little food it shows in that we become thin or in worse cases become emaciated.  The problem is that society has become fixated on the impact food has on the visual aspect of our lives when it may be more important to focus on the role of "food addiction" which leans heavily on the quantity and frequency of food consumption rather than just the quality of food being eaten. When a person has an addiction to tobacco for instance, we don't ask them to get on tread mill because they are over-weight. Why then do ask people suffering from food addiction to do the same? Similarly exercise and dieting are very useful but are not comprehensive solutions to obesity if we treat food with the same respect as other addictive products. Usually the first question asked is how do we wean this person of this addiction and keep them clean? Its not how do we make this fat person thinner. Losing weight should be a benefit of the policy not the awkward objective. This is the approach of the one meal policy.

Meals today can be highly nutritive and high in calories. The tradition of having three meals a day, breakfast, lunch and supper (now internationally accepted) is easy to abuse and is most likely having a negative impact on health. I have seen people eat nshima with t-bone for breakfast without really being aware of the impact this may have on their wellbeing, especially if they do this on a daily basis.  People who can afford it will generally sit down to a sizeable meal three times a day. They will often eat simply out of habit even when they are not really hungry "because its lunch time". Though they may have met their full nutritional needs at the first meal (breakfast) they will sit down at a bigger second and third meal at lunch and supper because it has become tradition and they are trained to be psychologically hungry at these intervals. The body usually digests food in four to five hours. If someone has breakfast at 8am  they will tend to be psychologically hungry between 12pm and 1pm. Normal hunger is usually an indication of the completion of digestion, which took 4-5 hours. It means that the food you have eaten has been converted into absorbable nutrients and energy. The fact that you “feel” hungry may in fact be an illusion. The intervals between meals and ensuing psychological hunger makes many wonder why they gain so much weight as it deceives people into thinking they eat very little food.

People living on a traditional three meals a day lifestyle think they eat very little food  and often wonder why they are over-weight. Since they only eat when they "feel" hungry, hunger deceives them into seeing the one meal (on the left). What they don't see is that its not one meal, its one meal at a time which at the end of the day translates into a large collection of food and unwanted calories (image on the right). This will get you to obesity without you even being sure how you got there.

When you switch to a one meal personal policy, the single meal you have at dinner looks and feels like a full meal, its satisfying yet you gain the upper hand because in reality by only having your "one meal" in real terms you strategically portioned the meal down to one third of its end of day value (Its as if all you ate is the last image on the right).

Many people wonder how their friends or colleagues have large appetites and often eat as much or more than they do at meals yet they annoyingly remain lean or slender. The secret is that, if the friends or colleagues are on a one meal type of lifestyle, though they appear to be eating as much and even more than you at any one time the impact of the meal on their health is only one third of what you see them consume while the same portion you had has three or more times the impact on you  since you follow a traditional three meals or more per day policy.
The majority of people today are not trained or taught to understand how the body works and how to control or manage their relationship with food, consequently society actually encourages them to become food addicts through three or more traditional meals a day. The problem arises when people incorrectly interpret "hunger" as a communique from their body "telling" them its time to eat more food and they do. We tend to think if its what my body tells me it must be right, when in fact its a socially induced misinterpretation of a biological function that leads to a food addicted and unhealthy society. As a junkie you are now caught in this social or traditional food trap. The point at which you “feel” hungry after a full meal is more likely to be the point at which your body is at its optimum to do work or exercise since it has converted the solids and liquids you consumed to fuel your body. These will pass through the digestive tract and be accessed through your blood stream. In this condition the hunger you feel 4-5 hours later is more likely an indication that your stomach is empty; it is not an indication that your body needs more food – hence it is more like psychological hunger. What the body is probably doing is anticipating that when the fuel it has just manufactured and stored using digestion runs out you will need more. Consequently, it is asking you to “refill” the tank (stomach) in advance of the nutrients in your bloodstream being used up. However, if you give in to this “hunger” and yet do not fully use up the nutrients or fuel currently in your system then the body is in fact being over efficient and will have to inevitably store this as excess as fat. Contrary to belief obese people may have an over efficient digestive storage system rather than an under-efficient system that is not burning enough energy. In the 21st Century an adult person most likely only needs one full well rounded traditional meal of about 2,000 calories or less to meet his or her energy and nutritional requirements for the day. The fact that fast food is readily available and more people are moving into income groups that can afford it entails there are more people who are likely to have trouble controlling their appetite.

Encouraging Children to Keep Fit and Healthy

Recently after a rowdy dip in a swimming pool my teenage boys and nephew took a picture just after. Feeling ripped and proud of their growing muscles they tried to show me up. So I went to the archives and pulled a picture of myself when I was closer to their age and "represented". This is possibly one of the only pictures I had ever taken with my shirt off, I am glad it was never lost or I would have no proof I was in decent shape in my younger days.

Proving to the kids I was just as fit as
they are when I was younger.
It’s great to encourage the younger generation to take fitness seriously, to eat well and most importantly teach them skills they need to have to stay healthy. Of course not every one will agree with the "one meal a day" policy, however, it is unlikely to stop people from eating more than one meal, but it will make them more cautious about what they eat when the one meal has been consumed. Since they will know they have all they need nutritively for the day, they will be more cautious about excess food. Creating this simple baseline can be useful to many people. A one meal policy is not for everyone though. Ideally it should be for healthy adults and should not be carelessly prescribed to children. Children may actually require three meals a day as they are still growing. Some adults require three meals a day for medical reasons. However, aspects of this approach can be used to teach children restraint early on and how to manage eating habits for example by recommending much lighter meals at breakfast and lunch and fuller more appropriately nutritional meals at dinner time. This allows children to go through the day not wanting or expecting a full meal until dinner time.

For fully grown adults the body may only need one good meal a day, but society has turned you into a food junkie or addict by teaching you that as an adult you require 3 or more meals a day: Breakfast, Brunch,  Lunch, Afternoon Snacks,  and Dinner. The three meals a day policy is designed to cater to psychological hunger. Psychological hunger is mainly useful to the “hunter gatherer” era of human society where there was no certainty concerning the availability of food or the next meal. To avoid starvation it makes sense that the stomach would induce the feeling of hunger even when the body has sufficient nutrients in order to encourage the storage of energy against the probability that the next meal may not be forthcoming. Today this uncertainty no longer exists for many. This explains why even though the body may become obese with an excessive store of fat psychological hunger continues to drive the appetite and desire for more food. An over-efficient body keeps trying to store unnecessary energy by processing more food than it acquires by inducing hunger in its host. Consequently, it’s likely only one of the three meals a day is necessary. It only takes roughly a month for the body to adjust to having one meal a day. The body begins to naturally revert closer to its correct bmi. After this the weight loss is close to effortless.


Probably the best example of the impact of the 3 meals a day tradition is the impact it has on families. Many people enjoy good health in their youth only to have this drastically change after they get married and settle down. Why is this? The pressure in families to over-eat is high as a result of the three meals a day tradition. Parents indoctrinated by this tradition often believe that goading their children to eat more food than they need at these set times is healthy. Growing obesity among children is a growing problem as a result.  Weight gain after marriage is usually because in the past when spouses were single they unconsciously followed the one meal a day policy. When you are young and active, you spend the day moving from one activity to the next. You don’t take traditional times for breakfast and lunch seriously so you often skipped these meals or had a very light snack instead and still had a great day. Marriage formalises the three meal tradition and adds ceremony to it. Your spouse may feel it’s necessary to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner and everyone is expected to sit around the table and eat. Concerned parents push their children to eat at these times even when they don't need the excess nutrition. It becomes a traditional setting where the tendency to over-eat is high. On the other hand, if the whole family knows there is only one formal meal a day instead of encouraging over-consumption this could instead encourage families to eat less yet still gain the correct nutrition they need for their daily lives. The one meal would become the new tradition naturally reducing unnecessary consumption. Couples would have to make the conscious effort to create a one meal policy that leads to a healthy family.

The Myth about Dinner

You've been taught that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It probably isn't, it’s the least important and most useless meal of the day, followed by Lunch.

