Death Comes Early

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Life begins at 40 or so they say. But lately, it seems to me that life ends at 40.

I just learned that a lady who delivers meat regularly in our office just died of cancer. She was very hardworking and I presume very active as she goes from office to office to sell meat and other meat products that they personally butcher and process. Also, just last month, our officemate died of heart attack. Another officemate had a stroke and retired prematurely. All were in their 40’s, supposedly in the prime of their life. I also remember my brother who also died in his 40’s due to heart attack. Then, this month also, my uncle based in the province died. He was 88 years old. Deaths in both ends of the spectrum?

My uncle who reached the age of 88 is a typical Ilocano. He lives simply, he eats simply. I think, If he had not injured himself from a fall, he has still a few years left to be with us. On the other hand, let us examine the “premature” deaths of those I considered to be in their prime as I have earlier mentioned. All of them have active lifestyles which made them prone to fastfoods and other processed foods. According to research many of the diseases and causes of death today can be attributed to our present lifestyle. The food that we eat are really not safe. Most clog our arteries thereby leading to heart attack. Many of the food that we eat are high in sugar thereby leading to diabetes. The meat that we eat are either injected with growth hormones, vaccines or chemicals to hasten the production process and meet the demand of the population. The food that we eat are full of preservatives. The supposedly healthy food like fruits, vegetables and cereals are heavily sprayed with chemicals. We knew that these are unhealthy but we persist in eating this. It is as if we have a death wish. Why? Don’t we have reasons for living?

I should say we have enough reasons to fight for life. We have our children, our family, our friends and even our job. We still have a mission to serve our countrymen. So we need to make a decision. It is either we stop eating unhealthy foods or continue what we are currently used to. If we decide on the latter, we just have to make sure that we already have mortuary insurance.

Eating healthy food is not just the key to long life. We need to make sure that this “healthy” food that we eat are safe. That is why if you love yourself, then you have to start eating food that are safe to eat. I knew many would complain that organically-grown products are expensive. This maybe true. However, if we are really determined to change, then we have to plant vegetables in our backyard. For those in the cities whose areas are limited, we already have urban vegetable gardening. Those interested to learn about it may go to their nearest agriculture offices so that they will be guided on how to do it. Those in the barangays should grow their own fruits and vegetables and even cereals. They should go back to raising native chicken, pig and other livestock or poultry. In doing this, we are assured that what we are eating are safe. Surplus can also be sold so it can be an additional income for the family.

Most of the times, solutions to problems are just there for us to act on. It is just that we do not have the will to really do it. Why not start today? Plant just one seed of vegetable, say tomato. We need just to take the first step. The succeeding ones will be easier.

ATI Today

Extension services continue to evolve. With the challenges that extension workers and farmers face, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) continues to explore various strategies to improve its efforts as the extension and training arm of the Department of Agriculture. In over 30 years, the ATI has celebrated various successes and learned from the lessons during hard times. Nonetheless, we are proud to be standing the test of time through the support of our partners and the clientele themselves. This is the ATI Today, more committed to bring you extension services beyond boundaries.