Category Archives: Health

It’s Bad when it’s a “Fad”

Let’s be honest, there’s a reason why fad diets are referred to as “Fad Diets.”

They can be the hottest thing in the planet, with multiple testimonials on how “effective” it is, but truth of the matter is that it’s simply fad, with no assurance that you will achieve your health goals effectively, safely and in a timely manner.

Trust me, i know. I’ve been carrying the extra weight for about 10 years now and I could probably give you a grocery list of the diet plans I’ve tried through the years. Did any of them work? Maybe at first – but many years down the line and I still carry the extra weight with me like a baggage I can’t seem to shake off.

Image courtesy of Penn State U

Here are some things about fad diets that you need to know:

Fad diets may not be healthy. Fad diets may have short- and long-term effects on the body. In the short term, you may lose pounds but drastic weight loss without proper nutrition may have serious long-term effects on the body. When the body loses weight, the vital organs such as the liver and kidney will be overworked, as they try to get rid of excess fat and toxins from the body. It is important to support the body with proper nutrition. Proper monitoring of the body is needed when losing weight.

Image courtesy of The Mayo Clinic

Fad diets are not based on nutrition. You are what you eat. Even if you are on a diet, your body needs the right nutrition to keep energy levels high and to avoid adverse health effects in the long run. To get all the essential nutrients, the diet should include balanced nutrition with different food groups, such as lean protein, vegetables and controlled fat and sources of sugar, like healthy carbohydrates and fruits.

Fad diets may lead to health problems. Losing weight may put some stress on vital organs. It is important that a person is healthy to go on a diet. It is always advisable to see a doctor before starting any weight-loss program and to be closely guided throughout the process.

Fad diets results are short-term. Most fad diets will help you lose weight for a short period of time, but you will eventually gain more than what you lost. When the body does not get balanced nutrition, it will try to preserve itself by slowing down metabolism, making burning fat harder. While there may be weight loss initially, the body will eventually need more food to compensate for the loss, which can lead to more weight gain.

Fad diets may not help get rid of the fats. When weight and muscle are lost initially, you may be led to believe that a diet is effective. However, most weight loss resulting from fasting or starvation comes from burning vital muscles and not the loss of fat. When the body is starving, metabolism causes it to store energy, which it gets from body fat. But when there is little fat or muscle left, the body will start to metabolize the organs that are made of lean tissue. This may lead to stroke, heart attack or liver and kidney failure.

To lose weight, increase vegetable consumption, drink more water, eat lean protein, reduce fats and sugar consumption, including refined carbohydrates. Healthy habits like sleeping well and exercising will also aid healthy weight loss.

While you feel the need to lose weight, remember that your health matters more than the numbers on the weighing scale. Do your research before trying any fad diets.

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Investing in affordable health care is easy with PhilCare’s ER Vantage

I was 33 years old when I realized how unprepared my husband and I was for life’s emergencies.

It all started with a throbbing, steady pain, said my husband. He would wake up at 12 midnight staying until 3AM, silently bearing the pain on his right abdomen.

After months of trying to keep it from me, I woke up one morning to see him curled silently in the couch downstairs. The check-up and all the tests that followed confirmed our suspicion: gall stones, which was then pressing already to the small opening leading to his liver. After months and months of tests, medications and even a complete check on his stomach to make sure there wasn’t any other obstruction — a sudden, sharp pain one Saturday afternoon finally sent us to the Makati Med ER where the doctors immediately scheduled him for surgery.

Our expected expense: about PHP250,000 including doctors’ fees. Our bank account had a total of PHP20,000, give or take a few hundreds.

It was my health card that saved us from all the worries, and gave us the energy to focus on his treatment and on getting the best medical care possible.

After surgery and recovery which constituted the five days he was in the hospital, our total bill came up to PHP220,000. I paid 50 pesos for the portable potty he needed to use; while PhilCare, my health care provider took care of all the rest — hassle-free.

It was that time when I became obsessed on getting any form of health care for my loved ones. Granted that my health care coverage was made possible by employment, I was relieved to note that PhilCare took their services to the next level by introducing a line of prepaid health cards.

The following Christmas, I gave my favorite aunt and uncles PhilCare ER Vantage cards, and encouraged cousins to buy one. Before my father turned 65, I bought him his own ER Vantage.

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One of the earlier versions of the current ER Vantage. This served my father well. Having the peace of mind by having any form of health card was my goal always.

It is not surprising that PhilCare would come up with an affordable prepaid card.  Only 4% of Filipinos enjoy HMO coverage, and the bulk of that small percentage have that coverage as a corporate benefit from their employers.  The reality for most Filipinos is that if and when a major health crisis does occur, they simply aren’t prepared.

