Do you eat enough veggies?

(Sorry if this is another green post.)

In answer to the question posed by this post’s title, I don’t. And it seems that I’m not alone. Studies have shown that Filipinos are eating less and less of the greens. In 1978, each Filipino was consuming 145 grams of veggies (average) per day, everyday. But in 2008, their intake sharply dropped to only 110 milligrams per person, per day, everyday.

How ironic. Philippines is a country that teems with vegetables and fruits, and yet we Filipinos are not eating enough of it. As Prof. Michelle Naranjo of Silliman University’s Nutrition and Dietetics pointed out in a recent forum, we feed our vegetables to our livestock such as pigs. We take our vegetables for granted. In other countries, kangkong and the Chinese cabbagge are considered luxuries because they have to import them from other countries. Kangkongans are everywhere in this country. But do we eat enough of those?

Prof. Naranjo said that the recommended fruit and vegetable intake is 3 servings of veggies and 2 of fruits everyday. That means 1/2 cup of green, leafy vegetables and 3/4 cup of non-leafy greens such as squash, ampalaya (bitter melon), and chayote. Everyday.

Personally, I don’t meet those requirements everyday. From Mondays to Fridays, I’m too much in a hurry to go to work in the mornings that I often eat what can be cooked in a dash: fried bacon, fried eggs, fried hotdogs, fried rice. During lunchbreaks, my food are more carb-rich than green-rich, mostly due to the limited fare from the nearby carinderia (street eateries) which mostly sells meats and chicken-based viands. It takes a conscious effort for me to include veggies in what I eat everyday.

When I was a baby, my Mom would blend fresh tomatoes into my milk. I wasn’t breastfed, so she tried to make up for it by mixing greens into my formula. But as I grew older, I developed a dislike for a lot of veggies, mostly the slimy ones like okra. My favorites are eggplants (cooked tortang talong or eggplant fritters style), squash, and bitter melon (sautéed with eggs and tomatoes and lotsa pepper).

My favorite salads sold in local restaurants are Shakey’s Cesar’s Tuna Salad and the Carmen’s Salad at Gabby’s Bistro. I especially love the Carmen Salad because you can choose the toppings and the dressings (love their vinaigrette!)

Shakey’s Cesar Tuna Salad
Carmen’s Salad at Gabby’s Bistro

Problem is I can’t eat these everyday because they’re pretty pricey. Besides, I can buy all these greens for a lower price at the market, plus they’re more fresh, too! So I’m thinking of preparing them ahead of time at home, then bring them with me to work.

This is another favorite, too:

Tofu – fried and mixed with onions and fish sauce

I copied this from Chowking’s Tofu dish. You fry the tofu until it’s golden brown, then mix it with chopped onions and drizzle fish sauce over it. It’s yummy and healthy. I can eat this everyday.

Here’s another dish I can eat everyday:

My Mom’s Beef Stew with Veggies

Ok, maybe not everyday because it’s beef-based but my Mom’s Beef Stew is chock-full of veggies and is just oozing with so much tastiness that I would love to eat it everyday. If you’d like to get the recipe for this, just drop me a comment here.

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I write to live, or live to write. Whichever it is, writing is my life.

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