When you eat breakfast, it is likely that you are already "overloading" your body which already has unspent nutrients processed from the dinner you ate last night. These are in your blood stream ready to be applied in the work, physical and mental activity you have set out for the day. Despite this, at breakfast you introduce more unnecessary food to your system. What is worse is that this food, eaten in the morning, is a debt in that it is food you eat your body has not and may not pay back through activity or exertion. Worse still what you eat at breakfast will be fully digested by lunch time and "cease to exist". Before you even get a chance to use up this fuel, hunger will overload your body with another unnecessary meal at lunch time. Your body which already had the fuel to power it for the whole day when you woke up in the morning is now overloaded with three times the calories and energy it needs and at this point you haven't even had your supper yet. High blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, fatigue, lack of energy and so on, you then wonder why your health is at risk when it feels as though you eat very little. Hunger deceives many people in this way, turning them into food "slaves",junkies or addicts.   

You've been told dinner is the least important meal of the day, because after eating all you'll do after is sleep. Scratch that. The opposite applies. Dinner is the most important meal of the day. Why? Your body functions more efficiently because you are not forcing it to digest and engage in mental or physical activity at the same time. Digestion takes a lot of energy that drains your body so it is least strenuously, most effective and efficiently done when you are asleep; otherwise it subtracts energy from other important mental and physical activities you could be doing during the day making you at times feel groggy, lethargic and unable to focus. Imagine trying to work, sit in class and pay attention, read, do maths, balance books or go for a jog after a big meal. The consumption of large quantities of food during the course of the work day subtracts from rather than adds to efficiency. The best time to eat a good meal is just before you retire to sleep at night. Since your body isn't engaged in any other activity except rest, it’s the best and most efficient time to allow digestion to take place.

A good, nutritious meal eaten at dinner will be effortlessly, almost fully digested by morning. When you wake up in the morning the important nutrients from that meal will be coursing through your blood stream ready for deployment in any, work, mental and physical activity you have planned for the day.  You will not need to eat a full meal again until dinner therefore digesting a full meal will not interfere by subtracting energy from other activities you perform that day. Any food you eat between now and then is probably merely excess baggage your body doesn't really need, and since it will require digestion may only add an unnecessary load or strain to the work, mental or physical activity you have to do for that day. If you train your body not to expect a large meal during the day, it is likely to be able to get through the day without hunger or strain.

If you find that, after having eaten an adequate nutritious meal at dinner sufficient to meet your full energy and nutrition requirements for the next day, you still crave food during the course of the day, then you likely have a food addict related problem. Being an addict, you need to accept and come to terms with your problem. Strictly fasting between the one meal at dinner will help you eventually manage and restrain your craving for food you do not need during the day and will eventually break your food addiction. It will be difficult at first, however, after several months when the cravings caused by psychological hunger are gone or under control the fast can be loosened. As long as you keep expecting food at prescribed times, as Pavlov has proven, you will experience psychological hunger, like a junkie craving a hit. Traditional meal times form habits. If you make the conscious effort to retrain your body to remove the expectation of food at these times then your body is likely to play along and also remove the hunger or craving. People try to lose weight by dieting or trying different combinations of foods at breakfast and lunch when what they should do is train themselves to accept there is no breakfast and lunch and their objective will be realized; a the Matrix "there is no spoon" approach so to speak. 

Many people think, if I restrain and restrict myself to one full meal a day, namely dinner, then does that mean I will never have cornflakes, sausages and eggs again - all those favourite "breakfasty" foods? No, this is not the case. The "idea" of breakfast is just a meal like any other designed unconsciously by society to turn you into a food junkie, hence you have been psychologically conditioned to think this meal should be eaten in the morning and cannot be done without even when you don't need it. All you probably need in the morning is a cup of tea. A breakfast recipe is just a type of food, you can have the same recipe for dinner. So if you crave bacon and eggs then simply make it a recipe or meal  you will have at dinner when you need it, not breakfast when it's useless to you since your nutritional needs are already in your blood stream from the meal you ate at dinner last night.

Does this mean I will never eat breakfast or lunch again? No its doesn't. You will go out to lunch, go out to have breakfast at a take away or have dinner at your favourite restaurant. You will have more fun eating and enjoying it as you no longer have to deal with the guilt of the negative impact it is having on your body.  The difference is that when you do so you will be leaner, in good health and the meal you eat will have little impact on your size. One meal will not make you unhealthy if it is not what you do everyday. It means you have made a lifestyle choice to have one meal a day as the norm. You eat one important set meal a day: namely dinner. There may be times you find you are with friends, are at a party or function, or have a working lunch or breakfast. Think of these meals at times as one offs or if particularly large as dinner brought forward where your one meal will therefore not be required later. If they are nutritionally inadequate then have something light at dinner to supplement your "one meal" principle or policy. Unless you are fasting to develop discipline there is no objection to partake of these meals as they are taken in lieu of dinner, but they are one-offs as the next day and for the rest of the week you will be back to your normal daily routine.

When you make the "one meal" policy or choice, you are not dieting or going through a fad; you are making a lifestyle choice. By doing away with the psychological framework or tradition that exposes you to excess food you will naturally begin to eat healthier. By being careful, the food addiction will subside as will the cravings. Your body will naturally adjust and, over several months to a year, begin to return to its ideal bmi. You may then discover how eating at these traditional times was a burden on your day rather than the boost you thought you gained that was in fact simply being converted into fat you don't need.You should then begin to feel a rejuvenated since  you have broken the hold of tradition that triggers psychological hunger and the energy you used to spend on digesting large breakfasts, brunches, lunches and snacks while going about your business is now released freeing you to do more with your life, become more sober, emotionally stable and to feel better.

Telling people not to eat before they sleep at night because it will make them "fat" is probably really bad quack health advice

During sleep very important biological functions take place such as cell repair, not just of muscle and bone, but brain cells, nerves and synapses. The brain reorganizes thoughts filing and rearranging memories accumulated during the day and over a lifetime. During sleep the body more rapidly tackles disease, heals itself, wards off ageing by repairing both mind and body boosting both physical and mental or psychological health. These processes are fueled by nutrients from food. Not eating well, or starving yourself before you sleep may therefore be the worst possible time to deny your body food. To advise people not to eat before they sleep is probably the worst health advice to give. Doing so at this critical time may cripple your body, make you mentally, emotionally or psychologically unstable during the day and induce more rapid ageing as your body struggles to find the nutrients and resources with which to repair cells, heal and keep you young; worst of all this will happen without you even knowing it, everyday. Life may become a burden as a result, without you even knowing why. Deliberately retiring to  sleep on an empty stomach, when you don’t have to, may be the recipe for waking up to a burdensome life that is persistently mentally, emotionally and physically constrained. Not eating well at dinner may cause mental health issues and cause you to age faster than you should be. When you eat a proper meal at dinner and sleep your body is inert and at rest. Therefore, the nutrients and fuel being created by digested food are readily available for healing and cell repair, however, because you are not engaged in any physical activity not only are nutrients and energy easier to access for cell repair, they are also being efficiently stored in your blood stream and system in a state where they can be immediately accessed. When you wake up in the morning if you ate correctly at dinner these will be able to fuel your body the entire day without the need for feeding or another "traditional" meal like breakfast or lunch to interfere with your day until dinner time. Simultaneous digestion and physical activity caused by traditional eating times overloads your body during the day making you lethargic and inefficient at what you might want to do or achieve. The one meal personal policy will help you prevent “overloading” unnecessarily. Importantly it will prevent you from creating excess nutrients accumulated during the day that being useless to your body will be stored in fat cells. This will make you naturally leaner. When your body acclimatizes to being able to do without unnecessary food the whole day and it becomes effortless, you will have beaten psychological hunger and will begin to discover a new kind of freedom – freedom from food addiction. The day will come when you are home in the evening and about to prepare your dinner when despite the fact that you have not eaten anything all day you find to your amazement you are actually not hungry. Food and your body are beginning to work for you rather then against you. You will likely enjoy an emotional stability you probably have not felt in a long time. You will begin to look younger. Your body and mind will likely be firing on all cylinders and you will begin to feel more healthy, more creative, more eager to get out there and be fulfilled than you have in a very long time.

