Monday, June 25, 2007

healthy FOODbits


I am an avid reader of everything! From classic obscure stuff (mimsy were the borgroves!) to popular fiction (Harry Potter!!!), from medical books to cookbooks and architecture manuals, from sexy Cosmolitan and FHM to mainstream Reader’s Digest and Time Magazine. Comics, food labels, graphic novels-- name it and I most likely have read it; barring perhaps old poems that are not about love, hehe! Seriously, since the start of the year, I have read across a lot of stuff which have influenced my life for the past 6 months. Medical updates and healthy living tidbits are the most common ones I applied on my life. Others are about love and how to deal effectively with other people. In this, the 10-year anniv mag of Cosmo is a must-have!!! I have learned so much from their thickest issue ever! =) Anyway since this is a food blog, what I’d share is of course related to food. Most of these were new to me so I’d guess they might be new to you too. Read on and be enlightened!

We have been taught from the beginning that canned goods are bad for us due to a lot of preservatives. But did you know that canned stuff can be good for you? According to the British Nutrition Foundation, the following canned goods can boost your diet with essential nutrients--
  1. Canned apricots and gooseberries provide more vitamin C than their fresh counterparts.
  2. Tinned and canned tomatoes are composed of tomatoes that Cannedchickpeahave been cooked in small amounts of oil and fat, and our body absorbs the lycopene better this way. Lycopene is an antioxidant found in tomatoes.
  3. Canned chickpeas in water – just 5 tablespoons of this will provide 6 grams of your recommended daily fibre intake of 18 grams. That’s already 1/3! Nice! However I haven’t found this in the supermarkets here in Davao. Tsk! The pix at right shows canned chickpeas. Make sure you wash the peas thoroughly before eating or cooking.

Filipinos are fond of eating rice and it is rare to see bread in the dining table except during breakfast (which is incomplete without pandesal!). But more and more Filipinos are shifting to bread thinking it is healthier. But not all bread is created equal. If you are seeking for a healthy loaf, check the label of the bread for: (Source: British Dietetic Association)Wheatbread

  1. The word “whole” before the first mention of grain of flour in the ingredient list. Our family usually buys the “whole wheat” variety which adds a lot of fiber to our diet and texture for cooking purposes. Click the pix for more info.
  2. Two grams of fiber per slice – fiber is the magic word if you wanna go healthy.
  3. Added seeds and nuts – even though the fat and calorie content will increase, seeds and nuts provide phytochemicals (and proteins to keep you fuller!) which help fight disease.

Vetsin Our grandmothers are known to use “vetsin” in most of their dishes. They swear it makes the food tastier, and this is backed by a Japansese claim that the vetsin taste is the 5th basic one and is called “umame”. But then it is the Japanese company Ajinomoto that made vetsin use ubiquitious so I can’t really trust the Japanese on the umame claim, can I? Hehe! Vetsin is more popularly known as MSG (monosodium glutamate) to the younger generations who grew up influenced by media that MSG = cancer. They seem loathe to use vetsin in cooking but you see them happily munching on junkfoods which is full of MSG and other preservatives. Others proudly claim they only buy food labeled “no MSG”. Unfortunately for them, foods stating “no MSG” may contain another flavour enhancer known as the “new MSG” – disodium 5’-ribonucleotides 635. When I first read about this, I was shocked as I’m one of the people who avoid MSG as much as I can. I’m not eating the old-MSG but was I was pigging out on the new-MSG?? Oh God, the thought of it! Ignorance is truly a bliss! Now I’m wondering what could this new-MSG cause in the long-term. Cancer?? Spare me! As a consequence, I’m reading food labels a lot more closely than ever before. No MSG? Still not safe! READ MORE CLOSELY. And google stuff you find suspicious. Let the new era of food-enhancer paranoia begin!

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