Interview with Dr Jonathan Obaje, Pain Relief Expert From URAH (Unique Recipes for Active Health)

Are you currently taking oral glucosamine and experiencing gastric irritation, nausea, shortness of breath or wheezing?

Have you purchased creams or patches to soothe your aching muscles but find that they don’t actually provide relief?

Are joint pains and body aches stopping you from leading an active lifestyle or going back to work after retirement because of knee problems?

Firstly, Glucosamine is a good biological molecule produced naturally in your body and used to make soft tissues such as cartilage, ligament, collagen and synovial fluid for the body. However, Glucosamine is difficult to deliver to the body (unlike most health supplements) because of low absorption in the gastric system. Glucosamine compounds are also acidic and can cause gastric irritations and ulceration.

And secondly, many of the off-the-counter products claiming to provide pain relief tend to put menthol or capsaicin to provide the “cooling” or “warm” sensation that makes you THINK the product is “working”. This is largely a temporary placebo sensation that may not give you any real benefit.

I’ve done an interview with URAH scientist, Dr Jonathan Obaje, and found that the company focuses research on degenerative diseases because they believe immobility is the root of many chronic diseases. URAH therefore makes products which help to keep people “mobile” and enjoy ‘active’ lifestyles again.

Confident that the technology is capable of moving into the international arena, MP Inderjit Singh came on board as the Chairman of URAH, and with more investors joining, I’m excited about the upcoming new products which will help more people regain their mobility and lead pain-free lives. :)

But first, here is the current URAH product range. The brand has been around since 2009. I’m using the Sporting Cream because I do sometimes injure my knees from running:

Urah cream review

Sporting Cream: Is designed for active folks, both young and old. It is very good for sprains and body aches you experience after exercising.

Joint Health: Is recommended for those above age 45. In addition to relieving the pains, it also helps people who experience numbness by improving their blood circulation.

Bone Health: Is a “Double Barrel” cream useful for both osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. It helps to increase bone density by about 10% after 7 to 8 months of usage.

Odourless and non-greasy, these creams provide quick relief for everything from neck pains and backaches to pain in the fingers and wrists from typing too much – what bloggers like me, and office workers, tend to face.

Urah sporting cream

URAH products are available at Unity, Watsons and Guardian stores. Check in-store for the latest promotions. :)

URAH Dr Jonathan Obaje

Dr Jonathan Obaje

1) Dr Obaje, why are there so many conflicting reports about Glucosamine therapy, with some articles saying it works and others saying it doesn’t?

The current misunderstanding and misinformation about Glucosamine is linked to the historical development of Glucosamine as a therapeutic agent. The first group of scientists who studied the therapeutic application of Glucosamine were biochemists (in Sweden 1950s). They tested Glucosamine on biological cells in test tubes and they discovered that the cells grew better when Glucosamine was added. They repeated the experiment and confirmed that Glucosamine indeed enhanced the growth of chondrocyte (cartilage) cells. They published their research findings in 1958 in a scientific journal. Then a pharmaceutical company in Europe saw the article and thought that Glucosamine would be a good drug for people suffering from arthritis and joint pain so they began to manufacture and market Glucosamine capsules, tablets and even powders. This assumption was later discovered to be naive as Glucosamine has low absorption in the gastric and may also cause gastric acidity.

In the 1980s, the European company went to USA to register their product with FDA. FDA refused to register their Glucosamine product as a drug because according to the scientific understanding of Glucosamine, our bodies produce it naturally to make proteins (proteoglycans) used for making soft tissues. Since Glucosamine is naturally produced in our body, it does not qualify as a drug, and should be classified as a health supplement because it supplements what your body already has. This was good news for the company because no rigorous clinical trials were required and the product could be sold straightaway in the US market.

Unfortunately, due to the loose regulation of Health supplements, many more pharmaceutical companies jumped onto the bandwagon to manufacture and sell Glucosamine tablets and capsules in the US market.

By 1990s, almost every pharmaceutical company in USA had its own Glucosamine brand, choking up the market. Patients would read about Glucosamine on websites and even went to hospitals to ask for Glusosamine prescriptions from their doctors.

But doctors and pharmacists, who were never taught about Glucosamine from the universities, were embarrassed to be educated by patients about the benefits of Glucosamine. Doctors and pharmacists began to complain to FDA about the lack of research done as to whether swallowing this Glucosamine stuff has any benefit at all.

In 2000, one of the US authorities agreed to sponsor an oral Glucosamine clinical trial. There were two groups of participants – one ‘active’ group swallowing Glucosamine tablets, and another ‘placebo’ group. This took about 3 years. The results were collated and analyzed at the end of the clinical trial. It was shocking to find that there was no difference between the active and the placebo group. This was a real blow to Glucosamine therapy. The full result was published in a very reputable journal in the US in 2006 (The New England Journal of Medicine Vol.354 No.8 Feb 2006). Their conclusion was that whether you take Glucosamine alone or combined with Chondroitin, it has no significant effect.

