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  • Writer's pictureStephen Osieyo


Updated: Jun 4, 2021

LUO INTERMITTENT FASTING- The Impetus to Luo naked Photos

There are so many online Kenyan based historical sites on the internet. It’s almost like everybody has one going for himself a historical site displaying various photographs from 1900. For the first time Kenyans are not really looking for fast cash but pure interest in the history. All these historical sites have one thing in common a regurgitation of photographs of poorly clothed Luo women as signature to validate that they are surely historical. Why this is so I am not sure. Worse still I don’t think they are aware of what they are doing to the black race a s a whole.

Luo women were not the only women in skimpy attire or naked at the turn of 1900 in East Africa but Luo women had a disproportionate number of Photographs taken by the white man which are now being retrieved and posted by armchair historians as down memory lane. And it is not that the Luo woman was a permissive group, like say the south of the continent where the first mixed race was born exactly 15,120 minutes after the first European ships docked. Indeed as late as 1970 a Luo woman who erred out of the boundary was a pariah.

At Ukwala there was a princess who ventured with Tribal Police (TP) constable nicknamed "Nylon". When Nylon was transferred away and left the princes behind, the people of Ugenya and eventually the whole of Luo refused to take her back because her reputation always preceded her as the permissive one. All these marriageable Luo clans, were not interested in taking the princess rebound of a jamwa! I will ask my cousin Tom Omuga which area of kenya the TP constable hailed from.

So what was the white men’s infatuation with the body of the Luo woman as evidently it was not sexual? The white man sowed his seeds along the way as they came along and in the process littering the landscape with whitelets but not with the much coveted Luo women. I think Dr David Livingstone had the answer waiting all along.

Dr David Livingstone the geographer missionary from the UK himself had Livingstone-lets and was a real fan of the mahogany that he had a special prayer after every night. “Grant thee, the strength to love more”

Dr David Livingstone’s journals also talked of an irate princes who owned him as a play thing but would belittle him on one of those occasions with a not so flattery to his prowess. And it is Dr David Livingstone that we get the first signs that the white man was seeing something else other than the body. Dr David Livingstone opposition to slave trade in his journals was based on the simple scientific or geographical fact that disturbing the migration pattern will lead these people away from a life they have adopted for hundreds of years to a new landscape with dire consequences. They will perish in this new landscape without being poisoned. It is more destructive than a virus because it is not seen and the destruction becomes normal as new ailments like, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, stroke, heart failure, mental challenges etc. creep in to reduce the capacity to produce food by even mundane matters such as shorter lifespan.

Needless to Dr Livingstone's warning letters to Britain, seeking their further assistance were waylaid and hidden until about 20 years ago when they were found and made into journals. So what was this healthy way of life that the likes of Dr David Livingstone saw and so much admired?


Once again a habitant determines a way of life. The Luo chores was very much affected by the scorching unbearable heat and their two harvesting seasons marked by rain and not temperature.

The rainy season was the most productive as tending for crops gave the community a chance for a good harvest. After the harvest (keyo) there was a short period of dry season. This was the equivalent of European summer activities when people could hold all those ceremonies and overindulge in beverages. Then as the community approaches the short season and farming preparations takes over, the ceremonies, festivities and beverages overindulgence peter out almost to a full stop unless there are the usual ones like new-born arrival, funeral or marriage. The variety of the activity of the season easily toned the body from the upper body to the lower body. It was almost like the programme sheet issued by a personal trainer or a football coach.

However there was one perennial daily chore that covered the whole season just like warming up before a gym exercise. The Luo daily activity was always the same from home to home. It was applied even on the barbarian on home coming from the raids.


The Luo day began at dawn (0500 Hrs). The men would lead the way to the farms to harvest or till the land. The women would follow after preparing the young but normally they would go together with their spouses or household. In routine judging by the cock crow and other activities they all knew when to get up and head for the morning activities.

As the day gets warmer in some places they stopped at about 1100Hrs and shifted their attention to the next stage of activities. The men would come and release the cattle for herding while the women usually passed by the river to fetch water for domestic use then head home for catering chores. This meant that it will 1300Hrs or so when the meals are ready except for the lactating mothers.

For the rest of the day various activities came in and I do not want to wade into them . Because of fading light all homesteads had supper before it gets dark which was about 1800hrs. Yes I remember the calling of young ones to dinner ringing like the Islamic call to prayer. “Odhiambooooooooo, Odhiamboooe. Bi ichiem”. Sometimes accompanied with banter like, “ng’iel wiyi ka mag jo dalau ibi ichiem”

All the kids knew such a call meant they stop whatever games kids were involved in to go for supper. And supper was over by 1900Hrs latest. It was a routine

So after 1900 hours there was no eating even for later comers like min-anyunja. Only cows would be regurgitating kambula in the kul or dwol. A sneeze here or there by the ram or ewe could land the thick mucous on you. One or two suckling heifers with the loud sound of pouring urine but the business of eating is over at 1800Hrs.

