Bless the greens and the children-A A +A
Saturday, August 4, 2012
“FRUITS and vegetables, /fruits and vegetables /make us grow / healthy and strong….”
So goes the line from a song of the nursery and kinder pupils of Faith Christian School. The song has become one tag line and some sort of memory verse for the young tots as they bring along their ampalaya, avocado, cabbage, eggplant, radish and all other sorts of leaves, stems and tubers on stage to celebrate the academically mandated Nutrition Month.
With the theme “Pagkain ng gulay ugaliin, araw-araw ito’y ihain,” the main thrust of this yearly celebration is to advocate the daily preparation and consumption of good, healthy and nutritious food, especially vegetables.
But the rub is: how many households heed the call? Or put blankly on the face: how many children prefer to eat the green, leafy veggies and fresh fruits over the alluring and tempting fried chicken, hotdog or salami and sugar-coated, chocolate-filled cake?
One of my friends reasoned out that the frozen meat products are the easiest stuff to prepare. Another one claimed that cooking veggies are time-consuming menus. Another one articulated that veggies even cost more than the ready-to-cook meat products. While the fourth essayed a litany of statements too petty to be mentioned.
So with all these arguments, how then can the veggie and fresh fruit eating advocacy run true in most households, and for most children, whom we all claim to be the hope of our country?
One true thing most of us would agree on is the longer life span of most of our elders who once thrived on having camote and kangkong tops or malunggay leaves on their diet. They did not have plenty of the luxury that is the grease of fried food, the salt of canned stuff, and the sweet of white sugar, but they did not have much complaints of high uric acid, great lipid count, or an excessive sugar tally in their bodies.
Our elders may have been part of the ones labeled as “Filipinos who eat grass,” but records showed that most of them have even reached the nonagenarian or the record high centurial levels. And on a more logical note, we are not the only ones who “eat grass.”
Look at our other Asian neighbors: the Japanese, the Chinese, the Vietnamese; the Cambodians. Having visited their countries and seeing their lifestyle, tell us that their life spans are longer because of their traditional diet of herbs, raw and leafy vegetables, and fresh fruits. Add to this, their sticking it out to their hardworking and frugal ways and the result are lean-and flat-bellied, wiser men and women.
I remember significant lines of the old “Bahay Kubo” which our mom used to sing for us ”Ang halaman doon ay sari-sari: singkamas at talong, siguedilas at mani, sitaw, bataw, patani. Kundol, patola, upo’t kalabasa, at saka mayroon pang rabanos, mustasa, sibuyas, kamatis, bawang at luya, at sa paligid nito’y puro na linga.” So to ask: is there a little garden in our back yard, or front yard, which can provide us good healthy food?
Well, my treatise is just simple: if we all have become so conscious of our diet and prefer to eat healthy food and follow a better lifestyle, then probably we can just go back to the basics: the greens, the yellows, the oranges, and the reds.
Our veggies and fruits need not be expensive. And look, there are so many of them abound around us: the malunggay, as number one on the list, can just be grown in our yard. This can be followed by camote, kangkong and alogbate.
Well, the squash, mangoes and the pineapples for the yellows are also affordable, and come in most season of the year. If our yard permits, we can also grow these ones. The oranges like the carrots we can also grow on black bags and eat them raw and crunchy (and really, for those who are on a diet, nibbling this is something you should welcome with open arms).
And the reds: well, we may not be able to grow apples here but we can raise red tomatoes and have them on our table every time we eat.
So before we go for the picking, we better start first with the belief that we need to eat veggies and fruits for better living. And the belief will turn into action. Not just during the celebration of Nutrition Month, but every day of the years of our lives. So if eating is a lifestyle, then please join me for my advocacy for a better choice.
Choose the greens, not only for yourself, but also for your, and other, children. Bless them. (Mimi Olorga)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 05, 2012.