URAH’s research team was curious to know why Glucosamine is effective on the cells in the test tube but not effective when humans swallow it. Research began to show that there is little absorption of Glucosamine in the gastric system. When swallowed, not much of it gets absorbed into blood circulation. The second problem is that Glucosamine compounds are acidic and can cause gastric irritation. Many people are suffering gastric problems from Glucosamine but they don’t know about it. Some people, after taking the usual 1500mg Glucosamine tablets in the morning, ignorantly top it up with a cup of coffee too (adding on to the acidity levels)! The gastric side effect will not take long to show up.

2) So if Glucosamine is applied in the form of a cream, it is fine? 

Initially, Urah Scientists thought topical application of Glucosamine will solve these issues BUT later discovered it is difficult to formulate Glucosamine into creams because Glucosamine makes the creams separate into two layers of water and oil. This is why some of the products in the market come with a “shake before use” label, because they don’t have the technology to blend Glucosamine into cream form.

Some other companies add very little Glucosamine into the cream and they don’t state the exact amounts on the packaging. You will not see any effect from using those creams because the concentration of active Glucosamine is too low. The onus is on the consumer to choose the right product. As mentioned already, health supplements are not regulated like drugs.

The second problem of making Glucosamine cream is the skin penetration. Some brands of Glucosamine Cream which claim to have high concentration of Glucosamine do not have the technology to deliver Glucosamine across the skin layers. When you rub the cream on your skin, after 8 to 10 minutes of application, if you rub the spot again pressing a bit harder, you will notice Glucosamine powder rubbing off from your skin like powdery residue because the skin is an excretory organ and not meant to take in stuff.

Our skin is a natural barrier for taking in any drugs. In fact, what good cosmetics do is “window-dressing” of the top coat of skin to be radiant by moisturizing them for some hours. The dead cells on your skin are just going to be washed away in a few days and cosmetic products do not go past the skin layers! No matter how good your cosmetic product is, if you stop using it for one month, you may not like what you see. That’s the difference between cosmetic and transdermal products – the latter goes through the skin and into the blood circulation.

It took URAH Research scientists many years of research to come up with the Micellar Delivery Technology which is able to “deceive” the skin into “opening up” and taking in Glucosamine for delivery into the blood circulation. That is what makes URAH unique and different from all the other Glucosamine products in the market. URAH’s special technology delivers Glucosamine right to where it needs to be. And Urah formulation is based on patented Urah technology in Japan, USA and Singapore.

In 2009, we voluntarily performed clinical research, and worked with about 20 clinics in Singapore. Patients diagnosed with arthritis volunteered to use URAH products for 8 weeks each. Two of the doctors were so impressed with the results that they agreed to collate the results together and publish it in a scientific journal in 2011. URAH is the 1st and still the only Transdermal Glucosamine product with a technology patent number, and has also done clinical research and published the findings on the efficacy of the products.

3) So why do people buy those other products?

As a scientific research company, we rarely do advertisements. You can usually find us in the laboratories. While other companies focus on big advertising, we are more focused on giving scientific results and education to the Doctors and Pharmacists about Glucosamine therapy.

Many products in the market which do not have technology to deliver glucosamine add chemicals such as menthol or capsaisin to create the ‘warm’ or ‘cooling’ sensation. Many people think because they ‘feel’ it so the product must be working. We call it a ‘temporary placebo sensation’. URAH scientists decided not to add any of these. You won’t feel a warm or cooling sensation when you use Urah products but after a few days, you will notice that your pain is gone.

We need business people to take the product to the market. But so far, the product has been able to ‘sell itself’. People who use it recommend it to their friends and even doctors are beginning to support us by recommending Urah Creams to their patients. Urah products are now in most government hospitals and in all major pharmacies in Singapore.

4) Can URAH products be used on everyone?

Yes, young or old, you can use URAH products. The sporting cream is designed for people who are active. It is good for sprains and body aches you experience after exercising.

Joint Health is recommended for people above age 45. In addition to relieving the pains, it also helps people who experience numbness by improving their blood circulation.

Bone Health is a “Double Barrel” Cream useful for both osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. It helps to increase bone density by about 10% after 7 to 8 months of usage.

And did you know about the danger of swallowing calcium supplements?

Urah was the first to start talking abt this. Research has shown that people who swallow oral calcium supplements are at greater risk of cardiovascular diseases and kidney stones. Why? Because when you take oral calcium, it is quickly absorbed into your blood circulation and it stays there. It does not get taken up to make bone cells. Within the blood, calcification takes place and blocks arteries, leading to cardiovascular issues. Some get filtered out to the kidneys, forming kidney stones. This is well-researched and published in many journals.

