Four Local Foods That Are Good For You And Your Wallet
Dec 02, 2020
It’s time to say the magic words – Kainan na! It’s no secret that humans – and Filipinos in particular – love to eat. Eating is probably one of the biggest pleasures one could have. Just ask Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation:
But simply eating and enjoying food isn’t enough to make you truly feel good. You’ll know what we mean if you’ve ever felt a coma or heart attack encroaching after a marathon of fried chicken, lechon, and chicharron.
What you eat matters as well. If you want the glow and energy you need to win at life, eating organic, nutrient-rich food is the way to go. Eating healthy helps us look better, feel better, and be stronger.
As Filipinos, we’re blessed to be a food-producing country where you can get some healthy and delicious food without emptying your wallet. In fact, eating healthy and local is not only good for you, but also for society and the environment. And isn’t that the best thing ever – eating and doing good for the country at the same time? Talk about being makabayan.
Here are some locally sourced foods that happen to be nutritious, delicious, and fairly inexpensive all at the same time:
Kamote (sweet potato)
Rice is the darling of Philippine agriculture, to the point that no Filipino meal is ever truly complete without it. Most of our farming efforts are geared towards rice and achieving self-sufficiency in this regard.
But believe it or not – there is a (much!) better option.
Enter kamote – or the sweet potato. Like rice, it’s a staple crop that provides us with our daily energy needs, but it’s also so much more. It’s cheaper to produce, incredibly resilient, much less vulnerable to losses resulting from typhoons, and not to mention a lot more nutritious – containing numerous antioxidants and vitamins in addition to carbohydrates.
And most of all – it’s tasty! There’s so much that you can do with it – from having it as a snack to turning it into chips and fries to using it flour and soy sauce. Give it a try, and who knows? In the future, Potato Corner might become a little bit sweeter.
Monggo (mung bean)
Sometimes known as the “poor man’s meat”, in reality monggo – or the mung bean – is just what everyone in this country needs in their diet. Not only is it the cheapest source of protein, but it also contains other nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Planting it also requires minimal investment and input, and it can be grown alongside rice and other crops, which allows farmers to earn some additional income. Compared to meat, it is much healthier not only for our bodies, but also for the environment, since it doesn’t require nearly as much resources nor generate the volume of greenhouse gas that meat production does.
Whether you use it to add flavor to your main dishes, or as a soup on its own (a la ginisang monggo), having mung beans in your diet is the right way to go green.
One of the most nutrient-rich foods on Earth, it’s no surprise that malunggay is also known as the “miracle tree”. Heralded as one of the primary weapons in the country’s fight against malnutrition, it happens to be not only healthy, but also quite easy to grow.
If you’re interested in cultivating a home garden, malunggay is one plant you should definitely go for. It will make your returns worthwhile, since it can be used for so much more than food. Malunggay leaves can be made into tea or juice, and it famously has a long history of being used in alternative medicine. Truly, malunggay lets you improve your life inside and out.
If you paid attention in science class, you’d know that describing something as corny is actually a good thing! Corn is one of the most nutritious staple crops. It’s mostly known for being rich in fiber, which is crucial in keeping your digestive system healthy. It’s also a good source of folate, vitamin C, phosphorus, and many more.
What makes corn so great is that it’s super affordable in addition to being super nutritious. That makes it no surprise that it’s one of the most commonly grown crops in the Philippines. Unfortunately, corn farmers are also some of the poorest and most vulnerable. This is all the more reason to show our support for their efforts by buying local, healthy, and organic.Now that we know what food can keep us healthy, let’s keep our environment healthy as well. Huwag natin sayangin ang ating pagkain. Organic, plant-based foods don’t have a long shelf life, so only buy and consume what you can. So the next time you make a trip to your neighborhood grocery or palengke, you know exactly what to do.
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