As one of their most popular products, ER Vantage is available for both children and adults and will cover the bearer for a single use or a period of one year — whichever comes first.

ER Vantage gives you a one-time coverage for emergency room care and hospitalization expenses, inclusive of Doctors’ fees, Laboratory and diagnostic procedures, Room and board (regular private room) Medicines (except vaccines) as medically necessary during confinement except for cases declared as non-coverable, Special modalities of treatment which are medically necessary during ER and confinement and subject to standard inner limits, Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures as medically necessary during ER and confinement

Emergency cases are the sudden, unexpected onset of illness or injury, which at the time of contract reasonably appeared as having the potential of causing immediate disability or death or requiring the immediate alleviation of severe pain and discomfort. Emergency cases include but are not limited to Massive Bleeding; Acute Appendicitis; Fractures/multiple injuries secondary to accidents; Convulsions; illnesses or conditions resulting in moderate or severe dehydration such as diarrhea or fever; and Syncope. Pre-existing conditions and those conditions under the general exclusions of PhilCare are not covered.  In addition, ER Vantage comes with a death of dismemberment payout.

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The latest version of the ER Vantage – can’t wait to have this again as a gift for the oldies this Christmas

Prices for ER Vantage for adults range from Php 1,050 to Php 4,950, amount of coverage is between Php 40,000 to Php 80,000 depending on the ER Vantage card/voucher purchased.  For kids the prices range between Php 2,950 to Php 4,950.

In my family, I have a lot of aunts and uncles who have no children, or those with no means to get their own health card. Like before, I’ve bowed to get them the ER Vantage Plus 40 for Christmas.

I know, it’s a bit pricey as a Christmas gift for the extended family, but since these are my favorite aunt and uncles — and from experience — would depend on our help during medical emergencies. Giving them the security and protection afforded by a health card is worth it.

 

If you want to know more about ER Vantage or shop for your own:   http://shop.philcare.com.ph/index.php?route=product/search&search=er%20vantage%20plus

 

Discovering what it means to be truly healthy with LifeScience

I don’t need much to know that at my current state: I am beyond unhealthy. It’s not even the excess 25 kilograms that I can’t seem to shake off – it’s the long nights awake, the stressful situations, the fact that I don’t eat right and almost have zero exercise.

For the longest time, I have been trying to understand what’s wrong with my body and what I can do to fix this health mess that I am in. There are days when I feel helpless with what’s happening with my body, especially since I am getting older and my metabolism has been out of whack for about 10 years already. To say that I am in bad shape is a gross understatement, but I wanted to know how and why.

One of the things that I have been looking with much interest is Functional Medicine, a science-based approach to health, which turns the disease-centered focus of the traditional medical practice on its head by focusing on the whole person, his lifestyle habits, work and environment, and not the symptoms alone. Functional Medicine first started in the States but has started to pick steam here in the Philippines.

Practitioners of Functional Medicine spend time getting to know the patient’s history, and looking into the genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can affect their long-term health. By incorporating the latest developments in genetic science, the relationships between body organs, and analyzing the patient’s lifestyle and environment, Functional Medicine gives solutions to the individual’s health issues tailor-made just for them. This data and knowledge not only enables physicians and other health professionals to practice proactive, predictive, and personalized medicine, but it also empowers patient to have an active role in their own health.

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The foremost practitioner of Functional Medicine in the Philippines is LifeScience Center for Health and Wellness (LSC) in Bonifacio Global City, which is staffed with health care practitioners who specialize in Functional Medicine for many years already. They are all about finding ways to optimize health and prevent diseases by customizing programs specific to you, the individual. There are no one-size-fits-all treatment programs here.

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The relaxing deck at the LifeScience Center facility

I was recently invited to their top-of-the-line facility to know more about the service they offer and also to meet the men behind LifeScience, Group CEO Michael Genato and Senior Medical Consultant Dr. Roland Aquino Balburias.

LifeScience Center is the place for people from all over the world who don’t want to get sick, and for patients with multiple health issues who have tried conventional medicine but have yet to feel whole and better. To fully understand and know your needs, every LSC program begins with an in-depth consultation with you — the patient — about your health, medical history, and lifestyle.

From this conversation, the doctors get an idea what kind of diagnostic tests you can consider taking in order to understand your body better and to see what imbalances in body that need to be addressed. LSC partners with the best laboratories around the world so it can give its patients access to cutting-edge diagnostic tests, including gene tests. From there, LSC designs programs that are tailor made for your health goals, using the exact type of nutrition, movement, and medical treatments suited for your body. This way, you and the doctor work together using these information and programs towards the goal of optimized health and wellness just for you.

