Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What to do when your kid refuses to eat -

What to do when your kid refuses to eat -

Published on Page C1 of the November 30, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

WHAT do I do with my 3-year-old? He refuses to eat! He hates vegetables, hates taking vitamins, hates milk. Any ideas?


Sounds like my 2-year-old son Diego! He used to eat everything, from monggo to ampalaya to lamb! When he turned two, things became complex!
He, too, is milk-averse, and it worries me sick. I got so desperate that I came up with a milk menu, parang ordering from Starbucks. Strawberry, vanilla or chocolate? Fresh, whole or powdered milk? But when it’s brought to him, the eternal plea starts: Five minutes mom, please!

I have gone so far as coloring his milk purple, blue and green with food coloring because he got smart and figured his milk comes in just three colors. On some days, though, the trick works!

I suggest making meal times creative and exciting. The above photo of Mr. Egg Head Burger and the Veg Buggy are examples. The kids ate all the vegetables in class when we made them.

I find that children are highly visual, so fix their food up nicely. Mold rice on a cup and put vegetable eyes and ears. Make pizza faces. Make use of color, green spinach or red beet pasta instead of the regular ones. Cut vegetables with cookie cutters. Make trees out of broccoli or make fruit trees! Serve bread rolls with meatball heads or meatball snowmen! The possibilities are endless.

And whenever possible, make them a part of the food preparation. This has worked best for me yet.

As for vitamins, my sister Babot brought home a whole line of gummy vitamins for Diego. There’s even one variant made from vegetables and fruit to augment their absence from a child’s diet.

Fortunately, GNC carries one brand: Mr. Tumee (tel. 7214-GNC). These products are heaven-sent. They have done wonders for me. Diego now screams, “Medicine, please!” Vitamin time is finally happy time.

Our pediatrician, Doc Aye Nuguid, says, “The only downside I see in substituting regular vitamins over ‘kid-friendly products’ is the possibility of vitamin overdose. In the ER, we have seen kids consume a whole bottle of Flintstones! They did not just eat Fred but the whole Bedrock community! So I suggest all medicines be dispensed by the parents themselves and kept out of child’s reach.”

I’m no doctor, so I asked Doc Aye to share a few tips as well. And I thank him for being very patient with me! I hope this gives you a sense of calm, Millie.

“Don’t be alarmed. It is not unusual that children go through phases. There are many factors that cause appetite loss and usually they are not as serious as you may think. The more common one is that kids just develop a better liking to play than to food. So putting your child in a room with no distractions at meal time might just do the trick.”

“Nutrition is very important, and giving them a balanced diet is a factor that will greatly determine the child’s development. Healthy kids make healthy adults. It is the parent’s obligation to make meal time fun and happy for the kids.”

“Children are little people who have preferences. So introduce new food items to them a little at a time, without forcing them. Another trick would be to have them eat in the company of kids who enjoy vegetables and healthy food. Kids are competitive, and when they see others do it, di sila magpapatalo.”

“About milk, there is a syndrome known as milk fatigue. It could last anywhere from days to two months. Children just get tired of milk. The worse thing to do is to keep changing milk brands. It is best just to be patient in feeding them with solids or, if they dislike solids, persist in giving them milk. In time it should normalize. Monitor your child. I suggest consulting your pedia if the problem persists, if there is weight loss, a change in behavior or energy levels.”
Call Doc Aye Nuguid at 7518652.

My 7-year-old boy was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Am interested to try biomedical interventions and one of the key factors to successful recovery is switching his diet into a gluten-free and casein-free diet. I really need your help on this matter because I don’t know what kind of dishes to replace our present normal food dishes.


I am not at liberty to give you advice on this one. However, I have spoken to behavioral and developmental pediatrician Francis Dimalanta about the GFCF diet and his advice is that you must work with a BDPedia together with a nutritionist. He says that though this diet works well in some cases, it does not work for all. It’s best to get baseline lab data and consult with professionals before embarking on diets as such.

