Sweet Poison

I was in school this morning to bring lunch for Cass and Drama Queen. They both need to stay back after school for extra curricular activities. At the canteen while waiting for Cass to have her recess, I had a shock when a Year 3 pint size girl put her plate of food on the table. On the plate was a piece of roti canai covered by a pile of WHITE SUGAR. At the first glance, I thought she only had white sugar on her plate but on taking a closer look, I saw the piece of roti underneath the sugar.  Oh. my. Gawd  🙀 I whispered to Cass to have a look and she too gave me a “WHAT?” unbelievable look.

By the time I whipped out my phone to discreetly take a picture of the sugar laden roti canai, the girl had already whacked down half the piece of roti canai and white sugar. There was even MORE sugar on her plate when she first bought it. *shudders* 😨😨

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The girl probably wasn’t informed by her parents that white sugar is bad for her. Or it could be she is so deprived of sugary food at home that she often takes sweet indulgences in school sans the chagrin of her parents.  I found out that my girls bought junk food from the school canteen when they  first started primary school, to taste the sweet  freedom of buying food on their own 😐

Why is sugar bad for you?

1. It causes metabolic dysfunction. Eating too much sugar causes a barrage of symptoms known as classic metabolic syndrome. These include weight gain, abdominal obesity, decreased HDL and increased LDL, elevated blood sugar, elevated triglycerides and high blood pressure. It increases your uric acid levels.

Sugar is Bad Written on a Blackboard

2. Added Sugar Contains No Essential Nutrients and is Bad For Your Teeth
You’ve probably heard this a million times before… but it’s worth repeating. Added sugars (like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup) contain a whole bunch of calories with NO essential nutrients. For this reason, they are called “empty” calories.

3. Added Sugar is High in Fructose, Which Can Overload Your Liver
In order to understand what is so bad about sugar, then you need to understand what it is made of. Before sugar enters the bloodstream from the digestive tract, it is broken down into two simple sugars… glucose and fructose.

Glucose is found in every living cell on the planet. If we don’t get it from the diet, our bodies produce it. Fructose is different. Our bodies do not produce it in any significant amount and there is no physiological need for it. The thing with fructose is that it can only be metabolized by the liver in any significant amounts.

This is not a problem if we eat a little bit (such as from fruit) or we just finished an exercise session. In this case, the fructose will be turned into glycogen and stored in the liver until we need it.

However, if the liver is full of glycogen (much more common), eating a lot of fructose overloads the liver, forcing it to turn the fructose into fat. When repeatedly eating large amounts of sugar, this process can lead to fatty liver and all sorts of serious problems. Keep in mind that all of this does NOT apply to fruit. It is almost impossible to overeat fructose by eating fruit.

4. Overloading The Liver With Fructose Can Cause Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
When fructose get turned into fat in the liver, it is shipped out as VLDL cholesterol particles. However, not all of the fat gets out, some of it can lodge in the liver. This can lead to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). Studies show that individuals with fatty liver consume up to 2-3 times as much fructose as the average person.

5. Sugar Can Cause Insulin Resistance, a Stepping Stone Towards Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes
Insulin is a very important hormone in the body. It allows glucose (blood sugar) to enter cells from the bloodstream and tells the cells to start burning glucose instead of fat. Having too much glucose in the blood is highly toxic and one of the reasons for complications of diabetes, like blindness and kidney damage.

6. Sugar Can Cause Cancer
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and is characterized by uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells. Insulin is one of the key hormones in regulating this sort of growth. For this reason, many scientists believe that having constantly elevated insulin levels (a consequence of sugar consumption) can contribute to cancer. In addition, the metabolic problems associated with sugar consumption are a known driver of inflammation, another potential cause of cancer. Multiple studies show that people who eat a lot of sugar are at a much higher risk of getting cancer.

7. Sugar Causes Massive Dopamine Release in The Brain, Thus Is Highly Addictive
Sugar can be addictive for a lot of people. Like abusive drugs, sugar causes a release of dopamine in the reward center of the brain.

8. Sugar is a Leading Contributor to Obesity in Both Children and Adults
The way sugar affects hormones and the brain is a recipe for fat gain disaster.

9. It Ain’t The Fat… It’s SUGAR That Raises Your Cholesterol and Gives You Heart Disease
For many decades, people have blamed saturated fat for heart disease… which is the #1 killer in the world. However, new studies are showing that saturated fat is harmless.
The evidence is mounting that sugar, NOT fat, may be one of the leading drivers of heart disease via the harmful effects of fructose on metabolism.

