Inflation rate has hit double digits (11 percent), the first time in 14 years (the last was 10.5 percent in 1994) while dollar value has dropped to Php44 from the all-time high of Php56 four years ago. This scenario would not have been so bad if our OFWs’ remittances were not the only thing that keeps our economy afloat. Everyone’s feeling the crunch—from a daily commuter who now pays an additional Php5 in bus fare to a haciendera who buys fertilizer at a price twice its rate a few months ago. We don’t need an international agency to declare that our country is experiencing economic crisis. Halleur!
But seeing the silver lining behind the clouds, I’d say this is the best time to be fit and fab. Cut on your rice consumption—mahal ang bigas, hino-hoard pa! Walk if you must to save on some pesos—mahal na ang pamasahe! Especially if you are in Makati business area, make use of the safe and friendly pedestrian walkways. Plus if you take the cab, you will have to pay Php60, which is the “unwritten” going rate in the area. Not cheap. Go vegetarian—veggies are still the cheapest in the market. Kamote, sili, mongo—they do not require big space to grow so you might want to consider planting them in your yard, their health value in place of the aesthetic value of Bermuda grass.
A while ago, I saw a government-paid television advertisement telling the public to support our farmers. First, why this message to the public when the primary problem is the farm-to-market infrastructure that has started long before I was born and remains unresolved now that I am nearing my retirement age? Second, it is the same government that has allowed 17 companies to mine the natural resource of Palawan–a rice granary that supplies almost half the demand of Luzon and Visayas and where 90 percent of farmlands are rain-fed–telling us to support the farmers. Halleur!
The other night, I saw in the news PGMA endorsing vegetable-enriched, vitamin-fortified, noodles. A one-kilo pack sells at Php34, which is Php6 cheaper than the regular noodles (so what?). A kilo of noodles, assuming no other ingredients are added except sodium and food color (otherwise known as common people’s “soy sauce”), can make 8 to 12 servings, depending on the consumers’ appetite. However, the same amount of money can make more or less the same number of servings of the following fresh, preservative-free, healthier dishes: steamed okra and camote tops, porridge with tofu, sautéed mongo with bitter apple leaves, squash in coconut milk, bitter apple in sour soup, taro leaves in coconut milk, adobong kangkong, chopseuy (less the meat), or pinakbet. (Well, my line-up is limited by our help’s culinary skills. Readers are welcome to share their recipes!)
I know, my menu does not sound as appealing as t-bone steak and crispchon and I won’t insist on their nutritional, economic, and ecological values either. BUT, just for the record, I lost 11 pounds in one week EFFORTLESSLY by just abstaining from meat. This was during my pre-yoga state when my acupuncturist was trying to convert me into pure vegetarianism. Yes, I have been a struggling vegetarian for 12 years now. So help me God!
This blog is not intended to promote vegetarianism (but if in the process of reading this you get converted, good for you!) but just to point out that being healthy or getting fit need not be expensive. I was surprised to hear from a yogini that some of her friends do not want to get into yoga only because they thought that an outfit would cost them an arm and a leg. And her insight? “I have all sorts of outfit—from the most expensive ones to the cheapest and I tell you, they are all the same!” Surprisingly, too, we buy the same brand: Sassa. (And Jane does, too!)
Sassa has pure cotton materials as well as cotton-spandex and nylon-spandex mix. One thing I really like about this brand is that the waistband of its bottoms does not fold up (or down or bulge in any way) so that it does not get in the way of my upward dog. As for the tops, it offers both tank types and shirts, which I prefer. Tip: when fitting a top, do a downdog or a cow facing the mirror and what you’ll see in your reflection is what the rest of the class will see during your practice. A top costs +/-Php300, a bottom +/-Php400. Not bad.
Yoga mats need not also be expensive. There are Php300-mat in Divisoria and in almost every mall. You can also get kitchen mat for Php100 per meter and nobody would care (and nobody would even notice its difference from a yoga mat, just choose the ones with more subtle designs). It works for many yogins I know.
As for the course fee, yoga studios offer various packages that suit your budget and practice. The cheapest, of course, is to build discipline and do self-practice at the comfort of your home. But discipline takes time and while you work on it, you can consider this: a 21-day package at VYC (for example, because this is where I practice) is a lot cheaper than an insurance premium, or the cost of hospitalization, or a hormone treatment.
Health is an investment the returns of which you can already enjoy at the present moment (no need to wait for maturity). Economic crisis is bad enough; as my sister put it, let’s not make it any worse by preventing health crisis.
I rest my case.
(Credit goes to Crissy who taught me the lesson on “connecting the dots” :-D)