Start of the day & you're already (possibly) f_cked

On some days, I would have hot water with the juice of a whole lemon in it. But most of the time, I'd rather have coffee- black, no sugar. And instant, I'm not picky. On occasion I would indulge in half a teaspoon of raw sugar and a splash of cream. But coffee creamers are the best like Coffee Mate. It dissolves better than real cream and complements coffee like a true soul-mate would- which is why in the real world, it's too good to be true. 

Apparently it's mostly sugar and partially hydrogenated vegetable oil which contains trans fats; you can read the entire rap sheet here if you're concerned that the half-teaspoon bit you had this morning has put you on the path to certain death.

And as for coffee itself, the latest news from the grapevine is that it cuts suicide risk in half. On one hand, having it hotter than 149 degrees puts you at risk for cancer of the esophagus. 


Eggs are the best. Easy and versatile; fried, scrambled, boiled, baked with avocado, in an Eggs Benedict, in a pie with bacon. And raw- when I started working out in my early 30s I swallowed the whites mixed with milk and used the yolks for omelettes. 

If you find yourself asking the question if eggs are bad for you, don't Google for the answers. Don't rely on the opinions of self-proclaimed diet/lifestyle gurus who end up cherry-picking second-hand sources to suit their arguments. 

Go to your doctor and get tests for your cholesterol and triglyceride levels; it's the only way to get a definitive answer as to how the food you eat actually affects your body.

Growing up, if we ran out of kitchen staples such as vinegar or cooking oil, we could buy some in doled out smaller quantities at the barrio sari-sari store. Kept in jars, it would be an unlucky day if you discovered too late that the oil had gone off. I was surprised that de facto Philippine national cooking oil, Baguio oil is still a booming business after 84 years. We grew up on this oil and if your family had it good, you always had a full can.

It was around the new millennium that we started getting canola oil in plastic bottles and my mom's perennial complaint was that someone was probably drinking it because the two-litre jug would be empty in the blink of an eye. But since my dad's death, the days of fried fish, fried pork chop and fried chicken have become fewer and far in between and suddenly, the 'no cholesterol', 'high in Omega 3' claims that made fried food seem safe felt like lies.

Here in New Zealand, we still use canola oil though in a given week, it's more for sautéing rather than actual frying. I would gladly switch to something like olive oil (which I have now that I flat) but if you were a family of more than four, the economics of using olive oil exclusively would be daunting. So what to do when canola is masquerading as a good oil; that coconut oil is not the miracle substance it's made out to be; and that ALL vegetable oils may have contributed to increasingly high rates of diabetes, heart disease and cancer?

Consider that at the turn of the 20th century the amount of vegetable oils consumed was practically zero. Today the average consumption is 70 lbs a year per person.

Ahhh, processed meats. I wonder if Rodics is still around, that bastion of comforting and nourishing (!) processed-meat meals inside the University of the Philippines' Diliman campus. After pork belly, my next favourite go-to meat would have to be a 2 kilogram pack of Purefoods German Franks which harks back to those student meals. It wasn't just fitting for breakfast (with fried eggs and fried rice), it was also lunch, an afternoon snack, dinner, and on a sizzling plate with mushrooms, a ton of white onions and birds-eye chilies, a perfect accompaniment to a night's worth of gin and brandy with the guys.

While I like the occasional sausage, I just don't get Kiwis love of butchery sausages- pale, flaccid things with no flavour, more fillers than meat, saved only at your neighbourhood sizzle by caramelised onions and tomato sauce (far better than ketchup actually).

It ranks last in a short list that's topped by bacon (the Signature Range is THE BEST), seconded by sinfully juicy Kranskys, and chorizo, the best one of which I've found at Farro Fresh.

But alas, we knew deep in our hearts that something so wickedly good must be bad. When the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared last year that red meat and processed meats were definitely carcinogenic, we all felt like jilted lovers.

Sure, we've been deceived- but it's so good, we know we're still going to be up for some every so often.