Studies show that large amounts of fructose can raise triglycerides, small, dense LDL and oxidized LDL, raise blood glucose and insulin levels and increase abdominal obesity… in as little as 10 weeks. These are all major risk factors for heart disease.

Bottom line: Since sugar is capable of causing so many health issues, go easy on sugar. There are many ways that you can cut down on the consumption of sugar. You can drink your coffee or tea sans the sugar. Bake your cakes and cookies with reduced sugar or use sugar alternative like black strap molasses or stevia. Forgo the sugar-coated doughnut for breakfast and replace it with a piece of fruit or a bowl of oats with nuts and seeds. I have not eaten sweets and candies for a long time and my girls rarely ask me to buy these sweet treats as they know that mummy’s answer is an outright NO.

Having said this, the focus should be on a healthful approach and not people rushing to one side or the other. Moderation is key, experts say. For example, the American Heart Association recommends that women limit themselves to about 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, or about 100 calories. Men should aim for about 9 teaspoons a day, or 150 calories.

For me, when I am hankering for something sweet, I always grab some nuts or a fruit 😊

Medical Check-Up Tuesday – 10 January 2017

I went for my yearly ‘woman check-up’ at Pantai Medical Center two days ago. This is the second time I am seeing this gynae, who looks like a Bollywood star – pretty, elegant and cool! Many expatriates see her and I can see why they like her so much.

I reached the hospital at 9am, registered myself and found out that I was the 5th in queue.  After the nurse had done the routine blood pressure and weight check, I went to have breakfast with my man at a popular coffee shop in Bangsar.

Hubs who always has eyes bigger than his tummy ordered all these…

Pork noodles and fish fillet in seaweed and veggie soup…

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Ipoh chicken hor fun with bean sprouts…

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…and also a plate of wanton mee.  By the time the wanton mee arrived, he had to ask for the noodles to be tapau-ed 🙈

After breakfast, he dropped me back at the hospital and he went off to work. I spent over 4 frigging hours at the hospital to see my gynae to do a scan of my uterus, did a full blood count test and did a breast scan at the Imaging Dept.  I spent close to RM700 for all these tests including a separate cholesterol and blood sugar profile which I did the next day at a clinic in my neighborhood.

I waited for almost 2 hours at the Imaging Dept to get my breast scanned. At the dept, I heard the nurses calling out names of several Tan Sris and Datuks. One Tan Sri was an ex Menteri Besar of one of the states up North. He was on a wheel chair.  Another Tan Sri came with some bodyguards. He went in to do either a CT Scan / MRI.  You could be a Menteri Besar or a CEO, but the minute you are in the hospital in dire need of medical help, your position does not matter anymore. All the money in the world means squat.

While waiting for my turn to do the breast ultrasound scan, I went across the next block to have a quick lunch at Secret Recipe. I ordered a vegetarian lasagna and I didn’t like it a wee bit.

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If you think that Government hospitals require a longer wait, let me tell you that it’s the same at private hospitals. I have been to many hospitals – both private and government and the waiting time is the same. This goes to show just how many people are unwell everyday and need medical treatment. Our health is so precious and once you start to lose it, you are willing to spend a fortune to gain it back. Never ever gamble with your health by neglecting it. I know it’s easier said than done and I am guilty as charged too. I need to get more sleep and manage my stress / anger better 😔.  I have mentioned before that lack of sleep, stress and anger create free radicals rapidly in the body.  But once you are told you have a certain condition, don’t you wish you had taken care of your body earlier and loved it more? Work can wait. Anger and stress can be blocked off your mind if you know how to tackle it.  Don’t wait till it’s too. You only have one life and one body. Love it and nurture it with only good stuff it needs.

On the results of my tests, well I have good and bad news to share. That will be for my next blog posting, so stay tuned…

Medical Care, Lab Methods and Cancer in Remote Villages

The fight against cancer has had some large victories in the past few decades, as more is understood about the reasons that cancers form and the nature of the cells themselves. This has been great for prevention, but also for diagnosis and treatment. This is especially true for people who are far from large communities with high-level hospitals and oncology centers. Where they once were forced to travel hundreds of miles and possibly several states away for so much as a diagnosis, new lab methods and communication technologies have helped to keep people from needing to move to a larger area before a cancer diagnosis is even confirmed.