Calcium is best absorbed from natural sources, from milk, etc, because it needs the presence of other vitamins and minerals to create the right environment for calcium to be used by the blood for bone cells. That’s why we came up with URAH Bio-Calcium + Glucosamine + vitamins – for their synergy – and delivered by our micellar technology.

We focus on degenerative diseases and on how to help people lead active lifestyles. The reason they cannot lead active lifestyles is due to joint pains and body aches. So it doesn’t matter how long you preach to them about exercise; they listen then they sit back because they already have knee pains. The government promotes active aging and encourages retirees to go back to work. But what if they cannot stand for even one hour due to knee pains? MOBILITY is key to a healthy life. Anything that hinders you from being mobile is dangerous to your health. Immobility is the root of a lot of chronic diseases so it is important to get people moving.

5) And how long should we use URAH products for?

Try to finish at least one tube in 1-2 weeks, depending on your condition. If the pain is due to wear-and-tear for a very long time, and you have been advised by your doctor to go for knee replacement surgery for example, then you need to use the products for an extended period of time because the cells need time to start repairing.

But if it is a sprain, or swelling, within one hour of application, you can feel the pain going down.

One of our customers did 2 X-rays, with the doctor advising him to go for knee replacement surgery. He used URAH for a year and he can now can climb stairs without problems, and has not had to go for surgery!

Our body naturally produces Glucosamine so continue to use the products for the purpose of replenishment and maintenance of your health.

Why do we feel pain in the first place? It’s because our body cannot make enough Glucosamine, and the soft tissues start wearing out. When your bones rub against each other, you’ll feel the pain. Use URAH and you rebuild those tissues, but once you stop, the natural process kicks in again. Even if you don’t have pain, don’t wait, use URAH as a lifestyle. Some ladies use URAH as a body lotion and they say it is because they have experienced pain previously that they don’t want to go back to the same situation again.

URAH products do not help just at the point where you rub it on. It goes into your blood circulation and helps your whole body recover. There are no side effects even if you apply the whole tube in one day.

6) How did you get interested in science / biochemistry?

As a child, I had no choice. Very early in my life, I couldn’t pass Arts subjects (e.g. History). But anything to do with Science, I could score an ‘A’ with very little effort. Therefore you can say I had no choice. :D

That’s how I developed my passion, and an interest in the history of Glucosamine. I had initially written it off because of the initial published research findings then I became more fascinated as we learnt more. I guess I’m naturally quite inquisitive. :)

~ SURVEY PLUS SPECIAL PROMOTION ~

Head over to URAH’s website for a special buy-2-get-2-free scheme: http://www.urah.com.sg/register_survey Purchase 2 tubes and URAH is happy to sponsor another 2 free tubes of URAH creams for you! :)

*If you are wondering why some products have 8% Glucosamine concentration and others, 10%, the 10% ones are for those who have arthritis AND are concerned about osteoporosis. If you don’t have osteoporosis concerns, then the 8% is good enough.

~ SEND IN YOUR QUESTIONS & TESTIMONIALS ~

Urah cream review

If you have tried URAH products, or if you are going to purchase and try them, send me your testimonials (email gracewwg AT gmail DOT com) and URAH will send giftsets to those whose testimonials end up being featured! :D

Similarly, send in your questions for Dr Jonathan Obaje as well, and you just might win a prize too! *wink*

The #1 Sold-Out Scent at Scent Witch Wellness During The Exam Period

Scent Witch Wellness

I love perfumes and beautifully-scented shampoos and body care products, but I have never paid much attention to how scents can help relieve stress too. So imagine my surprise when Yugui, the owner of Scent Witch Wellness, shared with me that the #1 scent which gets sold out during the exam period is LAVENDER! :)

Despite the numerous other scents available, lavender gets sold out the fastest – be it lavender body lotion, essential oil, reed diffusers or soap, the products sell faster than she can stock them! (“Don’t know whether it’s the parents who are stressed or the children who are stressed,” she joked.)

Other Popular Scents include:

Bergamot – antidepressant, antiseptic, calms inflamed skin

Eucalyptus – helps to fight cold and flu, insect repellent, anti-inflammatory

Peppermint – promotes alertness, helps to fight colds and flu

Lemongrass – invigorating, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, insect repellent

… and many more …

And in the picture above are the products Yugui recommends for combating stress and to promote deep sleep. Pop by Scent Witch Wellness (#02-24/25) at Square 2 (just above Novena MRT station) and smell the various products. It’s instant (and free) aromatherapy when you step into her store. I loved the lemongrass scent coming from the diffusers at the entrance when I was there on Tuesday to purchase some “herb bags” – they look like tea bags but are made from various herbs and flowers and do not contain caffeine! :D #mynewlove

The pretty essential oil diffusers:

Essential Oil Diffuser

And are these CANDY?!!!