Brief advice: “When reading labels, make sure the ingredients do not contain any of the ingredients below:
Gluten—Wheat, oats, Barley, Rye, Semolina, Spelt, Triticale, Kamut
Casein—Any dairy from any animal, butter, cheese, yogurt, lactose, whey, caseinates

For GFCF diet guidelines, call Doctor Dimalanta at 7262578.
E-mail the author at

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Parents' cigarette smoke harms kids for years

Parents' cigarette smoke harms kids for years
Effects of exposure during pregnancy can last up to age 12, study finds

Updated: 12:13 p.m. ET June 20, 2006
NEW YORK - A new international study of more than 20,000 children confirms that exposure to cigarette smoke before and after birth impairs their lung function, and that parental smoking remains a serious public health issue.

The effects of smoking during pregnancy last up to age 12, while exposure to cigarette smoking after birth further worsens lung function, Dr. Manfred A. Neuberger of the Medical University in Vienna, one of the study’s authors, told Reuters Health.

It is difficult to tell, Neuberger noted, whether the impairment of lung function resulting from prenatal and early life exposure is permanent, given that many individuals with parents and siblings who smoke will have started smoking themselves by their teen years.
The researchers analyzed results from a subset of children who had participated in the Pollution and the Young Study, including a total of 22,712 children from eight countries. The findings appear in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy were 31 percent to 40 percent more likely to have poor lung function than children born to non-smokers, the researchers found. Early-life exposure independently increased risk of poor lung function to a lesser degree, by 24 percent to 27 percent.

Teen smoking no longer declining in U.S.

Sixty percent of the children in the study had been exposed to cigarette smoke before birth or in early life, the researchers found. “Considering the high number of exposed children, this indicates that both environmental tobacco smoke exposure and smoking during pregnancy remain a severe public health problem,” Neuberger and his team conclude.

The findings are a “stark reminder” that legal efforts to reduce exposure to cigarette smoke in workplaces aren’t protecting the group of people at greatest risk from passive smoking, young children, Drs. Mark D. Eisner of the University of California, San Francisco and Francesco Forastiere of the Rome E Health Authority in Italy write in an editorial accompanying the study.

“Children are primarily exposed to tobacco smoke in the home, where legal restrictions do not apply,” they note.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.

Monday, November 27, 2006 - The Filipino Global Community - The Filipino Global Community

Why you should not scrimp on sleep
AN APPLE A DAY By Tyrone M. Reyes, M.D.
The Philippine STAR 11/28/2006

For many years now, health organizations have been reminding us that we don’t get as much sleep as we used to – or as we should – and we’re paying the price in drowsiness and fatigue that affect our physical and mental health, and threaten public safety. Despite such warnings, not much has changed.

In the US, a survey found that compared with 1998, more people are sleeping less than six hours a night today. Average sleep on work night is 6.8 hours – still short of a good night’s rest. And sleep difficulties, the poll indicates, affect 75 percent of people at least a few nights per week.

How serious is the problem? Evidence from the relatively new field of sleep medicine suggests that truncated sleep may contribute to various ills, including memory lapses, trouble learning and paying attention, heart disease, obesity, mood problems, and impaired immunity. Some research suggests a cancer connection.

A sleepless night or two or a short-lived bout of insomnia is generally nothing to worry about. The bigger concern is chronic partial sleep loss – that is, failing to get enough sleep night after night. That can happen because you have a medical condition that interferes with sleep, or perhaps you’ve given up sleep time to accommodate life’s demands. Whatever the case, routine sleep loss can take a toll. Researchers found that after two weeks, people sleeping four to six hours a night are cognitively impaired as those who have been awake for two or three days.

How much sleep do we really need? Some of us seem to do well with six hours a night, while others need nine or more to feel their best. Judging by clinical impressions, experiments, and research in which subjects are allowed to find their "natural" amount of sleep, experts believe that seven to nine hours is about right. The goal is to wake up feeling refreshed and to stay awake and alert throughout the day without relying on stimulants or the other pick-me-ups.

