“Communicating hope and trust in our time.”

- Pope Francis

Nutrition call… for life!

Sarah Mabansag Puno

By Sarah Mabansag Puno

It is said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Thus, if you want your partner to retire from life early, serve him lechon everyday (joke only please). But if you want him for life, serve him ‘gulay para mahaba ang buhay’.

Many families are financially drained and orphaned early because of cancer, stroke, diabetes, heart disease and other non communicable diseases. The culprit, non healthy diet and toxic lifestyle.

What then is a healthy diet?

My paternal grandfather died at the age of 106. He seldom ate rice; only when harvest was plentiful. He gave priority to his wife and thirteen children. His staple food was ‘palawan’ or taro root and other root crops partnered with fish and other sea foods and of course fruits and vegetables from their backyard. He and his family rarely ate meat, just during fiestas and very special occasions. They cook food with no MSG or monosodium glutamate or vetsin, no Magic sarap, (not yet heard during their time), just tanglad, libas, luya or ginger, dulaw or turmeric, batwan, tomato, sibuyas, sebelyeno or spring onion, herbs and salt. Of this family, my grandmother died at the age of 80 and the youngest age of the thirteen children died at 60 because of vehicular accident. The oldest died at the age of 96 and two are still alive, both in their eighties.

But what a change! In my time as a young girl, I often would hear from grown ups’ comments “wow sarap! Kariko!” when neighbor’s basket from the market was loaded with meat, but when the basket was just with kamote tops or kangkong and fish or shellfish or ‘puruton’ “Ay ayaay ! kapobre!” Homes with cupboards filled with canned goods were envied by neighbors, that others would have empty cans for display.

In school pupils and students with softdrinks and cakes were ‘sikat’ and those bringing kamote and other root crops with plain water for baon were ‘kawawa’, poor.

In the seventies, when I was in college, junk food and softdrink replaced my peanuts and water as my companion while studying and also true with my boardmates. The aftermath of our indulgence, many of us had UTI, I for one had a kidney stone.

Now we are flooded with processed and instant foods with additives, preservatives, artificial coloring and flavorings, causing artificial health–fat but sick!

Good at last we have realized, come to our senses that we have to change. To educate our tastebuds, our dining tables, our homes, schools and offices and have self-discipline because too much meat is not wow! Softdrinks and cakes and other sweets are loaded with sugar that are toxic and so with junk, and processed foods, causing many ailments. Indeed it is time for us to be back to the basic, healthy diet to maintain a healthy life.

Healthy diet is eating healthy food at the right amount as needed by the body. “Healthy diet, gawing habit, for life” says the theme of the Nutrition Month 2017.

Indeed it is a call for life. Healthy diet for a healthy body allows us to answer our call, for every life has a calling, a purpose for life, for life is not just for nothing.

Our body, the temple of the Holy Spirit must be fed with healthy diet for proper nourishment in order to fulfill our life’s purpose: to love our Creator and to love Him is to love also our neighbor. If we are sick or weak, we express love less; to serve Him through our fellowmen. If we are sick or weak, we are less capable of performing well our task for service. At the end of our day, since our earthly life is just a preparation to be happy with Him in heaven our TRUE LIFE, we know that we are ready and have heeded the call.

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