A one meal policy allows your body to work more efficiently

You need to give your body an opportunity to use up all the nutrients it has flowing through your system between dinners or the one meal. Which is why you have a one meal policy in the first place. If you had an adequate "one meal" dinner then you are equipped to understand that any hunger or cravings you experience during the day's activity are psychological hunger. You can beat it because you know its your body giving you the wrong instructions. Eating inappropriately in between interferes with the process of applying the nutrients already in your system. Try not to eat at inappropriate times. If you are given a snack take it, but its better to keep it and eat it later with your dinner making adjustments to the one meal policy to accommodate the snack. This is better and safer as there is only so much food you can eat at one sitting, compared to over time. If you eat the snack now, by dinner it will be as though it never existed - which is not what you want. Its much easier to simply abstain from food until your "one meal" time at dinner, than to have snacks, special diets or shakes at breakfast, lunch, brunch or other odd times of the day. "Dieting" consisting of  special combinations of foods taken at traditional or set times of the day will inevitably fail since these approaches do not kill the expectation of food and therefore do not address the problem of psychological hunger. Since you have been raised as a food junkie expecting three or more hits of food per day taking any food at these times acts as a trigger for your food addiction that may lead to a full blown relapse. Small  tid-bits eaten in between the "one meal" time may turn into full blown meals as you add little extra portions you think are not a big deal, but that are in fact your addiction to food outwitting you into succumbing to eating food you don't need just as drugs do to any junkie.

Initially your one meal will tend to be larger than it needs to be, due to the fact that since you haven't eaten all day you will indeed be hungry. Like a laser you are focusing your nutritional needs to one time or period of the day or 24 hour period. Cleverly you are taking this food before you sleep when the hard work done to digest it will not be experienced and will not interfere with your day. By freeing yourself of the belief you need three meals a day you are removing psychological hunger and therefore neutralizing cravings. Over the months as you acclimatize to going through the day without the need for food your body will adjust and the cravings will subside; at supper time, you will no longer be so hungry and this is the time to consciously begin to reduce your meal more exactly to the calories you require for the next day. This will mean a smaller, lighter, more nutritionally smart "one meal" at dinner that you ensure is properly prepared. After six months the results and benefits of this lifestyle choice will begin to take root.

Exercise and the one meal policy

Exercise is important. But not everyone likes to exercise. This "one meal" policy will allow you to restore your appropriate bmi whether you exercise or not. However, exercise and keeping fit are useful. For those who are able to and tend to enjoy exercising, when you are on the one meal policy, the best time to exercise is at any hour during the day before you have your one meal. If need be diligently adjust the nutritional diversity of your one meal to accommodate increased activity which will take place the next day. Remember the one meal covers all your nutritional needs for the next day which begins when you wake up in the morning.

By isolating the times you eat to only one hour of the day (at dinner in the evening), you will begin to set a baseline along which you can monitor your eating habits. In the beginning you may need to fast during this daily interval to begin to overcome the craving or addiction to excess food, which will be worst at the traditional meal times when your addiction will attempt to overpower you. This is when you should be the most firm with yourself. Should you find that you want food during the course of the day and find yourself consequently eating even though you are on the one meal policy then you may have a serious food addiction problem. The one meal allows you to identify this behaviour or eating habit that often is in control of you, you are not in control of it: basically you are a junkie. Technically there is no difference between you and someone addicted to hard drugs or alcohol. You are an addict. Your food problem needs to be dealt with. The one meal policy over time allows you to have a day without interference from digestion (the root of your addiction) and to become clean by taking only as much food as your body requires which becomes naturally evident in you moving closer to your ideal bmi.

Its not about how you look, its about your health 

Don't let anyone tell you, you are not beautiful. Being at peace within and comfortable with yourself is a strong aspect of your personal health. The "one meal" policy is not about being fat or thin. Even thin people can be food addicts. They can have food cravings, binge eat and may be unable to stop themselves from eating at inappropriate times, they can be overwhelmed by hunger to the extent that it overrides their power to say no to food. Consequently the one meal policy is not really about size or looks, its about setting the foundation for developing self-control, are you in possession of yourself, or are you possessed by food, which is evident in your inability to say no to it when you know you have met your nutritional requirement for the day. Even though you have all the energy and nutrition you need for the day why are you still hungry or craving food? You have a problem and need to deal with it, nothing, not even food, should have this kind of negative power over you. Observing these physiological symptoms within yourself  helps you understand your addiction. The one meal policy is a powerful tool for self monitoring, freeing yourself of a yoke you may not even know is weighing you down and developing a healthy relationship with food. It is a lifestyle choice, the fact that your body naturally moves closer to its appropriate bmi as a result of it is just a bonus, the real gain is the peace, clarity and inner strength you gain within from being in control of your relationship with food rather than it being in control of you.

How to manage the initial strain

Each day your body only needs a determined number of calories to fuel its activity. When you make the switch to a one meal per day policy you are basically developing a baseline and  method by which to ensure there is a better balance between how much you consume and your daily activity. To function optimally and healthily your body actually needs much less food than society would like you to believe. When you begin the one meal per day policy you are likely to feel the strain of lowering how much you eat. This strain may include irritability, insomnia, headache, difficultly concentrating, sweating, anxiety and fatigue during the course of the day. When you feel these symptoms some people and society will in ignorance say its because you are starving yourself. It is important not to confuse the symptoms you experience with starvation. You are not starving. You are simply beginning to realise how much damage overeating may be doing to your mind and body. In all likelihood what you experience when you go without eating for the day as you wait for your one meal is not starvation. You ate dinner and scientifically have enough fuel in your body for the entire day when you woke up in the morning. The strain and craving you may experience in the early stages are called withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms are what addicted people go through when the source of addiction is taken away from them, in your case its food.At this stage you are no different from someone trying to kick alcoholism, smoking or addiction to hard drugs that destroys lives. Similarly food addiction can ruin your physiology, health, physical activity, psychological well-being and your relationships. To give up on the one meal a day policy because the initial strain says you are starving yourself is an excuse addicts may sometimes use to justify giving in to their craving and returning to their debilitating habit that is ruining their life in the belief that they are "hurting" themselves by coming clean. Stick it out and after several months, when your body is clear of food addiction you find you can thrive the whole day without being compelled to eat and be astounded to find that at dinner when its time for your one meal you are not even hungry. This power you have gained over cravings, eating and food is simply you having successfully beaten food addiction, you are no longer a junkie. You can begin to get your life back and be the powerful person you were always meant to be.    

Without a one meal policy, you do not have a clear food consumption limit

A one meal a day policy works because there is only so much food you can eat at one sitting before you feel satisfied. On this policy despite having a set meal, in real terms it has only one third the impact on your health. In other words the one meal is then equivalent to a one third portion of the food you see before you. You are in fact getting the upper hand. Whereas dividing food into three traditional sittings a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) potentially unnecessarily triples the amount of food a person is able or needs to eat in a day. The fact that digestion takes place between meals magnifies the amount food a person would desire to consume, whereas if there are no sittings expected at all not only does the person not psychologically expect food they also do not hunger for it thus naturally killing cravings. As Pavlov has shown just the idea that you are expected to eat a meal at a specific time of the day may make you hungry or want to eat when that hour of the day arrives even though you do not need the meal.

Without a one meal per day policy, in principle, you have no reason to refuse or avoid food during the day whether you spend your day at home or work. Consequently you will eat indiscriminately which does not help you. Since you don't stand for anything (where eating habits are concerned) you will fall for anything your unruly stomach wants. Food eaten randomly and at inappropriate times of the day can cause highs and lows. It can make you feel happy, euphoric for no good reason;  it can make it difficult for you to think clearly, make you feel groggy and sleepy. It can make you feel empty or depressed and hungry when the high subsides even though nutritionally you don't need any more grub, you find yourself comfort eating creating a cycle that like any other addiction is difficult to break. Every time you eat because you are bored, is a lost idea or lost creative activity that has been blocked by the quick "high" from food. Since you don't have a one meal policy you have no food baseline by which to manage when and how you eat. Food can take the place of you being a go-getter and dulls creativity as it replaces the "good feeling" you experience when you are being creative and constructive with a quick fix. After you get this quick fix from food you find that you have lost the drive to work, do something creative and so on. Eating can take the place of boredom, instead of making the effort to find interesting things to learn, see and do instead you eat at the inappropriate time and this  kills your drive to do useful and constructive things, some of the very attitudes that characterize and ruin the lives of junkies. Eating can consequently take over your life and you will be powerless to control it. This makes the one meal policy, taken at dinner, a very important lifestyle choice for giving you a boost in the right direction. By sorting out your nutritional needs for the next day, you clear your food schedule and are forced to focus your mind and heart on other aspects of your life that you can improve. You recognize that since you don't need food during the course of the day you should make the effort not to succumb to eating unnecessarily. If you succumb, you recognize you are a food junkie and have to develop greater will power to deal with your addiction, as a junkie is not the kind of person you want to be. Without the one meal as a baseline, it may be impossible to properly manage the psychological and physical pressure food exerts on your mind and body.