Though more research is needed to explore the links between chronic sleep loss and specific health consequences, it’s safe to say that sleep is too important to shortchange. Here are some important reasons why you shouldn’t scrimp on your sleep.
Learning And Memory
Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory by way of a process called memory consolidation. This process came to light largely through experiments in which subjects were trained to complete a cognitive task and later tested. Those who "sleep on it" before the test usually do better. In some studies, subjects discovered more insightful or creative ways to problem-solve after a night’s sleep. Research at Harvard has shown that performance on some mental tasks is correlated with the amount of REM (rapid eye movement) or dreaming sleep a subject gets. Other experiments suggest a special role for early-night, non-REM sleep in consolidating memory for facts.
Metabolism And Weight
It’s well known that excess weight can cause sleep disorders such as apnea. But sleep lab studies also suggest the reverse possibility: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain. How? By altering metabolic functions, such as the processing and storage of carbohydrates, and by stimulating the release of excess cortisol, a stress hormone. Excess cortisol has been linked to increased abdominal fat. Loss of sleep also reduces levels of leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite, and increases levels of ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone – a combination that can encourage eating.
There’s no evidence that we ever really adapt to chronic sleep deficits. Sleep debt only contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep, including "microsleeps" – seconds-long daytime dips into sleep that occur when sleep-type brain-wave activity impinges on the waking period. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents. The US National Highway Safety Administration estimates that each year, drowsiness causes 100,000 vehicle crashes, resulting in 76,000 injuries and 1,500 deaths!
Mood/ Quality Of Life
Sleep loss, whether long or short-term, may result in symptoms – irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness – that suggest psychological problems such as anxiety and depression. Too little sleep can leave you so tired that you don’t want to spend time with your children, enjoy the company of your friends, or have sex with a partner. Poor sleep also affects the ability to work. Sleep disorders such as insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea are associated with depression, although the relationship is complex, and cause and effect are not always clear. One study found that people with obstructive sleep apnea got relief from symptoms of depression when they were treated with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, which keeps the airway open and improves breathing during sleep.
Cardiovascular Health
We don’t know much yet about the effect of chronic partial sleep loss on cardiovascular health. But serious sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, cardiac arrhythmias, and increased inflammation. Sleep apnea is also associated with difficulty metabolizing glucose, which may lead to type 2 diabetes, another significant risk factor for heart disease. In the Nurses’ Health Study, women who slept less than five hours per night were more likely to develop heart disease than those who slept seven to eight hours.
Immunity / Cancer Prevention
Though all the mechanisms aren’t clear, scientists have found that sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. For example, sleep loss around the time of vaccination for influenza has been shown to reduce the production of flu-fighting antibodies. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer. Harvard researchers have shown that women who work at night are at increased risk for breast and colon cancer. The connection may be through melatonin, a hormone that’s made by the brain’s pineal gland when darkness falls and helps put us to sleep. Light at night cuts melatonin production. The Harvard scientists also found that women with low morning levels of melatonin had a higher risk of breast cancer. Other research has shown that melatonin slows ovarian production of estrogen, a hormone that spurs cancer cell growth.
Ways To Get Better Sleep
Here are some tips on how to get better sleep to avoid chronic partial sleep loss:

• Get regular exercise but not within the hours of bedtime.

• Don’t use alcohol as sleep aid.

• Avoid caffeine from noon or midafternoon onward.

• Be careful about taking medications that contain ingredients that could keep you awake at night or make you sleepy during the day.

• Establish a regular schedule for going to bed and getting up, and avoid napping.

• Keep your bedroom temperature comfortable.

• If you have a chronic sleep problem, talk to your doctor.

Remember that for good health, you need adequate sleep as much as you need regular exercise and a sensible diet. - The Filipino Global Community - The Filipino Global Community

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Do you know that cervical cancer is caused by a virus?

That’s the big, riveting question you may come across as you leaf through the pages of a local newspaper in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where an ad, that’s part of an education campaign supported by Merck Sharp & Dohme and the Obstetrical and Gynecological Society of Malaysia, appears.

And did you know that there’s now a vaccine that could prevent cervical cancer? But that’s getting ahead of our story.

"Are you sexually active? That’s the first question I ask women who come to me," Dr. Saunthari Somasundaram tells a roomful of women who flew in from different parts of Asia Pacific, including this writer, to attend the journalist workshop on cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases at FIGO in KL, that’s home to the Petronas Twin Towers, the world’s tallest freestanding twin towers.

