Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Coffeeholic's Secret..

Ok so yes I admit it. I have tried various ways of losing weight.. the easy way! I've tried various diets like Atkinson's Diet, the 7 Day Diet, and the before 6 PM diet. And well, nothing works! Or sticks rather. I mean, yeah I do lose several pounds but then it flatlines.

So basically, I had come to the point where I had to either shape up or gain more weight. With my brother's wedding looming ahead, I basically had to kick my butt into action and really do something to lose weight. It wasn't an easy choice, because honestly I HATE TO EXERCISE. With asthma and all, exercising is a pain. LITERALLY! Then my brother's fiancee suggested to us (me and my brother as well coz he's chunkier than me!) this new slimming coffee that she was using which helped her lose weight. I of course grabbed the opportunity!!!

COFFEE that helps you LOSE WEIGHT sounds too good to be true. But it worked wonders for me! I lost several inches off my waist and lost more than 20 pounds! All I had to do is drink the coffee 30 minutes before I have breakfast. I started drinking January 10 up til now. And the results were amazing!

The coffee helps suppresses my appetite, doesn't let the fat get absorbed by my body, and increases my metabolism. I had no diarrhea side effects. It did made me thirsty and sometimes I experienced headaches and nausea especially in the first few weeks but I didn't let that stop me from drinking the coffee. For motivation, all I had to do was stare at my reflection in the mirror! I still drank my regular cup of coffee afterwards, drank vitamins to supplement my less food intake, and ate lots of fruits and veggies to improve my diet.  My coworkers noticed the difference immediately when my tummy suddenly trimmed. And then my pants and clothes became looser and I felt lighter! People I know started to comment and compliment me on my drastic change of appearance.

Honestly, I had no idea that I was THAT overweight last January. I knew I was overweight but I lied and blinded myself to the fact that I was really REALLY over weight. I think I was at my heaviest at that time. Talking about my weight was a very sensitive subject for me. I get defensive, touchy, and sensitive whenever my weight or figure would come into the limelight. I used to just brush it all off with jokes and laughter but deep inside it was painful for me. So losing weight like this is really a victory for me. I never thought there will come a day where I will be willingly and publicly announce my weight. Yes, I was 154 pounds. For a 4'11" gal like me, thats a lot! And I tell you, watching my fat, my pounds, and my waistline melt away was so encouraging. After years of battling with the weighing scale... this really changed my life! I never thought that I'd be able to do this.. and in only 3 months time. And the best part of it all was, NO EXERCISE. Exercising has never been appealing to me because of my asthma. So there, now I'm 130 pounds. Proud and promises to self that I'll never go back to the old me! I know that I can't forever stay dependent on this coffee and I know that eventually I have to exercise (believe me I'm starting to opt for walking then commuting ever since I've lost weight!) more regularly and be more active. I know also that I have to arm myself with the proper knowledge of the right food to eat to keep healthy and slim. However, I am still grateful for this immediate reprieve that was given to me by this coffee. I think so far this has been the most personal post that I've made. And I'm glad that I finally shared this.

So there.. that's my lil secret.Wanna know exactly what it is? Let me know and I'll let you in the secret!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Horrors of Asthma Attack

I hate getting sick. I hate getting stuck at home because I'm sick. Bedridden because I'm sick. Not able to go online because I'm sick. Yes, you heard me right! I hate getting sick especially when my asthma suddenly surfaces out of nowhere! 

So now that I'm stuck at home and disobeying the rule of "complete bedrest means no online activities!" I decided to research more about asthma. Honestly, I've had this since I was 10 years old but I haven't really paid much attention to it or armed myself with knowledge about it because the attacks are not that often anyway. According to the National Heart and Lung Institute, "Asthma (AZ-ma) is a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. The coughing often occurs at night or early in the morning."

