My Father's Guide Towards Good Eating

Papa was asthmatic. I used to bring him to the military hospital every time he had asthma attacks. The first time it happened, I was really scared. Young as I was, I thought he was going to die. He had difficulty breathing. Since I was the eldest, I was designated to massage his back to provide a little relief before my mother decides whether we were going to bring him to the medical dispensary or not.

My mother told me that asthma attacks were such. Difficult, scary but that was just that. Nothing to be afraid of. I thought perhaps that was true. Because whenever he had his bouts, drinking his medication somehow relieved him. All that time, and in my young mind I realized the prospect of losing my father at an early age. But it was not to be so.

My father lived till the ripe age of 75. And he didn't die from asthma or from any of its complications. He died from an overdose of anesthesia after a cataract operation.

So what's the connection?

Despite being asthmatic, Papa lived a long life because he ate healthy. My father was a vegetable junkie. To support this habit, he grew vegetables. He had this garden, planted with lots of sweet potatoes, with its tops, malunggay or moringa, tomatoes, okra, eggplant, papaya fruit trees, squash, and a host of other fruit bearing plants I can't quite recall anymore. Everyday, he'd pick some, wash and boil it, put a pinch of salt and voila! A pot of vegetable hodge podge soup is born. Without fail he has this daily veggie concoction.

Aside from veggies and fruits, he'd eat fish, but only fresh water fish like milkfish, catfish, mudfish, in sour soup, nothing fried. He'd eat meat once in a while but just beef steak strips devoid of any fat, charcoal broiled.

I think life was much simpler then. Pressure from too much materialism was less pronounced. Lack of technology or its absence provided a laid back lifestyle. Today, with the proliferation of consume-more-led mode of product distribution, we have more and more people suffering from hypertension, CVD, diabetes and kidney diseases, COPD, cancer, etc.

It is perhaps time to re-evaluate our values. Junk = illness. Garbage in. Garbage out.

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