CEBU

Read before you eat

Sira-sira store

I WAS cleaning my room this week when I found a plastic mega-box full of books. I forgot I had this box at the bottom of my clothes cabinet.

A few years ago, I decided to pack away my books on travel, science, general information, documentaries and other resource materials. With information at the click of the fingertips through the internet, I felt I no longer needed those books.

One book that called my attention was “Safe Food” published in 1991. The pages have turned medium beige in color, or as the phrase goes, “yellow with age.”

My faith and respect on well-documented books was restored. The reports have not yellowed with age. It is still a useful book, especially during times the local internet provider creeps slower than a snail. I would be lucky if my internet connection is fair, but there are days it is dead as a nail.

Enough of that. Let me go back to the book. It has several suggestions on how to handle food safely, how to choose fresh goods and other points that anyone who eats will need to know.

Today, I would like to share some of the useful suggestions found in the book. One of these is reading food labels.

The book did not say anything about expiry dates, so let me emphasize its importance. Check expiry dates, please.

I avoid buying packaged food that has an expiry day one month from the purchase. Maybe it is just me but you can follow my example.

The book’s chapter on food labels has helped me know just how much salt or sugar I am putting into my body when buying a product. You can easily find out what your daily requirement for salt, sugar and oil by checking a reliable site.

According to the book, the ingredients are listed “in descending order according to weight.” A product that lists sugar as the first ingredient means that it contains a lot of the sweet stuff.

Serving size is another thing to check. It varies from product to product. What I do now is divide the serving size into two. For example, I have a favorite oyster sauce brand that comes in sachets. I do not use the whole sachet for additional color and flavor to the food I am cooking.

Food additives are worth checking out. MSG may not be listed as such. The book says other ingredients may also be used, such as hydrolyzed protein, BHA, BHT, phosphates, fructose and glucose (sweeteners), artificial flavors and coloring, among others.

This is all for now. I want to read a real book. I want to go back in time when information was largely found in books. Maybe next week, I will share some of the other secrets this book has kept all because I kept it in the darkness of my clothes cabinet.


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