This describes exactly how I feel or experience whenever I have a major asthma attack. Its more like I feel I have a violin in my lungs which really is disturbing for me coz I can't sleep because I can hear myself wheezing. And wheezing is bad.. very bad!  It just means that I've got lots of phlegm or mucus in my lungs and this irritates my airway and is very bothersome. If you look at the picture, the airways get swell and inflame during an asthma attack which was probably triggered by inhaling irritants or due to the weather. Its not that difficult to describe the horror of inflamed lungs. It feels like someone tied up your chest/lungs giving you only a short space for breathing. You end up breathing through short gasping breaths. Plus you also feel as if you are drowning! So the tendency is I end up sleeping half seated and half lying down. Its really very uncomfortable. 

One of the most horrible asthma attacks that I experienced was when I was in my first year of college. I was over fatigued with the hassle of getting my clearance, grades, and lining up at super long lines in a hot and not well ventilated gym to sign up for a PE class. When I got home, I already wasn't feeling well and in the following morning, I could barely stand up nor breathe properly! I felt like my chest was going to explode in any minute.. the short breathing gasps that I was doing wasn't enough.. my oxygen intake was too low and my parents rushed me to the hospital! (Which is another thing that I hate, getting stuck in the hospital.. so boring!).  My asthma attack was so bad that I had to be injected with steroids to alleviate the pressure and inflammation of my lungs! I stayed there for a week until my breathing and my lungs were back to normal. And thank God that this has never happened again. I'm praying that I will never reach that stage again!

Now I have what we call 'maintenance" medication to "discourage"  asthma attacks before it even happens. My maintenance medication is called FLIXOTIDE and is an anti-asthma metered dose inhaler. I use it once every evening and it helps prevent asthma attack the following day. BUT when I do get a mild asthma attack, my first resort is the VENTOLIN inhaler which also is an anti-asthma inhaler but immediately arrests the attack. The only problem is when it can no longer suppress or stop the asthma attack. Thats when I have to use a Nebulizer, which is an air compressor machine which turns the asthma medication from liquid to a mist. This helps the medication to work faster. Which is now what I'm using at the moment and is also the main reason why I'm stuck at home. The nebulizer is too big and I can't very well lug it along with me to work right? Hopefully, I will be more ok by tonight so that I don't have to depend on the nebulizer for my medication any more and I can go to work tomorrow. 

So what I have learned from this attack? KNOW MY TRIGGERS. Since asthma can be avoided if you can avoid having it triggered, I should be armed with the proper knowledge and know-how on how to address or avoid my asthma triggers - which is basically, change of weather/temperature, over fatigue, allergens, and strong smells (like overpowering male perfume!). Here the old saying that "knowledge is power" comes in real handy. 

So there you have it! A little bit of asthma facts and triva and a little research has helped shoo away my boredom of being stuck at home as well. Now I'm off to bed for an afternoon nap to help regain strength and hopefully say bye bye to asthma in my dreams. :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Social Networking Craze - a fad that stuck!

FACEBOOK has slowly taken over my net life. Seriously! My rare moments online are now being consumed by my fascination on my source of online relaxation, recreation, and socialization. The advent of social networking really has crossed over boundaries and society through leaps and bounds. Technology really grows and evolves so fast!

It was only 6-7 years ago when I opened my very first social network account while I was still in college. I was killing time during the hours in between classes. Ok so I don't kill time that often, I usually spend my "free time" either with my friends or at a library. But this was a rare semester where most of my friends had classes during my free time and well, I was fed up with the library (which was a rare occurrence being a bookworm and all!). So there I was surfing on the net huddled in my own little "space" in a dimly lit, poorly air conditioned, small room which was fitted with as many computers, tables, and chairs in what we call an internet shop/cafe. I had made my decision that I will succumb to the dictates of society.. yes, I will join the masses in their what I deemed as a "crazy fad" or the "in" thing to do which was to make a FRIENDSTER account. LOL. Yep, everyone that I knew (well most of my classmates anyway!) had or was in the process of making their own account. And being the dutiful social being that I was, I made one! And the rest is history!

It took time for the "fad" to become a normal part of our society. I knew that at that time, myspace was making waves around the world and was more widely known. But I decided that I would start with Friendster and probably branch out from there. During those times, just the fact that you have a place where you can show off your photos and message other people or friends were fine enough. Ha, I even remember the time when "comments" were called "testimonials." And like dutiful and obedient people, we really made honest to goodness testimonials about your friends--giving glowing and positive remarks about them. Then it evolved into a public inbox where people say stuff so that other people can see.

