Thursday, February 27, 2014

"I've Got Filipino Phood On My Mind"

We have seen many diet mania over the years. It seems like one or two will make the scene every other week. But do they really work? Honestly. Do you really take the time to pick one out, follow the guidelines and actually see results?

I'm sure that many of you have been very successful and to that, a big congratulations. But, for those who have fallen off the wagon, get up and don't give up. Getting up is the first step. But giving up on the dream to loose those extra pounds always opens up to the possibility of trying out the  latest weight loss dietary supplements that are up for grabs in your grocery stores.

The social media have been flooded with these supplements promising to make you loose weight in as little as one week. In an era of instant gratification, one cannot escape the marketing strategies of these tempting come on ads. I myself have been a victim one way or another. It's hard not too.

What caught my attention was the latest Garcinia Cambogia that was featured at The Dr Oz Show. Reason? It was said that the main ingredient in this supplement came from a tamarind like fruit from Indonesia and other Asian countries. 

Then I started thinking, Really? From Asia? Tamarind? I love tamarind. 

I remember eating fresh tamarind back home growing up in the Philippines. Bushels of this sweet and tangy fruit are always for sale in the market, they practically give them away. Mind you, these were the fresh ones. Not the candied ones you can buy from the oriental market here in the states. 

Freshly harvested tamarind fruit

Candied Tamarind...yummmmmmm

As the wheels in my head started turning, I was roused to reminisce of the savory food I grew up eating. My mouth is starting to water as I am writing this post. I can remember the flavor of a single bite as I envision sinking my teeth into each and every delicacy I can think of at the moment. Memories of my growing years in the Philippines starts tickling my senses and I cannot help but to feel like I am there all over again. Don't you just love daydreaming ?

Anyway, back to the post. I figured I can feature some Filipino fruits and vegetables with its corresponding health benefit that may serve useful now or later. Here are what's on my list.


I love papaya. It's rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. It also has properties which aid weight loss. Papaya contains the enzymes papain and chymonpapain, which helps the body’s digestion process. It is also an excellent source of fiber.Oh yeah, I remember now. Papaya always does it for me.

Like other fruits, mangoes are flavorful, but low in calories. Mangoes are also rich in Vitamin A, which is not just beneficial to eye health, but also to weight loss. Because mangoes are high in Vitamin C, they can also help promote a higher rate of fat burning during exercise.

Pineapples are common in a lot of diets because of its nutritional properties. One cup of pineapple contains 2.3 grams of fiber, which is important in weight control. Pin-ya as we fondly call this mouth watering fruit has a legendary myth  on how it acquired those multiple "eyes" as the covering for the fruit. 

Lansones, its delightfully sour and sweet taste, is now considered as priority High Value Commercial Crops of the Philippines. This mouth watering fruit is rich in vitamin A, which helps form and maintain healthy skin, teeth, skeletal and soft tissue.


"Buko" or Coconuts are highly valued for their health benefits. Coconut water, for instance, is often referred to as “nature’s sports drink” because of its electrolyte potassium content. I remember walking through the streets of Manila and buying fresh coconut fruit from the sidewalk vendor as he skillfully opens the coconut.

Malunggay or Moringga

A well-known backyard plant in the Philippines, it has been gaining international attention for being a "superfood" rich in nutrients and minerals. For every pound, malunggay has seven times more Vitamin C than oranges, three times more potassium that bananas, four times more Vitamin A than carrots, two times more protein and four times more calcium than milk.

"Kangkong" or water spinach
A high source of iron, calcium, vitamin B and C. Mild in flavor, all parts of young kangkong are preferred, edible from the shoot (stem) to the leaves. Great for stir fry meat and soup. Cook these like how you would spinach. Can't go wrong.

"Repolyo" or cabbage. 

Hey...we all know about this. Cabbage provide cholesterol-lowering benefits if you cook it by steaming. The fiber-related components in cabbage do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they've been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it's easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels.

