Monday, September 24, 2012

Fighting the Onset of Menopause

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A few years back, a friend and I were swapping girl talk and we happened to talk about symptoms women go through when they hit their 40s and 50s. There’s the dreaded hot flashes, moodiness, osteoporosis risk, to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or not, and many other things that perimenopausal and menopausal phases bring.

That was when she first told me she was taking Evening Primrose Oil. Of course, at that time, I thought it was just one of those numerous health supplements you find in health stores. I was just too overwhelmed with the number of choices available that I chose not to choose.

If you still don’t know, I am already at that stage of my life where I am supposed to experience the usual symptoms besetting an aging woman to be thrown at me. But I felt that instead of just “bearing and grinning” this whole phase, I could go and do something about it.

It began when I discovered the benefits of yoga. I really went into it at first more for the exercise and mind-body discipline but what was amazing was that the beginnings of my hot flush episodes suddenly disappeared. And my monthly period which began skipping suddenly turned regular again. Intervention was possible!

This time, you can again call it providential that I was asked if I could sample a Health Express product. Lo and behold, it turned out to be the evening primrose oil my friend was talking about! I was sent a month’s supply of evening primrose oil and as of this writing, it's been close to a month already that I've been taking this supplement. During this period, I have had time to read up on what evening primrose oil is really all about so let me share what I’ve learned with you.

Evening Primrose Oil, 50 500 mg softgels, PhP 325
(photo from Health Express website)

What is Evening Primrose Oil?

It’s the oil derived from the crushed seeds of the evening primrose plant which can be found in America and Canada as well as in other areas worldwide where there is a mild to moderate climate. The plant produces beautiful flowers and can reach up to a height of 8 feet. Most gardeners actually classify this plant as a weed.

The oil gathered is rich in omega-6, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and Cis-linoleic acid (LA) which have healing properties. This is important because our bodies are unable to produce omega-6 fatty acids and must get this essential compound from external sources.

Based on some of my readings online, I have seen some benefits and uses attributed to evening primrose oil including (not a comprehensive listing):
  • Absorption of insulin
  • Inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Women’s health conditions such as PMS, breast soreness during the menstrual period, and menopausal symptoms like hot flushes
  • Reduce symptoms of skin disorders such as eczema, acne and psoriasis and reduces sebum production which is responsible for acne and lesions
  • Osteoporosis, when combined with calcium and fish oils
  • Potential prevention of heart disease and some types of cancer
  • Prevent nerve damage attributable to diabetes
  • Treatments for infertility, inflammation and cholesterol levels

I have been following the dosage specified in the bottle of evening primrose oil I was given, which is one 500mg softgel, three times a day, taken with meals. The directions said I could take up to 6 softgels a day but I decided to stick with the minimum dosage as maintenance dose.

The timing of taking evening primrose oil is just right because this past month, my blogging activities have spiked to the point that my yoga practice has become erratic. For a while, I was afraid that hot flushes would come back with a vengeance because it did when I stopped a few years ago to do part-time consulting work. But after almost a month of taking the evening primrose oil -- surprise, surprise. No hot flushes! And my body did not have any adverse reaction to taking it (which confirms my readings that this supplement is generally well tolerated by most people).

Of course, I will have a better gauge of other benefits of evening primrose oil as I continue to use it beyond just one month. But for women who are approaching their prime and are already considering how to combat the effects of menopause, rethink before you go into hormone replacement therapy (HRT). I opted not to take HRT because of the risks of breast cancer and instead, am addressing the risk of non-HRT treatment (i.e. osteoporosis) via yoga, calcium-rich food and herbal supplements like evening primrose oil.

Like all medications, it is always prudent to consult your doctor. Pregnant, breastfeeding women as well as those with bleeding disorders or those about to undergo surgery must ask their doctor before taking evening primrose oil.

You can get your supply of evening primrose oil from Health Express.

