Sunday, 1 July 2018

Corn-fed Chicken and Mental Toughness

I was thinking this morning... about corn-fed chicken and mental toughness. I was at a business lunch recently with guests from Asia, Europe and Nigeria. It was a typical oyinbo lunch laced with 'orishirishi,' but one item on the menu caught the attention of the Nigerians around the table. We were to be served 'corn-fed chicken.' Which one is corn-fed or grass-fed chicken again? I wondered. Why would the chef take the trouble to tell us what the chicken is fed with? It made me reminisce about my early years in Warri.

Back in those days, chicken farming was the most common form of farming. There are two types of chicken, native chicken popularly called fowl (pronounced 'farwoe') and the birds kept in cages, simply referred to as chicken. The fowls were made to fend for themselves by roaming the neighborhood for food. They scavenge in the open and survive on anything and everything in the neighborhood. They eat the few grains of rice and corn that may have fallen from the children portion, but also eat yam, garri and in cases of serious lack, grass. Their chicks (called farwoe-pikin) were at the mercy of hawks popularly called 'ole farwoe.' The 'chicken' on the other hand were raised in cages and are fed with corn, rice grains and some mixture we referred to as 'farwoe food.' Today, chicken are no longer bred that way. Parent stock produces fertilized eggs which in a few weeks grow to become broilers under highly controlled environment. In unregulated economies, the fertilized eggs are injected with hormones or steroids to hasten the growth process and in a few days, they are ready to be eaten.

I have come to realize that what the chicken is fed with determines their resilience and the strength of their meat. The 'farwoes' were resilient, surviving very harsh conditions and disease, and their meat is usually tough to eat. Unlike the chicken of today, you cough around them and they die in thousands and their meat? soft and breaks down with extra heat. No wonder the chef wanted us to know that the chicken we were about to eat was corn-fed and not hormones-enhanced.

It is what you feed yourself with that will determine how resilient you will be. As I thought on this, I remembered our match with Argentina and wondered why our 'oyinbo wall' couldn't hold on for another 10mins max, having done a fantastic job for over 80mins. As they crumbled from the heat of Lionel Messi and Marcos Rojo, I remembered an appeal someone was making on Sports Radio about the importance of a psychologist in the team. Were the boys properly fed in a controlled environment or they were left to mentally feed themselves? What exactly were the boys fed with that made them soft? As I questioned why the boys crumbled under heat, I understood the importance of the phrase 'corn-fed chicken.'

Watch what you feed your body or mind with because it determines your physical and mental resilience. While some will say garbage in, garbage out, 1st Corinthians 3:2 says 'I gave you milk to drink, and not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able.' My prayer is that unlike the Super eagles, you will be fed rightly so you can be resilient enough to overcome the next challenge.
 
Happy Sunday.
 
....Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

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