From the twin towers to the double C: cervical cancer. Progress has indeed come to Kuala Lumpur, now a vibrant cosmopolitan city that plays host to prestigious international events. But some things just refuse to change. Even as Malaysia forges forward, the women are still not on equal footing with the men.

Dr. Somasundaram, currently honorary general secretary and executive director of the National Cancer Society of Malaysia, gives us the whys and wherefores: "I asked this woman who came to my workshop if she was sexually active, and she looked back at me and said, ‘How dare you ask me that question. I’m single. You should know I’m not sexually active.’ That’s the issue women face in Malaysia because of the cultural/religious constraints that they put on themselves or the community puts on them: that if I’m not married, I can’t be seen going to a gynecologist or getting a Pap scan. That because I’m not married, I don’t want people to know I’m sexually active. There’s just a lot of miseducation, there are a lot of misconceptions."

Take the story of this married woman, a teacher, who joined one of Dr. Somasundaram’s workshops. "She said she didn’t need to do a Pap scan because she was a virgin when she got married and had never had sexual intercourse with anybody else. I went on to tell her about HPV and how men can transmit it to women. She got up and said, ‘How dare you say that my husband is cheating on me.’ I never said that. What I was trying to say was maybe in those days, not now ... Majority of Malaysian women are virgins when they come to the marital bed. But the men are not – they must have had one or two sexual experiences before getting married. So the risk of getting HPV is there even before marriage. So no woman is safe, no matter if you’re in the most wonderful of marriages and monogamous. And I’m sorry, but we cannot expect the men to look after women’s health. It’s still very much a male-dominated society, where men make the decisions for women, including the latter’s health. Women need to be pro-active about their own health."

The "totally mortified" doctor shares yet another morbid story: "I had a woman in front of me dying of cancer of the womb, but she refused to have her uterus taken out. Why? Because her husband said that if her uterus was taken out, she could have sexual intercourse with anyone and he wouldn’t know about it."

The scenario gets grimmer as you go farther into rural Malaysia. Says the good doctor, "Women are continuously afraid that these are parts which make us who we are as women: our breasts, our cervix, our uterus. If anything happens to any of them, we’ll be less of a woman. These fears, irrational though they may be, stop us from prevention and early detection of cancer."

The focus is on demystifying the Big C, the mere mention of which is enough to make us cower in fear. "We’re here to teach people that, yes, we can prevent cancer, we can find it early," stresses Dr. Somasundaram.

She goes on to tell us that there are so many clinics in Malaysia but not many women go for a Pap smear. "Outside of child birth, no woman wants to be touched down there or a man to look at her private parts, although there are women doctors now."

The focus is on sex education.

"You need to be educated about sex while still a teenager so when you do become sexually active, you’re aware of the risks you’re taking, ways to try to prevent it, to keep yourself safe," asserts Dr. Somasundaram.

Sad to say, in Malaysia, the government does not agree that sex education should be taught in school. "A lot of the schools I go to would not allow the mere mention of the word sex," Dr. Somasundaram tells her astonished audience. "The book How to Talk to Your Child About Sex is banned in Malaysia. It’s a very good, very moralistic book that talks to you about not having free sex, about being careful, etc. If a parent cannot talk to his/her child about sex education, who’s supposed to teach the child? I call this miseducation."

The statistics are bleak. "At least half of sexually active men and women will acquire HPV at some point in their lives," says Margaret Stanley, professor of epithelial biology, Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge. "Eighty percent will be infected by age 50. It is most common among young adults, 18 to 28 years old. (In the US, one in four people, ages 15 to 24, is infected with HPV.) Women will acquire it from their husbands/male partners. But penile cancer is rare so I always tell my students that God is, indeed, a man."

The focus is on prevention.

"We’re targeting nine-, 10-, 11-year-olds because that’s when you get the best immune response," Prof. Stanley tells us in her warm schoolmarmish voice. "It’s not necessarily before sexual activity. When you hit puberty, it’s downhill all the way."

The focus is on the world’s first vaccine for cervical cancer developed by Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD).

Dr. Carlos Sattler, director, Biologics Clinical Research, Merck & Co., Inc., brings glad tidings: "The quadrivalent (four-type) vaccine was specifically designed to prevent HPV-related clinical disease by targeting HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18, the four most common types of HPV. In clinical trials, the vaccine has shown high efficacy in preventing diseases caused by these four HPV types."