Scent Witch Wellness

Nope! They are scented soy wax melts which are handmade with 100% soy wax from USA. There are some really interesting ones like “iced tea”, “clean cotton”, “cherry blossom” and “himalayan bamboo”! You can take your pick and bring home a 100g box. :)

I love the cute name of this shop too but have never quite gotten around to asking the lady boss about why it’s named “Scent Witch” though I guess it’s because something really cool is always brewing in here. Go visit even if it’s just to get free aromatherapy! Hehehe! :D

Scent Witch Wellness

And here are 4 products you might want to check out when you pop by Scent Witch Wellness:

1) Bodhi Shower Gels and Body Lotions

Scent Witch Wellness

I’m using the 250ml Green Tea shower gel on those days I’m feeling very tired because it smells so good and is an instant perk-me-up. Also, it’s in such a precious small bottle. I need a 1-litre bottle! Don’t quote me on this, but I think the scent reminds me of that super lovely smell that Ion Orchard has – you know that amazing smell that hits you when you exit from Orchard MRT station? This shower gel is about 70% similar to it, with a few other (different) notes, of course.

I’m also using the Lotus Geranium body lotion from this range because it has a lovely scent which is not too strong, and is great for application just before I go to bed.

2) Bodhi Himalayan Salt Body Scrub (Pink Grapefruit is my fav!)

Scent Witch Wellness

The tea tree one is pretty interesting too – if you have acne on your body, do purchase this product. I enjoy the scent of grapefruit so I’m only getting this one. I’m not a big fan of coconut so the Virgin Coconut body scrub is really not something I’ll buy. You can try them all at the shop.

With these scents and spa products, it’s so easy to recreate a spa experience in the comfort of your own home. Plus, the products are so affordable, especially with the ongoing promotions right now…

3) Reed diffusers at 10% – 30% OFF (A GSS Promotion!)

Scent Witch Wellness

Many products are on offer right now because of the Great Singapore Sale. You can shop online at http://www.scentwitch.com/ too (use my discount code Grace10 for 10% off regular-priced items till end-July) or pop by the retail store and mention my blog name for the same discount! *yay*

4) Scented Linen Bags 

Scent Witch Wellness

The scented linen bags retail at S$9.90 with refills at S$4.90 each. Very affordable since the scents last for a couple of months. I like lemongrass and lavender most. I don’t think the champagne rose one smells anything like roses but you can go give it a sniff and tell me what you think. LOL

Hang them in your wardrobe or shoe cabinet to instantly make everything smell great. You can even hang these linen bags in your car or gym locker! :D

What’s in my “Home Spa”???

Scent Witch Wellness

I’m currently trying out the Siam Botanicals 100% natural skincare range which has no synthetics or parabens and contain only 100% pure natural cold-pressed oils. Watch out for the review soon.

~ GIVEAWAY ~

If you want to win some of the Siam Botanicals and Bodhi goodies sponsored by Scent Witch Wellness, pop by my facebook page for the giveaway! :D

My Thoughts After Spending S$1,999.84 at Willow Stream Spa

Willow Stream Spa Singapore

[All pictures in this blogpost are from Fairmont Singapore’s website, unless otherwise specified]

“Those who say money cannot buy happiness just don’t know where to spend it?” :D Well, there is some truth there. But I guess what’s most important is to have the good health required to spend that money and enjoy what it brings. This is why I love massages and relaxing facial treatments. It’s ‘me time’ and often, rest time for me as well because I am away from my digital devices and can truly relax.

I have spent a fair bit at Willow Stream Spa – close to S$2K. And no, the Spa did not sponsor my treatments, and neither are they paying me to write this. For the skeptical folks, here are the invoices for each session:

Willow Stream Spa Singapore

Located at level 6 of Fairmont hotel (next to Raffles City), this is one atas spa. The prices reflect this: a couples’ massage costs S$512.54 after tax. It’s certainly not a small sum but as a special treat for an anniversary celebration, I think it’s worth it. For a good hair spa, I’d recommend J’s Salon at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. :)

As for Willow Stream Spa’s facial treatments, I would highly recommend their 90-minute Ultimate Caviar Facial (about S$309 after tax) for really clean and glowing skin – this lasts for at least a few days after the facial. :D I believe this is the facial treatment that many beauty editors have been raving about in magazines too.

As for the facilities… There’s usually no one in the relaxation lounge whenever I visit, unlike what’s shown in this picture:

Willow Stream Spa Singapore

You get to lie down and chill before your therapist comes in to lead you over to the treatment room. The lounge usually has wellness tea and some fruit (green apples?) for guests to enjoy. There’s a lot of exclusivity and privacy. And you don’t usually get to chat with anyone other than your therapist.