"Ampalaya" or Bittermelon

Ampalaya has been a folkloric cure for generations but has now been proven to be an effective herbal medicine for many ailments. Ampalaya is widely used by Filipinos  as an alternative herbal medicine for liver problems. Research about Ampalaya has shown that this vegetable increases the production of beta cells in the pancreas, thereby improving the body’s ability to produce insulin. I used to remember my grandmother telling me to eat the Ampalaya dish she cooked. "Masarap 'yan at magaling para sa diabetes." It tastes good and good for your diabetes. Was she on to something?

 I also would  like to share with you a link to a few sites where you can find featured recipes with pictures of some delectable and scrumptuous Filipino dishes.

These are only a fraction of what the Filipino cuisine has to offer. With its rich natural resources, Philippines is packed with variety of food sources  in many different forms. The flavors of the Philippines, so rich and decadent is still embedded in my taste buds despite being away from there 27 years and counting. 

Just like any other cuisines in the world, the Filipino menu offers a unique taste of what the country is really all about. Yet, I do remember now that flavors only count for a part of the whole experience. It is the memory of how we were able to buy the food, watch my mother or grandmother cook, and sitting down around the table enjoying the fabulous feeling of being together. 

Food gives our body the nourishment it needs. Yet, sometimes it 'll also give you more than what your body will really need. No matter what food can offer you, the most important thing to remember is to eat in moderation, exercise, and take good care of yourself. 

If you find yourself picking up a bottle or two of that latest diet supplement, check with your physician first. As nurses, we like to emphasize patients' safety. It's time that we think about our safety as well.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Becoming A Nurse Leader

The beauty of nursing does not only lie in the vast amount of niche each nurse can discover, learn, and grow from. Nursing also offers a great amount of resources, that we nurses can use in order to advance our education. We have been feeling the demands for nurses for quite some time now. With that, we can also notice the demand for higher education as nursing moves forward into the 21st century.

A well thought of infographic was shared to me by a good friend of mine.I thought I'd share it with everyone. It's packed with information if you are thinking about furthering your education.
"The Ultimate Guide To Becoming A Nurse Leader"

Nursing is a highly trusted profession.
Every nurse is a leader.
We have to believe we make a difference. .

Monday, February 17, 2014

Girl Scout Cookies...Yum!

Hubby and I were enjoying a leisurely drive this afternoon. All of a sudden, a familiar sight came out of nowhere. It's right there at the corner of the street.

Girl Scout Cookies!!! Hubby goes, say what?  Stop the car Honey! It's that time. I grabbed his wallet and got some mula before he can even say anything.

So, I went to go check it out.

Get some for our guests, hubby said.

I came back with with 4 boxes of these scrumptious, oh delicious treats. Two boxes of Samoas, One box of Tagalongs, and One box of Dosidos. Now, the freaking dilemna. These are all my most favorite flavors and I'm not sure I am able to share them with the guests!

The ride home became more leisurely while I devoured through the Samoas. These cookies just melts in your mouth. I'm sure they are the first of the so many shipments to come, and I get the first batch! Hubby told our daughter about the cookies and I heard him also told her that I got some for my in laws who are coming for dinner.

That's what you thought! Hubby started laughing and said, "You bought some for the guests too, right? I saw you with four boxes"! Um, yeah! And they're all MINE!

Let's check out what these Girl Scout Cookies are really all about. According to the website ,
"When a Girl scout sells you cookies, she's building a lifetime of skills and confidence. She learns goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics - aspects essential to leadership, success and life."

Wow! These life skills are hard acts to follow. The only thing I can think of right now is, alright I decided to buy the cookies, set a goal of 4 boxes, got my husband's wallet for money management, so much for people skills, right Honey?, and poor business ethics - since I kept the change all to myself after it was all said and done. Not only that, I even tricked my husband into believing that I bought some for the in - laws.

As much calories as these Girl Scout cookies can pack on, the Girl Scout motto also made an impact as I am writing this post. Be prepared by making yourself strong and able to do the right thing at the right moment, and do it.

In the spirit of family and lessons learned, the 3 boxes of cookies were enjoyed with ice cream for dessert after dinner. Each bite of the cookies brought smiles together during  this tranquil evening. These heart warming moments, I believe are what makes these cookies even more delectable.

