IN the United States, many fast food restaurants are “greening” their menus already. Some are claiming the use of “natural” beef for their burgers while others are removing ingredients with genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) (like corn, corn chips, bread made with GMO flour, etc.). There are those who are adding more vegetables into their offerings besides the token lettuce leaf in a hamburger.
Here in our country, the consciousness about GMOs and GMO-containing food is still low. Many are just conscious about eating more vegetables but they do not know if these vegetables have been sprayed by pesticides, grown with chemicals or even grown in a water solution, and not in soil and GMOs are still perceived as the solution to increased crop yields. The citizens are NOT yet aware of the harm GMOs have been causing.
Yet, we talk about cancers, diabetes and the rise of obesity incidence to three in 10 people, per the news report I saw on TV recently. They may all relate back to what we eat, what fast food has arrived in the country and what GMOs go into our agriculture.
The best solution that we, citizens, can afford to do is to start our snacking with “greener” choices. I have been eating binatog or popped, boiled corn with grated coconut and some salt for the past three days. Is it safe to eat? The coconut is fresh, the corn just off the boil and everything is natural.
On weekends, I crave for suman, puto ,bibingka or rice cakes. I find them at the weekend market and indulge with a little brown sugar or muscovado.
We get some fresh young coconuts from the farm every week and are able to drink fresh buko juice and then feast on carving out the meat from the shell, slowly savoring each strip which is naturally- sweet and fat-free.
My friends know me to crave for many things local and fresh—boiled corn, fresh buko and of late, binatog.
But what about those of us who lead busy corporate lives, those who work in call centers at graveyard shifts of early morning, the Pinoys who look for convenience rather than flavor or healthy food?
I have seen fresh bananas being sold at convenience stores and at “jollijeeps” in the Makati business district. I see fresh fruit being sold at supermarkets and small grocers.
Which brings me to “portabilty” and ease of use. Green fast food is not yet as accessible but it should soon be. Rather than eat a donut, eat a banana turon. It’s packed with vitamins and yes, some sugar and oil. But it’s got real fruit inside.
Rather than eat empty calories in crackers and bread, choose suman or rice cakes. It’s gluten-free (gluten comes only from wheat) and is always made fresh. NO need to check expiry dates. Its smell is a dead giveaway. And that is why it’s always fresh.
Looking for some potassium if you are having cramps? Eat a banana or a slice of watermelon. Watermelon and cucumbers are also the best in rehydrating when we seem to be sweating a lot and need some rehydration. Many shops now offer cucumber juice.
What else is greener fast food? Brown rice and fish meals, red rice and egg meals. A hardboiled egg is one of the best sources of protein and is virtually fat-free. I suggested this as breakfast to my staff who is seven months pregnant. A hardboiled egg (also available in Jollijeeps and bus stops by the way) will fill you, not raise your blood sugar and will prevent you from going hungry for hours. Hardboiled egg and may be a banana, you’re all set for the day. Rather than a donut or sweet bread that may cause your sugar to rise then crash, causing hunger pangs at 10 am, a few more hours from lunchtime. So, you eat again, and crash again by lunch and the pounds pile on. Day after day, you may not realize adding a few more calories from white rice, white bread and other empty calories.
I have suggested to Gladys (my pregnant assistant) to go on a banana or camote and hardboiled egg breakfast. So far so good, she never used to eat breakfast! Then she binges on two cups of rice at lunch and eats more at dinner . She even wakes up in the wee hours and complains of hunger. The past days, our formula seems to be working. She does not get super hungry and has stopped her midnight snacking. We are both working on her normal (not Caesarian) delivery and preventing her from being too big or too heavy on her final stretch towards delivery. Just healthier choices, that’s all.
Green fast food. It’s possible. It’s doable and available if you just look again.
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Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium, Centris QC mall, Davao and Cebu City. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates and NGOs on sustainability, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on twitter.com/chitjuan or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org