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Smart Kids
Saturday, June 28, 2008
It was Wednesday afternoon. Randy and I decided to meet in CSI City mall, a more convenient place for us to meet, instead of him fetching me in the medical school. It is faster that way, with less traffic because we will not be passing the downtown area.

When the kids learned that their Dad will see me in the mall, they called me up and asked permission to come. I insisted that they stay behind and just rest. But they insisted to go with their Dad.

When they approached the mall's parking area, the kids thought that they saw me walking in the lobby. They asked their Dad to drop them in the spot. Then Randy proceeded to look for a place to park.

The kids then walked towards the direction of the lady that they thought was me. After noticing that it was a stranger, it was too late to go back to the car. Their Dad was nowhere to find.

Being the kuya, Raymund thought of a way to find me. He felt that his brother was his responsibility as the younger one started to cry. He first thought of calling home to tell the maids where their exact location was. Because he left his cellphone at home, he asked the guard where to find a payphone. The instruction was so vague to him so he started to think for another way. The guard asked him who he was looking for and so he began to describe me. The guard told him that he saw a woman in violet pass by and went in the direction of the National Book Store. Since he knew I needed to buy some school supplies for both of them, he led his brother to the National Book Store. And it was there where they found me.

I was looking for a sketch pad when I heard the word "Mommy!" from somewhere near. I was very sure it was Raymund's voice. I turned around and saw my kids- Raymund wet with too much perspiration holding the hand of his brother. Ralph was crying and wrapped his arms around me immediately after he saw me.

I was then in a daze. I forgot everything on my list and just proceeded to pay what I was holding. Then I led them out of the book store into the parking area where their Dad was.

There is no blaming anybody. I consoled my kids and was just glad nothing bad happened to them. Yes, it was a bad experience for them but it was a learning experience.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 8:00 AM   4 comments
Nutrition for Diabetics: Glucerna SR
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
High blood sugar is such a problem especially if one is used to eating sugar-rich food such as cakes. Most diabetics will just skip desert in order to avoid these sugar-laden goodies. But there is no room for deprivation even with high blood sugar as long as you watch what and how much you eat. The most important thing to do of course is exercise.

There is this new product in the market named Glucerna SR from Abbott (this is not a paid post). It's not actually that new as it is already in the market since last year. It's just that not many are using it either because they still haven't heard of it or because of the price. It is a low calorie drink in powder form which provides complete and balanced nutrition. It is high in monounsaturated fatty acids which help lower blood cholesterol. It also promotes a healthier heart. Though I am not a diabetic, I've tried it and I can say that it gives you the sustained energy that would last you for the rest of the day. You won't be looking for more food in between meals as diabetics often do. Therefore, it allows you to comply with your diet.

The good thing about it is that in can be used also for cooking once you get tired of using it plainly as a beverage. It can be used in making soups (like cream of tomato, cream of mushroom, cream of corn, broccoli soup, or carrot soup), in baking (as a substitute for chocolate in making brownies), in desserts, and in milk shakes if you want to add a twist to your beverage.

Here is a sample recipe using Glucerna SR (taken from the fliers given by Abbott).
Broccoli Soup
  • 6 scoops Glucerna SR powder
  • 1 small head broccoli
  • 200 ml water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Wash broccoli. Cut into small pieces
  • Steam broccoli until soft
  • Put steamed broccoli, Glucerna SR and water into blender
  • Blend ingredients together until well-incorporated and smooth
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Heat to serving temperature. DO NOT BOIL
  • Serve in a soup bowl
Taste may differ from what you are used to but at least you are eating healthy. A healthy lifestyle is a must in diabetics. That includes a healthy diet, weight management, and exercise.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 10:53 AM   5 comments
Experience with Frank
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
After that horrible experience with Cosme, I felt nervous and apprehensive of what's going to happen to us with Frank going in our direction on Sunday afternoon. It was a terrible feeling. A result of bad days we had after Cosme - what if there will be no electricity for countless days, what if our roof gets blown up this time. You know the feeling. Even others had it too as several women were rushed to our place because of chest pains. Just the sound of the strong wind blowing hard on your roof and making that unmistakable rattling sound on your windows and doors makes you shudder.

Frank's path was so erratic even people from the weather bureau had difficulty predicting it. It was just good it turned out to be less strong as Cosme - there was no need to move appliances away from windows and doors. The good thing was that electricity was restored just after six hours of brownout though it continued to rain that day.

