[ Please note that “great” in the following context refers to magnitude and extent of influence in my life, and not to other potentially positive attributes, as the word is often expected to project. Condolences to the family of Sec Jesse Robredo and the Pinoy community of believers in public sector reform, congrats to Pres. Noynoy on his outstanding choice of Prof Ma Lourdes Sereno for Chief Justice of the Phil. Supreme Court, and awesome kudos to the NZ All-Blacks for their clinical dissection of the Wallabies last night to retain the Bledisloe Cup for a 10th straight year, sorry to my former news ed Mr Raul Zamuco, woohoohoo! ]
BECAUSE THE excuse of a busted bike gave me free rides from SuperBisor all week last week, I had more than the usual moments with my lonesome after exercise, and before chores and time with esposa hermosa. I had in fact an epiphany while looking at my pathetic self in the mirror, realizing the following : (1) it was less than three years before I would hit the half-century mark, a milestone that just a few years ago I thought was positively ancient; (2) instead of shedding off unsightly balikbayan poundage since returning to the grind July, I had actually ADDED to it, and was now around 10 kilos above my normal fighting weight (which you don’t need to know by the way, just believe my shameful admission); and (3) my promise to myself to consume either oatmeal or cereal every morning, avoid the decadent Breakfast-Value-Meal-like breakfasts that gave me so much more cholesterol, transfat and lipid-rich slush in my plumbing had remained just that, a(n unfulfilled) promise.
Guess how I celebrated discovering this nugget of self-discovery? I uncovered a tub of ice cream I hid in the furthest corner of the freezer, half a liter bottle of Regular Sprite (not diet or Sprite Zero) that nobody wanted, heated up one-plus servings of gooey lasagna that was part of my baon the next few days, microwaved leftovers of the last two days (rice, igado, kaldereta etc), brought out banana slices, apple slices and macadamia-corn-flakes cereal that I missed for breakfast (the only healthy part of this orgy) and demolished, ate it all. Everything on the enumeration just gone by.
It’s no excuse, but my blood sugar was low, just missed both lunch and breakfast as I had to accommodate an overdue run around the block, I wanted to reward myself for the run, but I only realized the cringe-inducing and disgusting nature of my deed, as usual, after the last grain, crumb and drop had rolled down my throat. Sa huli ang pagsisisi.
You’ve probably guessed that I’ve been guilty of these acts throughout most of my life. I’m not only a binge eater, I pig out on midnight snacks. I eat way too much sweets, I love salty chichirya, all the junk food that a person like me is supposed to avoid, and my only excuse is I deserve a little break every now and then.
The only problem is now and then is too often, a little break has become too regular for me, and I simply can’t continue to eat with too much sugar and too much salt in my daily diet. As it is, there’s already a proliferation of sodium and sugar in an average of six meals of the male Pinoy, daily rice intake itself is already the molecular equivalent of half a dozen teaspoons of sugar, with the only difference being that you can’t pig out on sugar cubes. The way I’ve been brought up, the media and information culture I grew up in, and my predisposition to certain foods will almost surely consign me to hypertension, Type B diabetes, cardiovascular illness and a host of other related conditions before I reach the last two decades of my life expectancy. And there’s no other way to put it : it has a lot to with my sugar and salt addiction.
I won’t mention the deleterious effects of the said chemicals C12H22O11 and NaCl, because you all know it, it’s just that the intelligent part of our brain shuts down when confronted with gorgeous pastries, glistening french fries, caramel frapuccino, and colorful kakanin. For thousands of years, the scarcity of food and our unending struggle with the elements has taught our bodies to evolve fat-retaining properties and sugar-containing systems, a self-defense mechanism gifted to us by God and nature. Because of the plenitude of food afforded by science and the industrial revolution, we don’t need to keep extra food in our bodies anymore. We don’t even need to hibernate anymore. But because eating is always pleasurable, because we are by nature lazy and hate to exercise, and because the instinct of food business is to make us continuously addicted to its ever-changing products, fourteen percent (14%) of the world is now obese, one in three Americans are grossly fat, and one in five New Zealanders are unacceptably overweight.
Now, being addicted to both sugar and sweet isn’t too bad for me; it is one of the few addictions that are socially acceptable in the modern world. Even being obese is not so bad if you can bear the stares and snickers behind your back, witness the stats on fatness the previous sentence. The only snag in the stitchwork in my personal case is that I’m on the brink of senior hood, when middle-age spread (or bilbil that won’t go away) takes a herculean effort to counteract, when the occupational hazards of eating everything in front of you ( I am to please ) begin to show up in the form of various diseases and when the cheques your body wrote during the wildness of your decadent youth are coming back to haunt you for encashment, with interest.
The bottom line is that like many of you similarly placed, the urgency of common sense and self-preservation has coerced me into giving up most of my addictions. Tobacco was the easiest habit to pick up but the hardest to break. Alcohol made for good conversation, but through the years you just realized that throwing up too often wasn’t that hard to give up. And funny cigarets altered a lot of your ways of thinking but didn’t do you too many favors being perceived as a normal person, so that wasn’t too hard.
It’s eating and eating food that’s bad for you (but which tastes so good) that is the addiction nurtured by a lifetime of bad habits, and therefore takes the remaining portion of your life to undo and change. That’s why, beyond all common sense, after eating food that could have fed three people, I’m looking forward to Chinese takeaway dinner with the obligatory MSG, secondhand cooking oil and food coloring all around.
Thanks for reading !
- This Is America’s Sugar Addiction – An Infographic (zerohedge.com)
- Can Food Be Addictive? (fatgirlphd.com)
- Addicted (vanetua.wordpress.com)
- stand by my brother Pinoy (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- 5 Common Diabetes Management Mistakes (diabetesdaily.com)
- the five people you meet in the barangay (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- spontaneous & naive pinoy observations on London 2012 (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- First Female Chief Justice – Ma Lourdes Sereno (legalnotes.wordpress.com)