Sickle cell anaemia is a severe hereditary disease, mainly affecting people of African origin. It is a health condition where the red blood cells are crescent in shape, causing the cells to become stuck in the capillaries. However, due to the crisis and other compilations that come with sickle cell disease, the role food plays cannot be overlooked as it helps in nourishing the body system which aids optimal health and wellness.
‘The Healthy Warrior’s Cookbook‘ is a cookbook bridging this gap, giving food or meal inspiration not to the ‘healthy warriors’ alone but, to all and sundry. It is a cookbook compiled by Sickle Cell and Blood Health Advocate, Bùkọ́lá Bolarinwa, with a major contribution from renowned food experts like Ozoz Sokoh, Natachi Ugbajah, Tobi Smith, Zuhra Abdullahi, Jenica Leah, and Sickle Cell Aid Foundation Nigeria (scafnigeria)
In this interview, Bùkọ́lá Bolarinwa who compiled ‘The Healthy Warrior’s Cookbook‘ speak to My Cookery Zone on how the cookbook came to being, how the cookbook is an inspiration to everyone and how it is bridging the gap in improving the nutrition of people living with sickle cell disease.
What inspired “The Healthy Warriors Cookbook”. Also, who are the warriors?
We refer to people living with sickle cell disease (SCD) as sickle cell warriors or warriors for short. I was inspired to write the book by experience living with SCD and my work with the Sickle Cell Aid Foundation (SCAF) where we support warriors. I noticed that a lot of people do not understand the important role food and nutrition play in improving their health. In particular, parents were concerned with giving their children the right foods that can support their growth and recoveries.
When did the project of creating The Healthy Warriors Cookbook start?
It began in 2017 when I came up with the idea and put out the call for contributors. We planned to launch in 2020 but the pandemic stalled our plans.
The Healthy Warriors Cookbook is said to be “bridging the gap” what makes it bridge the gap?
The cookbook is the first one to be filled with healthy recipes that specially includes foods to improve nutrition for people living with SCD. It is filled with tasty, easy, quick and affordable foods to show that eating well is not boring or expensive. In addition, the recipes can be enjoyed by anyone who wants new ideas for nutrient dense meals.
You compiled the recipes for the cookbook. What can you say about the collating process?
It was interesting and demanding-I did not realise how much work goes into writing a book. I have to commend all the amazing cooks that contributed recipes because they made deciding which ones to include challenging!
Since you spearheaded the compilation of the cookbook. Who were the major contributors?
The contributors are:
Ozoz Sokoh @kitchenbutterfly
Natachi Ugbajah @healthynhealthy
Tobi Smith @thetobismith
Zuhra Abdullahi @xuhsworld
Jenica Leah @justjleah
Sickle Cell Aid Foundation @scafnigeria
On August 31st there was a physical launch of “The Healthy Warriors Cookbook” can the cookbook be equally used by everyone or are there specific?
The book can be used by anyone who wants to learn how to cook and eat better. At the launch we had a cook who demonstrated how to prepare some of the recipes. It was really enlightening for the audience as people often eat the same few things all the time.
What are some of the inspiring recipes in the cookbook also, are they African-oriented or foreign-oriented recipes?
The recipes are largely African inspired and infuse familiar flavours with a variety of ingredients outside of the main things we eat. For example, our main carbohydrates in Nigeria are rice, yam and cassava. We have recipes that include couscous, bulger wheat, quinoa, sweet potato and acha. For vegetables, there are recipes with garden egg, ugwu, kidney beans and melon seeds. We also encourage you to make regular recipes like jollof rice interesting by adding new vegetables and adding apples to regular stews.
Every recipe comes with a cooking style or technique — are the techniques and recipes in The Healthy Warrior’s Cookbook one that home cooks can easily get to cook?
Definitely. The recipes target amateur cooks and there is no experience needed to make them.
In general, what has been the reaction of the public to the cookbook?
The reaction has been amazing! There has definitely been a lack of focus on the important role food and nutrition play in improving health. People are also tired of making the same food all the time and need recipes that are easy and cheap.
How accessible and affordable is The Healthy Warrior’s Cookbook?
Accessibility and affordability were two of our biggest considerations when compiling the recipes. Most ingredients are available in any market and there are no expensive utensils or gadgets needed. Because most of the recipes are easy and quick, they encourage you to cook more often instead of eating out.
To get a copy of The Healthy Warrior’s Cookbook send a DM to Sickle Cell Aid Foundation Nigeria @scafnigeria or call 08099991834 to order your copy at N3000.
You can also make your purchase at any of the stores below:
– Jed Mega Stores, The Palm Stores, Lekki
– Quintessence Nig LTD Park View, Ikoyi
– Glendora Bookshop
– Mega Plaza Idowu Martins Street Adeola Odeku
– Parresia Bookstores Ibilola House Allen Avenue
– Ouida Bookstores 3 Oba dosunmu street Ikeja GRA Lagos