Choose to become a Health Express Card Platinum member for an annual membership of P450 and you are entitled to 20% discount on all regular products and 15% discount on all Pascual products. You will also receive monthly newsletter updates and health tips.
Health Express is on the web –

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Their hotline customer service nos.: (02) 892-7978/ (02) 846-9364
Go to any of the following Health Express store locations:


Makati City:
   2/F, Glorietta 3, Ayala Ave., Tel 892-7978
   Robinsons Supermarket, M. Adriato St., Ermita, Tel 523-4711
Muntinlupa City:
   Makati Supermarket, Alabang Town Center, Tel 842-4332
   3013 L-3, Festival Supermall, Tel 850-4069
Quezon City:
   Stall F01, Shopwise Don Antonio, Commonwealth Ave., Tel 931-8853
   Level 2 #0214, Gateway Mall, Araneta Center, Cubao, Tel 911-4763
   Eastwood City Walk 2, Bagumbayan, Tel 687-3799
San Juan City:
   Unit S-1030, Ground Floor, Shoppesville Arcade, Greenhills Shopping Center, Tel 571-5719


   Robinsons Supermarket, Lacson St., Mandalagan, Bacolod City, Tel (034) 441-1000
   Stall 215 2nd Level, Ayala Center, Cebu City, Tel (032) 231-6575
   2103 A Northwing SM City, Cebu City, Tel (032) 236-6486
   Lower Ground Level, Gaisano Mall, Davao City, Tel (082) 297-6528
   Level 2, Robinsons Big R Supercenter, Cagayan de Oro City, Tel (088) 852-0400

Reference Sites:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friendships span a lifetime under the sun

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It is not the number of friends that you have; it is the quality of the friendships.

This is a beautiful lesson in life that I have picked up after looking back at the friendships I have had for decades. Some friends come and go -- acquaintances, childhood friends, classmates, officemates, sports buddies, and other friend connections. These are the ones you meet along the way as you grow up. During periods of your life, friendships with them can be strong. But as you move to another phase of life, they somehow get disconnected from you and fade away. They are there only for a season or two.

But if you really think about it, there is a special class of friends whose connection to you knows no bounds - beyond space or time. These are the friends that come into life, sometimes on purpose, others by accident, and even rarer, by destiny. But the difference is that they make such a mark in your life and stay there, regardless of whether they are physically near you or distanced from you by miles or circumstance.

I call them my soul friends.

I don't have many soul friends and I prefer it that way because I want to cherish the quality of their precious friendships. The circumstances under which I met each of them are in themselves quite serendipitous because it is as though the universe conspired to weave them into my life. As I look back now, I know with certainty that they were meant to come into my life at that particular point in time and even now, as they continue to bless my life with their presence, I keep thinking how lucky I am to have friends who stick by you through thick or thin; don't mince words when they need to ground you; support and pull you when you fall down; act as your sounding board, shoulder to cry on, and stress deflector when you need them; don't judge you; and basically are just there at the right time and moment. It helps that the internet connects those who are far from me.

Sun Life Financial recently sought the skills of 5 renowned film directors in the country to produce Sun Shorts, film clips that are not more than 5 minutes long each. My previous post on that is HERE. These videos can now be found on YouTube and each one, while different, all portray how life is so much brighter under the sun.

The video that I was asked to view and write about focuses particularly on friendships like those I wrote about above. Sun Dance, a film brief by Jerrold Tarog, is a celebration of friendships won and kept and reminds us how important it is to keep those friendships alive and vibrant. Sun Dance features the lead girl (played by Ina Feleo) whose two friends always caught their accident-prone friend and saved her on more than one occasion from harm. As you watch this film short, you will see how these 3 friends stuck together and were there for each other through different circumstances including a heartache. The whole film is done in dance, which really interested me because of my ballet experience. And Ina Feleo is such a natural dancer -- just right for this film!

Who makes your life brighter under the sun?

Watch the video below. I think it will make you remember all the special people in your own life who have been there for you through good times and bad - family, friends, mentors...

SUN DANCE (Director's Cut) from Jerrold Tarog on Vimeo.

