I grew up 1st generation Filipino American with immigrant parents and relatives who did not waste anything. Of course when my family migrated to a land where “the dream” can lead to the bounty being plentiful they did not put anything to waste because where they came from, it would be a disgrace to needlessly throw things (especially food) away. During meals I was taught to finish everything on my plate and to always be thankful for all the graces God has given us.
I hold nothing against these morals and ideals but I wish someone had taught us to only take what we need instead of taking what we can. But sometimes you can’t remove certain things that have been engrained into a person’s being. My family came from a third world where they scraped for a living and through their hard labor, they took, and took, and took… And of course they shared (with friends and relatives)!! There’s really nothing wrong with this picture, it’s just life. Ultimately there were only small details that led to my being unhealthy.
Filipinos love their food and like most Asian families they love white rice. Pork of course is the choice meat for most Filipino dishes and my family made lots of em! We have vegetable dishes too but in them you might still find cutlets of that fatty tender meat that brings so much delight to the food we eat. Most Filipinos also love fish/seafood and a little beef but if you ask “What’s for dinner?” on any given night, most Filipino households would say “pork” at least 3 times a week.
Not wasting food was another detail that led to my later health problems. As a young child, per family rule, I had to finish everything on my plate even though I was full. So early on in my life I increasingly subjected my stomach to high volumes of food. My family loved seeing us kids eat because to them we were “healthy”. Lack of an appetite of course reflected something wrong like sickness or emotional distress. But this wasn’t the only thing that led to me becoming overweight.
Genetically, I had obese relatives on both my mother and fathers side. Some diabetes and heart related health issues were also in my families health history but fortunately I have niether. I also never really had high metabolism like some of my cousins. Truthfully, it’s hit or miss in my family. You could be genetically predetermined to be a powerhouse who could burn out so quick unless you had enough nutrition or you could be the latter who didn’t need much to stay on your feet but as soon as you go over a certain threshold in food intake it immediately turns to fat. I am categorized as the latter…
Lastly, we lacked physical activities like sports and exercise. Not a lot of my relatives back in the day were very into American sports. Eventually they did become fans but never really incorporated their favorite sports as games they could play in their own lives. Needless to say, we lacked physical activity.
So, that’s how it started. I ate, and ate, and ate to please myself and my family and didn’t have the metabolism nor the physical activity to stay healthy.
Does this sound familiar to you?