If you don’t usually go for spa treatments, you might want to indulge at some point – maybe your birthday or after a long work week. You’ll step out feeling like a million bucks. It’s hard to describe that feeling. :)

And Willow Stream Spa also has other facilities for paying guests and members to enjoy. The hot and cold tubs don’t look exactly like this in the ladies spa area. But it’s where one gets to enjoy the steam room, jacuzzi and shower amenities.

Willow Stream Spa Singapore

Interestingly enough, I find the water in the hot tub too hot, and that in the cold tub too cold. Haiz. So while other guests happily slide in in their swimwear, I tend to give these tubs a miss. It’s a case of Goldilocks. :D

Above all, what I like best about this Spa is that there is absolutely no selling within the treatment rooms. Unlike other facial places I’ve been to, where the therapists try to sell me a membership package or some ampoule or other, the therapists here do no such thing. Also, they stay in the room 99% of the time, and do not head out to serve other customers during the ‘steaming’ or ‘masking’ process.

And there’s also a GSS promotion going on now. I purchased a massage treatment (90 mins) and got to enjoy a 60-minute Deep Cleansing Facial at just S$39 before tax.

If you’re considering a spa treat for yourself or your loved ones, you might want to contact Willow Stream Spa at +65 6431 5600.

Willow Stream Spa at Level 6 of Fairmont Singapore

80 Bras Basah Road, S(189560)

Interview with Joe Cross (& A Giveaway!)

Joe Cross

Joe Cross’ first movie, ‘Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead’, has been viewed by over 20 million people! If you have not watched it, you can catch it in full here:

What’s even more awesome is that you can catch Joe’s second movie as my guest – ticket giveaway at the end of this interview…

1) Many people have a lot of resistance towards getting a life “reboot”. Often, it takes a major health scare (e.g. a heart attack) before they decide to change the way they live and eat. How can we persuade them to take action now, instead of waiting for that health scare to occur?

Well, people aren’t going to change until they are ready to but I have never met a person who is overweight and happy about it, or enjoying managing a behavior-related illness, or not having energy. In hindsight, I wish someone had reminded me that the longer I waited to make important changes, the more I was depriving myself of wellbeing, vitality and fun.

2) After the huge success of your first film, what do you hope to achieve with the second one?

My hope is that the 20 million people who saw the first movie, and particularly our passionate online community of 1.5 million Rebooters, are entertained by FSND2 and find useful information about how to stay healthy in an unhealthy world.

It’s tough out there, and we’re all constantly bombarded by messages that send confusing signals, whether persuading us that things that are terrible for our health are actually wonderful “treats” or showing us ideals of perfection that just simply aren’t attainable.

In FSND2, I talk to people all over the world about strategies to strengthen the different pillars of health, from diet and nutrition to sleep to the important aspect of community.

3) The weight lost from any kind of fasting is usually regained pretty quickly after. What are your best tips for maintaining a healthy weight? Do you eat YOLO* meals? (*You Only Live Once)

I think the best way to maintain a healthy weight is to follow an 80/20 rule – in my case, 80% of what I eat is pretty nutrient dense stuff, with lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, seeds, lean animal protein and whole grains. And the other 20% is processed or less healthy.

So yes, absolutely, I enjoy the whole spectrum of food – I don’t say no to a slice of birthday cake, a good steak, an occasional bowl of chocolate ice cream. But those are “special” foods and not part of my daily regime.

4) A popular DJ recently posted this status update (below) on her social media channels – what would be your response to her?

“i am beyond SICK of ‘influencers’ sharing their juice cleanse journeys on instagram. great. you got your free bottles of juices and you have to in turn instagram it. yawn. at least do some research before accepting everything free that comes your way. using your social media reach to promote any sort of extreme fad diets is irresponsible and inconsiderate – we are talking about physical health here. I’ve turned down offers from two juice companies for the reasons stated below.

THE CLAIM: juices help you cleanse yourself, detox, and shrink your waistline like magic! they are healthier than whole fruits, and give you more nutrients!

THE FACTS: first of all, there are organs that “detox” a body already. they are called the LIVER and the KIDNEYS. if they aren’t working, a raw carrot isn’t going to help. in fact, there is no cup of anything that will work the way these organs do. only an organ transplant will help. also, there is no evidence that making something into a juice allows you to get more nutrients out of it.