Web Doctors
One of the nicest things for people in remote areas (not to mention parents of potential urgent care case kids at 3AM) is the concept of a web diagnosis. Many insurance companies are subscribing to web medical services that allow simple diagnoses (the latest in a series of urinary tract infections or allergy attacks) to be made by video, and to avoid taking a long, inconvenient and costly trip to a faraway doctor when your pharmacy is nearby. This also works for visual confirmation of problems like funny moles, rashes that don’t seem right, etc. They can help to save people a needless trip which can be expensive and time consuming. For inhabitants of remote towns in places like Alaska, this can be a huge help.

Sample Preservation
Many small communities have access to a general practitioner, but not an oncologist or pathologist. In the past, if cancer was suspected, you would need to go to the hospital for the biopsy which would be fresh frozen to process. Today, there is also a formalin process that can be used to preserve tissue well enough to find cell mutations that are indicative of cancer. These FFPE samples don’t run the risk of arriving late to the doctor and being left out all night to melt before being put away, so they can be taken anywhere that the technology and skill exists to retrieve the tissue.

Continued Care
Though most of the active treatments in cancer patients continue to be in hospital, the care that post-op patients receive can be more remote these days, and can be guided with a local doctor and video consult by the overseeing oncologist. For patients who struggle to pay for medical care, this can mean fewer missed work days and a better sense of financial security through the illness.

 

Taking Steps to Address Your Digestive Health Issues

As people age, they often experience issues with their digestive systems. Some people suffer more frequently from heartburn; others suffer from frequent irregularity and diarrhea. When it has become difficult for you to eat and digest your meals, you may be advised to seek medical help from area medical providers like a good primary care physician, GI doctors in Houston, or one of the other healthcare providers who can address these issues. You can take steps yourself to research this medical specialty and find a doctor who is qualified to take you as a patient.

Choosing from Among the Specialties Online

Large medical facilities in metro cities often have a host of medical specialists working for them. They have doctors who practise in everything from gynecology to neonatology. However, when you want someone who can find out why you are suffering when you eat or have to use the restroom, you may look for a doctor who practices in gastroenterology. The drop down menu on the website shows you a list of all of the specialties available from the medical facility. You can then use the next drop down menu to get a full list of doctors who practise in that area.

If you know a doctor who practices as the hospital and want to choose him or her as your provider, you can use the drop down menu to search by name. The menu will then provide a list of all of the doctors who have that name. You also will find out on what floor, in what building, and what area of the facility he or she practices. You can also get the phone number if you prefer to call first.

Getting Ready for Your Appointment

Your doctor may want you to have paperwork already filled out and ready to go prior to your first appointment. You can find that paperwork on the medical facility’s website. You can print if off, fill it out, and bring it with you.

You can also set up a patient account where your insurance information, address, contact details, and other pertinent patient facts can be stored. This patient account creation helps the facility care for you better.

Choosing a specialist can be done online using drop down menus and other search options. This search lets you begin the process of having your digestive issues addressed.

 

Beet Root Smoothie On A Hot And Hazy Day (38 Degrees Celsius)

I knew it. As expected, today has been a sizzling hot and hazy day!  So hot that I had already taken 3 showers as at 3pm today — first shower was after 26 laps in the pool at 630 a.m. (which made me feel SO GOOD!), second shower was after having breakfast with the hubby outside while waiting for our car to be washed and then did some groceries shopping at an air-cond mart. Third shower was after waiting for 15 minutes at the lobby for Cass and Sherilyn.

As I am typing this post, I have 2 fans blowing  at me at full blast. I am still trying really hard NOT to press on the air-cond remote control at our living room! Our electricity bill last month was a frigging RM520!!

Today I made 2 types of smoothies:  orange + apple + chia seeds smoothie for the girls. Beet root + orange + apple + chia seeds smoothie for myself.

 

If you do not already know, beets are not only choke-full of vitamins, minerals and cleansing properties, they are nature’s Viagra!  Seriously!  The ancient Romans used them medicinally as an aphrodisiac and it’s backed by science.  Beets contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.

Nuff said, right?  Beet roots are a health powerhouse, taste good, prevent cancer, detoxify the liver and increase one’s libido!  Sign me up!  Beets will be a staple in my fridge from now onwards!  Make them yours too 🙂

 

Healthy Drinks for Your Children

Keeping your kids healthy is always a major concern. There are so many things you have to worry about and their diet is just one of them. However, some parents give a lot of thought to food but forget about what their children are drinking. What they drink can be just as important as what they eat. Sugary drinks can damage their teeth and can be a contributing factor in obesity. It’s important to watch what they have to drink and avoid having things like soda too much. However, they don’t have to stick with plain water all the time. Here’s how you can make their drinks healthier.