The WHO and the struggle for good nutrition

Well, this is my 2 cents on food, nutrition and health related to issues to do with skinniness and obesity. We often hear about addiction to alcohol,tobacco, hard drugs and how they are harmful to society. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has chosen to priorities obesity as one of the fastest growing global pandemics. It’s important to be comfortable in your own size, as you will not always look the way you want to; you will gain weight and lose it throughout your life.  However, the problem may not only be obesity; obesity is merely one symptom of a problem that affects not only people who are stereotypically fat, but even people who are skinny and have perfect bmi scores. WHO may need to move away from focussing on “heavy” people ,which only leads to social stigmatization of heavier people. Low self-esteem helps no one. It’s better to be big yet be happy, self confident and have high self esteem than have a perfect bmi yet be depressed with low confidence and low self-esteem. The WHO should instead focus on the real problem: food addiction and approach it from this angle. If the problem is approached as an addiction then a solution to obesity that avoids stigmatization will have been found as it can affect people of any size or shape. The   profound effects food has on the human physiology and psychology makes it as powerful as drugs or narcotics. The same approach that weans addicts of these may be useful for helping people make healthier eating choices. The usefulness of food to human health does not discard the fact that, when it is inappropriately administered through over or under eating, it can have harmful effects on human mental and physical health. By focussing on food addiction as opposed to the  physical problem of obesity the WHO may increase the resolve for improving social and individual nutrition and better solve the problem. A one meal a day policy at which all of a person's nutritional needs are achieved is a challenge the WHO can champion. Its a simple approach that is easy to sell. One approach to use for adults is to scrap the three meals a day approach to food consumption and instead recommend a "one meal" a day policy. When people begin to think they only need one meal a day they will naturally avoid over eating and will learn to control or limit their consumption. The one meal policy may be able to help instruct people on how to manage food addiction. In any case there is no need to wait for the WHO to tell you what to do, you can begin to manage your relationship with food today, yourself, by adopting a one meal a day policy and ensuring you get the right nutrition you need for each day through that meal.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Congratulations to Edgar Chagwa Lungu Elected 6th President of Zambia

His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu being sworn in as President of the Republic of Zambia on 25th January 2015.

Compliments to Hakainde Hichilema, Edith Nawakwi and all the candidates for putting up a spirited fight.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Today, you will be with Me in paradise. Luke 23:43.

A reason why people may become atheists and a reason why fewer and fewer may attend services across denominations can to some extent be explained.  Across denominations many people abandon the Church, faith and religion altogether, especially in a world advancing rapidly in scientific knowledge, due to a loss of the ability of religion to distinctively identify and define Spirit. Psychology walked in impetuously and sacked the tangible objects that formed the functional basis for religion that have been handed down through the ages.  The Church that had known the Spirit for eons, allowed psychologists like Freud to march in and re-label Spirit as consisting of id, ego and super ego. The Church was charmed, wooed, intimidated and terrorised by the brilliance of science. De-spiritualisation set in through the exchange of labels inspired by philosophers such as RenĂ© Descartes’ ideas which stated “I think therefore I am”, self-awareness gradually became defined as a biological condition or attribute of consciousness whose function is governed by the science of psychology. When science took over our understanding of the human mind, it immediately evicted the Church and religion from the Holy of Holies, the Sanctuary, like the temple veil being torn in two religion lost its importance and place, to materialistic man. Like the Israelites looking for a place to settle and Palestine today searching for statehood, the Church has ever since been wandering through the wilderness looking for sanctuary - a place to confidently call home. To anyone seeking to strengthen their belief, the Church was now unable to show or demonstrate what Spirit is, precisely. A persons physiological self awareness was no longer Spirit, according to science it was now the ego. When the Church succumbed to this change it lost its ability to identify and present Spirit to its adherents and those who earnestly sought a greater, loftier existence through religion. It remains a fact that humanity was made in the likeness of God and therefore mankind’s self-awareness or small “I am” exists in the Great I am or Jehovah, but the presence of God was effectively physically separated from human reality when it was instead labelled a mundane ego and effectively de-spiritualized by a simple but effective change in name, title, label. What the Church did not see is that changing the name or definition of an object, in this case Spirit into the id, ego, super-ego or any other name anyone might give it, no matter how clever, does not change the object itself. It remains Spirit. Consequently, there is a need for the Church to go back to the Sanctuary, take it back and cleanse it, restore the Spirit by restoring its labels and restoring them to the Church. Science can call these attributes whatever it likes, but when a member of a congregation asks what or where the Spirit is, the Church should have the authority to say to a member of the congregation: it is you, the “you” inside this physical body, your self-awareness is Spirit. Close your eyes, focus on yourself, your presence – this is Spirit. Where is God? Close your eyes again, are you aware of yourself? Yes. With your eyes closed look around your ‘self’. Your eyes are closed, they are no longer seeing the room, this surrounding you feel and observe is the presence of God. Without the presence of God, in which your Spirit is contained you could not be self-aware. You can say “I am”, because you are contained in the Great I am, you exist in the presence of Jehovah. The moment you closed your eyes, felt your own self-awareness, looked around and reached for the presence of God, these inadvertently represent the beginning of prayer and meditation, hence their importance in Scripture. The Bible clearly states the importance of eating the bread or body of life, that is, self-reflection and reaching for or acknowledging the presence of God; without prayer and meditation one cannot become fully self-aware and by becoming self-aware acknowledge the reality of existing and standing in the very presence of God. As this awareness grows through prayer and meditation it becomes what in religion is called faith. Faith itself is not something abstract, it is a force the power of which is increased by one’s greater proximity to God, and that proximity is gained through prayer and meditation. It’s really that simple. It is easy to see why the Church would be terrorised by the empiricism in science, intimidated by advances in modern biology, science and psychology into abandoning Spirit to studies in human physiology. But there are things science cannot explain. Just because you are conscious and self-aware everyday to the extent that it feels mundane and there seems nothing extraordinary about it does not mean it has inherently ceased to be extraordinary. When the very attribute by which you define yourself is taken from you, your lost identity is something impossible to restore through materialism and can only be restored by reaching for a higher place, the Spirit. This is why the average person has a natural propensity to seek God, even though often he or she may not understand the what, why and how of it.

By virtue of our consciousness-of-self, the presence of God is always in our very midst, we have only to reach for it. This consciousness of self is also the Church’s scientific proof God exists. Christ is in this presence, the Holy Spirit is in this presence: you are in this presence; that is, the presence of God. Your mind, your self-awareness could not be unless this was the condition.  It is fantastic yet at the same time boring, mundane, everyday, simple, as the truth tends to sometimes be as it is with Occam’s Razor, lex parsimoniae.

The events at Calvary are an important effort to teach this mystery. When Christ was crucified with the two criminals, thieves or “terrorists” it teaches one very important fact, and this is that Christ is in your midst, he shares your pain, your daily life and experiences. He is not a terrorist, criminal or a thief, that is, he is not a sinner yet he allows himself to share in your physical and psychological pain and in the consequences of your actions. He is with you whether you are with a group or on your own. He is always in your midst, every hour, every moment, every day, every thought. He is aware of you and endures your life with you.  Science is useful, but it is not absolute; there is still so much that is undiscovered and so much to learn. When science is used to change labels from Spirit to materiality through labels such as the ego, it is like taking the sign on a building that says church and replacing it with store or warehouse. If the use of the building does not change, in the same way self-awareness remains self-awareness then though you may change the title of the building, it remains a church. However, this mislabeling may erroneously make people believe the building is no longer a church and therefore there is no God and consequently their self-awareness is the ego and not Spirit. This is scientifically flawed and the Church today has fallen into this pitfall. Fewer and fewer people will enter the building for the most part because they are confused and conflicted about what is going on inside, and are wary about its purpose. The first casualty of this mislabeling will be the intellectuals, a powerful group of members who are always wary of being deceived, next will be those whose commitment is weak.They will be the first to leave in droves failing to see how they have been mislead into drifting away from God and the Church. Self awareness or Spirit in Scripture is represented by water. This is why Baptism is at the center of the Church. Under the water, in the water we are as we are now: self-aware, in Spirit. But what we strive for is to rise above the water into the air. In Scripture the air is used to describe the Holy Spirit. Hence, when we are Baptized we are lifted from simple self awareness up above its waters into the air, and receive the Holy Spirit. We reach for holiness, what is loftier than ourselves, we seek God, Jehovah, the Great I am. The presence of God speaks for itself, it is as real as our very own existence Matthew 13:17. Self-awareness like water and air, require a vessel or medium to exist and this is the presence of God. This is one of the most powerful meanings of the Cross. Whenever you see a Cross it is intended to remind you of this blessed presence and condition. The stronger your faith, the stronger is the presence of Christ of which the Cross is representative. Many people are unaware of the practical link between the Cross and their faith.