there are some real problems with consuming ONLY juice. fresh-squeezed juice is a haven for bacteria, so making a big batch of juice and saving some for later can be problematic. also: fruits are full of sugar, dumbasses. go on juice cleanses and you can consume too much sugar without noticing. too much kale can exacerbate hypothyroidism – a condition in which the body lacks sufficient thyroid hormone. since the main purpose of thyroid hormone is to “run the body’s metabolism,” it is understandable that people with this condition will have symptoms associated with a slow metabolism. slow metabolism means your body takes a longer time than usual to burn the fuckin fats. too much lemon can erode the enamel on your teeth. the sugar in fruit can do a number on your teeth, as well. juicing is an extreme change in diet – more extreme than any other fad diets really, and needs to be done NEVER. stick to a sensible diet of real wholesome meals, drink water, and dont fuckin starve yourself. do that and you will be fine. #RozzQuotes

ps: and don’t get me started on tea tox.”
(https://www.facebook.com/heyrozz/photos/a.431885760205458.98004.431034103623957/781461858581178/?type=1&theater)

Well, I respect that everyone has their own point of view. And I am not a doctor, although I do have a Medical Advisory board who have looked at the science of juicing pretty closely and feel confident that my enthusiasm for it is well founded. But most importantly, I do know how juicing changed my life. It made a profound difference to me. More than weight loss, it helped me reclaim my health and vitality, reset my palate to appreciate the amazing tastes of fruits and vegetables and change how I approach my nutrition. I know that what I eat is only one piece of the health puzzle – joining sleep, friendships and love, exercise, and a spiritual practice – but it is an important piece, and one that for me, will always include fresh juice.

{ GIVEAWAY }

Here’s the trailer to Joe’s second movie ‘Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2′

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2 – Singapore Premiere

Wednesday, 3rd Dec 2014

7pm – 9pm

GV Max, Vivocity

To win a pair of tickets (I have 3 pairs to give away), simply leave a comment on this blogpost and tell me who you’d like to bring to the movie premiere with you OR why you’d like to watch this second movie! :D

Winner announcement:

1) Jasmine

2) Siew Ying

3) Dorean

Congratulations! You should have received an email from me by now to claim your tickets. :)

Cancer Is Curable

I sat through a long almost-2-hour documentary last night titled ‘Cancer is Curable’, so you don’t have to. What really struck a chord with me is how diseases don’t kill, but the lack of knowledge does. Also, how people would rather die than make the lifestyle changes necessary to survive.

After watching the video, I became rather guilty about eating cake with a cancer patient recently. Also, that fast food meal I had last week (which ended up making me feel sick) – yikes! I recently spoke with the wife of someone who had ‘recovered’ from cancer after his surgery. It seems they are not making any changes to their diet – preferring the savory over the healthy, and their very young kids are no longer willing to eat food which is not tasty, having been introduced to what their parents eat.

I also witnessed first-hand how someone recovering from a stroke can eat ice-cream, sugar rolls, etc, and expect to get well.

It is tough to make those changes. Because the very things that we should not be eating are the same things which are highly addictive. Think french fries, chips, cakes, donuts, ice cream, etc.

But I guess it all boils down to one question: Do you want to live happily or do you want to live healthily? ;) I’m not saying you can’t be happy if you eat healthy, but you’ll definitely have to put in more effort into locating those healthful foods which you actually like and which are good for your body. Some examples of those foods for me are avocados and almonds.

That ice cream is going to make you very happy now – and for the next hour, maybe – but you don’t know what that sugar and excess fat is doing to your body.

Also, we expose ourselves to all sorts of toxins everyday – from the household cleaners we use, to our electrical devices, makeup, synthetic flooring, etc. Add to this equation the food toxins from fast food, aspartame, food coloring and all, and you wonder why some people fall ill?

In the documentary, we are advised to eat fresh, uncooked, whole organic foods. The living enzymes in these are crucial for maintaining good health. When eaten raw, the enzymes in the food are used to digest the food. When cooked, the food has to be digested by enzymes from that little store we were born with, eventually leading to depletion over time.

Then there are things like ’emotional toxins’ – from trauma, fear, depression, anxiety – which suppress the immune system. Why do people say stress causes cancer? Because stress leads to the production of cortisol, which makes cancer cells very happy. And by the way, we each have about 750,000 cancer cells in our bodies. So, you can almost say we are fighting a losing battle unless we take personal responsibility for the state of our health.

  1. Exercise
  2. Oxygen is crucial
  3. Get into the Sunshine
  4. Eliminate sugar and alcohol from our diet
  5. Alkaline is best – cancer cells thrive in acidic environments
  6. Detox – Eat 80% Raw 20% Cooked Food
  7. Choose Organic Produce
  8. Detox regularly
  9. Vitamin C
  10. Enzymes
  11. Passion for life – think joyful, happy thoughts, meditate, be grateful

I know it’s not easy, but for the sake of living a long and healthy life, I’ll have to make those necessary changes. You? :)

Hello Kitty Run Singapore 1 Nov 2014: Price, Route and Runner’s Entitlements

Hello Kitty Run Singapore

I heard about the Hello Kitty Run – Singapore this morning and just received the press release an hour ago. Needless to say, I have pre-registered! :D Pre-registration is free. Payment of S$65 can be made when you receive the formal invite to register, after the official event launch.

