Photo shows cookie chips chocolates

By Dr. Willie Ong

Q. I have heard from my doctor everything that I’m NOT allowed to eat. But he didn’t tell me what food I can eat? Please tell me what I am allowed to eat?

A. Okay, I agree, doctors are really fond of telling patients what not to do or eat, but if you listen carefully, we’re not prohibiting everything really. Dr. Augusto Litonjua, past president of the Philippine Diabetes Associations, says that he tells his diabetic patients to avoid two things only: (1) too much fat and (2) too much sugar. The rest they can eat in moderation.

According to Dr. Rafael Castillo, president of the Philippine Society of Hypertension, patient with high blood pressure just need to cut down on two things: (1) too much fat and (2) too much salt.

Dr. Castillo says that patients should also challenge their concept of what tastes good for them. “If they keep on eating healthy foods, like vegetables, fish and tofu, then they will find their taste preference changing. What tastes bland before now tastes delicious and those high fat delicacies aren’t tempting anymore,” says Dr. Castillo.

With that in mind, let’s go to our concept of food substitution, which is replacing an unhealthy food choice with a healthier and heart-friendly one. Let’s start with the soup and meal. The ones on the left are less healthy while the ones on the right are better choices.

I. Soup & Meal
            LIMIT                         YES
Cream Soup                =          Clear Soup
Fried, buttered             =          Boiled, grilled
Beef and pork fat        =          Fish fat (bangus)
Beef and pork meat     =          Chicken or fish
Sausages, Langonisa   =          Chicken meat
Chicharon                    =          Kropeck, Popcorn
Siomai, Siopao            =          Congee
Egg yolk                      =          Egg white
Fried rice (sinangag)   =          Plain rice


Cream soups are milk-based and buttery in taste hence they’re fatty. Fish fat, which are full of omega-3 fatty acids, is healthier than animal fat. And there are morsels of hidden fat in sausages, langonisa and siomai, around 40% of the “meat” is really fat. Oh my gosh! That’s why it’s so soft and juicy.

Doctors recommend eating only 3-5 eggs in a week. For baking, you can avoid the cholesterol-rich egg yolk by substituting two egg whites in your recipe.

Did you know that ordering plain rice instead of fried rice can reduce the calories by 30%? Limit your Tap-si-logs. Tapa and plain rice is better. Use vinegar for taste.

II. Sauces
HIGH SALT                           LOW SALT
Fish sauce, Soy sauce =          Vinegar          
Bagoong                      =          Calamansi
HIGH FAT                             LOW FAT
Gravy, mayonnaise,    =          Ketchup
Caesar’s, Thousand island =   Vinagrette


For those with high blood pressure, studies show that reducing your salt intake will reduce your blood pressure by as much as 10 points. So don’t place the fish sauce, soy sauceand bagoong on the dining table. Keep them far from sight and far from mind.

Gravies, mayonnaise and fatty dressings are clear and present dangers to your waistline. And those Thousand Island dressings got their name because they’ll add a thousand calories to your body too. Try vinaigrette or ketchup instead.

“But Doc, I noticed that all those foods you allowed in the right hand column taste bland and uninviting.” Yes, yes, I’m guilty as charged. But hey, these are just a little sacrifice for your health. And you want to live longer, right? Next category please …

III. Drinks and Deserts
LIMIT                                     YES
Full cream milk           =          Skim milk
Soft drinks                 =          Diet drinks, water
Alcoholic drinks         =          Lite beer
Ice cream                     =          Ice candy, gelatin
Chocolate cake            =          Angel cake
Milk shake                 =          Yoghurt
Fruit salad, Halo-halo =          Fresh fruits


Each can of soft drink contains as much as 7 teaspoonfuls of sugar, not to mention the phosphorus it contains that drains your calcium away. Diet drinks are allowed in moderation, but it is still best to avoid them. The best drink, water, has zero calories.

What about fruit salad or halo-halo? Well, it’s the cream in the fruit salad and the ice-cream in your halo-halo that are the culinary culprits. You may take them in moderation.

And lastly, when it comes to fast foods, remember our mantra of safe answers when the counter girl tempts you: “No to added cheese, to supersize, go large, to added fries, dessert, muffin or cakes.”

Be smart in choosing what you eat. And when you find the road to dieting hard and long, just hum to yourself every morning, “Doc says healthy foods taste good. Doc says healthy foods taste good…”

Related Posts