During the event at LifeScience, we were given a preliminary study of our health. My results did not came really as a surprise, but only validated the many things that I worry about my health. Dr. Balburias shared that all of our health concerns actually begin with our food intake, as they affect the performance of our body’s cell. This means that from the get-go, it’s important that we watch what we eat and we put inside our body. Exercise, proper sleep and steering away from the sedentary lifestyle also helps.

 

For more information about LifeScience Center for Wellness and Preventive Medicine, visit http://www.lifescience.ph. The center is located at the 8/F AccraLaw Tower, 2nd Avenue corner 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City.

 

The Fitness Diaries: Day One of Boxing – where I hardly floated, but looked like a bee

The Greatest of All Time, Muhammad Ali once said, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee…”

In my case, “it was floated pathetically like a bee…” THIS. BEE. 

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The most famous bee in history – Photo not my property – credit to owner

Seriously speaking, I always knew that starting to get healthy is not a walk in the park. I have wasted a lot of years reveling in my sedentary lifestyle – too stressed, too busy and too broke to start a fitness regimen.

However, the bitter pill of being overweight is not something that can be ignored. Especially when I suffer from PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which was one of the off-shoots of being overweight. Other health issues are also mounting: Breathing became hard when doing physical activities, I easily get tired and my knees are killing me. I tended to dread Annual Physical Examinations because I always hear the same thing from my doctors – the blood sugar is elevated, there’s too many carbs in my body and yes, I need to lose weight if I wanted the PCOS to go away.

Further adding to misery is the hassle of buying clothes. My friends know that I can be really picky when it comes to the things I wear. I am all for style, but I also can’t resist a good bargain. Thing is, local brands tend to carry small sizes, you’re lucky if you can find an XL that fitted really well. Since my ass can rival that of the Kardashians’ – looking for jeans can be a hassle.

Let’s not even get started on the style. Even before, I noticed how local plus sized clothing can be frustrating for those who wanted a bit of style in their clothes. If it’s not the God-forsaken color-blocking pattern which can make anyone look like a glorified chess board, it’s a whole lot of animal patterns (cheetah, tiger, zebra, you name it!) I always end up buying from Marks & Spencer, Forever 21 and H&M who carries European sizes. For someone who doesn’t have a secret stash of unlimited cash somewhere, this is a big hassle and a pain in the pocket.

Lastly, being overweight, especially in the Philippines, is not exactly good to your self-esteem. People can be really cruel and insensitive. Classmates and colleagues from ten years back will not greet you hello, but the standard, “ay bakit ang taba mo na?! (why have you gotten fat?)”To some, to laugh about your expanding girth is not considered offensive but just “part of the joke,” a means to toy with you or simply part of the conversation.  If you’re heavier than the usual, you have to have guts of steel – not to digest the food you eat,  but basically to keep yourself sane from people who seemed to find offense in being heavy. You have to have a good comeback, a witty, sarcastic personality or be really funny to survive.

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At the end of the day, it wasn’t the off-center jokes, the usually shopping bill that got to me. It was the need to get healthy. I became tired of being lazy – heavily dependent on the laptop and the smart phone, while Chromecasting my way to early death. I knew that if I wanted to see positive change in myself, I needed to start on the physical.

So, I enrolled into a boxing gym, started eating healthy (eschewing cake and pastries which was like death to me)  and started guzzling massive amounts of water.

First day at the boxing gym was tough. While I never entertained notions of going all “Girlfight” on my first day, I also didn’t anticipate that I’ll be the lamest person in attendance. I go to Empire Boxing Gym in Makati where they have good trainers and coaches, and maintained a “no-bully, no-judgement environment” but being around people who box like a long-lost Pacquiao sparring partner can be jarring. Especially if you’re that someone who looks like a munchkin armed with a borrowed boxing gloves.

However, what I lack in physical strength, I more than make up for in determination. I might be taking a long time finishing my reps, but I tell you – I will finish it. I may take a long time doing burpees – but I will finish it. I may look like I was punching on nothing but air – but I will throw my best straights and lefts, so help me God. Given that I was on my first day, I went home with all parts of my body screaming for mercy. And you know what? I cannot wait to go back.

I am also thankful for people who had my best interest at heart. A good doctor friend reached out to me and – via Facebook messenger – gave me tips on how I can lead a healthier lifestyle and do physical activities even when I am not going to the gym:

  • Keep hydrated and drink 8 glasses of water
  • Always eat a good, sizable breakfast but stay away from carbs during dinner
  • Choose fruits and vegetables as much as you can
  • As much as possible, and if you can, walk. Aim for 10,000 steps everyday
  • Don’t sit the whole day. If you are working, try to designate times when you are standing. I recently started doing this. After lunch, I work standing — I propped my laptop on an old box so my posture won’t suffer. Fidget as much as you can.