Then people wanted more "things" or "gadgets" to show off! Personalized layouts, widgets, music and video incorporated to their profiles. Myspace, Tagged, Multiply, Hi-5 (not the kid show! LOL), and eventually FACEBOOK surfaced to address the clamor, demand, and "needs" of users. And I'm just so much amazed with how things have changed and improved since that time.

The only problem now is how to STOP from visiting all these sites and maintaining all of them! I solved one of the problems by basically dropping all of the other accounts that I made and stuck to the one that served all my preferences. FACEBOOK. It has the works! It connects me to my friends, it has games that I enjoyed (I know that they started the trend which the others picked up!), and I can control my privacy and at the same time show my public photo albums. I'm pretty much sure most of you have found old old friends in one of the social network sites that you have an account with. Its one of the awesome benefits that I got because of Facebook and the like. Now I have also slowly adopted the strategy to reach out to my students using Facebook. I can get to them faster using this tool! The downside is, I find out a lot of things about them which sometimes I prefer NOT to. LOL.

Anyway, what I basically want to say is that I'm grateful for technology and the evolution of how people can communicate faster than before. And with this gratefulness also comes the awareness of the possible dangers people face while using networks such as this. So my advice is enjoy it but at the same time keep your eyes wide open and make sure that you know what you are doing before you post, say, or do something that you will later on regret or cause you trouble.

Now back to my Facebook games. :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

National Day of Prayer Cancelled

While browsing the web, I stumbled upon this news. Apparently the National Day of Prayer in the U.S. was cancelled according to the instructions of President Obama himself. The National Day of Prayer which was established by President Truman and made permanent by President Reagan was usually held on the First Thursday of May, which meant that it was supposed to be held on May 6 of this year. According to some reports, this is due to him honoring the suggestions and complaints by atheists and some other groups.

I find this to be a bit saddening and disappointing. Yes I am aware that people have a right to voice their opinions, however why does it have to come to a point that a National Day of Prayer has to be cancelled as well? Don't Christians have a right to voice their opinions as well? Plus, it doesn't say "The National Christians Day of Prayer".. so that means other religions can also pray for the nation at that time. I don't see the point of it being cancelled. I think that praying for a nation will be beneficial for everybody, especially with the economic crisis and natural disasters happening not only in the U.S. but all over the world. With all these recent "acts of God" going around the globe, it is all the more urgent for us to pray not only for ourselves but for our own respective nations.

Blast from the Past at Glenn's 50's Diners

Ok, so I like summer but there is such a thing as too much heat! So this week I made an escape to one of our country's favorite summer escape from the heat, BAGUIO CITY!!! Actually, the real reason I went there was because for a summer retreat. But what I didn't expect was the added bonus of the cool and sometimes chilly air that we had while we stayed here at Baguio City. So yeah, the temperature only became cool during the night and early morning, still it was so much better than the sweltering heat of manila throughout the whole day.

While at Baguio, I happened to eat at 50's Diners at 92 Upper General Luna Road, Corner Brent Road, Baguio City. AND so far, this has been one of the best restos that I've eaten! Ok, so the ambience still needs some improvement but it has all the elements of a 50-ish diner. It has a LOT of posters of old Hollywood stars like James Dean, Rita Hayworth, etc. And of course, old movie posters like CASABLANCA, The Attack of the 50 ft. Woman, Psycho, etc. Then there's a jukebox in a corner (I'm not sure if its working though), neon pink lights, and all the waiters and waitresses wearing the appropriate costume!

But I guess the best feature was the food. It was delicious, huge serving, AND most importantly super affordable!!! I mean, this beats all fastfood servings and prices! When I went there, I was with a group of friends and workmates and we ordered a lot not knowing of the huge servings! And boy were we shocked by the amount of food served and the total cost of it all. I ordered a Fish Fillet Sandwich (which I think costs 95 pesos) and my bestfriend ordered TLB Sandwich (80 pesos) and both sandwiches had french fries on the side. The fries weren't even the commercially and artificially made ones but actual potato slices that were deep fried. The food was perfect! We also had a real strawberry shake -- coz you can't go to Baguio without having a taste of strawberry here and there. And I loved it! It only cost us like 70 pesos.

