God’s gifts that we are throwing away
By Penelope A. Domogo, MD
One morning we were eating boiled corn on the cob. The corn was freshly gathered and organic. We removed most of the husk before boilin
g it. So the silk (or hair) and the tender husk were boiled along with the kernels and cob. So aside from the yummy corn-on-the-cob, we had yummy corn silk tea. Corn silk tea is a traditional remedy for urinary tract infection, kidney stones, prostate inflammation, gout. It may reduce inflammation, blood sugar and cholesterol. It acts as a diuretic, so it cleanses toxins from the body. You can boil corn silk alone and drink as tea, better freshly harvested. Otherwise you can dry it a bit. Oftentimes, though, we throw away this silk.
There are many more of God’s precious gifts that we throw away and we would like to mention just a few more. One such precious gift is rice bran. In the milling process, the inedible husk is removed to make brown rice. If this rice is milled further to remove the bran and germ, the result is white rice which is also called the endosperm. This white rice is made up of starch so if you wash white rice, the wash water is white kasi lumabas ang ibang starch. If you wash unpolished rice, the wash water is not whitish because the bran is intact.
If you look closely at a grain of red or brown rice, you will notice that the bran is a very thin coating and pasted well to the endosperm. Bran contains fiber, vitamins and minerals and oil. These are vital ingredients of our diet which promote health and prevent disease. Fiber, for one, prevents colon cancer and diabetes and a lot of diseases because it is the broom of our intestines. Fiber also provides bulk for easier excretion of our feces. And yet we throw away this precious bran and germ by milling rice until it is white. The germ which is also removed with milling is the life of the rice seed. It is the one that will germinate to be a plant. You remove this part and you lose this life force. Some people buy white rice thinking it is first class- the whiter the better. Think again. With white rice, you are eating mostly starch. Read “starch” as “sugar”. So the first change you can do towards healthy eating is to change your white rice to unpolished rice. Whether it is brown or red or black, as long as it is unpolished, then it is okay.
The same is true with refined flour. Most of our flour is wheat flour. To make white flour, the factory removes the bran from the wheat and does a lot of processing to grind the grain and make the resulting flour white. One health authority said that white flour is devitalized flour. Like white rice, it is stripped of its life-giving nutrients. So what happens if what you eat is devoid of life-giving substances? Meaning you are just eating empty calories and even anti-nutrients. So it is not surprising that a lot of people now have very low energies, prone to disease and are not functioning optimally. Mahina, in other words. Kunting trabaho lang e pagod na or can’t think well na. Well, what do we expect, their food staple is last class. Then we give the first class food – the “upek” (Igorot & Ilokano term for rice bran)- to the pigs.
Let us look also at vegetable and fruit peelings. I oftentimes chide cooks when they remove the skin of squash before slicing and cooking it. Even if the squash is ripe and the skin feels so hard, that will soften once it is cooked. Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, a New York-based nutritionist, stated “The entire squash is an edible vegetable. In fact, most vegetables are meant to be eaten whole, despite what we may have been taught growing up.” The squash that has been analyzed in the laboratory includes the skin so all those glorious nutrients – fiber, Vitamins A, C & E, etc.- are in the whole squash – flesh and skin. One natural guideline that I use whether to peel or not is this – how is the peel designed by nature? If it peels naturally like banana and durian and marang, then I peel the skin away. Except the big banana where I can still eat (“angid”) the soft part of the skin. If, however, the peel is stuck to the flesh like glue as in guava and cherry and squash and sayote, then I eat or cook with the skin. If the squash and sayote is mature, the more you don’t peel because it is a difficult job. I believe that God does not make life difficult. You will discover that the skin of the mature sayote will peel off easily once cooked. Para kang nagbabalat ng saging. Because it is super tough, I don’t eat this so I give it to the pigs. With squash, however, even the mature squash skin gets soft enough to chew when cooked. You can even make chips out of squash skin.
Another thing being wasted in colostrum, the yellowish breast milk that is the first milk produced just after childbirth. Although its value is now well-known, some mothers throw this precious gift away, thinking it is dirty. In fact, it is so precious as it contains immunoglobulins and antibodies that protect the baby from germs. Have you noticed that babies are not prone to cough and colds and fever? They have an elite defense army. Colostrum also contains nutrients that are very important for the proper growth and development of the newborn. Now this is what babies miss when their parents choose to give them cow’s milk.
These are just few of God’s food gifts that we throw away. We even purposely remove them from our diet, even if it takes effort and money like rice milling. How stupid can we get! Or is it arrogance? **
“Has not my hand made all these things and so they came into being?” declares the Lord.
These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” Isaiah 66:2