Girl Scout cookies comes once a year but the lessons we learn in life comes everyday. More often than not, it comes when we least expect it. Expect the unexpected, and be prepared.

And for the extra box of Samoa, it is quietly hiding inside my nightstand.

"Cookies, yum, yum yum yum yum!" - Cookie Monster.

Absolutely no cookie compensations were granted for this post. Purely my own opinions. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Yarn To Tell

By Chiqui Raveloski

If our cat Mozart can only talk, he probably would have told me, "Lady, get off the camera and start spinning the yarn!" And I would have said, "Boy, don't  I have a yarn to tell."

My recent blog downtime sent me to a creative dimension worthy of visiting. It all started when a friend at work and I were talking about crochet.  And it reminded me of the time when I was re teaching myself how to crochet again. 

My mother is an excellent crocheter. I remembered when I was little, back in the Philippines, watching my mother crochet to her heart's content. We would have tabletops, place mats, seat covers, all gorgeously crocheted by her busy hands. I have always thought, " How can she do that? Make all these things out of thread and a hook!" So, I observed and admired how each hook stroke would form into different shapes and patterns!

During my stay at home mom period, I attempted my fate in crocheting and I have to say that those years of watching my mother crochet did me some good. I remembered the basics and I went on and made a scarf. It wasn't perfect, but I used it for many years. 

So, I decided to crochet another scarf. Simple. Nothing extravagant. Maybe a colorful one. Off I went to the store on my day off and bought several spools of yarn !

I was so excited to start a new project. As a visual learner, I visited You Tube and scoured for new ideas and crochet pattern. I found this beautiful pattern for a scarf. A waffle stitch!

I was telling myself, I can do this. I'll be off for the next few days. It will be fun to take on a new project while my blog is down. The irritation I have with my blog domain issue can be masked with something creative. How very ideal and productive. Right?

Crocheting is tedious as it is engaging. The anticipation of what each chain stitch can become reminded me of my childhood memory of watching my mother create a new masterpiece.  Well, a third through my project I noticed that things were spinning out of proportion. I ended up with this masterpiece !

Couldn't figure out what was happening. I thought I was following the instructional video to the T !. After reviewing the video again, I realized that I was missing 2 chain stitches every time I reached the end sides. It just shows you how meticulous this crochet projects are. At this time, I have added another frustration in the midst of my blog domain issues. I calmly told myself, It's OK. I can start another one.

For my next attempt, I thought I'd try loom knitting. I have never tried it. Something new to learn. Awesome! Off I went to the store and bought a looming kit and more yarn. After carefully watching the instructional video from You Tube, I think I'm on to something. 

I became fond of loom knitting. It's simple, yet repetitive. Like crocheting, loom knitting demands same amount of attention to details. One miss from a peg, will throw the pattern out of proportion. Precision is key. This scarf will be finished off with fringes at the end. I love fringes.

Meanwhile, Mozart now sports a new blanket during the very cold winter here in the South !

During all of these, Atlanta was also in the middle of a winter storm. I'm sure you have heard about it in the news. It was awfully cold. See, ICE  loves it here in the South. Adding more to the challenges that the city already has. It paralyzed Atlanta. This happened exactly 2 weeks ago.

And it's happening again ! As I am writing this post, it has been sleeting for the past night and some early part of the morning. Luckily, I'm off from work, again. My husband stayed home because the whole neighborhood is covered with, you guessed it, ICE! Accumulation of 2 to 4 inches of snow, with widespread power outages are likely as ice forms on trees and power lines. .Georgia Governor Nathan Deal advised everyone to stay off the roads. 

I was also off from the hospital during the 2 days it snowed and iced the first time. . But my husband had to drive in it very carefully to work about 45 minutes away from home. He drove the Jeep Wrangler and everything went smoothly. "Salamat sa Diyos". Thank God. 

 I was told that during the snow/ice storm, the hospital I work in implemented the inclement weather protocol. People that were scheduled to work were advised to bring in extra clothes and toiletries just in case they have to spend a night/day at the hospital. They were provided with cots and a place to sleep at. But cafeteria closed. No food. What?!!

Despite of all the chaos, the hospital continued normal operations with limited staff. Life still went on.