Developed after years and years of painstaking work, the vaccine has been approved for use in more than 40 countries and is currently under review with regulatory agencies in approximately 50 countries around the world. Make that 49. Because only a few weeks ago, Merck Sharp & Dohme Philippines announced that the vaccine has been approved in the Philippines by the Bureau of Food and Drugs. Gardasil, the quadrivalent human papillomavirus recombinant vaccine, is the first and only vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, vulvar, and vaginal cancer, and vulvar and vaginal pre-cancers caused by HPV types 16 and 18, and to prevent low-grade and precancerous lesions (CIN 1) and genital warts caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18.

Says MSD medical director Cesar Recto II, "Bringing forward this life-saving scientific advance is yet another testament to MSD’s long-standing mission to research and develop novel vaccines and medicines that can greatly improve public health."

In the Philippines, according to the Philippine Cancer Facts and Estimates published by the Philippine Cancer Society, Inc., cervical cancer was the second leading cause of cancer death in women in 2004. Last year, there were an estimated 7,277 new cases and 3,807 deaths due to cervical cancer.

Dr. Susan Nagtalon, president of the Philippine Obstetrics and Gynecological Society, notes, "The use of the vaccine can help significantly reduce the human and economic burden of cervical cancer, precancerous or low-grade lesions, and genital warts caused by HPV 6, 11, 16, and 18 throughout the world, in this generation and future generations."

Here’s how the vaccine works: The vaccine contains virus-like particles (VLPs) of HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18. VLPs are empty shells consisting of viral protein – but no viral DNA – that closely simulate HPV and are capable of generating an immune response in the body without causing disease. Its efficacy is associated with the development of antibodies, which are proteins used by the immune system to identify and neutralize viruses. These antibodies prevent the virus from establishing infection.
How effective is this vaccine?
The MSD vaccine prevented 100 percent of HPV 16- and 18-related cervical cancers in women not previously exposed to the relevant HPV types. The efficacy of the vaccine, including results from an HPV-16 prototype of the vaccine, was evaluated in four placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized Phase II and Phase III clinical studies. Together, the Phase II and Phase III studies evaluated 20,541 women aged 16 to 26 years old. Study participants were followed for up to five years after enrollment.

The vaccine prevented 100 percent of HPV 16- and 18-related cervical pre-cancers and non-invasive cervical cancers. There were no cases in the 8,487 women who received the vaccine compared to 53 cases in the 8,460 women who received placebo.

The vaccine also prevented 100 percent of HPV 16- and 18-related vulvar and vaginal pre-cancers. And 99 percent of cases of genital warts caused by HPV 6 or 11.

In all the studies, the MSD vaccine was generally well tolerated and only a few subjects (0.1 percent) discontinued due to adverse events.

Of course, the ideal time to administer any vaccine is before exposure to infection. MSD has zeroed in on adolescents as an important group to vaccinate against HPV. Studies show that one in four people, 15 to 24 years old, is infected with HPV.
What do mothers say about this?
In a survey of 525 mothers with children as young as 11 years old, up to 80 percent said they would allow their daughters to receive a vaccine that helps protect against cervical cancer. In the US, where young people are said to be more sexually active and adventurous than their counterparts elsewhere in the world, this vaccine is available in the schools.

Can the vaccine be given to boys, too?

"Yes, it can," comes Dr. Somasundaram’s quick reply to a question at the open forum at the end of the journalist workshop. "In a sane world, we’d be giving it to boys and men so we could impact on transmission."

Our distinguished panel of speakers at this forum can’t stress this enough: Cervical cancer is potentially deadly. But it can be prevented. Talk to your doctor about cervical cancer and go for regular Pap smear tests. It could save your life some day.

And now that you know, go tell someone.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Senior citizen discount is not optional -

Senior citizen discount is not optional -

Senior citizen discount is not optional

By Linda Bolido
Last updated 00:16am (Mla time) 11/16/2006

Published on Page D3 of the November 16, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

A FEW months ago, this column received a query from Ray Dakis about discounts for credit-card purchases of senior citizens.

