On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Food, glorious food

I LOVE my half-boiled eggs for breakfast and I regard it as one of the simple pleasures of life. It’s a very Malaysian breakfast because the nearest one can get elsewhere is soft boiled eggs but nothing beats half-boiled eggs with soya sauce and pepper.

My consumption of eggs doesn’t end at breakfast. Along the day, the egg would probably show up in some dishes for lunch or dinner.

I am fed up of people still telling me that eggs are bad or that I should leave out the yolk, the best part of the egg, which is simply unforgiveable.

Look, my 86-year-old mum is right – take two eggs and a cup of Milo daily and you would stay healthy. It is as simple as that. No arguments.

Then, not so long ago, some studies cropped up and advised us to stop eating eggs. Worse, some even said the consumption of half-boiled eggs should be stopped. Yes, purportedly because it was unsafe.

Well, that has since been debunked but the campaign against eggs has remained. The damage is done and nobody wants to update themselves with the latest study that there really isn’t much scientific evidence to limit the consumption of eggs.

According to one report, a study was done whereby people were split into two groups – participants in one group ate several (1-3) whole eggs per day while those in the other group ate something else (like egg substitutes) instead.

The researchers followed the people for a number of weeks/months. In almost all cases, the HDL (the good cholesterol) went up and total and LDL cholesterol levels did not change but sometimes they increased slightly.

In short, studies consistently show that people who eat whole eggs are no more likely to develop heart disease. Some of the studies even show a reduced risk of stroke, the report said.

Then there is the rice issue. Many people I know have stopped eating rice altogether. In a dramatic manner, I have been lectured that rice is equivalent to poison, on the same level of taking sugar.

I don’t know. My mom still tells me I should eat plenty of rice. The Chinese customarily greet each other with “have you eaten rice yet?”. But now, I am not sure if it’s politically correct. They may think I am being seditious.

But I love my rice – nasi lemak, chicken rice, nasi kandar, lotus leaf rice, fried rice and lor mai kai (steamed glutinous rice with chicken) for dim sum.

Now, I am warned that if I refused to listen to advice, my sugar level will shoot up and no insurance company will sell me any medical policy. My legs will be cut off, they warn.

It has frightened me like hell but another new medical report has surfaced – it has now been revealed that eating a daily portion of rice not only makes dieting easier but is linked to improved all-round health.

The report said new research shows that consumers can improve their diet simply by enjoying white or brown rice as part of their daily meals.

In a study published in the journal Food and Nutrition Sciences, study leader Dr Theresa Nicklas, of Baylor College of Medicine, looked at rice intake and diets among more than 14,000 US adults. Yes, a real serious study. Not one done by Ridhuan Tee Abdullah.

She was quoted as saying : ‘Our results show that adults who eat rice had diets more consistent with what is recommended in dietary guidelines, and they showed higher amounts of potassium, magnesium, iron, folate and fibre while eating less saturated fat and added sugars.

“Eating rice is also associated with eating more servings of fruit, vegetables, meat and beans. Rice is naturally sodium free and has only a small amount of fat, of which none is saturated.”

There you go! Eat all that you want – if you still have lingering doubts with what I have said – you just have to Google for the information. These are not reports from the National Enquirer, which is the only thing that Donald Trump reads.

Of course, you would have known by now that our all-time favourite – nasi lemak – has been recognised as one of 10 most healthy international breakfasts by TIME magazine.

It has to be the gospel truth. After all, most of us believe most things reported by foreign media.

The article describes nasi lemak as “supremely delicious” and “yes, there’s a bit more fat than is good for you (eat less rice to reduce), but it’s balanced with lots of manganese, protein and carbs.

According to the recent article, “the chilli in the sambal also boosts the metabolism (depending on which nutritionist you talk to).”

There you go. Go ahead, go for two packets this morning. It’s officially one of the top 10 healthy breakfast meals.

I can imagine health freaks, Madonna and Jennifer Lopez, eating nasi lemak every morning with this new trend. I am sure they can vouch that the hot belacan paste helps them to sweat even more and is better than any other exercise regimen.

There is more – our rambutans have been declared a wonder fruit. There are just too many articles I have found on the Net.

It has an active substance, known as Geraniin, which can cause the reduction of the sugar concentration and the substance is found only in rambutans.

It seems that rambutan seeds, whether consumed raw, crushed or even combined with other foodstuff, are effective in reducing body fat and even make the skin softer and healthier.

HealthBenefitstimes.com recommends –take a couple of rambutan leaves and clean them effectively.

It added, “include a little water and create a paste of the leaves utilising a blender. Filter the leaves’ extract with a clean cloth. Use the water extract towards the damp scalp and also continue doing this every day. You are able to watch an excellent hair regrowth.”

The benefits of eating nangka or jackfruit is even more amazing and more detailed. So who says eating nangka causes angin or wind which could lead to stomach complications and other effects to other vital organs?

The Mat Salleh medical community has gone crazy over our nangka – which has now become a wonder fruit!

One US nutrition website has described the fruit as a good source of antioxidant vitamin C, “provides about 13.7 mg or 23% of RDA and Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals. It is one of the rare fruits that is rich in B-complex group of vitamins. It contains very good amounts of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), niacin, riboflavin, and folic acid.”

I don’t know what it means but it sure sounds important and clever. I am definitely convinced that I should eat more nangka.

The moral of the story is this – just eat what you want and like everything else, just do it in moderation. Don’t go overboard and don’t be extreme – the same principle applies in our food intake and not just in politics. It’s food for thought.