Sira-sira store: Green jugglers-A A +A
By Ober Khok
Friday, September 6, 2013
HEALTH used to be a subject in the elementary school, my uncle Gustav told me. It used to be fused with science, but somewhere along the history of Philippine education, health got separated from science.
I rummaged through my nephew Pannon’s school bag to check what the subject is now called. And I stopped wondering why his generation is as bad as my generation when it comes to health or appreciating art.
Health now cohabits with three other entities in a subject that’s called Mapeh or music, arts, physical education and health. Strange bedfellows indeed.
Uncle said that students were taught how to master the art of green juggling, which refers to the food triangle and how to balance the meat group, the grain and dairy items with the vegetable matters.
Students became bad jugglers of healthy food because the call of the meat was too strong. Out went the greens and the grains and the cheeses, to be replaced with pizza, ham, pork sausage and hamburgers.
As a grown-up kid—my aunt, Tita Blitte, says I am eternally in my late teens—I know how difficult it is to be at the center of the Health Circus in which I am threatened by the lions of hypertension, the tigers of diabetes and the elephants of arthritis as I run through my act as the The Amazing Green Juggler. Amazing because thus far the beasts of illness have not yet pounced on me to end my happy days eating everything that has too much fat and salt in it.
I know a man, a stroke survivor as it is euphemistically put, who said it was difficult adjusting to bland food controlled by vegetables and fish.
“I miss the good old days of wanton feasting on pork and dessert. My life is really
longer now—one day seems like 48 hours when you have to watch your diet. I go to a carinderia, open a covered tray of newly fried breaded pork chop but end up with the dried-up fried fish.”
“What kind of like is that?” I asked him.
“It’s a kind of hard labor since a man struck down by disease has to really work hard just to live up to the high 70s. It’s a daily struggle between evil, chewy brownie topped with ice cream, and chewy carrots topped with tofu.
“Obeying my taste buds brought me to where I am now, but like good love lost, I can smile and say I know what it’s like to be in Food Heaven.”
“So now you’re in Food Hell?”
“Not really. I look at it as Healthy Food Haven.”
Then the man shared with me a list he saved from the Mayo Clinic website. In case you are still juggling bad food as your daily exercise, the list might help you. It’s not a list of food combinations or diet plans but a combination of herbal remedies and healthy food to take daily. Some of the items are familiar but anyway, repetition will make us memorize what is good for us. We can still become masters of green juggling.
Herbal remedies. Garlic is good for colds, although Philippine folk medicine recommends it for hypertension. Cranberry works remarkably well in clearing up urinary tract infection. For digestive problems, chamomile and peppermint can help relieve symptoms.
Ginger, which Pinoys take for their hypertension and colds, can ease morning sickness.
If you want to be mentally active, Mayo Clinic recommends gingko, but for burns you would be better off with aloe.
Top 10 healthy foods. Here is a quick list of the top 10 great health foods, according to Mayo Clinic: apples, almonds, broccoli, blueberry, red beans, salmon, spinach, sweet potato, vegetable juice and wheat germ.
Just smile. They’re all edible.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 07, 2013.