He said his wife accompanied her mother in buying some prescription medicines for the older woman in two branches of a drugstore chain in Muntinlupa City. His wife used her credit card and presented her mother’s senior citizen card issued by the city government.

But mother and daughter were reportedly told by the salespeople of both branches that the 20-percent discount for senior citizens did not apply to purchases using credit card. They reportedly said it was difficult to collect payments from credit-card issuers so they did not give discounts anymore.

Rather than resolve its problem with credit-card companies, it in effect penalized the senior citizens by not giving the discount. Dakis’ wife paid the full amount of P4,000 with her credit card.

Dakis and his wife will probably be happy to learn Rep. Joseph A. Santiago of Catanduanes has taken note of the problem and reminded establishments that seniors are entitled to the discount even if they use credit cards.

Santiago has urged the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Trade and Industry to require all business establishments and service providers “to grant seniors the 20-percent discount lawfully due them, even if they pay via credit card.”


The representative said establishments should be made to understand that under “the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003, the entitlement to the mandatory discount on certain services and purchases is absolute, and does not discriminate against seniors paying through credit card.”

He said DSWD and DTI could amend the law’s implementing rules and regulations to indicate clearly that “the wrongful and prejudicial treatment of card-using seniors” was forbidden.

Under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003 (Republic Act 9257), violators of the mandatory discount and other privileges for seniors face six months to two years in prison plus a fine of P50,000 to P100,000 for the first offense.

Subsequent violations are punishable with two to six years in prison plus a fine of P100,000-P200,000. The establishments’ business permits, franchises or other similar privileges may also be canceled.

Under the law, seniors who are at least 60 years old are entitled to a minimum 20-percent discount in hotels, restaurants, theaters, cinemas, concert halls, circuses, carnivals and other similar places of culture, leisure, recreation and amusement.

They should also get a discount on purchases of medicines, and on medical and dental services, including diagnostic and laboratory fees as well as professional fees.

In addition, seniors are also entitled to the minimum discount on tickets for domestic air and sea travel, as well as in public railways, skyways and buses.

Establishments may claim the discounts as tax deduction on the net cost of the goods sold or services rendered. The cost of the discount is also allowed as gross income deduction for the taxable year that the discount is granted.

‘Premyo’ blues

I decided, since I have all these receipts anyway, to join the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s Premyo sa Resibo raffle. The newspaper advertisements said there were two ways to do it—you can send a single entry through text message to 9777 or multiple entries through 9778.

My single entries were successfully sent, then after collecting a bunch of receipts, I decided to send them all together to 9778.

The ad had specific instructions on the format for single entries but simply said the 9778 number should be used for multiple entries. So I followed the format for single entry for each of three receipts I sent together.

It seems the computer or whatever received the messages are not programmed for it. I got the reply, “Invalid entry—Too many parameters...”

Please send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., Makati City; PO Box 2353 Makati Central Post Office, 1263 Makati; or e-mail

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Kitchen potions -

Kitchen potions - "KNOCKOUT!
Kitchen potions

By Ria Francisco-Prieto
Last updated 00:29am (Mla time) 11/10/2006

Published on Page G4 of the November 10, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

I ASKED A FRIEND how she maintained her long shiny locks and the answer she gave was quite surprising to me.

She said that once a month she puts mayonnaise on her hair, wears a swimming cap and sleeps with it. Since the change in the texture and sheen of her hair was so noticeable, I followed her advice one weekend. I knew I was not going to be able to sleep with mayonnaise on my hair, so I figured I should just do it in the afternoon. After about three hours, I couldn’t take the smell anymore, so I eventually washed it off.

For about two days I could still smell the mayonnaise, and for about three months I couldn’t eat anything with mayonnaise in it. But my hair was at its shiniest!

So, yes, mayonnaise on the hair does work. The upside is, it’s cheaper than any hair treatment I know. The downside -- you already know about. However, I think it is very much worth a try.

The refrigerator is actually a beauty gold mine. Have you ever tried milk as a moisturizer? Another friend who has sensitive skin told me that her dermatologist actually recommended mixing 1:1 evaporated milk and water, leaving it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours and then, with the use of a cotton ball, spreading it onto her face.