The thing that worried me most was the cancellation of classes. Friday was Dagupan City Day, hence a holiday in Dagupan City. Then classes were suspended Monday because of possible floods brought by the typhoon. If the rains continued, classes might be suspended up to Tuesday, the news said. This will then result to several Saturday-make-up classes for my kids. It's good today, Tuesday, is a sunny day. Though it rains often in the afternoon, there is no more typhoon. At least for now.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 9:55 AM   0 comments
Nutrition: Know the Glycemic Load
Saturday, June 21, 2008
I have mentioned and even explained metabolic syndrome several times in this blog. And maybe by now, you must already have an idea of what this condition is all about. It is a common condition so that we all must be aware of its complications.

Metabolic syndrome is the end result from years of taking in foods high in refined carbohydrates such as breads, starches, and sweets. And all these result in high blood sugar levels which we all know is toxic to the body. This boils down to the fact that we need to control our blood sugar level and one way (there are lots of other ways) is to be more watchful of what we eat. How? We must know if the food we eat convert quickly to sugar. If it is, then this food has high glycemic index and needs to be avoided.

Glycemic index measures how rapidly glucose is absorbed from the intestines into the blood. The higher the value, the faster the rate of absorption of glucose. It is a fairly easy guide to follow, isn't it? All we have to do is to look for the glycemic index of the food before we eat them. And most diabetics use this guide to watch their sugar intake. But there is a more important parameter that can be used in place of glycemic index. It is best that we should also know the glycemic load of the food that we eat.

Glycemic load is the percentage of carbohydrate the food contains. Each unit of glycemic load is equivalent to the effect of 1 gram of pure glucose on blood sugar. This is important because there are some foods that have high glycemic index but have low glycemic load. Therefore, they are safe to eat as well if you are watching your blood sugar level. Let's take carrots for example which has a glycemic index of 92. A 100g serving has 5.2g of carbohydrate resulting in a very low glycemic load of only 4.3 (GL= (92 x 5.2)/100 = 4.3).

Knowing the glycemic load then gives us wider food choices. Most fruits and vegetables like apple, watermelon, orange, and cantaloupe, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, green beans and cabbage all have low glycemic load. Watermelon have high glycemic index but very low glycemic load (only 4 per serving).

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 11:35 AM   0 comments
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Yes, this is not a food blog. But since some of you might want to try preparing a coleslaw, I decided to share my coleslaw experiment. Oh, how my family enjoyed it.

I had prepared the same in the past but unlike this one, I used very few ingredients (carrots, cabbage, and mayo) before. That was eleven years ago when I do it only to satisfy my craving and not for anything else. The other day, just out of the blue, my husband asked me to make one. And he wanted it to be something special. Since we were having lechon kawali for lunch that day, I thought that would be perfect as a side dish. And so I set out to make one right after having breakfast. Like I've said, it was great and my family loved it.

I started by cutting into thin strips 1 carrot, 1 small cabbage, 1 onion, and 1 apple. To make this step easier and faster, I used a mandoline. I then prepared the dressing by adding equal proportions of mayonnaise and full cream milk, mixed until creamy in consistency. To the dressing I added around 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, salt and pepper. I then poured the dressing mixture into the vegetables then finally I added raisins. I mixed them all up, stored in the refrigerator for an hour or two to let the flavors to develop before serving it to lunch. It's perfect!

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 3:55 PM   2 comments
Are There No More Trees?
After the typhoon and there was no electricity, me and my family stay most of the time in the garden. We are already there as early as 5:30 in the morning because we slept as soon as we switched on the generator at 8:00 PM. It was just perfect because our body clock had already been tuned in to the incoming school opening. Anyway, it is during these early hours that birds are also very busy chirping overhead. Little did we know that they had built again their own nest underneath our air conditioner.

This had happened so many times before but since we generally clean all air conditions inside the house every six months, the birds had gotten tired rebuilding their nest every so often. And so we thought there would never be a nest under the air conditioner again, until this time.

Why, there are still plenty of trees left after the storm. These birds love to stay under the air conditioner. Maybe they also feel better underneath than when they are on the branches of trees.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 3:34 PM   0 comments
My Growing Up Years
Friday, June 06, 2008
Today is my 4_th birthday (happy birthday to me!) and so I thought of telling something about myself - the then, the weird, and the funny!

