Palmes-Dennis: Eating veggies for healthy living

I WATCHED the movie “Forks over Knives” not once but many times and seeing it caused me to miss my childhood when everything my siblings and I ate were vegetables.

I came to know that movie from former Cagayan de Oro City Vice-Mayor Michelle Tagarda-Spiers who is now based in the United Kingdom. We met online one afternoon and she asked me about my condition. Our conversation was about a vegetable-centered diet and I am grateful about the information she shared especially since I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer four months ago and right now I am undergoing chemo treatment.

“Forks over Knives” was about researchers exploring the possibility of people changing their diets from animal-based to plant based in order to eliminate or control diseases like cancer and diabetes. There is a claim that most if not all of the degenerative diseases that afflict human beings can be controlled or reversed by changing our present menu of animal-based and processed food and eating only vegetables.

My regret is that my primary source of protein is fish which I eat most of the time is under this movie not a plant. I particularly love it when the fish is cooked with malunggay (moringa leaves), petchay (Chinese cabbage) or spinach with a lot of ginger and other spices.

Anyway, Vice-Mayor Michelle also compared for me the nutrient composition of the plant and animal-based foods based on the book “The China Study.” And no surprise there, the book showed that a plant-based diet is superior to an animal-based protein diet.

She said the movie and book only showed how wrong and misled we were into thinking that we can only get protein from animals. And if I may add, the notion that vegetables are only for the poor who couldn't afford to buy meat, dairy and fish is wrong.

In fact, the poor and those whose budgets afford them only plant-based food don't realize just how lucky they are because they are eating right.

The conversation with Vice Mayor Michelle really made me recall all the food prepared by my Nanay (mother) back in the day which were mostly vegetables. It is also surprising to recall that during those times the only ailments that afflicted me back then were the flu and indigestion and sometimes asthma.

Back then we never heard about cancer or diabetes. Maybe it was not popular then. Maybe because there is truth to the claim that food is one of the reasons why we are sick in addition of course to other stressors in life.

Before I started with the chemotherapy in the second week of October last year, I started my own diet of mostly vegetables with zero dairy products. I also added turmeric, ginger and fresh fruit. But I long for abana or guyabano which is available only in powder form here in the US.

During the chemo the bad taste left by the food made me not want to eat but I forced myself to eat just to keep my energy. Mostly I eat rice and banana and later I ate vegetables and soup. My sweet tooth is gone. I lost interest in cakes and pastries except last New Year when I tasted one slice of cake.

I am still in the middle of my journey but I promised myself that after all these treatments I would go back to the food that I grew up with.

Eating healthy food is crucial and the healthy food that I know is the food of my childhood. I have been out from this corner ever since I was diagnosed last September 14.

I am grateful that I am done with the aggressive chemo sessions. Now I'm glad I am back to using my brain and hopefully, I won't be tired writing about the events, incidents and happenings here in in the US and in the Philippines.

I welcome myself back to Straight from the Carolinas and I greet my readers a belated Happy New Year.


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