Cut Back on the Juice
You might think that fruit juice is healthy, but it can contain a lot of sugar. Even if there isn’t any added sugar in it, the natural sugars can still damage little teeth. Fruit juice is acceptable to have on occasion, and even better if it’s watered down. But you shouldn’t be serving a glass of juice with every meal. If your kids prefer juice, try adding a twist of lemon, orange or lime to a glass of water. Using a Sodastream makes it a bit more fun and might even convince them that they’re drinking soda. Try to stick to milk and water more often than juice.

 

Use a Water Filter
If you worry about how safe your tap water is to drink, don’t start buying it bottled. It’s bad for the environment and for your household budget. It’s much cheaper to get from your home, and you can make it healthier if you want. Using a water filter will get rid of any impurities you don’t want in your water. If you’re not sure how to choose one, you can look at Water Filter Answers to find guides on which one to buy. There are several types you should consider, with varying levels of effectiveness and a range of prices.

Have Fun with Milk
Children need to have calcium to strengthen their growing bones and teeth. As they get older, they need more calcium to keep them going. It’s important to make milk a part of your child’s drinking habits. It’s an excellent source of calcium and readily available. If your child is lactose intolerant or has a dairy allergy, there are alternatives. You can buy other drinks, such as coconut water, with added calcium. There are also foods that contain calcium, such as spinach. If your children don’t like milk, try adding a small amount of flavoring. Just don’t go overboard with sugary additives.

Have Hot Drinks Together
It’s never too early to give your child warm drinks. You might not make them piping hot, but you can, at least, warm them a little or leave them to cool for a while. They might already have hot chocolate, so why not try some fruit or herbal teas? Of course, you should avoid anything with caffeine in it, which can include some teas.
Getting your kids to drink healthy drinks isn’t always easy. But if you avoid the unhealthy stuff from the beginning, you’ll find it much easier.

 

Light And Healthy Meals

These days, I have very light meals – light in meat and light in portion. 80% composes of greens / fiber and 20% meat or eggs.

This is my breakfast this morning – a bowl of pork soup from the pork noodles stall with lots of bitter gourd and a little minced pork sans the noodles and egg. This is an ideal low carb + high protein + high fiber meal.

Bitter gourd is used to treat various stomach and intestinal disorders including gastrointestinal (GI) upset, ulcers, colitis, constipation, and intestinal worms. It is also used  for diabetes, to lower cholesterol, kidney stones, fever, a skin condition called psoriasis, liver disease and to start menstruation.

Below – my dinner yesterday was a bowl of anchovies soup with organic veggie (home grown), egg drop and several tablespoons of organic oats.  Everyone else ate roast duck.  Thankfully I do not fancy duck 😀  Duck is high in fat and cholesterol.

You should try to go meatless once or twice a week. Going meatless several times in a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.  And you may live longer too if you reduce your meat consumption 😉

 

The Best Way to Keep Your Body Healthy

Keeping your body healthy is a must. If you care about your well being at all, you’ll do your best to stay healthy. Many people would kill for a healthy body. Many people spend years abusing theirs and only realise the extent of what they’ve done when it’s too late. If you don’t want to be one of those people, and you want to live a long and happy life, these tips are for you.

Drink Lots of Water

Water is beneficial for lots of different reasons. Not only can drinking enough of it make us feel energised and alert, it can clear the skin and make us glow. Plus it hydrates us and helps us to lose weight! Flushing out toxins is something that water does best. Drink 3-4 litres a day if you want a real boost! 2 litres should be the minimum amount of water that you drink. You can count non caffeinated drinks towards your water intake sometimes too, like herbal teas.

Fill Your Diet With Vegetables and Other Good Stuff

Fill your diet with vegetables and you’ll start to look and feel better in just a few weeks. Eat some vegetables with every meal, ensuring that you get your 5 a day. You can make them so much more interesting by using different cooking methods and herbs/spices. They don’t have to be boring. Other good stuff includes fruit, yoghurt, and things like that.  Gutspace.com can give you more information.

Limit Processed, Sugary Foods

Processed, sugary foods are bad for us. You probably already know that. You don’t have to cut them out completely if you’re used to eating them, as you’ll end up bingeing! That being said, you should limit them as much as you possibly can to feel and look healthier. Consider allowing yourself one cheat meal per week to tide you over. If you’re spending time cooking delicious healthy meals, you shouldn’t be too bothered about naughty foods anyway!

