San Juan Nutrition Project: Update #3

So yesterday we had our first Nutrition education class with the Nanays, and members of the community.  It turned out to be a huge success, and we had about 20 Nanays, 3 nurses, 1 Nutrition scholar, and the barangay captain in attendance.  During the presentation, Cam and I talked about the importance of eating a variety of different foods instead of just a few of the same all the time, do to the distribution of nutrients.  We have noticed here in the Philippines that their diet is primarily rice, with some meat and some fruit or veggies in it.  When we tried to explain to them that eating too much rice is bad for their health because they aren’t eating enough of the other food groups, they just laughed at us.  However, we moved right along with our presentation, and they were all very attentive during the duration, and looked genuinely interested in what we had to say. 

It was also very nice having the Nutrition and Health Scholars available to help translate our lesson as well, because most of the nanays knew very minimal English.  In addition to the material we provided, the scholars also gave some knowledge to the nanays about the region, and different local fruits and vegetables that had nutritious elements that we weren’t aware of.  For example, out in the rural areas, this magic plant called malunggay can grow, which has a multitude of different vitamins and minerals in it.  Here are some facts about it:


We knew that showing them a different way to eat was going to be a bit of a change, and who knows if they will actually change their eating habits over time.  However, I think that these types of lessons are still beneficial because planting even just this seed of new knowledge into their head could eventually spur some thoughts on eating healthier for the sake of their own health, and ore importantly their kids.

Sorry for the brevity, but I’m about to catch a flight to Puerto Princesa in Palawan for the weekend.  Happy fourth of July from the Philippines, you know I’ll be rocking the red, white and blue all day!



One thought on “San Juan Nutrition Project: Update #3

  1. Lauren, I loved the info on the plant, malunggay, although I’ve never heard of it. Its benefits sound almost too good to be true. Do you know how it is used — like in a recipe, or is it a seasoning? Have a wonderful Independance Day! We’ll watch the White House fireworks tonight on TV. Blessings to you, Sue (& Keith)

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