 You have to teach yourself to be aware of the presence of God. How? It’s actually very simple. When Christ said he would send the Holy Spirit he was not just speaking figuratively. Learn to pray, close your eyes and learn to meditate. If you can feel your own presence, your “I am” in this space eventually you must also acknowledge the presence of God within and around you because this is part of what it means to be in the Spirit. This communication is called worship.  Faith is not abstract, it is not imaginary, based on hearsay and fantasy. You cannot be an atheist on the pretext that God doesn’t exist, proof of the existence of God is evident in your being self aware, full stop. If you choose to label this as a psychological science which has nothing to do with the Spirit this is your prerogative, but then technically your atheism, like any decision is a personal choice or is self-ascribed. You may ask for evidence of God and yet at the same time you refuse it saying it is evidence of something else, that is, the Id, Ego or Superego and so on. However, when the labels were changed this did not change the substance. For a believer, ask yourself, when you close your eyes and begin to pray in earnest, where do you go? That’s right, theoretically you might think you didn’t go anywhere, but the moment you closed your eyes and your “I am” what science calls your “ego” reached for God with your heart and mind – you began to enter deeper and deeper into the presence of God through prayer.  The Church shouldn’t be robbed of its importance in this aspect of human development. Spiritual development is real, it is as real as the process that educates a person from illiteracy to professional. And like education requires instruction. The congregation needs to be instructed on how to pray, how to meditate, hold vigil and understand its own self-awareness in relation to the God's existence. It is an essential part of human development entrusted to the Church. The Cross is a reminder that God's presence is always there with you, you just have to reach for it. If a person does not understand, acknowledge or appreciate this aspect of the Cross, then it is possibly simply being used as a fashionable accessory rather than a powerful object of one’s faith. This is why spiritually a Cross and evil cannot occupy the same space and time; the consequence of this is the expulsion of evil. This phenomenon concerning the expulsion of evil that is inherent in the Cross is what has come to be termed or observed as “exorcism”.  When the Church allowed the physiological and psychological sciences to alter labels and in so doing remove the real, tangible evidence of God humanity has, it gave away its place and authority in humanity’s development and made something real, the Gospels, and what they promise humanity appear as though it is all a myth. The Church needs to take back that authority by restoring and resorting to the original evidence. Some people, even believers and adherents, think they have never experienced or rarely feel the Spirit and have never really felt the presence of God. This is a significant flaw, as being conscious and self aware is Spirit itself. It is as though they live beside a living stream and drink clean water every day, but when asked by someone thirsty passing by do you have any water and do you know what water tastes like? Their response is they cannot help as they have never really seen water and have no idea what it may taste like. They do not understand or realize that when the Bible says water or Spirit, it is talking about their self-awareness. Instead they say they only have an ego, id or super-ego and are looking for illusive Spirit. In other words they have been de-spiritualized by a distortion of facts. Consequently, many people, even the faithful may sometimes feel forlorn, numb unable to feel God’s presence but still try to hold on to belief because their commitment is strong. This is a consequence of mislabeling. Sometimes, especially during difficulty, some feel alone, isolated and wonder if God really exists. But if you understand; you are never outside God’s presence.  If you are aware of self then that itself is proof God exists because your self-awareness cannot exist outside the presence of God. You can be taught and trained to increasingly acknowledge this presence through prayer, meditation and vigil. Studying, cataloging, researching and offering this training to support this aspect of human development is the responsibility of the Church. This hard evidence is the property of the Church and it should not be beguiled into surrendering it to psychology. Science can be considered a branch of Spirit, but Spirit encompasses science, science does not encompass Spirit. If science encompassed Spirit, there would be nothing left to learn as everything would known. 

Which of the two terrorists are you?

According to the Bible, a consequence of original sin, is that we are, every last one of us, sinners. If the two men at the Crucifixion represent humanity at its worst, then we are all low lifes, every last one of us, are inherently criminals, thieves, and "terrorists". Therefore, we should not be too proud and think we are better than the next person we observe with loathing and disgust.  But even amongst us sinners there are two kinds: Those who want to wage war on others, cause pain and injury who take the adverse position; "Aren't you the Messiah [Prophet] yourself and us!" Luke 23:39.  And those who recognize innocents should not suffer and take the other position; "Do you not fear Allah [God]? We are punished justly, but this man has done no wrong." Luke 23:40-41. "Jesus [Prophet]. Remember me when you enter into your kingdom." Luke 23:42. He acknowledges his faults, abandons his past ways and reaches for Jesus. The Prophet then says to him "Today, you will be with Me in Paradise" Luke 23:43. According to scripture, as humanity, we are all sinners, low lifes, criminals, thieves and "terrorists" there is nothing too special about anyone, but those of us who believe, turn away from a life of sin and reach for a higher ideal are granted salvation, while those who continue on a path to destruction bringing others pain and injury as we see today are bound to misery and guaranteed to see the inside of hell. Be careful not to side with or sympathize with this adversity even in your heart where no one sees your feelings and thoughts, lest you make yourself a candidate for the pit.

Many today proudly acknowledge and accept that they are sinners. This is largely thanks to an important parable taught by Christ, Luke 18:9-14. When we become too comfortable with our own understanding of morality though, like the tax collector, we accept we are sinners, once again we become too comfortable with the word sinner. More like the Pharisee we begin to look down on another wretched soul hunched in a corner looking to God for forgiveness. When someone is called a thief or criminal for instance, it is not unheard of in modern times to hear that they have engaged lawyers and are pursuing a case of defamation against the antagonist. There are few if any defamation cases where a person is said to be suing because they have been called a sinner. Today it is almost with a sense of pride resulting from humility that people call themselves sinners. It is in this sense that at Calvary, instead of sinner the Bible uses a stronger term; thief or criminal for the crucifixion of the two men beside Christ. Some regard being called a thief the worst possible slight. In today’s context to drive the lesson further still the two criminals might instead be called the two terrorists; since being called a terrorist today, is worse than being called a criminal or thief. Ideally a sinner is a sinner, in the sense that we are all sinners and like the Pharisee should not be so high minded as to look down on those considered our lessers. Therefore the bar has to be “lowered” so to speak to bring the point home. The terms “thief” and “criminal” are used synonymously with “sinner”, although it stands to reason that even today, in the 21st Century, most people would rather be called a sinner, than they would a thief, criminal or terrorist forgetting that the term sinner encompasses these faults. People are as wary of and as offended by these derogatory terms as people were in Jesus’ time.

At the Crucifixion the Bible deliberately uses the lowest and most detested human character; a criminal to teach something fundamental in Christianity to all humanity, a lesson that still reverberates to this day. The two thieves, two criminals or “two terrorists” crucified with Jesus are what humanity regards as the scum of the earth, yet here they represent humanity in its entirety at its lowest. The pain of crucifixion represents the physical and psychological, twisted suffering all of humanity endures, regardless of its place in society. In the midst of humanity, in between the two criminals, is an innocent who saw their predicament and said, I can lift their burden, let me endure this ordeal with and for them. Christ chose to endure this strife and pain with humanity; with you. The ordeal demonstrates he is right beside you today enduring your strife with you; with you even as you read these words, everything you experience he experiences.

Our Lord was scourged, beaten and broken. But the scourging, beating and breaking could not change who he was. In this broken state, hanging from the Cross, the materialistic world thought it had stripped him of everything he possessed, even his dignity. It believed it had left him powerless and yet when one of two men acknowledged what they had done was wrong and reached out to him; he commanded it and instantly paradise was bestowed upon him. Today, you too can see how your cruelty, your selfishness, your own weaknesses; the world and its imperfections have brought you to some of the difficult places you  have been in; but you can acknowledge your faults, lay down your arms, make peace with your enemy, accept you are on the wrong path, and reach for paradise.