I know it’s tempting to revert to the old lifestyle – and honestly, I allow myself to be lazy during weekends. But at the end of the day, my determination and my will to live a longer life, a healthier life so I could enjoy the fruits of my labor secedes any lingering pangs of “wanting to just be lazy.”

I will never have the body I had when I was 23, but I can always have the better version of me.

Wish me luck on my wellness journey 🙂 I really needed it.

 

Sun Life study: Filipinos need to exercise more! SUN Fit & Well might be the solution for the Overworked generation

Filipinos consider themselves healthy; but needs to exercise regularly — that is a nutshell is the result of the recently concluded Sun Life Financial Asia Health Index commissioned by leading insurance company, Sun Life.

Always praised for its optimistic attitude, Filipinos ranked the highest when it comes to the total level of happiness, compared with its other Asian neighbors, notching exceptional numbers on how they regard their relationship with both family and colleagues.

However, Filipinos have a long way to go when it comes to their health. In the study, 61% of Filipinos admitted that they do not engage in any type of physical activities, citing lack of personal motivation, distraction of modern life, cost and lack of accessible venues to engage in sports and other activities.

The findings of the study is significantly worrying, considering that a large part of the population belong to “Generation O,” a segment of the population which is overworked, overweight and overwhelmed, which was first identified by Sun Life during their 2014 study. This is the same segment of the population that continues to struggle with their health goals.

The silver lining of the study showed that Filipinos are still very positive about the state of their health. In fact, the Philippines scored the highest compared to other Asian countries when it comes to the overall Health Index, scoring high on emotional health and coming second to Indonesia when it comes to physical health.

Personally, the findings of the recent study resonated well with me — an “overweight, overworked and overwhelmed”thirty-something desperate to find means to get healthy. Like many of young, urban professionals, my work currently consumes a better part of my waking hours and getting healthy means finding ways to find activities that answers my needs and lifestyle.

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That is why Sun Life Financial’s SUN Fit and Well, a new generation wellness product that offers comprehensive life and health protection from childhood to the golden years, seemed like an interesting and viable investment for me.

After undergoing an early mid-life crisis last year, one of the things I did to improve myself and my life is to start picking on viable investments that will prove to be helpful in my old age. I started financial investments with two other life insurance agencies and then started investing in real estate.

During the SUN Fit and Well launch, I realized that if I am capable of investing on my financial freedom, I am also more than capable to invest on my health and well-being. As someone who holds an extensive and sizable HMO coverage, I am comforted by the fact that SUN Fit and Well serves as a perfect complement to my health care benefits and thoroughly covers a large chunk of my health journey:

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The coverage that comes with the investment are both notable and convenient, covering from hospitalization to preventive health care:

  • Preemptive Wellness Benefit1
    Proactively maintain your health! Enjoy special access and privileges to various wellness activities that will help you stay fit and healthy.
  • Comprehensive Critical Illness Benefit
    Enjoy peace of mind knowing that SUN Fit and Well covers you at a young age up until your senior years, providing financial benefits upon diagnosis of any of the 100+ critical conditions across minor and major stages.
  • Specific Cancer Booster Benefit
    Further ease your financial worries with additional cash benefit equivalent to 50% of the Face Amount upon first diagnosis of any covered advanced-stage cancer.

LIFE INSURANCE PROTECTION2
Secure your loved ones’ future with guaranteed life insurance protection equivalent to the policy’s Face Amount until Age 100.

SPECIAL BONUS AND DIVIDEND EARNINGS3
Be rewarded with a Special Paid-Up Bonus at the end of the premium paying period, and annual dividend earnings thereafter which may be withdrawn anytime or left with Sun Life to accumulate.

LIMITED PAYMENT PERIOD
SUN Fit and Well can be fully paid in 10, 15 or 20 annual installments, and payments are fixed throughout the paying period. Semi-annual, quarterly, and monthly4 modes are also available to make payments more affordable.

  (SOURCE: Sun Life Financial Philippines website)

As part of its preventive health initiatives, SUN Fit and Well also offers access to GoWell, Sun Life’s very own wellness program where members can enjoy easy access to health and wellness information, fitness and wellness activities,  nutrition and health experts.

Hopefully, I will be able to afford SUN Fit and Well this year, after I have crunched some numbers and check the cash flow. This is one investment I do not mind making, for my future and my health.

