Terry and I go way back, our lives have always revolved around the same circles since our early 20s. We recently rekindled our friendship while standing in the Junction Mall catching up on our newly found roles as wives and mothers. It was refreshing to reconnect in our new spaceI mi in life.
Since then I’ve been watching Terry grow and flourish on Social Media. I noted the growth of her twin babies with joy and watched her get her body, back into shape with awe. So when I saw that she was launching a smoothie book, with a Kenyan twist, I knew we had to have this story for you – our readers.
Without further ado, I introduce to you Teresa Ndunge Nzomo-Otega a.k.a ‘Terry’ a.k.a ‘Mama Twins’ the author of the recently launched Kenyan Smoothie Recipes.
What inspired the idea for the book?
The book is tied up in two very personal stories: The first dates back to me as a teenager struggling with obesity until the age of 22. I knew nothing about nutrition or working out. There were no books to guide me nor was there anyone to hold my hand as I struggled with low self-esteem, depression and self-hate. I remember weighing as much as 88kgs for my small frame.
I remember reading about runners in a copy of O Magazine, South Africa. Thereafter I decided to use running as my fitness tool after high school. I fumbled along, adding the weight back because no one taught me about calorie intake control versus calorie output. My sojourn in France, where I worked as an Au Pair, was the wake up call I needed. I was forced to shop in the maternity section of shops because there were no average sized clothes to fit me. In the winter of 2005, I made a decision to work on my body and if nothing changed I would make peace with my body and learn to love and accept me as I was.
By the 3rd month of running, I could go for 40 minutes to 1hour without feeling like I was about to die. By the 6th month, I could do anything between 21 to 30kms a day. It was therapeutic. As the kilos came off, my invisible wounds started to heal. I purged buried issues that got me obese in the first place. By the time summer came around I had attained my physical goals and had the body of my dreams.
During that journey, my passion for health and wellness of mind, body and spirit was born. I researched on foods and workout routines that would help me maintain my new health self. I desired to hold somebody else’s hand so that they wouldn’t fumble as much as I did; and I knew I wanted to contribute in this field of health and wellness.
The other reason why was inspired to create this book was my children’s health. I have 3-year-old twins, a boy & a girl. We kept checking into the hospital because of infections that would quickly degenerate to asthma. We were on inhalers and out of fatigue and frustration. I once told the doctor I didn’t want to see him in a long while, as I was tired, frustrated and exhausted with the hospital visits. He told me to eliminate all dairy and artificial sugar products from my children’s diet and advised me to get creative with what I fed them. I was at a loss, but for my children I had to think of something.
Early in this year I went on a juicing journey. In the process I decided to make the juices more filling to replace meals. I stared using local ingredients that are available in their raw form without overspending and overthinking. I tried my experiments on my kids, neighbors and friends but would forget what I mixed. Then I started writing them down. Long story long, that’s how the Kenyan Smoothie Recipe book by Mama Twins was born.
You mentioned having 4 base ingredients per smoothie, why is this so?
My Smoothies are formed from four base ingredients, which are Managu (Local Greens), Nduma (Arrowroots), Ngwaci (Sweet Potatoes) and Boga/Malenge (Butternut). I decided to keep them at a minimum of four, so as to K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid) it! My goal was to make them uncomplicated for busy Parents & guardians on the run. By ensuring that the ingredients are simple, affordable, local and readily available, you can get your family satisfied and healthy while at it.
How did your children and husband take to the initial smoothie trials?
I got my husband to drink in front of them so that they could see we were all in it; that it was a family affair. Then I gave it to the children in clear mason jars with straws that made the whole experience fun. They loved all the colorful ones and by Day 3 they were 100% sold on the Managu smoothies.
What would you advise someone who would love to live a healthy food lifestyle but some how doesn’t have time to shop for ingredients and put the smoothies together.
I would advise them to think 1:1:10. It’s a reminder for them to just spend 1 hour once a week to shop for ingredients worth 10 days.
Go to the local market and get ingredients that are readily available and affordable. The fact that you’re consciously getting to directly impact yours & your family’s health will be all the motivation you need.
How was your launch event? How did you prepare for it? What would you change and what would you keep the same?
My launch was incredibly successful. I quickly learned that Kenyans are amazingly receptive. As long as you have a valuable product, people will come out to support you.
I was well aware that I am a start-up; I set out to do everything on my own. I got into action as quickly as possible before fear and self-doubt took over. Before I knew it I was so deep in it and the only way to go was forward. I did it afraid. For every step forward I decided to leave with a lesson.
However, I got the help of amazing entrepreneur friends who advised and ran with ideas when I was clueless. I involved family and friends who contributed immensely. They used their gifts, networks and time to help me. Family and friends was a reminder that God sends angels, just without wings
In retrospect, the entire journey was a learning experience and I’m thankful for every learning curve.
How do you hope this book affects Kenyan eating lifestyles?
Health is everything. When Health is lost, all is lost! I want the topic of health to be an ingrained Kenyan family affair. As a parent I want to watch my kids grow. I need them and they need me. Health can be fun, available and affordable; please don’t complicate it.
Where can one buy the book? Do you plan to do a book tour? Where and when?
For book orders and delivery please call 0740 410 529 on Mondays to Saturdays from 9:00am-4:00pm. At the moment deliveries within Nairobi CBD and its environs are being done at a cost.
I’ll also be hosting corporate organization health awareness tours. The books will be available during the talks.
Finally, the books will be available in retail outlets near you. Be on the look out!
Are there more books in the pipeline?
Yes! There is a book in the pipeline on issues that get you unhealthy in the first place. Issues that make you struggle with obesity, anorexia and even bulimia.
Can we expect to see you on YouTube giving us more healthy recipes to live on?
I will definitely be on YouTube having conversations that will guide families to start living healthy.
How can people get to know more about what you are up to?
Kindly follow my stories and updates on my blog www.mamatwinsblog.wordpress.com