At birth. My parents were longing for a baby boy. Without the benefits of ultrasound they presumed that I was a boy while still inside my Mom's tummy. And because I was so dark when I came out (normal labor assisted by a hilot at my Dad's ancestral home) my Dad jump with joy thinking I was a boy. He stopped jumping when the hilot announced "a baby girl!".

Kindergarten. My Mom forgot to fetch me from school. After two hours of waiting I became hysterical my teacher just couldn't pacify me. She tried all sorts of alibis to stop me from wailing. I finally stopped when I saw my Mom.

Grade school. Oh how I love to cook. I will stay in the kitchen all the time during my free time whenever somebody is preparing food. I will watch and try to do everything on my own - peeling, chopping, sauteeing, etc. - as if I'm an expert. One time my Dad was cleaning the crabs for cooking when somebody was calling from the gate. He had to leave the kitchen telling me not to touch anything. Curiosity high, I sticked my finger in its open claw. It suddenly closed catching my forefinger. I shouted and cried in pain to call my Dad's attention. Instead of getting mad, he was laughing while he was immersing the crab in boiling water.

Another in grade school. I was squeamish to vegetables of any kind. Whenever I don't feel eating what's on the table, I go with catsup on my rice. One time our maid accidentally poured the catsup on my eyes when she opened the bottle while she was standing at my back.

High school. I love wearing heels. I was in one old pair to a party when I tipped over something causing the right heel to fall off. I decided to remove the left heel to make it even. I ended up going home wearing flats.

College. I was a newbie in Manila. Being unfamiliar with the place, my sister brought me to school on the first day. Making sure that I'll be able to reach home after my class, she asked me to point the direction I should heed. I pointed the P. Noval direction instead of Gov. Forbes. She then had to fetch me for one week or so until she was convinced that I will not get lost.

Still in college. We were staying in one dormitory along Dapitan street. One lazy afternoon a dorm mate asked me to buy green peas in the sari-sari store downstairs. I hurriedly went and got a can only to find out later that she wants the crunchy one.

That's me - Amelyn (short for AMElia LYNda). I am celebrating my special day with my entire family. Thank GOD we have our electricity back today.


posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 9:30 AM   4 comments
Discovering 168
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Several months ago a friend mentioned to me about 168, a mall in Divisoria offering very affordable items made in China. Her budget goes a long way in 168 as she can purchase at least four or five blouses with her Php 1000. She uses these blouses everyday to work and certainly she looks good on them. Without knowing where she buys them, one will not surely notice that her blouses are that cheap. And so because of curiosity I was very eager to go and find something for myself and my family.

It was one day after our Tagaytay trip when my husband and I decided to look around. The prices were tempting for one not to buy. It is also very easy to haggle - the sales person will immediately give in to your price. So we ended up with plenty of "good" finds.

You know how it is in Divisoria - cheap items, plenty of people, simply difficult to move around and inspect every item. And so it was very difficult for me to look at the details. You know the result - there were minor damages in some of my finds (like my pants with white lines). Luckily it's not in all of them. I am aware that they accept exchange for damages but that is not possible considering where I live.

This multi-colored bag (picture below) is another find. It is really cheap but not so durable. After several days of use it gave way. I can still use it when I carry a lighter load though. But it did not last the way I expected it to be.

We Filipinos love to buy affordable items compromising quality for price. Sometimes we are easily convinced and most of the time we buy on impulse. If we continue to patronize this kind of products, we ourselves are in the losing end. Yes, they are cheap and very affordable. But they are in truth DISPOSABLES.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 11:00 AM   2 comments
Look What I Got....
Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Its commonly known as cold sores or fever blisters. Its been with me since I was in Med school, becomes latent for sometime then reappears again whenever I'm stressed. That's how this illness is, now you see it now you don't! It is caused by a virus known as herpes simplex and resolves by itself without any medication. Taking antivirals before the blisters appear helps hasten the condition.

What then caused this thing to reappear in my face after so many years of latency? In my case I'm thinking maybe it's the brownout (yeah, until now, on its 3rd week!). Its giving me STRESS full intensity.

Because of the rising price of diesel we decided to run the generator mostly at night so all of us can sleep well. So imagine the heat we have to brave during daytime especially if we are inside the clinic and treating some patients. Its good once in a while there is a cool breeze coming in from the window on certain afternoons.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 10:00 AM   4 comments
About Me

Name: Amelyn R. Rafael,MD
Home: San Fabian, Pangasinan, Philippines
About Me: Family Physician, and Associate Professor (Clinical Anatomy and Medical Physiology)
See my complete profile
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