What was also back in business was my blog domain. You should have seen the litany of emails with instructions on how to verify my blog ownership - a process that I have to painstakingly go through in order to get my domain back. Here we go again, with more instructions. So, I calmly told myself, Its OK. I will read and follow the instructions very carefully. And guess what? It worked. Patience did pay.

This past two weeks has been a learning process. Crocheting definitely filled a balance I was looking for in a moment when my blog was down. It warmed my heart for some reason I cannot explain. Maybe it is the act of creating something with my hands, a basic human instinct. Stimulating my artistic and creative side. Or the childhood memories of my mother, crocheting away. Now, I have to wonder. Was she trying to get her mind away from something , too?

Not to mention, the ice storm also gave me the enthusiasm for my new creation. The cold air that filled my surrounding made me yearn for that perfect scarf to hug me warm.

In the process, I learned that each chain stitch is very important in the total outcome of your finished product. The chain stitch, as simple as it is, and with a few variations will bring  possibilities that are endless when combined together.

In nursing, each chain stitch can represent the patients we have and will be taking care of. Each patient fills our nursing desire to care, heal, and make a difference. Together, they create a beautiful design in our hearts only us nurses can ever explain.

Each chain stitch can also represent the choices we make in life. Simple choices that we make can bring out endless possibilities we can learn and grow from. And if we do make a wrong choice, or failed to follow "our life's little instruction book", we can always step back and start over. 

Our life is our masterpiece. Each one of us has a unique design worthy for the world to see. We are the yarn, and we are the story.

Care to spin that yarn?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Walking Dead: Pudding Apocalypse

By Chiqui Raveloski


As Michonne rhythmically beheads each of the zombies in the mid season premiere of the Walking Dead this past Sunday, I cannot help but really think hard as to how she became this badass. One thing we learned about her was once upon a time she lived in a house with her child and a lover with his friend. The katana was featured in the kitchen (symbolically??), and the guys returned with both their arms cut off. Were they the original Michonne pets? Just wondering.

Michonne continued on with the quest when we saw Herschel "die" once again. Michonne stabbed his zombie head, finally putting it to rest. That was very hard to watch. On the other hand, the succeeding show Talking dead, featured Herschell's animatronic head on the coffee table, making fun of it as Chris Hardwick fed it pudding ! Still....was kinda weird to watch. Can't quite express how I felt. I'm sure my human growth and development professor will say that I have not successfully transitioned from one milestone to the next. I can hear him saying that I am stuck in a Piagetian preoperational stage of animism. That's right Dr. Mayo, I learned something. 

Speaking of pudding, one thing we learned was Carl is not a kid anymore....and he likes pudding. I guess in a zombie apocalypse world, you would devour almost anything that you can. Zombies are the only ones that are picky eaters ! Yet, we saw Carl and his survival and fighting skills when he quickly deterred zombies that were after him. He even had the energy to write on the door to warn other lurking survivors. Luckily, he just lost a shoe ! He still needs to be careful since his temperamental teen age attitude may land him in a place that he will regret.  

We did see more of Carl's  temper when he scolded Rick.....while in a state of a Governor induced coma!
Get all that anger out Carl ! It's good therapy.

One thing I learned in nursing school is that therapeutic communication is vital in patient care. This can mean all the difference in a nurse patient relationship. One technique discussed was the use of silence. In this case, Rick's "silence" gave Carl the initiative to open up and express all his buried anger. Silence gave Carl the opportunity to collect and organize his thoughts, even in an outburst. He was able to introduce a topic of a great concern to him, than the one being the obvious -  a zombie apocalypse.

This I believe is the theme of the mid season premiere. Anger issues and management. We are slowly peeling through Michonne's character, getting a little understanding of how she became the way she is right now. At the same time, we see how Carl's anger influences the way he handles his growing years in a zombie apocalypse world. Michonne and Carl are characters so much alike,  but in a different stages of lives. 

As for the Governor....yeah, he's dead. 

We still don't know where the rest of the gang are at. But one thing we know is that they will eventually find each other. 

Knock, Knock,   Who's there?  It's for you Carl.