Briones: Sunday rambling

Publio Briones

I NEVER knew it would come to this. Oh don’t get me wrong. I knew it would be inevitable. But I thought it would be a few years from now, not last Friday during a friend’s birthday party.

With a glass of scotch on the rocks in one hand, I sat and listened in rapt attention as a friend, who is two years older, talked about lectins.

You see, he recently read this book on what foods to avoid if you suffer from gout. I forgot who the author was. I think he mentioned the name but it escaped me. After all, I had more than one glass of scotch that night, so many things slipped through my mind except for the general idea of what he was talking about.

But before I proceed, some of you might want to know what lectins are.

Lectins, according to the Mayo Clinic, “are naturally occurring proteins that are found in most plants. Some foods that contain higher amounts of lectins include beans, peanuts, lentils, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, fruits and wheat and other grains. Lectins serve a protective function for plants as they grow. They don’t have any nutritional value when consumed in foods.”

There’s no need to throw away the items listed above in the garbage because the amount you need to consume each day for lectins to have a negative effect on your health is much higher than a typical diet would include. Unless, of course, you’re a glutton for tomatoes because these fruits—yes, tomatoes are fruits since, according to my friend, anything that have seeds in them are considered fruits, not vegetables, although he mentioned an exception but I forgot because I had one glass of scotch too many—contain lycopene.

And you know what they say about lycopene, right? I mean, I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, lectins.

So basically, this author that my friend read is saying that all fruits are bad, especially when eaten ripe. Although he did say that unripe mangoes, papayas and bananas have many health benefits.

Did you know that eating an unripe mango is one of the most cooling food items around, especially during the summer or when living in a tropical country where it’s hot the whole year around, and that it prevents the loss of electrolytes, water and iron from the body that happens due to sweating?

I didn’t, but that’s what is saying.

The website also says an unripe mango is rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C so it boosts the immunity. That it also boosts the health of the liver, increases the secretion of bile acids and cleanses the intestines. And it prevents constipation.

I bet you didn’t know that. And that’s just for the unripe mango. Think of all the other good things an unripe papaya and banana can do for you.

Okay, I just digressed. Again. I guess it happens a lot when you get to be my age.

You see, I turned 50 last week. There, I just let the cat out of the bag. I would have preferred to keep it to myself but something happened last week that made me realize it was better to just get it out there.

One of our editorial assistants, a very young editorial assistant, asked me how old I was on my birthday at work. I quickly dismissed the question, saying it didn’t matter.

A few minutes of awkward silence passed and then he blurted out that reaching the age of 60 was no mean feat. That I should be feeling accomplished and proud.

“I am not 60!” I snapped at him. “55, Sir?” he whispered.