Maybe story telling in siwindhe as a desert while the young garrison at Simba entertain jo wuowo. But eating was over at 1800hrs

The order of the night was the grandfathers would have the early wink between 2000Hrs and 2400Hrs; and would then be awake for the whole night. The fathers had a first order to be intimate up from 2200Hrs to first cockcrow. After the fathers the married sons are now allowed to be intimate from about 2400Hrs to 3rd cockcrow. In effect there was 24 hour vigilance over the homestead but no more eating in whatever form since the 1800Hrs of last evening


From the foregoing paragraph the habits of the habitat imposed intermittent fasting on the Luo community that had a typical 18 hour fasting as compared to the English 10 hour fasting between 2000Hrs and 0800Hrs. In Luo homestead it was so unethical to eat between their fasting period that at the age of 8, we were dreaded that your wife will trick you with delicacies by the fire side of the house to bewitch you or give you love portion to overpower you. Another threat was that a wife concealing her nocturnal wizardry from her clan will use this chance to drip feed you and convert you into night running. This one I witnessed when my lovingly neighbourly village mates became nocturnal night runners against their generational clan habits. Luckily my sister Pam secured a job at Riley security in Nairobi and employed all of them there- Strategic management comes easily to nyager Oloro

The English or European Nil-by-mouth hardly lasted 2 hours before its interrupted, by a chocolate here, coffee there, tea, chewing gum and anything that does not involve heavy preparation but easily available. Incredibly the Europeans also disown the 3 day meal and the English also disown the 2 hour eating pattern as something that came from the army to entice military service and feed the malnourished military personnel respectively. And true even In Kenya the military is associated with subsidised supplies of food and alcohol and nothing else.

Remarkably the Luo Nil-by-mouth began at 1900Hrs and ended at 1200Hrs the next day. You do the maths. And when I say Luo Nil-by-mouth I mean exactly that. Read my lips. It is “NIL-BY-MOUTH. Nothing touched your lips unless it is manyasi. And no manyasi was administered at night unless it was for evil design.


The Luos should have at patented Intermittent Fasting (IF) before taking those photographs with wazungu because it is what wazungus have copied and circulated all over the world. If they knew about IF why the proliferation of fitness gymnasium, zumbas and aerobics that that threatened to make mache (mother in laws) commit abomination by stripping naked in Nairobi gyms. Why the NGOS lies. I say lies because as late as 1990 I worked for an NGO that was being funded by Europeans and North Americans to train Karachuonyo women how to cook fish and aloth mar boo. And in those quack arm chair recipes used to siphon NGO cash incredibly, for 20 kilos of cooking fat they bought 20 kilos of meat. I know I used to go through the receipts. My point is that they did not know about hundreds of years old Luo Intermittent Fasting.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

They now write that 'IF one of the world’s most popular health and finest trends is currently. That people are now using it to lose weight, improve their health and simplify their lifestyle'. And what is more, that 'it can have powerful effects on your body and brain and may even help you live longer'. Excuse me. Is this new to the Luo community from 1200AD to date.

As described in the Luo daily cycle above, IF is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It is not a diet. It does not restrict the food you eat and you can literally eat anything you want the way Luos used to eat for hundreds of years. It does not specify which foods you eat, whether sembe rombo, agoko, muok, sundu gweno, mor nyaluo, ludh bor, mudhehe, omuot muot.

Fashionable IT methods involve daily 16-hour fasts for 24 hours but only twice a week. The much desired Luo men and women had 18 hour fasts daily for 365 days a year. And during the fashionable fasting periods you either eat very little or nothing at all. As for Luos IF one ate NIL-BY-MOUTH, lest you be labelled randanda, ra mluma, jawuoro, ra horo.

The Luos knew that by reducing your calorie intake IF would tone your body as long as you don’t compensate by hadho (over eating) during the eating periods.

Now you know why wuoro is an insult among the Luos.

Trendy or fashionable IF are as follows:

· Lengains protocol (16/8): It involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours such as 1300Htrs to 2300Hrs. Then you fast for only 16 hrs. It is the closest to the original and authentic and ancient Luo IF.

· Eat- Stop- Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day. It is similar to the one favoured by Luo community on the 3rd stage of Luo 4 part wedding and commonly used by herbalists to purify the body of a patient or women on “ong’ora seclusion” to speed up conception.

· The 5-2 diet: This is not as modern as it sounds. The way it is described is that you consume only 500-600 calories on two non- consecutive days of the week but eat normally the other 5 days. It’s a rogue variation of the Luo prescription IF. It was used to build certain deficiency in a body. For example a person who has suffered “sihoho” attack would be limited to eating only alodh boo or alodh akeyo for a period. For lactating mothers certain diets would be removed. For example a woman who has just given birth is denied fish.


The only known disadvantage of IF is hunger which you get used to in less than 24 hours hence the old age Luo saying itweyo iyi ka miaha mani e simba. So why did we abandon our IF and go by the foreign cycle of eating every two hours? And now a woman cannot even make her own bed and will leave it for the house maid while she rushes to the gym. I don’t know? And where did binge drinking come from when not long ago men used to drink only during keyo (harvest) and occasional ceremony? Or is the the western one for the road?

There are countless oral literature on the heroics of the Luos as a very brave community with a readiness to battle despite longer hours and days of IF. Otherwise how have they managed to maraud all over Africa using their big girth?

On a personal level I am told of ancestral grandmother Abiero of Boro Nango. I think Nango is just a place and not Nonde. Abiero was attacked by a crocodile on the banks of the River Nzoia around Masiro. Abiero wrestled reptiles fatal tactics of being submerged for minutes until you drown; the legendry crocodile death-rolls and came out alive. My mother used to recite to me the legends of Abiero. The Kager will also tell you of legends of the aunties during the slave trade excursions from the notorious slave trader from Wanga. And even to date we have a 90 year old man Ogoye jakadero ni ngau. Ogoye is unmarried as far back as I can remember and no Luo man goes to the kitchen easily. Ogoye drinks chang’aa lives a happy go lucky life. But Ogoye is healthier than me in one meal a day and two at most like the traditional Luos.

My friend doctari tells me that hypertension is a very recent thing in Luo land. Maybe the absence of IF is causing havoc just like Dr Livingstone prophesized. No wonder exercise crazy President Moi swatted aside his son Gideon's doctors warning with comical words, "ume ona doctori hapa"

Like Dr David Livingstone preached, we will lose more than we gain with this civilization and modernity.



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