Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Go for Fresh, Natural, and Locally Produced Food

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

Theme: Live a healthy and long life with fresh, natural food produced in your locality

Saluyot and squash flower are a favorite of Ilocanos,
cooked as diningding (bulanglang Tag), rich in vitamins,
minerals and digestible fiber, free from pesticide residue.

Sinigang na samaral (malaga Ilk) with green pepper,
shallot (multiplier onion) and red ripe tomato.

Arusip or Caulerpa served as is, fresh from the sea,
excellent salad and side dish, with or without tomato,
onion and a dash of salt.

Kalabasang ukoy (squash, shrimp, egg and flour)
home recipe for breakfast and snack

Tupig wrapped with banana leaves (coconut meat anf milk,
glutinous rice and red sugar) cooked on charcoal

Caliente - ox hide softened under low fire, heavily spiced
with onion and pepper. Drinkers' delight (pulotan)

Get fresh, natural, and locally grown food. Lessen your dependence on fast food, processed and preserved food - they are not good to your health and they are generally expensive. The general rule is that, the longer and the more processed a food is, the less nutritious it is, and the more of health-related problems we encounter.

But you have to develop a keen sense - natural sense - in knowing what is fresh, what is safe, what is locally grown and not imported, and the ingredients a food may contain in terms of nutritional value, additives and possible harmful substances. And you must aim at geting your money's worth.

A. Always go for natural food

The rule of thumb is that, it is always preferred to eat foods grown under natural conditions than those grown with the use of chemicals. These are criteria to know if a food is natural.

• It must be fresh, or freshly packed

• It must be free from pests and diseases

• There are no harmful chemicals and artificial additives, including antibiotics residues.

• Food must not be tainted with radiation

• Natural food excludes the so-called junk food.

• It has been processed by natural means such as blast freezing, sun drying and the like.

• Packaging materials are safe to human health, animals and the environment.

• It meets standard organoloeptic test (taste test) and nutritional value requirements.

Don't take "magic sugar" (aspartame, nutrasweet, saccharine, zero softdrinks, diet cake, diet drinks). Powdered fruit juices generally contain natural and magic sugar (mostly aspartame). Read the label properly and be guided. Don't use MonoSodium Glutamate (MSG) or Vetsin, and other pseudonyms, in your cooking. When ordering food in a restaurant, specify not to use MSG. Don't eat in restaurants you aren't sure the food you are eating is spiced with MSG. Read more about the harmful effects of these two artificial food additives - Aspartame and MSG. Reference: Internet.
B. Get the best from your favorite fruits

1. Be keen with the appearance, smell, feel – and even sound – of the fruit before harvesting or buying it. There’s no substitute to taste test.though. Develop your skills on these fruits: mango, musk melon, soursop or guyabano and its relative, sugar apple or atis. Also try on caimito, chico, siniguelas, and such rare fruit as sapote.

2. To ripen green fruits, rub table salt on the cut stem (peduncle). Salt does not only facilitate ripening, it also protects the fruit from fungi and bacteria that cause it to rot. You can use the rice box-dispenser to ripen chico, caimito, avocado, tomato, and the like. Wrap the fruits loosely with two or three layers of newspaper before placing them inside the box. As the fruits ripen they exude ethylene gas that hastens ripening.

3. Bigger fruits are always generally preferred. Not always. Native chico is sweeter and more aromatic than the ponderosa chico. Big lanzones have large seeds. Bicol or Formosa pineapple, although not juicier, is sweeter than the Hawaiian variety. Of course we always pick up the biggest mango, nangka, caimito, watermelon, cantaloupe, atis, guyabano, and the like.

4. There are vegetables that are eaten as fruit or prepared into juice. Examples are carrot, tomato, green corn, and sweet green pea. Asparagus juice, anyone? Try a variety of ways in serving your favorite fruits. nangka ice cream, fruit cocktail in pineapple boat, avocado cake, guava wine. Enjoy the abundance of your favorite fruits, consult the fruit season calendar.

C. Do the processing yourself. Can you make Vrgin Coconut Oil (VCO) at home?

The price of this “miracle cure” has soared and there is now a proliferation of commercial brands of virgin coconut oil in the market. The old folks have been doing this for a long time. One such person is Mrs. Gloria Reyes of Candelaria (Quezon) who makes virgin coconut oil. This is the step-by-step process she follows.

1. Get twenty (20) husked, healthy, and mature nuts. They should not show any sign of spoilage or germination. Shake each nut and listen to the distinct sound of its water splashing. If you can hear it, discard the particular nut.

2. Split each nut with a bolo, gathering the water in the process. Discard any nut at the slightest sign of defect, such as those with cracked shell and oily water, discolored meat, presence of a developing endosperm (para). Rely on a keen sense of smell.

3. With the use of an electric-driven grating machine, grate the only the white part of the meat. Do not include the dark outer layer of the meat.

4. Squeeze the grated meat using muslin cloth or linen to separate the milk (gata) from the meal (sapal). Gather the milk in wide-mouth bottles (liter or gallon size).

5. Cover the jars with dry linen and keep them undisturbed for 3 to 5 hours in a dry, dark and cool corner.

6. Carefully remove the floating froth, then harvest the layer of oil and place it in a new glass jar. Discard the water at the bottom. It may be used as feed ingredient for chicken and animals.

7. Repeat the operation three to four times, until the oil obtained is crystal clear. Now this is the final product – home made virgin coconut oil.

Virgin coconut oil is a product of cold process of oil extraction, as compared with the traditional method of using heat. In the latter coconut milk is brought to boiling, evaporating the water content in the process, and obtaining a crusty by-product called latik. The products of both processes have many uses, from ointment and lubrication to cooking and food additive. There is one difference though, virgin coconut oil is richer with vitamins and enzymes - which are otherwise minimized or lost in the traditional method.

D. Rice is substitute, and a better one, to wheat flour.

Of all alternative flour products to substitute wheat flour, it is rice flour that is acclaimed to be the best for the following reasons:

• Rice has many indigenous uses from suman to bihon (local noodle), aside from its being a staple food of Filipinos and most Asians.

• In making leavened products, rice can be compared with wheat, with today’s leavening agents and techniques.

• Rice is more digestible than wheat. Gluten in wheat is hard to digest and can cause a degenerative disease which is common to Americans and Europeans.

• Rice is affordable and available everywhere, principally on the farm and in households.
Other alternative flour substitutes are those from native crops which are made into various preparations - corn starch (maja), ube (halaya), gabi (binagol), and tugui’ (ginatan), cassava (cassava cake and sago).

. Lastly, the local rice industry is the mainstay of our agriculture. Patronizing it is the greatest incentive to production and it saves the country of precious dollar that would otherwise be spent on imported wheat. ~

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