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Dec 07th
Home Sections Food Turning the FOOD Into Food Production (Part 3)
Turning the FOOD Into Food Production (Part 3) PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Food
Saturday, 26 May 2007 02:13

(Part III of "Reinventing the Overseas-Filipino Diet")

As in 2003 and in this series, many readers point to one common message: Do not just send money to the homeland to buy provisions for the hungry but use the funds to produce food. In other words, it might be better not just to provide the fish but to teach the people how to catch the fishes. It might be more advisable to use the money to help the recipients raise goats instead of sending canned milk to our folks back home.

There were good suggestions resulting from the publication in late 2003 of this series as a long article in the of New York. Unfortunately, the article is no longer found in its archive.

In the early 1970s, Dr. Conrado R. Pascual, Sr., our Filipino hero cited in this series, and I discussed his idea on how our people might be able to raise vegetables in their respective homes. In fact, Dr. Pascual demonstrated his idea by turning into a "green house" his tool shed at his bungalow in the BF Homes in Paranaque City, Metro Manila. Dr. Pascual expanded and rebuilt his tool shed to raise mushrooms. And he was producing mushrooms that he gave to his kin and friends. He was also about to cultivate asparagus, using the principles of hydroponics. Unfortunately before Dr. Pascual was able to do the asparagus project, he suffered a stroke and went into a coma from which he was not able to recover.

Dr. Pascual had a very simple idea. He said that if a majority of Filipino homes raised mushrooms and asparagus, it was possible for the Philippines to become the number-one exporter of the said vegetables that were/are always in demand in many countries. He said that mushrooms and asparagus tips could be exported either fresh or canned.

It would not be difficult to convert parts of a Filipino home into "green houses" to produce the mushrooms, as Dr. Pascual demonstrated. He said that even in the provinces, the space between the nipa-home floor and the ground could be converted into "dark spaces" to grow mushrooms. And even apartments can house tanks that can grow asparagus hydroponically (sic). Dr. Pascual said that if millions of homes were able to grow mushrooms and asparagus, the next step would be to organize producers' cooperatives so as to pool their resources for canning or packaging, shipping and marketing. From a mere cottage industry, the efforts could be galvanized to enable the Philippines to become the world's capital for mushrooms and asparagus. Yes, two of the many vegetable varieties that could dramatically improve the health (both from the physical and financial aspects) of our people and improve their quality of life.

My friendship with Dr. Pascual (as I was his favorite mahjong partner) inspired me to think of food production as a topic of even some of my satirical articles.

If you have not yet read my piece on raising cattle in the homeland, please read my supposedly-very funny article on "Steakhood as an Alternative to the Statehood Movement." Please click on this link

To read Part II of the "Steakhood Movement," please go to

I mentioned also goat raising (to produce milk, meat and leather) and planting of fruit trees in my essay at his link

Perhaps we can (and must) turn the FOOD Initiative to food production. As I wrote in my series of articles about "Reinventing the Philippines," it is high time to turn the "Balikbayan" boxes to "Back-to-the-Basics" activities like goat raising, cultivation of fruit trees, and as Dr. Pascual suggested, the growing of mushrooms, asparagus and other vegetables. To read more about this Back-to-the-Basics article, please go to

What say you, Overseas Filipinos? # # #

To read again the earlier two articles of this series, please go to:


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Last Updated on Saturday, 24 May 2008 02:49
Comments (1)
1 Tuesday, 28 January 2014 08:04
Dear Ching Pascual-Pena:

Your Dad, Dr. Conrado Pascual, Sr., actually wanted to help Filipinos raise asparagus, as I related in this article:


Thanks for sending the material, as reproduced below.

Best wishes,

Bobby M. Reyes



When I was in the USN, I was stationed in Key West, FL. I worked at the clinic at Naval Air Station on Big Coppitt Key just a few miles north of Key West. The hospital at Key West was for out-patients only, for retired armed forces personnel that lived in the area. If you needed to be hospitalized you were sent to Homestead AFB. I had the day off and just went inside the hospital (Corpman barracks were next to hospital). There was a retired Navy man that worked in the lab and he was very interesting gentleman to talk with. He was a retired biochemist from the USN. He asked me what was going on that day,and I said I had the day off. I wish I was working, as the crew on today was taking a sailor to Homestead as he had a very bad kidney infection. Now this elderly gent told me the man should have eaten more asparagus, and he wouldn't have that problem. I asked why? I'll never forget him saying, do you eat asparagus? And I said yes, I love them. He replied you notice how your urine stinks after eating asparagus? I said well I never thought it was what I ate but yes it does have a pungent odor. He said, It is because it is detoxifying your body of harmful chemicals!!!
This was back in 1986 when I was stationed there and to read this email again I had to share this story ... Eat more asparagus, my friends.

