Monday, July 14, 2014

2 Reasons why Filipinos should switch to a half-cup rice diet

Filipinos, like most Asians, are rice eaters.  All our meals have to be accompanied with rice. This is, because, pairing-wise, our viands taste best if eaten with rice, in our opinion. When you talk about adobo, kare-kare, sinigang and other FIlipino fares, eating them without rice seems like a mortal sin.

In fact, if you are a Filipino, you would have acquired the "talent" of eating rice and your viand in a way that whether or not one is lesser, you finish with just enought rice and viand ratio in your last mouthful.

However, the Philippines is now going through an alarming situation wherein a serious look at the Filipinos' diet should be required. This is both for health and economic reasons.

Reason # 1: increasing number of overweight Filipinos
While the survey data available from FNRI or Food and Nutrition Research Institute is from 2008, it shows that there are 26.6% of the Filipinos who are overweight (Obese Filipinos 5.2% of the population). And apparently, there is still an increase in the said rates.

As I was reading online about overweight Filipinos and rice, I learned that there are actually bills filed and campaigns initiated to curb this concern. 2013 was
National Year of Rice and Sen. Bongbong Marcos, Butil Rep. Agapito Guanlao and Batangas Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza filed anti-rice wastage bills. These make me wonder what ever happened to these initiatives. Obviously, there is no major campaign to teach us not to waste rice and we have not really heard about the bills in news. 

Unlimited rice meals in restaurants only worsens our situation. Marketing campaigns stimulate diners to choose these restaurants. In my opinion, the government should start with these restaurants. In 2013, the campaign asked restaurants to serve default half-cup rice. I personally have not seen any restaurant do this.  

Reason # 2: Rice is getting more expensive

To put it plainly, Filipinos should seriously think about cutting down on their rice consumption because it will be healthier for them and for their budget. In previous months, the rice we purchase was at P 36 to 38 per kilo. It is now P 50 per kilo. This might be a blessing in disguise. Filipinos should seriously, seriously consume less rice.

The irony of it all
According to studies, we waste an average of 2 tablespoons daily. For a nation where poverty is prevalent and minimum wage earners scrimp to fit rice into their budget, we still waste 2 precious tablespoons. 

Admittedly, rice is our carbohydrate of choice. We feel lethargic when we don't eat rice. However, I have learned that while it all depends on our energy requirement, the need to eat rice (or cups of it) is all in our minds. If we seriously think about how healthier we could be and how much we will save, then maybe, our rice concerns will be addressed.

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