Luke 23:43. Our Lord, Jesus Christ was and is……powerful, audacious, inspiring and transforming.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Finding Solutions to Electoral Violence in Zambia

The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has many fine attributes and can be commended for some of its operations such as its handling of the voting processes, voter registration and so on. However, the ECZ needs to begin to address important areas where it is very weak. These include the public vetting of presidential candidates through the facilitation of public debates, interviews and other fora through which the voting public are given an opportunity to examine the mind, persona and qualities of presidential candidates. This substance is very important when it comes to the future of Zambia and how it is managed. The ECZ needs to work to ensure that the plans, objectives and proposed methods by which political parties promise to improve the Zambian economy and society are sufficiently publicized in diverse media and scrutinized through panel discussions and reviews in a format the public can readily digest. Why for instance in this day and age do Zambians still fear the rigging of elections? This should be absurd. It points to operational problems at the ECZ. The ECZ needs to invest in transparency in every official duty it performs to safeguard its own credibility, even something as mundane as importing desks and lamps must be handled with a sense of officialdom with guidelines designed to ease public insecurity about the integrity of the ballot. If necessary the ECZ should clearly brand trucks it hires or have its own for openly and transparently importing such complementary goods. It needs to be able to anticipate how the public will react to anything it does regardless of how miniscule. The ECZ has to do more to safeguard the route to elections, the scope of some of its present operations are too rudimentary, are unsophisticated and leave much to be desired.

Violence in a family can have psychological effects. Violence related to the electoral process in Zambia is no different and affects citizens in many ways, it should not be taken for granted. It disenfranchises people of good will, general workers, the self employed, professionals, people of all walks of life who see politics as mundane and imbued with too much  thuggery to be deemed worth participating in. These citizens, from every corner of Zambia and from all walks of life are the disenfranchised who would otherwise contribute tremendously to the development of the country.  A major concern is violence that results from criminal behaviour, hooliganism and intimidation that tends to dog activities related to elections. This atmosphere of violence disenfranchises many Zambians who are put off by this kind of behaviour. A primary objective of the ECZ is peace during and after elections. Violence deters and negatively influences participation in the voting process and should therefore be a major concern for the ECZ to address. The ECZ management cannot continue to see its strategy for fighting the violent acts related to the electoral process as a passive one whose main thrust is advertisements. Advertisements build awareness, but are not a sufficient deterrent to this kind of violence. It is not uncommon to read of violence taking place at political rallies in the very presence of police officers. Generally a trained police officer will never stand by in public view while criminal acts take place right before them unless there is a lack of capacity, and a lack of capacity indicates operational inadequacies which in the case of elections falls under the jurisdiction of the ECZ. What this entails is that the violence observed during Zambian elections is not a problem of the Zambia Police, but due to operational inadequacies at the ECZ. This provides some evidence that it is not always a problem of man-power. There will always be some kind of confrontation between rival parties, but there is no reason why it should deteriorate into bodily harm and injury. The ECZ is not doing enough to develop and equip itself for peace. It should have a seconded core of specialised in-house officers and serving reservists as an important part of its operations who have been continually mentored and trained over the years on how to enforce peace in such circumstances. The electoral process in Zambia appears to be suffering immensely as people are disenfranchised by the threat of violence.

What the ECZ needs to immediately induct is a high ranking Security Commissioner and its own Security Commission as its in-house security mechanism for neutralising threats that are specific to its mandate. This approach is not unheard of. Lusaka City Council (LCC) has its own specialised police, strategic parastatals in Zambia have their own in house security that focuses on the organisation's primary objectives. Similarly the ECZ must create and induct its own in-house security wing that consists of highly professional officers seconded from the Zambia Police force and other relevant security wings that are given ongoing training on how to handle diverse political factions, parties and interests as well as the different forms of confrontation they would be expected to subdue, who are able to offer security from the grassroots right up to aspiring presidential candidates especially where there are gatherings with high potential for confrontation where diverse political interests may threaten violence. In addition it should be the role of this team to diligently follow up and investigate any person or institution that receives or makes the threat of electoral violence in a manner that makes the voters feel safe and the public feel free to participate in every aspect of elections. This in-house team of specialised officers can be called the ECZ Police or ECZ Security Peace Force (ESZ-SPF). It may consist of two units, that is, a core unit of full time officers seconded to the ECZ and lead by an ECZ Police or Security Commissioner of high rank. Officers in this unit should have the necessary status, remuneration, hardware such as branded vehicles, riot gear and other prerequisite facilities to enable them to perform their jobs effectively. The second unit will consist of serving police officers nationwide who are able to become ECZ-SPF reserve officers. Becoming an ECZ SPF reservist should be prestigious, serving officers who aspire to, qualify and are selected should understand they are important and are an asset to their country. Achieving this sense of duty amongst seconded officers is the responsibility of the ECZ and should be part of its operations. These reserve officers would first undergo specialised training by the ECZ to qualify them to become serving reservists and periodically attend relevant camps, workshops and training during the year. Handling electoral violence, understanding how best an officer maintains duty to government, equally to the ruling party and diverse political parties or factions requires specialised methods and skill-sets which should be taught to these lead officers. They are called in whenever and wherever in the country the ECZ needs additional officers to ensure peace, this can be at rallies and other large gatherings that require increased man power. In such venues some aspect of their regalia can be added to, to show they are specialised ECZ police officers there to keep the peace.

These well trained officers would be equipped to understand what their presence entails at political rallies, polling stations, gatherings and any other venue where the potential for electoral related violence is possible. They are taught to understand crowd control, how cadres think, the best methods for appeasing these specific kinds of hostilities.  In cases where electoral related violence takes place it is the role of this ECZ in-house lead security wing to have the resources, skills, and training to fully and impartially investigate the cause of violence, pursue the perpetrators, make arrests where necessary and allow justice to take its course in a manner that re-assures the public. However this kind of swift action against electoral violence cannot take place without the ECZ proactively  developing its own, in-house seconded officers and equipping them with the remuneration, skills, job security and mind-set to be able to ensure peace prevails during elections and in the years that build up to elections. With strategies such as this electoral violence that disenfranchises Zambians would certainly become a problem of the past.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Who will be the next president of Zambia?

Wishing all aspirants to the Zambian presidency the best.
Having good intentions is not a sufficient credential to become president. After all, it is often said, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. To understand politics it may be necessary to at least try to psychoanalyse the human desire for higher office or leadership and the voter’s mind that seeks salvation through the ballot by observing what an aspirant might regard as difficult questions. Why would you reading this or anyone for that matter want to be president?

No sensible person who truly understands the challenges of this job would want it. For anyone to stand up and say they want this job, they must either have delusions of grandeur, that innocuous penchant for prestige and  wanting to be “the boss” or “the toast of the town”. A person may not have fully understood the magnitude of this position, is likely to have misunderstood the purpose of this role, or is unable to see how, in rising to this position, the entanglements of patronage, owing favours and limited resources will be obstacles to the majority of developmental objectives in mind. A person may have romanticised the relationship between the limitations of political power and what is truly achievable or have a misplaced psychological messianic or martyrdom complex that makes them desire to sacrifice themselves for a role and purpose they themselves may not fully grasp.

It is likely a leader will only begin to come to grips with this quandary after their first few years in office when they realise that despite all the good intentions, everything they have changed and achieved they are denigrated, despised, opposed at every turn and met with general ingratitude from a fickle and ungrateful public or rabid opposition. This means that the reality is that three quarters or more of the people who offer themselves as presidential candidates “need to be delusional” to desire this role and its limelight. Why would anyone subject themselves to this kind of pain?  The beauty or folly of democracy is that being delusional does not preclude a candidate from filing in their intention to run. No single person, even the best credentialed, has the answers to a nation’s problems such as poverty, how to deal with scumbags, unemployment, bad roads, inadequate education, low salaries, slow growth, lack of peace, meagre understanding, conflict and so on. Sometimes the delusions widen into the belief that they themselves don’t need to have the answers, when in office they will simply magically make everything o.k. by being “nice” people. If this is not an option they will find someone, the best brains in the business, a well-educated professional or accomplished person “out there” who will provide the answers, when the truth is nobody living has perfect answers to a nation’s problems in an environment where everything is open for debate. The candidate is highly unlikely to solve the problems he or she proposes to transform from bad to good hence the need for self-delusion to convince themselves they can take on this task.