 

711 Run for 2017 All Set

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As someone who is constantly stressed and famished due to work and my other side hustles, 711 has always been my happy place. Every day, after work, my hubs and I will hie to the nearest 711 and get our comfort food. Mine usually involves green tea and their famous hotdog-in-a-bun while my husband takes comfort in his favorite snack. While our nightly runs to 711 might need evolve into choosing the healthier options they offer (like the salad, boiled egg and yogurt prominently displayed on the fridge), I am happy to note that come February 05, 2017  (Sunday), my “run with 711” will be more than the usual.

That’s because the highly-successful and highly-anticipated 711 Run will happen on that day, with runners joining the 10KM, 16KM, 21KM, 42KM categories and 10KM Buddy Run will enjoy the course and the scenic view along along the Skyway. For those joining the 500M, 3KM and 5KM categories (like I do!), the race course is along Filinvest City.

The race is open for individuals aged 18 and above, while the Kids Run will accept runners as young as 3 years old, provided they are accompanied by a guardian on the day of the race. (For more information, go to the 711 Race Guidelines here)

Top 3 winners per category will receive cash prizes and medals, while the top 3 Filipino males and females in the 21KM and 42KM categories will be given a chance to represent the Philippines to join an international marathon in Asia, through a  sponsorship by 711.

Through 711’s unique system of SELF-SELECTED WAVE STARTS, participants can choose their wave start and run with people with the same skill or speed, or with their friends!

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To join, register online at http://www.run711.com/ and pay the fees at any 7-Eleven store within 48 hours. Race Kits can be claimed on the date indicated on the receipt, and from the same store where payment has been made.

711 has prepared a really cool finisher shirt and medal to those who will be able to complete the race:

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Online registration for 711 Run 2017 is until January 18, so hurry!

Hope to see you on race day!

 

Press Release: Eyeing on alternative treatment for pain: Barcelona Doctor Introduces the Ozone Therapy

Barcelona has been enjoying the perks of having Dr. Humberto Loscertales in their medical scene. The famous internal medicine specialist has been the authority and top practitioner of the Ozone therapy for the past 16 years in the Spanish City.

This December, Dr. Loscertales visited the Philippines to introduce one of the most recognized alternative treatment in the US and Europe. A proud alumnus of the Barcelona Autonomic University where he studied Medicine, Dr. Loscertales is highly regarded by the academe for his various doctoral courses, logging 100 teaching hours in the same university. 


His academic career reached new levels when he finished his International MBA, starting in Barcelona Ramon Llull university for two years an intensive third year in Manhattan College NY. Dr. Loscertales also practiced medicine in various hospitals in Barcelona while juggling all his academic appointments. He practiced as an attending physician for the Intensive Care Department at the Hospital Clinic, for the Traumatology & General Surgery, at the Can Ruti General Hospital, and for Hematology & Internal Medicine at the Hospital De Sant Pau.

His impressive resume brings to mind the typical or conventional physician, with the scholarly appearance and an aura of wisdom and authority brought about by years of non-stop studying. Dr. Loscertales beaks his stereotype image by having a consistently vibrant personality and a supply of energy that often eludes men and women of his age. Apparently, the practice of Ozone therapy for more than a decade had its benefits, as Dr. Loscertales exudes his youthful vibe while preaching on this new alternative treatment with so much passion.


“We have an exceptional medical tool that increases our efficiency on the solution of medical problems, normally in a complementary way with other medical strategies. In some cases, it is the only medical tool/treatment that can provide a good solution to diseases like: Ankylosing spondylitis, Post-traumatic synovitis, Arthrosis and other degenerative diseases,” Dr. Loscertales said in a statement.

With the strong belief that this non-invasive treatment responds to various medical problems, an association of physicians was created with Dr. Loscertales as one of the founding members in 2006. The association was known as the Asosacion Espanola de Profesionales en Ozonterapia (AEPROMO). This organization spearheaded the establishment of proper standers and norms on the correct use of Ozone in medicine and to organize the international protocol of dosage and clinical indications of the ozone therapy giving the criteria for official recognition.
Ozone has recently been making headlines as it is highly regarded to get impressive results to alleviate chronic pain and it is also a tool for anti-aging. As early as 30 years old to as late as 60 years old, clients go in and out of the Ozone therapy clinics to have their cells regenerated by the O3 element. They head out with an energized body ready to take on more activities in their daily lives.

The treatment which lasts for only about 45 minutes per sessions, is now available at the Ozone Therapy Center, Ground Floor of the King’s Courts Building 1, along Chino Roces Avenue in Makati.