~

“The world’s most famous feline character, Hello Kitty, will celebrate her 40th birthday on 1st November 2014 with an inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore. The only Hello Kitty birthday bash in Southeast Asia will flag off with a one-of-a-kind birthday cake and birthday song sung by 15,000 fans.

Hello Kitty Run Singapore will feature a five kilometre route covering iconic landmarks around the city. The run is open to participants of all ages and aims to gather Hello Kitty fans and non-Hello Kitty fans to join in a big day out to celebrate Hello Kitty’s 40th mega birthday bash.

Created 40 years ago by Sanrio, the legendary icon, Hello Kitty brings love, happiness and encourage the forging of friendships and sharing across the world. Since her first appearance in 1974, she has flourished into a global phenomenon that is well-liked by both young and old. The fan base is no less in Singapore, with the Hello Kitty craze beginning as early as 2000.

All participants are entitled to an exclusive runner’s t-shirt and a special edition commemorative Hello Kitty plush toy. Registration is now open via their website, www.hellokittyrun.com.sg and will close as soon as capacity is full.

In addition to the run, there will be a Hello Kitty Village and post-race fringe activities for participants to look forward to.”

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My (tongue-in-cheek) suggestion to the organizers: Have special Hello Kitty plushies for the Top 3 Runners. We don’t need any cash. Award us, say, a Swarovski crystal-encrusted plush and we will set a national record for running that day. Double confirm. :D

[Hello Kitty Run Logo – Picture Credit: Pink Apple Pte Ltd]

*UPDATE* In less than 24 hours, pre-registration has closed. That was REALLY fast! I hope I’ve snagged a spot! :D

Yakult Health Foods: Maroyaka Kale “Green Juice” review

Yakult Health Foods launch

Maroyaka Kale

I attended the launch of Yakult Health Foods last month and received a box of Maroyaka Kale extract ($87.90 before discount) to try for a month.

I usually eat a lot of vegetables daily, almost never suffer from constipation, and would ordinarily shy away from green juices.

This one is bursting with beta-carotene, calcium and minerals. Also, it’s packed individually in 30 sachets suitable even for travel, and is so easy to add into beverages.

Now… for the taste test:

1) [When mixed with only cold water*] Tastes and smells like a seaweed drink in which a marine organism died.

*On the pack, it is stated that cold water, milk and yoghurt is recommended

2) [With soy milk] MUCH better! It’s as if you’ve added spirulina powder into the soy milk. Very yummy! I can drink this every day!

3) [With milk] Not as yummy as with soy milk, for sure.

The Verdict

The Maroyaka Kale goes best with soy milk. I like the ‘reduced sugar’ version of NutriSoy. :)

Maroyaka Kale Yakult Health Foods

This is great for people who don’t take enough vegetables with their meals and/or lack calcium in their diet. I am not kidding you – this tastes real good with soy milk. Just… whatever you do… don’t try it with cold water or worse still, lukewarm water.

Yakult Health Foods

Bet you didn’t know Yakult has a Health Foods range before reading this! ;)

*Available at Guardian pharmacies

Motherhood Rescheduled: Why Women Freeze Their Eggs and Why You Should Too

Motherhood Rescheduled

Sarah Elizabeth Richards is an award-winning, New York City-based journalist, and the author of ‘Motherhood Rescheduled’. She has also written many articles about Social Egg Freezing and the preservation of fertility.

In this insightful article posted on The Wall Street Journal, Sarah shares about this “baby insurance” in the form of egg freezing she underwent between the age of 36 to 38.

In the article, she explores some of the benefits of egg freezing:

1) Removes the “punishing pressure to seek a new mate and helped [her] find love again at age 42″

2) Avoids ‘buzz kill on dates when you feel compelled to ask the guy sitting across from you, clutching his craft beer, “So do you think you might want kids someday?” ‘

3) Offers peace of mind that “babies born from frozen eggs… had no more risk of birth defects than those conceived naturally”

4) Rather than causing women to put baby and dating plans on hold, egg freezing involves an investment of “time, energy and money… The combination puts the issue front and center and makes you commit to your goals”.

5) Allows one to be “more relaxed” in a relationship instead of being pressured by a ticking biological clock.

6)  Makes women more open to using science to explore alternate routes to creating their families. One woman decided to stop waiting for the right man at the right moment and explored using donor sperm to have a baby on her own, using her frozen eggs. Some other women began the egg-freezing process because they were opposed to using donor eggs. However when their own eggs failed, they turned to donor eggs as a last resort.

