Crippled by economic challenges, rising poverty rates, low wages, and increasing prices of basic commodities, it is with this fact that a lot of Filipino families are unable to bring at least a platter of meals to the table.
During a committee hearing for the appointment of DOST secretary Renato Umali Solidum, the podium took a baffling turn when food security issues in the country were made the focal point of the deliberation. A lawmaker apparently thinks that inventing a food pill that can last for days or months, similar to the kind astronauts take in space, will solve the hunger problem of poor Filipino families.
But how do astronauts eat and drink in space, and how will this aid in solving our food security issues? Or would it?
They eat real food, not pills
Contrary to what Sagip Partylist Representative Rodante Marcoleta has said, astronauts eat in a normal way with three meals on a day-to-day basis.
Each shuttle packs enough food for the whole trip but they can also get deliveries from Earth whenever they feel like having a pizza for dinner or a burrito for a snack. Their food rations are either freeze-dried or thermally stabilized to prevent spoilage over an extended time. Furthermore, space shuttles are outfitted with forced-air convection ovens that allow them to heat their food because no one likes eating cold food all the time.
In terms of drinks, their liquids come in the form of dehydrated powders that they can consume just by adding water.
Hungry for flavors
Eating in microgravity is an entirely new experience. Astronauts eat and drink in the same way that we do on Earth, with the exception that they usually can't taste anything. This is due to a phenomenon known as 'fluid shift.'
When the water in the body is affected by low gravity conditions in space, the taste buds shift dramatically, rendering them ineffective for tasting food. Fortunately, experts have improved the space-eating experience over the years by developing liquid food spices and flavors that astronauts can add to their meals.
We deserve to eat normally with normal food
To answer the question of whether we can employ the same food consumption style that astronauts use in space to address the country's food security issues, the answer is a big NO.
We are not that technologically advanced compared to several countries with prominent resources. Surely, providing adequate food supplies for the people, allocating larger budgets for food security initiatives, and developing nutrition programs for the poor are far superior interventions to developing a food pill.
Ironically, the government can spend a lot of money to build a catering area at Malacañang and go on luxurious trips abroad, yet when it comes to feeding the Filipino people, a food pill seems feasible.
Remember, we’re not astronauts, and we have every right to eat normally, with normal food on the table and not some food pill that we can slither down our throats to compensate for a required nutrition intake.