Finding, choosing and voting for a genuine president is also a difficult task. It has to be difficult. Men and women presidents have been known to ruin countries or transform them into magnificent hubs of industry or leave them the way they found them. Success and failure to manage a country is due to the fact that the best person for the job is the man or woman who truly understands what a president must sacrifice and achieve for his or her people. A president who understands the magnitude of the responsibility of this role must by default reject it, as a child that touches something hot would quickly withdraw the hand; otherwise it is doubtful they can do this job or that they are the right person. Jesus demonstrates that he understood the magnitude of the sacrifice it would take to be called Messiah or King. He does not see the glory alone, but more importantly acknowledges the personal suffering required to be a leader at this level. In so doing he rejects the role. (Luke:22 42) saying, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done." This is the mark of a true leader. First and foremost he or she must understand the magnitude of the task at hand. If this is not the case the wrong person may be elected into office, for instance a leader who eventually becomes crippled by “egonomics”, that is, a leader willing to impoverish a country and see its economy deteriorate simply because their ego is too big to see the faults in their chosen path or ideas; a leader who places his or her preferences and needs before that of the people and therefore choses conflict over peace; a leader who clings to power at any cost to the detriment of the people; a leader who tailors a constitution to personal selfish ambition rather than public good; a leader who fails to deliver on election promises, like a new and just constitution, not because these promises are now outdated, but for fear they may weaken their chances of re-election; a leader who becomes so cocooned in the trappings of power and  a presidency that he or she forgets the discomforts and sufferings of the common person. A president who understands his or her role needs to be prepared for personal sacrifice, to lose popularity, to lose an election, to lose wealth, to lose health, to lose….if this sacrifice is just. This is an important disposition. It is a well-known fact that economies today must be run with a business approach and ideal that is tempered, restrained or “controlled” by human rights and public social responsibility. A nation must be productive, it must be commercial, but it must also have a soul and heart through which the gains of commerce are shared with humanity. Jesus taught about loving your neighbour and sharing, but he also gave many sound and hard-core teachings that it is imperative to manage resources, commerce and productivity effectively. Similarly a president cannot simply want to see the end of poverty without a sound strategy for this objective neither can he or she bankrupt the government to soothe human suffering, he or she must provide the strategy by which justice, commerce and productivity will end human suffering and economic demise. A president who, through debate, interview and public discussion, cannot clearly demonstrate and articulate he or she understands what it entails to soundly transform a country through strategy in productivity and commerce should not be voted into power by voters as this kind of person likely wants the job of president, but doesn't know why they want it.

The voter on the other hand hears what he or she wants to hear and makes a decision on whom they best believe will deliver undeliverables. Countries, in terms of governance are in an ongoing state of delusion. Marx may have got it wrong, it is not religion that is the opium of the people, the reality is that the delusion is very much a persona of society in its quest for a perfect form of governance without exercising the correct or precise tools by which to test the competence of a presidential aspirant.

Delusional voters are easily swayed by swanky adverts on radio and television that are inherently meaningless when it comes to the criterion by which a presidential candidate is selected. Zambia is very much in its infancy concerning the methodology by which the electorate selects leaders. The electorate has few if any credible tools for determining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats each presidential aspirant poses to them and their country. This is a weakness the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) must begin to address as one of its most pertinent and important functions. It cannot see its role as simply hosting elections, building awareness  and policing electoral rules while politicking takes place without substance as it does in a banana republic. If the ECZ continues to fail to provide the public with the platform for thoroughly and credibly assessing the competence of presidential aspirants, it is letting Zambia down. It must also develop the methodology by which presidential hopefuls are put on the public stage and assessed as the means by which the public diligently examines potential leaders. Slogans, rallies, adverts and lofty speeches are good for publicity and drumming up support but the electorate must be careful to separate reality from delusion when they make their choice. The only means to do this is for presidential candidates to engage in live televised debates on national matters. How eloquent are they? How do they speak? Have they taken the time to learn about or inform themselves about economics, commerce, business, justice, public health, natural resources, law, governance, politics and so on that are pertinent to the country? At what level is their intellect? How do they react when asked a question they cannot answer or when aggressively pushed into a corner about their ideas? This is like a national job interview that voters must insist on in Zambia. Fine, we enjoy the feistiness of competition, but where is the substance? Presidential aspirants must be seen to take each other on directly in debate. How do they react and perform under pressure? They must be asked both easy and difficult questions on a stage that allows the public to assess the depth of their knowledge, their levels of tolerance, their level of maturity, the reasoning ability, ideas and temperament of a presidential aspirant need to be churned to the surface for the public to see the quality of a candidate. The nation must see and hear who they are electing on radio and television on the battleground of debate, interaction and strong interviews. Interviews are important, but having the candidates subjected to open debate as well as tough question and answer sessions where they are grilled by questions from a moderator and the public is even more important.

 The man or woman who seeks to be president must first and foremost accept that we live in an imperfect world and its imperfections will either prevent you, as president, from bringing about any meaningful change, and by some stroke of luck should you succeed in bringing about positive change these imperfections will somehow seek to unravel it. Only having acknowledged this internally does a man or woman in the developed or developing world become ready to be a genuine presidential candidate because they understand the enemy of true leadership is an imperfect world; something no mortal leader has the power to reverse or change. The first steps out of the mists of delusion is a sound methodology by which the traits of leadership are tested on the public stage for the electorate to adequately decide which leader has sufficiently prepared themselves for the role of head of state.

Thursday, 30 October 2014


Mr. Sata, is a leader who showed great promise, he will be missed by a nation that will most certainly feel he was called to the Lord before fully implementing all the good that he wished to see in a country he loved dearly.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Pope Francis demonstrates that innocence is not only an object for observation but also a virtue of perception...

Pope Francis leads the way.

15And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Allow little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. (Luke 18:15-17) Many are rebuked and turned away, but Christ calls on humanity to receive others as would a child.
In a world driven to war, hate, desperate acts of violence and misunderstanding as a result of failing to tackle intolerance this gesture is a breath of fresh air. Pope Francis blessing the marriage of couples recently is described as a new openness as reported in the media; however, thankfully, it is not altogether new, Christ himself called this openness innocence. Not only is the Pope inspiring humanity to receive children as innocents, but that by the Church and humanity itself being inspired to receive others with the same innocence Jesus proclaimed many more can be brought to Christ and saved.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Israel and Palestine : Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

Siize Punabantu

The last attempt in Christianity to conquer the world through Jihad or Holy War was the Crusades. The Crusades were the beginning of the unraveling of the attempt by Christianity to create a worldwide religious state or government based on religion in a hope that it would in so doing gain the power to evangelize to the world and bring everyone to Christ. Islam today faces the same dilemma Christianity faced many years ago. Like Christianity, some Islamic movements hope to spread the message of the Holy Koran throughout the world and some believers would hope to do so through a global Islamic government that would be powerful enough to gather the faithful using politics as a tool for conquest. Like Christianity did with the Crusades there are eminent people in Islam who believe the only means for achieving this is through Jihad. 

The Crusades had the reverse effect. They destroyed the institutional fabric of the most powerful organized Christian body at the time, the Catholic Church. Instead of greater power the church attracted great mistrust which contributed to the later resolve in politics for there to be separation of religion and state. There was a time when Christianity visa vie the Vatican held immense wealth, lands, power over political establishments, over governments and kingdoms, even over Kings and Queens in the same way Islam does today predominantly in the Middle East. A consequence of the Crusades and proximity to politics is that Christianity inevitably lost all this wealth, power, influence and territory. Today the Vatican, though a recognized state, is not a political institution, it is the administrative seat of the Catholic Church and its focus has returned to the true and the original purpose of the Gospels, which is to win hearts, minds and souls for Christ. Christianity would have diminished further had it not let go of the Crusades, reinvented itself, relied on public relations instead of militancy and gone back to its original purpose. By doing this the Vatican today is one of the most spiritually stable, wealthiest, most respected and influential Christian organizations in the world with more than a billion faithful. Eminent leaders in Islam can study this process for its leaders gain insights into the strategic management of religion.