Asparagus -- Who knew?

My Mom had been taking the full-stalk canned style asparagus, pureed it and took 4 tablespoons in the morning and 4 tablespoons later in the day. She did this for over a month. She is on chemo pills for Stage 3 lung cancer in the pleural area and her cancer cell count went from 386 down to 125 as of this past week. Her oncologist said she will not need to see him for 3 months.

Several years ago I met a man seeking asparagus for a friend who had cancer. He gave me a copy of an article, entitled "Asparagus For Cancer" printed in the Cancer News Journal, December 1979. I will share it here, just as it was shared with me: I am a biochemist, and have specialized in the relation of diet to health for over 50 years. Several years ago, I learned of the discovery of Richard R. Vensal, D.D.S. that asparagus might cure cancer. Since then, I have worked with him on his project. We have accumulated a number of favorable case histories. Here are a few examples:

Case No. 1, A man with an almost hopeless case of Hodgkin's disease (cancer of the lymph glands) who was completely incapacitated. Within 1 year of starting the asparagus therapy, his doctors were unable to detect any signs of cancer, and he was back on a schedule of strenuous exercise.

Case No. 2, A successful businessman, 68 years old, suffered from cancer of the bladder for 16 years. After years of medical treatments, including radiation without improvement, he began taking asparagus. Within 3 months, examinations revealed that his bladder tumor had disappeared and that his kidneys were normal.

Case No. 3, On March 5, 1971, a man who had lung cancer was put on the operating table where they found lung cancer so widely spread that it was inoperable.
The surgeon sewed him up and declared his case hopeless. On April 5th he heard about the Asparagus therapy and immediately started taking it. By August, x-ray pictures revealed that all signs of the cancer had disappeared. He is now back at his regular business routine.

Case No. 4, A woman had been troubled for a number of years with skin cancer. She developed different skin cancers which were diagnosed by the acting specialist as advanced. Within 3 months after beginning asparagus therapy, the skin specialist said her skin looked fine with no more skin lesions. This woman reported that the asparagus therapy also cured her kidney disease, which had started in 1949. She had over 10 operations for kidney stones, and was receiving government disability payments for an inoperable, terminal, kidney condition. She attributes the cure of this kidney trouble entirely to the asparagus treatment.

I was not surprised at this result as`The elements of materia medica', edited in 1854 by a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, stated that asparagus was used as a popular remedy for kidney stones. He even referred to experiments, in 1739, on the power of asparagus in dissolving stones. Note the dates! --- We would have other case histories but the medical establishment has interfered with our obtaining some of the records. I am therefore appealing to readers to spread this good news and help us to gather a large number of case histories that will overwhelm the medical skeptics about this unbelievably simple and natural remedy.

For the treatment, asparagus should be cooked before using. Fresh or canned asparagus can be used. I have corresponded with the two leading canners of asparagus, Giant and Stokely, and I am satisfied that these brands contain no pesticides or preservatives.
Place the cooked asparagus in a blender and liquefy to make a puree. Store in the refrigerator. Give the patient 4 full tablespoons twice daily, morning and evening. Patients usually show some improvement in 2-4 weeks. It can be diluted with water and used as a cold or hot drink. This suggested dosage is based on present experience, but certainly larger amounts can do no harm and may be needed in some cases.

As a biochemist I am convinced of the old saying that `what cures can prevent.' Based on this theory, my wife and I have been using asparagus puree as a beverage with our meals. We take 2 tablespoons diluted in water to suit our taste with breakfast and with dinner. I take mine hot and my wife prefers hers cold. For years we have made it a practice to have blood surveys taken as part of our regular checkups. The last blood survey, taken by a medical doctor who specializes in the nutritional approach to health, showe substantial improvements in all categories over the last one, and we can attribute these improvements to nothing but the asparagus drink. As a biochemist, I have made an extensive study of all aspects of cancer, and all of the proposed cures. As a result, I am convinced that asparagus fits in better with the latest theories about cancer.

Asparagus contains a good supply of protein called histones, which are believed to be active in controlling cell growth. For that reason, I believe asparagus can be said to contain a substance that I call cell growth normalizer. That accounts for its action on cancer and in acting as a general body tonic. In any event, regardless of theory, asparagus used as we suggest, is a harmless substance. The FDA cannot prevent you from using it and it may do you much good. It has been reported by the US National Cancer Institute, that asparagus is the highest tested food containing glutathione, which is considered one of the body's most potent anti-carcinogens and antioxidants.

Just a side note... In case you are wondering why this has not been made public, there is no profit in curing cancer.

Please send this article to everyone in your Address Book. The most unselfish act one can ever do is paying forward all the kindness one has received.

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