Overall, I rate this restaurant with 5 Stars! So if you do ever go to Baguio, don't forget to drop by the 50's Diner for an awesome and affordable food experience.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Coffee or Tea


It has been a heated and debated subject for some time already. Being an avid fan of coffee, I have been one of those who strongly insist that coffee is BETTER, if not the BEST. In fact, one of my longtime online friends argue about it and we often end up discussing about the finer points of each side's health benefits.

A part of me remotely acknowledges the more widely known benefits of tea, but I just cannot let go of coffee. Given a choice, I'd choose coffee in a heartbeat! (and yes, just in case you don't know, coffee is good for your heart.. antioxidants remember?) That was my initial preference until I succumbed to tasting CHAI TEA LATTE from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Yes, I admit that I gracefully and sweetly ate every single word of disdain that I labeled on Tea as I washed it down with every sip of the divine soothing drink.

Me and my bestfriend (also an avid coffee drinker!) decided to try it after hearing a lot of rave reviews about it. Plus the fact that we were both tired from work (we are both teachers!) and wanted to sit down and sip something relaxing... which means definitely not coffee! So upon the recommendation of many, we both tried Chai Tea Latte... and fell in love!

So yes, I now enjoy a cup of Tea Lattes every now and then (only if its from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf!) when I want to relax and have a good night's sleep. Another recommended Tea Lattes from CBTL would be Moroccan Mint Tea Latte. I recently tried Starbucks attempt on making tea lattes but it sucked real bad. I think they should just stick to coffee and their frappuccinos.

Still, my first and foremost love will always be COFFEE.

So what's your addiction? Coffee or Tea?

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Coffeeholic Solution to Summer Heat

Summer has really made its presence felt here in the Philippines. So spending an afternoon cooped up in my room with a temperature of 34 degrees Celsius is not my idea of a holiday! The worst part of it all is that my body is craving for some caffeine. Sipping freshly brewed coffee in this heat is so not appealing. Drinking an iced coffee blended drink would be just perfect--if only I wasn't dieting!

Being a Starbucks Frappuccino fan, I was shocked and disappointed when my brother broke to me the news that drinking a Venti-sized Dark Mocha Frappe (my current favorite) is equivalent to the ideal number of calories alloted for a person for one meal. Not only that, a venti sized drink here is also quite pricey. PLUS I have to haul myself to a mall or a nearest Starbucks store to get my drink. Which I'm not that keen on doing because I don't want to commute. So as a solution I decided to opt for a less calorie, cheaper, iced-coffee drink which I made by myself which I'd like to share with the rest of you!

First, brew your favorite batch of brewed coffee. If you don't have a coffee maker, then use your favorite instant coffee mix. Next, mix in your favorite creamer and sugar while its hot. Make sure to taste test it though! Then let it cool for a while and you may now do one of the following:

A. IF you want to drink it NOW, first make sure to make your drink a bit more stronger than usual. Then pour your coffee drink in a plastic tumbler with lots of ice. Like A WHOLE LOT OF ICE. And then shake shake shake until you're satisfied with its icy frothiness!!! IF you have a blender, the better! Coz then all you have to do is blend the ice and coffee drink until you reach the right consistency.

B. For those who don't have a blender and is willing to wait, pour your coffee drink in a clear or transparent plastic. You know, the one that is used in making or storing ice in the freezer? AND YES, you are supposed to freeze it. This drink takes time because you have to wait for it to be a bit solid as if it has an outer shell of ice with the inside still liquid. When it has reached that point, you can now enjoy your drink by breaking the plastic and putting everything in your favorite tumbler. You can shake it too if you want to have a bubbly or frothy look.

And FINALLY, the moment you have been waiting for--go ahead and take a gulp of your delicious iced coffee! Its cheaper (because you already have it at home!), less fattening (no whip cream!), and yes it will satisfy the coffeeholic in you coz it surely satisfied me.