NATIONAL Nutrition Month (NNM), which falls every July in the Philippines, is protected by a Presidential Decree. Known as the Nutrition Act of the Philippines, PD 491 seeks to create better awareness among Filipino citizens, of the value and importance of good nutrition.
In simple terms, good nutrition is eating food that meets the dietary requirements of the body. In addition, it has to be a balance that is combined with another mantra: regular exercise.
My nephew Pannon interpreted this a good balance between cheesecake (“It has cheese, Uncle”) and sweet chocolate shake (“It has milk, too”).
We cannot play with words when it comes to good nutrition, which is essential to good health. But we can play around with food by combining vegetables with bits of meat or using a variety of vegetables for one dish.
There are signs of imbalanced nutrition in the body: lack of appetite, unexplained tiredness or fatigue, mouth problems like sores, and diarrhea, among others.
Junk food is mentioned in many schools during NNM. Simply put, junk food is something that has more bad things in it than good, or the good is outweighed by the bad.
Vitamin B is a readily available source of good nutrition. It is found in dark leafy vegetables, meat including poultry and fish, whole grains, eggs, milk, dairy products, legumes, seeds and nuts, and fruits.
Mung beans are known in the Philippines as the “poor man’s beef or meat” because it is a cheap source of B-complex and protein. Actually, all legumes—garbanzo, lima, split pea, mung, fava, black-eyed, white, black, red, kidney—are created equal and are high sources of protein.
When I was a kid, I loathed monggo (mung) soup because of its unappetizing brown color. However, my Aunt Tita Blitte convinced my stomach when she beefed up the soup with fork-tender pork knuckles.
My nephew Pannon noted: “Uncle, ‘beef up with pork’ sounds funny.”
I was not laughing when I tried the “knuckled up” monggo. It was delicious. There were times she added kamunggay leaves or a combination of kamunggay, squash and string beans to increase the food value of the dish.
One invention I still like is my aunt’s monggo burger: Drained, boiled monggo mixed with a bit of flour, shredded carrot or squash, minced green onion, grated garlic, salt to taste and white pepper. The patties are fried in little oil and served with homemade tomato dip.
May we all dip into good nutrition beyond July.