7) Gives career women “options for fitting a family into their work lives”

And over at Eggsurance.com, women share about their egg freezing journeys. For one, Wendy froze her eggs at age 42 and here is her advice to women who are considering egg freezing:

“I still have no regrets. I know younger is better. But, I achieved amazing results and I only have one ovary. They told me going into this I would likely get no more than 5 eggs. I ended up getting 16 eggs, 15 were viable for freezing! I would encourage women to freeze their eggs at a younger age than I did. Age will have an impact on the quality of your eggs and your overall success rate. I had one fertility clinic even turn me down, because of my age. They didn’t even examine me. They said that they did not accept patients over 40.

Egg Freezing is the best thing I have every done. I know that there are no guarantees, but I’m so thankful to be able to empower myself and ultimately not give up on my ability to choose to start a family with a partner.”

Other related articles:

1) On the Huffington Post is an article about how IVF pregnancy rates using frozen eggs are comparable to IVF using fresh eggs. The article also notes that if you are in your 20s, you have a high chance of getting pregnant naturally, and do not need to freeze your eggs.

2) CNN interviews Dr Jeffrey Steinberg on egg freezing HERE.

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Consider egg freezing if you are in your 30s or early 40s, have not met Mr Right yet or want to focus on your career first, but you know you want to have kids in future. I have also put together another blogpost about 5 Things You Need To Know About Social Egg Freezing.

Should you have any questions, you may like to contact fertility specialist, Dr. Charles M P Lim, at dr.charles.mpl@gmail.com.

Forever Young

Kim Kardashian

{ Picture credit: segmentnext.com }

Ladies, do you know that a part of you can be kept forever young? That part is your eggs and your ability to produce healthy babies.

With the new breakthrough in cryo-technology, your eggs can be vitrified and stored in liquid nitrogen below -196⁰C forever. This maintains your ability to remain fertile even when you become menopausal.

The younger you store your eggs, the higher would be their fertility. Generally the fertilizing ability of a woman’s eggs would have already begun to deteriorate at the age of 35. After 40, egg aging would speed up and after 43, the potential for producing healthy babies would be very low.

If you want to keep your fertility options open and not be constrained by time and social factors, you may like to explore egg storage.

It is now becoming fashionable for modern women to store their eggs. One of the most famous women in this category is none other than Kim Kardashian. If you are a fashionable woman who values her fertility potential and refuses to be constrained by time, you may like to join the likes of Kim in storing your eggs now before the window of opportunity passes.

Kim Kardashian baby North West

{ Picture credit: abcnews.go.com }

What options open up with egg storage?

You can continue full-steam ahead in developing your career and postpone childbearing to a time when you have achieved your ambitions.

You do not have to settle for a less-than-desirable man to be your husband just because age is catching up. You have the assurance of continued fertility and remain confident of your self-worth as you conduct yourself in dating situations and when meeting your potential mother-in-law.

You can choose not to be saddled with a man and wash his dirty socks and yet have a baby of your own to take care of you in your old age if you also use sperms from a reputable sperm bank. You can choose the father of your child to be of any desired physical and intellectual attribute if you use a reputable sperm bank.

You can also choose not to get out of shape with a pregnancy by having the fertilized egg implanted in a surrogate woman.

Egg storage would liberate you from the march of time and give you the freedom that men enjoy in reaching your full potential.

If you are already over the age of 35, don’t worry. There is now a youth hormone called Human Growth Hormone which can make some women’s eggs ‘younger’. Better still, if you want to postpone egg collection you can start receiving this youth hormone now to slow down the egg aging process.

Sarah Elizabeth Richards shares her experience on social egg storage in her book, ‘Motherhood Rescheduled‘.

You can also see the experience of others in the blogs on their egg freezing experience.

The main risk of egg storage is the necessity of producing multiple eggs. This may cause ovarian hyper-stimulation.

Egg storage is relatively safe nowadays because this complication can be considerably minimized.

The cost of egg freezing in the USA is about USD10,000 per attempt. This is about SGD8,000 in Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok.

Social egg storage is not permitted in Singapore. The nearest locations are Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

If you want to know which are the best centres for egg storage, you may like to email Dr. Charles M P Lim at dr.charles.mpl@gmail.com. He is passionate in promoting fertility preservation.

My Personal Trainer & Parkour Enthusiast, Raphael Lim, on 938LIVE

Typing this as I tune in to the radio interview. Raphael is being interviewed on 938LIVE ‘The Good Life’. He apparently wowed some people in the Green Room.

Look what I found on 938LIVE’s facebook page:

Raphael in 938LIVE Green Room

I’ve watched my trainers, Cain and Raphael, attempt their parkour stunts before, and tried some “simple” moves too (which were, admittedly, quite challenging for me).

Like Raphael mentioned during the interview, parkour is for people of all fitness levels. Just exercise some common sense… if you are not very fit yet, don’t attempt the high level moves, unless you want to break something.

I like that the parkour movements are all full body workouts, without isolating any muscles like in gym training. That makes it all really time-efficient and because it all looks like ‘play’, a lot more fun! :)