9.11.2009

Talks on Wellness & Nutrition, part 1

"You are what you eat."  I've read this saying hundreds of times and I know this is true. Our health and well-being not only depends on what we do to keep fit, but more importantly, what we feed our bodies. And in recent years, people grew more and more conscious about eating and living right, to enjoy longer, healthier, happier lives.  Being well-informed is also key.  And the more we know about the foods we eat, the better the choices we make in providing a balanced diet for ourselves, and for our families.

Last Saturday, I attended a talk on wellness and nutrition at my son's school.  This is the first of a series of parent seminars organized by the PTA of DML Montessori School in New Manila, Quezon City.  The two-and-a-half-hour talk proved to be very informative and enlightening, fun and full of surprises as well.


In the course of the presentation, several food and diet issues made quite an impact as I noticed the positive responses from the audience. After trying to take as many pictures, and scribbling down notes at the same time, you can just imagine the information overload I had that morning. As the first speaker remarked, "pang isang semester" sa dami ang topic outline for discussion (the length of the topic outline is good to cover one semester). And I am still overwhelmed just looking at my notes, and honestly, quite confused up to this point as to how I will be able dissect all of it and share them with you.  I thought it would be best to break this in three parts...let's see how this goes.


I can only hope that after reading this, you may gain the same appreciation I had from that very educational talk. It was truly an opener for me, since as a homemaker, I am the main meal planner for my family. And so the pressure mounts -- time to re-think my grocery list, food and supplements choices pronto!

So here's my best effort to outline what I have learned, in bullets and vignettes from the slide presentation, and some trivia in between.

"Wellness in Our Children, Wellness in Our Family"
 Part 1 - Talk and Slide Presentation by Ms. Joan Sumpio, RND, FPAN

Read this basic Nutritional Guide, from the presentation of J. Sumpio

Our first speaker, Ms. Joan Sumpio, talked about the basics of nutrition, how to read nutrition labels, nutrition in life cycles, and foods that prevent diseases.  As a registered nutritionist-dietician, she stressed the importance of eating a variety of food, reading labels, and understanding how nutrients function in our body.

Nutrition Facts / Food Labels
1. When buying food, especially in the grocery, do spend time to read the labels
Note the serving size and RDA (recommended daily allowance) as an indicator if one is getting enough of the vitamins and minerals.  Also consider needs by age.

2. Nutrition charts are "tools for consumers", to know exactly what we are getting from the products we purchase
Note artificial sweeteners and caffeine, take with caution for kids.

3. Labels indicate differences in nutrition content = always check different brands and compare
Nutritional content and Taste are the main factors when buying, especially for children.

4. Fortified foods - this means manufacturers are putting back some nutrients that were lost during the manufacturing process
Note products in the market today, like powdered juices, cookies and cereals which are now fortified with vitamins, and iron, and this adds value to the food

Sample comparative label with Tiger milk cookies and another brand

Below is the classic Food Pyramid to guide us with our daily food consumption and achieve a balanced diet.

(Food pyramid image lifted from the web)

Even after reading the labels and finally choosing which brand offers the best in terms of nutritional content, more often than not, it's the better-tasting brand that makes the cut.  No matter how loaded with vitamins and minerals some brands may claim to be, if it doesn't taste good, it will not be preferred. And most especially among kids, "taste is a big factor for acceptance", she said, and particularly with their milk. So the challenge really lies with the food manufacturers to produce highly-nutritious, safe, and tasty food and beverage that will appeal to the general public.  Healthy food CAN taste good.

A perfect example of a good-tasting bread is this new Walter Double Fiber Wheat Bread with Apple Fiber.  I personally prefer this brand when buying our loaf bread, pandesal, and sugar-free loaf.  Thank you for the free samples at the venue!  :)



DID YOU KNOW...?

...the longer you breastfeed, the less nutrients is given to the baby (although the recommended period is from birth up to 2 years)

...Calcium is not just for bone building but also acts as heart support for active kids

...Soluble fiber is the specific type of fiber that protects against heart disease

...hard boiled egg daily for kids is OK

...mackerel has higher omega-3 content than tuna

...we should limit intake of sodium (salts) to 1 teaspoon = 2400mg per day

...that 3/4 of cholesterol is produced by our body, and 1/4 is from intake (of food)

...one out of 5 (1:5) females have U.T.I. (urinary tract infection)


Speaker 1 - Ms. Joan P. Sumpio, RND, FPAN
Registered nutritionist-dietician of UST.  Head of the UST Hospital Dietary Department; a visiting nutrition consultant of Metropolitan Medical Center; a fellow of the Philippine Nutrition Association. Currently the Senior Nutritionist of Kraft Foods Philippines.
She was given the Philippine Association of Nutrition Fellow Award in 2002 for contributing significantly to the advancement of the profession of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics.



Series continued here:
Nutrition in Life Cycles (part 2)
Healthy Lifestyle & Nutrition (part 3)
Antioxidants and Tips to Healthy Eating (part 4)