 

Asthma 101: All You Need To Know!

Today I’m going to talk to you about a very common disease. It’s a problem that affects many people every day. I’m talking about asthma. But, what is it? In this piece, you’ll find out all you need to know about asthma and the dangers it presents to your health.

What Is Asthma?

The simplest definition of asthma is that it’s a respiratory disease. It’s an issue that affects your lungs and leads to difficulty breathing. Anyone can suffer from asthma. Even people with their health on track can suffer from asthma. But, it can be brought on by various things, one of the most common being allergies. This disease can develop later in life, but it’s commonly found in children from a young age. If you have a child, and they’re coughing and wheezing a lot, you should get them checked out. You may find out that they’ve been suffering from asthma for a long time, and you haven’t done anything to help counter it!

What Dangers Does Asthma Present To Your Health?

Any disease that affects your lungs needs to be watched carefully. If something can make it difficult for us to breathe, then it’s potentially serious. Commonly, the biggest danger is having an asthma attack. This is the name given to a serious onslaught of asthma. It’s when the linings of your lungs become so narrow, and you start to have spasms. You start to wheeze and cough and can find it very hard to breathe. Naturally, when you have difficulty breathing, you start to panic. So, panic and anxiety set in making it even harder to control your attack.

There are different levels of an asthma attack. There are minor ones that are common and will subside when treated. But, if you don’t treat your attack, the problems will quickly worsen. You could end up needing to be rushed to a hospital. In some severe cases, extreme asthma attacks can lead to death. It’s not a condition that should be taken lightly.

How Can You Cope With Asthma?

Asthma is a very common ailment that affects millions of people worldwide. As a result, there are plenty of drugs and treatments out there, to help people deal with the effects. Up and down the country there are asthma clinical trials taking place to help develop new drugs and medication. The purpose of these trials and drugs is to help people breathe a little easier. That’s the main problem we associate with asthma. It makes it hard for you to breathe at times. So, there are things like steroid pumps that help you out. You inhale the steroid spray, and it tries to make it easier for you to breathe. For most people with asthma, this is the only treatment they need. You get an asthma pump from your doctor and use it whenever you feel breathless. It works and can help calm the symptoms for a short period. It’s important that you carry it around with you, just in case you have an asthma attack! You don’t want to be in trouble and not have your pump with you to help stop your attack.

Hopefully, you’ve found this health piece helpful! If you, or someone you know, is suffering from asthma, you may know a bit more about the disease.

 

Three Strategies To Get Your Health On Track In 2015

In a world where debilitating diseases are becoming increasingly prevalent, many people are seeking health solutions that will empower them to lead positive lives free of illness. If this is your health objective, it’s important to know that there are several wellness strategies you can implement to start living in a more enriching way. Here are three of them:

1. Find A Holistic Doctor
The first strategy you can employ to start leading a healthier life is to find the ideal holistic doctor. Rather than placing primacy on the administration of medication, holistic doctors seek to facilitate healing and restoration in the patient’s mind, body, and spirit. There are a wide range of health services that these doctors can offer to realize this objective. Some of them include medical hypnosis and acupuncture. Holistic doctors will also oftentimes place emphasis on offering nutritional counseling services that help the patient eat the foods that promote optimal energy levels, mood regulation, and weight management. You can access information regarding these types of services by visiting the following website: www.drbryanmd.com.

2. Invest In Personal Training Services
In addition to finding a holistic methods doctor, it’s a good idea to invest in personal training services. Doing so can facilitate health optimization by ensuring that you’re in the habit of exercising effectively and regularly. Personal trainers specialize in developing and consistently optimizing exercise routines that empower people to accomplish their fitness and health-related goals. Whether you’re attempting to lose weight, increase musculature, or develop a more toned physique, personal trainers can help you realize your objectives. Moreover, getting in the habit of exercising regularly will promote cardiovascular health and help you attain a new level of wellness.

3. Optimize Your Diet
One final strategy you should employ to get healthy this year is to optimize your diet. Although many if not most people understand that a sound diet is the foundational pillar of great health, many of these individuals procrastinate about changing their eating habits. Don’t make this mistake. Instead, start taking steps towards diet optimization by replacing coffee with green juices and salty snacks with healthy trail mix.

Conclusion
Individuals who are ready to take their health to another level should understand that there are several ways to make it happen. By finding a holistic doctor, hiring a personal trainer, and optimizing one’s diet, you will likely find that you start operating at a level of physiological efficacy and excellence you never thought possible!