Â· 56% of Asians believe their diet to be less healthy than it was five years ago
Â· 42% of consumers see foreign food as a bad influence on their own culture
Â· 55% believe that there are too many conflicting rules on what they should and shouldn’t eat.
O&M planners and researchers covered 21 cities in 14 countries to prepare the report: they visited families and shopped with housewives, in their search to know more about Asian attitudes and eating habits. I understand that the final report is meant to provide perspective for developing strategic tools to market food product brands in Asia.
There is a statement that I take straight from the report which excellently sums up the eating attitude of Filipinos: “Food has become an antidote to life’s troubles in this country where there is so much uncertainty and instability… so the Filipino indulges, welcomes new food choices, and eats like there’s no tomorrow to the detriment of his health.”
Pick my bones
I have a bone to pick with this report, and it begins with its title: “Eating Disorders.” Anorexia and bulimia are classified as such but I never knew that the incapability to choose healthier foods was an eating disorder! I chose a modest portion of stir-fried noodles over a sandwich today for lunch ”“ does that qualify me as having an eating disorder?! Someone I know eats fruits only three times a week ”“ does he have an eating disorder? Titling an article “Eating Disorders” is already a fully loaded assumption in itself, not to mention presumptuous and dangerous.
I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but eating healthy is expensive. A head of lettuce goes for P60+, a kilo of tomatoes is P80, and if you plan on going organic, you can expect the prices to go up even higher. An entire melon is already P30+, and a bunch of lacatan bananas costs about P70, since you can’t really be buying fruits individually. Compare this with a pack of instant noodles that can cost as low as P4.50, or a budget meal at your nearest McDonald’s is just P39 ”“ and that’s already a meal – with a drink! And it’s good, hearty food too ”“ not the kind of light meals that leave a gaping hole of hunger in your stomach.
I shared this info with our resident (manic) health and fitness buff and fellow columnist, Tony Toribio. It was all I could do to keep him from strangling me, and if you read his column, you know how vain he is about losing his poise. “You just don’t get it, Lori! Think about how all those preservatives, additives, salts, and oils will kill your system and make you suffer in the long run!” he screeched. Right, Tony, as if I haven’t seen you wolfing down a Burger King Burger every time the office calls in for delivery.
Which reminds me of the time I was talking to Subas Herrero, the actor and one-time restaurant owner. I had asked him whether he liked to cook and he fervently replied, “I don’t cook, but eating is just a joy! It is a joy!” It’s a truth that any genuine foodie will adhere to. Eating is a sensual experience that involves the mouth and tongue, where all the taste buds are situated. The explosion of flavors delights, chills, and scintillates all at the same time. It is no wonder that most people care to eat just for taste and thus, choose their foods accordingly. When you’re eating something that tastes good to you, you feel comforted and you feel alive, which is really what eating should be about. Why do you think comfort food is a big deal?
So if the fitness police come pounding at your door sounding the bell of dietary doom and gloom, offer them a plate of crispy, coated fried chicken with a dollop of silky smooth mashed potatoes on the side, oozing with a generous serving of smoked gravy. Watch their resolve crumble, and as they tuck into that luxurious meal that they’ve long denied themselves, smile. Just smile. After all, you only live once, so it might as well be tasty.