The militancy of the Crusades dealt a tremendous blow to the quality, spread, power and wealth of Christianity. If the Crusades had been avoided and the focus of the tremendous wealth and power at the time had remained on winning the hearts, minds and souls for Christ for example through charity, tending to the poor and disadvantaged, investing in profitable businesses to improve the lives of the community and in ventures that would raise funds for the disadvantaged there would be far more Christians in the world today.  It should be understood that the damage created by the militancy of the Crusades wreaked havoc on Christianity and it is the very same kind of damage that militancy of Jihad will have on Islam. The Crusades teach one very important lesson.  The power of religion is not in having direct control of government; in fact religion should distance itself from political power and political office and should swear never to desire it. Religious institutions on earth are the ambassadors of faith, they are essentially public relations institutions (PR) between mankind and God. This means they work to win hearts and minds, which is PR in itself, which is the work of religion. Each individual has the right to choose which belief or faith they dedicate themselves to, consequently winning a soul for God is not the responsibility of religion but the onus of the individual. When a person chooses to be a Moslem, a Christian or Jew, this is their personal decision. The role of religion is not to force people to believe, but to continuously strive to magnanimously win their hearts and minds to God regardless of their denomination or faith by teaching and preaching the holy scriptures. Consequently intolerance, especially religious intolerance practiced by any faith is a blasphemy. It is unacceptable in faith as it entails that the ambassador, in this case religion or the church ignores the rights of the individual and no longer represents the will and motives of the One who sent them to establish the requisite PR on earth. 

Hamas in Palestine, the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt, Isis in Iraq, bombings in Kenya, Boko Haram in Nigeria, war in Syria show that like Christianity during the Crusades, Islam is spending immensely on power, wealth, political influence and on militancy. Leaders of Islam around the world need to observe what happened to Christianity as a consequence of the Crusades and ask themselves, is this the right strategy for us? Will this strategy strengthen Islam or weaken Islam in future as it weakened Christianity. The true power of religion resides in winning the hearts, minds of humanity of which war, fear, insecurity, intolerance and conflict become blasphemous to the purpose of religion as an ambassador of God’s holy word. These are the exact opposite pursuit and should remain the preserve of politics which is more suited to handle and subdue these vices. Intolerance is inimical to religion as it is an attempt to stifle individual liberty. God desires mankind’s love as a willing choice of the individual, not a coercion that subtracts from the sanctity of one’s faith; which is antagonistic and draws in distrust. Islam and those who wield its wealth in an attempt to finance militancy and influence the world should try to avoid making the same mistakes Christians made through militancy observed in the Crusades. It is a strategy that provides small gains, but significantly greater future losses that may eventually erode the gains of a religion. Changing strategy and reinvention is vital for survival and self preservation. Leaders such as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela would have failed to achieve their objectives against oppressors had they not understood this and changed course. Eminent leaders of Islam similarly, need to re-evaluate the path chosen to spreading the holy word and its tenets as the path that espouses militancy may eventually be inimical to Islam.

For Hamas, intolerance directed toward humanity is intolerance all the same. There is nothing to be gained from showing intolerance for Israel or Jews made through clinging blindly to statements such as “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth” or that a Palestinian State and Israeli State cannot live side by side; this is childish, inhumane and it goes against the values of genuine religion – it is therefore not only inhumane it is anti-Islam and will undermine Islam. Therefore, it is not a strategy a wise leadership would follow or encourage. It fosters fear, fear encourages conflict and war is inimical to a true religion as it runs counter-productive to the life-blood of true religion which is to win hearts and minds. Black people do not take kindly to being discriminated against, often they are quick to anger, but this is due to their history. Similarly, Jews do not take kindly to being threatened with violence or oppression, often they are quick to anger, but this too is due to their history. The question here is not – how many times Hamas and Palestine have petitioned the United Nations, or how many times you have complained to the UN Security Council. None of these appeals will be what secure peace and prosperity for the Palestinian people. Hamas needs to ask itself - what has it done to win the hearts and minds of Jews and the Jewish nation of Israel? This is what faith teaches you. One might say why ask Hamas this question? Is Israel not the more powerful military and aggressor who must be asked such a question? But you are mistaken. Israel is not more powerful than the rest of the world combined.  Sometimes there is great strength in being weak and there is significant moral authority in being small. Martin Luther King had to win the hearts and minds of his protractors, Mahatma Gandhi had to do the same, Nelson Mandela achieved victory not through militancy but by winning the hearts and minds of his perceived protractors. Mahatma Gandhi had faults. Scrutiny of some of his writings does reveal that even a person as accomplished, disciplined and apparently broad minded as he was can fall into the trap of conventionalism that finds it fashionable to harbour racist and discriminatory attitudes to those they believe are their lessors be it by race, caste, ethnicity or class. It is dangerous pitfall to say and believe you love everyone except Jews or Blacks or Asians and so on. To this day people and institutions continue to fall into this trap. It is this kind of emotive pitfall of conventionalism where even respectable people and institutions practice discrimination like a fad that needs to be avoided. We have learned enough about Gandhi to know that he would certainly have retracted many of the inappropriate comments he made in order to rise above them and we ourselves should not stoop so low as to believe nothing can be learned from his legacy or that his attitudes could not change. Similarly, Hamas and the Palestinian authority need to avoid conventional attitudes, strategically rise above themselves and learn to genuinely win the hearts and minds of Israel and the Jewish nation as in doing so they will inadvertently win over the hearts and minds of the international community. Palestine cannot allow itself to view Israel as its “enemy” and must understand this genuinely; in the same way Nelson Mandela did not allow himself to view the Whites in South Africa as his enemy. The enemy for Nelson was Apartheid, not White people. In doing this he liberated his people. He was smart and intuitive enough to make this distinction and consequently played a key role in leading his people to liberty. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority need to do the same with Israel. When two children run to their mother to complain about how the other is being abusive, their mother cannot indiscriminately side with one child against the other. Similarly the UN often finds it difficult to solve this protracted conflict. Israel and Palestine can live side by side as political states in peace and prosperity, but  it is Hamas and the Palestinian Authority that need to reassess their PR to develop a charm offensive, not one pushed indirectly through the UN, but directly at Israel and the Jewish people; to genuinely win their hearts and minds. If Hamas and the Palestinian Authority do this they will discover peace and prosperity that will be permanent and eventually most of their demands will be handed over willingly by Israel. The strong wind like an aggressor or Jihadi will make a man cling ever more strongly to his jacket, while the strong sun with its PR will make him take it off gladly, so says Aesop. Israel also needs to begin to support making economic independence in Palestine and the Gaza strip a reality; as long these territories cannot fend for themselves they must look for a benefactor. If that benefactor continues to desire aggression then the rockets being fired into Israel will never cease. Israel therefore has to prioritize the economic growth, development and economic emancipation of these territories allowing the two states to one day cooperate economically. This mutual economic coexistence is fundamental for long term peace since it reduces any negative external interference in the regions peace and prosperity. As neighbors and regional custodians of Jerusalem there are innumerable ways Israel and Palestine can work together economically, religiously and politically without either nation losing its strong identity. However, to get there they need a whole new approach, a new mind-set, a new way of thinking, new trust, new strategy and to be genuine in what they seek. A Palestine in continual conflict with Israel does not help the Arab or Islamic world gain influence in the region or further its interests, neither does it help the international community find peace.

Jerusalem is the birthplace of Christ. Christ is an important prophet of Islam. He is also of Jewish descent. By 2020 there are expected to be 2.6 billion Christians in the world, each one of them longing for the opportunity to peacefully and safely see the birthplace of Jesus. Israel and Palestine are geographical custodians of this treasure of Christianity, and it is not by chance. PR requires that the beliefs of others be tolerated, respected and understood for what they mean to those who have made a choice to walk the path they are on. God is love, and tolerance is one of the greatest expressions of this emotion any individual, organization and government can espouse; Israel, Palestine and Hamas are no exception. The conflict and misery you bring about is by your own hand, your own limited way of thinking, your own intolerance, your own inability to sit at the table with your perceived enemy and see that between you, you have in your possession one of the most coveted gifts, an invaluable boon for tourism more lucrative than oil, gas, gold and silver, a geographical asset many nations have not been blessed to have custody of. By allowing others to take the road their faith has taken them on any religion, organization or government is inadvertently winning hearts and minds to itself. Leaders with insight will know this. Palestine today should be one of the wealthiest states in the Middle East, its citizens should be enjoying a standard of living equal and even better than that enjoyed in Switzerland, better even than that enjoyed by residents of Dubai. Their lives should this very day even as you read these words be the envy of the world. This wealth has already been placed in your hands. The same peace, wealth and prosperity would be enjoyed by Israelis today. But you yourselves first have to open your eyes and learn to see that two wrongs do not make a right.