I tried that, too. What happens is, after a few seconds the milk hardens and you will feel a tightening of the skin. All you have to do is wash it off with lukewarm water. The effects are actually instant. Your face will be supple and smooth to the touch.
If you want to be a bit more luxurious, you may also buy a tetra pack of fresh milk and pour it on your body right after a bath. When you feel that tightening feeling again, just rinse off the milk. This is still so much cheaper than going to the spa or getting a massage.

For a facial mask, you may also want to try egg white. Scoop out a dollop and spread on your clean face. After it tightens, rinse off.

The grandmother of my friend has the best skin I’ve ever seen. When I asked my friend what her grandma uses, she told me it’s olive oil spread all over her body, including her face. This I have to try. Come to think of it, oils do help moisturize skin, so this regimen makes sense.

Inside our refrigerators, there are a lot of things that can be used to beautify and take care of ourselves. Check yours today! You won’t even need to shell out cash for it.

E-mail me at

Quick Fix for Under-Eye Bags - How To

Nobody looks good with puffy bags under their eyes, but how to get rid of them?

Simple Solution:

Well, this is the easiest remedy I’ve ever run across, and it really works!

I was so surprised by the single kitchen-cupboard ingredient that this How-To calls for--it's not a cucumber, and you’re sure to have one on hand. Find out the secret here:

Raw potato slices will help tighten baggy, puffy eyes. All you need is a potato and a knife or slicer!

To Make:

1. Slice 1/4 potato to fit over your eyes.

2. Cut 2 slices or, if you prefer, 5 to 10 very thin slices, several for each eye. Either method works.

To Use:

1. Spritz eye area with water.

2. Lying down, place the potato slices on your eyelids and leave in place for at least 10 minutes for best results.

A Pinch of... what salt? --- from

A pinch of ... what salt?

By Reggie Aspiras
Last updated 11:48pm (Mla time) 11/08/2006

Published on Page C1 of the November 9, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANY salt questions have come my way... What is kosher salt, fleur de sel, tralalalala... Well read on for, after all, nothing makes the world more delicious than a smidgen of salt!

Do you know that the flakes of crystal that bring life to our food and health to our bodies is said to have over 14,000 other uses. It can be a stain remover, preservative, ingredient for bath and body products. In its other forms, salt is used to soften water, make paper, glass, explosives, rubber, dyes, etc.

Since its discovery some 4,700 years ago, salt has become an integral part of life on earth. Because of it, civilizations were built.

It was used to pay wages and wars were fought over it. Looking back, it’s been quite a journey for what seems, to many of us, a thing quite so modest.

So what is salt? It is a mineral. We often think salt and sodium are one and the same. That is technically incorrect. While salt is sodium chloride (40 percent sodium, 60 percent chloride), some salts, particularly unrefined ones, contain not just sodium but two other electrolytes: potassium and calcium, as well as other vitamins and trace minerals vital for optimal body function.

What is the best type of salt to use? While iodized salt is recommended for its iodine content, I would say unrefined salt is best if your diet contains other sources of iodine. Unrefined sea and rock salts have about 49 other minerals and vitamins that are not present in iodized salt.

Types of salt

Table salt is the most common kind. It comes from salt mines and, once it is mined, it is refined and most minerals are removed from it until it becomes pure sodium chloride. It is available plain or iodized.

Iodized salt is refined salt with iodine added (sodium iodide prevents hypothyroidism). Kosher salt is so-called because it is used in the preparation of meat according to the requirements of the Jewish diet. Sold as flakes, it contains very few additives and is saltier than the regular table variety.

Sea salt is unrefined salt which comes from the evaporation of sea water. Rock salt is not as refined as other types thus retains more of its minerals.

And now, there are gourmet specialty salts, quite the “it” thing in the food biz these days, thanks to a United States-based company, Salt Works, one of the biggest importers and distributors of specialty salts, carrying some 30 varieties from all corners of the globe, under the label Artisan Salt.

If you thought salt was only white and nothing more than just salty, think again! Perhaps, next time you dare play in the kitchen, use fancy salts, a perfect fit to your fancy meal!

I’d like to thank Claudine of Spices, distributor of Salt Works’ Artisan Salt in the Philippines for furnishing me with the photos. Call 8310449 or 7582159.

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