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November 17, 2017


“You’re sick again!” my co-chair and friend Boots Garcia would tell me. That was last year, September 2016 to be exact. Everytime we meet, chances are I would have congestion, or bronchitis and would go through month after month of different antibiotics my pulmonologist doctor prescribed. “I’m travelling again, Doc”, I would tell her, and she would give me “travel medicines” for just in case I get a bug on the plane. Planes, after all, are breeding grounds for viral and bacterial bugs. What with 300 people breathing the same filtered air for 12 hours?

Vegetarian Siomai

Fast forward to 2017. Last June I supported a friend who wanted to lose weight by going vegan for a month and adding lacto-ovo or eggs and dairy a month after. She has lost 40 pounds and I have lost eight, without trying. But it’s not the weight loss I’m ecstatic about. It’s the “no sick days” for about six months now!!!

Pinakbet without bagnet

Since Boots and I assumed chairmanship of AWEN, and with my involvement in other NGOs and advocacies, travel has been my middle name. Since June, I have been to Japan, India, USA, Mexico, Bangkok, Singapore, China, Hongkong, with provincial trips to Davao for coffee—almost travelling three weeks in a month. That means many plane rides, and here I am, it’s almost December, and still breathing well and no sick days.

The secret? Remove the meat—yes, even seafood and chicken. I just tried it and it has worked well for me. On some occasions when I really CANNOT eat anything anymore, I would go for a piece of seafood or a morsel of chicken. In Japan, I have to confess that I went to our favorite hangout of A5 Wagyu Yakiniku and I indulged with a portion of the soft and buttery meat. Guess what? I paid for it—for three days my tummy froze and true enough it took 72 hours  for it to exit and for me to get relieved.

I’m doing it for many reasons but the prime reason now is to NOT get sick as I need to travel extensively until I turn over to Thailand in May. But in doing so, I have helped the environment by going meatless for almost 180 days now. That’s a lot of meatless Mondays and Tuesdays and so on. I have also noticed that I am less stressed.

Part of my vegetarian lunch in Binondo

It has also helped me maintain my desired weight and my doctor says (in October) that my hypertension medicine is of the LOWEST dose. NO back pains, no sore throats, fingers crossed I will make it all the way to New Year without going to sick bay.

Why plant-based? It’s the way to detox your body and feel good. It’s like quitting smoking. You will feel the effects immediately and be in the pink of health.

I don’t preach because I may still get sick someday and meat-eating friends will get back at me saying “I told you so!” but guess what: I now have been supporting another friend virtually on trying what I did. She’s been on it for two weeks now (she’s in the USA) and has lost four pounds, has changed her eating habits and everyday we find time to share what we have prepared for our plant-based routine. That’s just a Viber message or photo away. Last time we met Oct 30, we brought her to a grocery and helped her shop for breakfast, lunch and dinner items. Yesterday she sent me photos of soups and salads that she made and is well on her way to detoxing after being a carnivore for many years.

Warm Arugula Salad

Find a meal plan that works for you. Boots still eats fish but she goes to the gym everyday. Ida has gone vegan for a month and we shall see what happens by Christmas. Reena has lost 40 pounds, exercises 45 minutes a day, and has become flexitarian, but now has to avoid chicken, fish, and anything allergenic.

Banana Heart Burger

“I told you so! “ Boots exclaimed the other day. When I told her my 6-month record of no sickness, she in her usual authoritative stance said what I expected. But all is good and I feel good.

How about you? What’s your secret to good health?





Select photos by Keith Dador


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