Even the words in the film resonate so strongly with the meaning of friendship:

I am fragile
I am accident prone
But you are my guide
I am never alone
When I stumble
When I miss a beat
You pull me up
Till I’m back on my feet
At times I push you away
When my mind’s occupied
But when I need you
You are there by my side
Whatever the weather
in triumph or tragedy
we stick together
like words and melody
when hope seems out of sight
you are a true friend
your love is my light
we’re in this together
for the long run
with you, life is brighter
under the sun

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sun Life Financial pioneered life insurance in the Philippines in 1895. In 2011 it was ranked the #1 insurer in the country based on total premiums of P14-B. If there's another friend that Filipinos can consider, it's Sun Life, whose robust role in the financial services industry is coupled with its team of advisors who are not just there to give financial advice but can also be counted on to "bring the check", so to speak, when times turn for the worse.

To know how life can be even brighter, visit Sun Life's website at still have a chance to be chosen as a winner in Sun Life's Fly to Singapore promo. Click HERE for the mechanics/details.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Lock&Lock Day

My water bottles, kids' snack boxes and kitchen containers are all Lock&Lock. Not since Tupperware invaded my home have I loved another brand this much. The design of the water bottles are perfect because the grooves allow me to grasp pitchers without it slipping, even with wet hands. The various containers don't just lock down on 2 opposite sides but on all 4 sides, making it virtually airtight and spill-proof.

So when Michelle told me there was a Lock&Lock event, my initial reaction was "There is an outlet aside from the malls where I can buy them???" Happy, happy, joy, joy! There indeed was!

Why do I pay particular attention to the kind of plastics brands I use? Safety. We know that there are more expensive plastics versus much cheaper ones. The cheaper ones are fine for storing non-edible items. But when it comes to storing food, I am very particular. Certain plastics are likely to leak chemicals into food. Lock&Lock products are made of eco-friendly PP and are free of Bisphenol A (more commonly called BPA), an endocrine disruptor.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Amanda, Loving Life: a lifestyle show celebrating motherhood and womanhood

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I've always known Amanda Griffin to be a popular VJ, host and supermodel but she disappeared from the celebrity scene some time back. At that time, it seemed that her face could be seen in almost every major event, show or happening around town. Then she suddenly disappeared from the scene.

Recently I saw her at an event, very pregnant, but still so gorgeous. Apparently, when she left the limelight, Amanda settled in Hong Kong with her husband David Jacob and their 2-year old son, Kieran. The once popular and sought-after, multi-talented celebrity had changed all her hats for motherhood.

Looking at her blooming while in that very delicate state, I conclude that Amanda really took on her new role like fish takes to water and became a hands-on mother. Being an entrepreneur at heart, Amanda used all her knowledge and resources and poured these into her very own website, Glam-O-Mamas (, which became an online resource guide for young, newbie mothers.

But....she's back!!!

Amanda has become the perfect host for a new lifestyle show where she shares her own personal journey, views and tips on balancing her role as mother, wife, career woman and modern urban dweller. She now hosts a show every Sunday, 7:30 PM on the Lifestyle Network.

Watch this teaser video:

Catch Amanda on the Lifestyle Network weekly and learn all about loving life...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Figaro's Avalanche of Flavors

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Figaro, the first Filipino coffee company, recently introduced us to an avalanche (yes, that many) flavors of iced coffee and cakes. These yummy beverages are available already in any of Figaro's outlets.

Each of these iced coffee variants costs PhP 130 for the 16 oz. and PhP 150 for the 20 oz.

White Chocolate Mocha Frost
White chocolate mocha topped with whipped cream makes up this beverage. Creamy but not too sweet. Of the four variants I tried, this is the least sweet and actually a bit bland for my taste. Those watching their sugar intake may want to go for this one.

Choco Chip Java Frost
This was my preferred variant because I'm such a chocolate-y person and the chocolate flavoring plus the choco chips just got me. I like the experience of sipping the chocolate while crunching down on those choco chips.