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How to Cook Healthy, Hearty Soups

Combining leafy and fruit vegetables, beans, root crops in one dish provide excellent nutrition that mothers need to recover from the rigors of pregnancy, birthing and sustain breastfeeding. Indigenous foods are also known to help mothers produce more breastmilk.

Concocted by our forefathers and mothers, it is also an amazing testimony of our ancestors’ wisdom. For instance, a study of the Aetas’ (an indigenous group living in the mountains) diet show that they are nutritionally superior to the food intake of the lowlanders. These dishes may be called different names but the process of cooking them is similar. Root crops and beans are boiled and mashed to thicken the soup and at boiling point a variety of leafy and fruit vegetables are added to the broth. The indigenous way of cooking these vegetables can be found throughout the country. Many times these vegetables are also cooked with fresh coconut milk and ginger that are also good sources of calcium.

• Northern Luzon: pinakbet, dinengdeng, buridibud (As a vegetarian group we recommend the use of soy sauce. To avoid allergies for you and your breastfeeding baby, omit bagoong)
• Tagalog Region: sinigang, bulanglang
• Visayan and Mindanao Regions: laswa, law-uy, nilapwa-an, utan

The consumption of indigenous foods is combined with the intake of unpolished rice and other whole grains like corn. Aside from preventing constipation that is especially important for a mother who is pregnant or who just gave birth,unpolished rice and whole grains provide more nutrients like complex carbohydrates for the extra calories needed during nursing. To emphasize the importance of combining breastfeeding and providing children with indigenous foods and brown rice, we have coined the term Breastfed Brown Rice Babies.

Mothers who abide by these nutritional advices noticed that their Breast fed Brown Rice Babies grow a lot healthier, are hardly sick (some reported not even a single bout of fever for one year!) or recover from illnesses much faster using indigenous food as medicine (some reported not going to their pediatricians for three straight years!) An added advantage to this eating habit is that you will not have a problem with picky eaters. If your child observes that you enjoy eating healthy meals, they will also imbibe the habit of choosing what is appropriate for their growing mind and body.

How to Cook Unpolished Rice
Boil 1 cup of rice with 2 cups of water for twenty minutes.Turn off the stove or rice cooker. Allow the rice to be soaked in the hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn on the stove or rice cooker to slow fire or low heat until done. You can add pandan, gata, kasuba (saffron flower), sesame seeds, and beans for different flavors. Both rice and beans can be soaked overnight to shorten cooking time.

An important reminder for parents in preparing babyfoods: salt should not be added to a baby’s diet until he or she turns one year old. However, oils like coconut, sesame or olive oil should be added to complementary foods or solids.

A Sum-up of Nutritional Guidelines
Eat fruits and vegetables that are locally grown and in season.  Avoid buying imported fruits and vegetables as many of them are sprayed or grown with harmful chemicals.

• Eat more complex carbohydrates from whole grains and root crops
• Eat foods in their fresh and natural state as they are fiber-rich and have not been devitalized of precious vitamins and minerals
• Choose beans and nuts as your sources of protein and calcium.  Avoid dairy products as they contain many contaminants and are not designed for the human body.
• Reduce excessive salt and sugar intake by limiting your consumption of processed foods, beverages and snacks.
• Avoid hydrogenated oils, food preservatives, coloring and other food additives by reading the labels of what you eat.  If you find that you have a hard time pronouncing or reading an ingredient in the processed food that you are about to buy, do not buy them anymore.
• If you still want to eat meat and other food from animals despite the risks, choose those that are organically grown and make sure that the animals are not afflicted with diseases like flu, cholera, foot and mouth disease, leukemia and cancerous growths, mastitis, etc.

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