Tag Archives: Family Health

Milk for healthier, taller kids

One morning a few months ago, I woke up to find this –

It was an easy mystery to solve because the suspect left his footprints all over the crime scene!

It was the first time that Nate did this – sneaking to mix his own milk by himself. Hilarious!

Nate is now over 4 years old, but I am glad that he still takes his milk. Though he eats regular food (except allergenic ones) that the rest of the family does, I don’t think Nate is ready to give up milk just yet. I’m not in a hurry, though I’d love it even more if he’d give up the bottle and start drinking from the glass.

When I was a kid, I wasn’t really a milk-drinker. Husband also regrets not drinking  milk regularly as a child, and blames that for his not-so-tall stature.

Having realized our mistakes, and for fear that our kids won’t grow very tall (uhh, genes from hub’s side of the family… ssshhhh), we strongly encourage our children to drink two glasses of milk every day.

Patch, who is now 13, doesn’t need much convincing. She is sooooo into volleyball, actually dreams of playing in college, so she wants to grow taller some more. At 13, she is 5 feet tall – not so bad, I think. But she hopes (and well, we – hub and I – hope) she will grow a few inches more. She never misses her two glasses of milk, no matter how late at night it already is.

V, on the other hand, loves milk – she drinks it, eats it even. At least twice a day, sometimes up to three times! Continue reading Milk for healthier, taller kids

Living with an allergic child

Having an allergic child in the home is not easy. But we have somehow gotten used to it and we are all coping well.

I use “we” because the management of skin asthma is a family effort.

We don’t eat the food that Nate is allergic to. (At least not in front of him, anyway, hehe.) Food with preservatives – hotdogs, bacon, Spam, stuff we’d really, really love to have for breakfast – are off the table.

We minimize allergens so every other day, the bedroom and the living room –  everything upholstered and with fabric in those rooms –  are vacuumed. Not with an ordinary vacuum. Hub bought a special anti-dust mite UV vacuum cleaner/fabric sterilizer on his last trip to China. The nifty gadget seems to be working well.

Ah, Nate’s skin care regimen is something else too. His monthly budget for skin lotions, creams, ointments surpass mine by a huge amount! Right after taking a bath, and about 2 more times a day, his skin is slathered all over with Cetaphil lotion. Nothing else can touch his skin –  not colognes, not powder, not shampoos and soaps. It just has to be Cetaphil (cleanser and lotion).

These three things are the things that the family seems to be doing right: food, environment and skin care. Nate’s allergologist tells me these 3 are essential to managing Nate’s skin asthma.

So far, so good. 🙂

Continue reading Living with an allergic child

Cooking Brown Rice in Rice Cooker

how to cook brown rice

In an effort to observe a healthier diet, my family has gone back to eating brown rice. Compared to its white counterpart, brown rice is full of the good stuff – vitamins and trace minerals essential in fighting cancers and other diseases. It’s also a low glycemic index food, meaning it belongs to the good carbs gang.

I think brown rice is an acquired taste. The kids, especially, always don’t find it easy adjusting to the coarser texture and earthy taste. When cooked with too little water, the grains turn out tough. So we cook ours with a little more water and a little bit longer.

We use rice cooker to cook brown rice. The rice is rinsed with cold water once. Then water is measured with 1:2 ratio. That is, for each cup of brown rice, use 2 cups of cold water. After rice boils and all the water is absorbed, I keep the lid on for about 15 minutes more to let the rice continue cooking. This makes the brown rice fluffier when served.

Other sites suggest soaking brown rice in cold water thirty minutes before cooking. While others say using broth instead of plain water for cooking will result to more appetizing brown rice. I haven’t tried either yet. I have a feeling the first suggestion will shorten cooking time, which right now lasts about 30 minutes for me (on the rice cooker). And the second suggestion will be welcomed by the kids!

I’ll let you know if I do try them out.

My kids, by the way, have gotten the hang of eating brown rice again. It took about a week or so of resistance manifested in half-finished bowls. Persistence, persistence. 😉

Check out the benefits of brown rice in my fitness blog.


Atopic dermatitis update: flare alert!

Nate has skin asthma (atopic dermatitis) – he’s had the condition since he was a baby. But his allergy episodes seem to have gotten worse at the start of this year, and then after typhoon Ondoy struck.

It must be the air. You know, how there are more allergens (molds, mildew) in the air when it’s rainy, damp or cold.

We have taken out eggs, fish, chicken, chocolates, cheese, nuts and processed food such as hotdogs and chips from his diet. Recently, I have been minimizing his intake of cookies and crackers that may have wheat (a possible allergen) and preservatives. (WOW! It’s a wonder that he is big and heavy despite all the restrictions!)

Nate is also on maintenance meds – montelukast 4mg tab, and desloratadine 5ml every single day!

But he still gets these rashes. He has had severe episodes several times since the rainy season began in early June. Unfortunately for Nate, this year’s rainy season has extended well into the current month. 🙁

Severe as in weeping lesions on the scalp and dry, itchy skin all over the body. It really is so frustrating when I see him scratching all over, and I can only offer an extra pair of hands to help him.

Anyway, we’ve been seeing a new allergologist. She seems to be managing Nate well. We went on our second visit today. Last week, on our first visit, Nate had an active allergy episode, so she prescribed meds and gave specific skin care instructions.

I am happy that the episode is resolving. Today, the doctor noted remarkable improvement of his skin – smoother and more hydrated than last week.

And here is better news: we got the green light to re-introduce freshwater fish, egg yolks and white chicken meat! *wooohooo*

Of course I will be doing this gradually – one type of food at a time; observe for 3 days; if no flare-up, proceed to next food item.

I am so glad things are looking better, and I found a doctor who is working with me and Nate to manage his atopic dermatitis.

Let’s see in a couple of weeks when we go back for another follow-up with the doc. I hope by then, I would have successfully re-introduced fish, chicken and egg yolks to Nate. Wish us luck! 🙂


Flu vaccine for the flu season – Be Bakunado!

During summer last year, my family had a bad case of germ attack. My family was downed by flu almost simultaneously. I noticed that we got sick after I held a successful garage sale. Lots of people were coming and going. My kids, wanting to be helpful, milled around the garage as well. I’m sure the virus was brought by one of the “customers”. My family missed the flu vaccine last year!

After several nights of fever and sleeplessness, of kids vomiting, crying, asking for water and for hugs, we all finally got well. As soon as we did, we went to our pediatrician to get our flu vaccines. Of course, it was too late; nevertheless we still got our shots.

I’ve learned my lesson since: get the flu vaccine as soon as the strains for the current year become available.

Three weeks ago, my daughter V and six other classmates were absent from school – all at the same time. Most of them had sniffles, fever, and throat itchies. Over the past several weeks, I’d read plurks of friends or their kids getting sick.

Though early, it seems official – 2009 flu season is here.

Would you want to be part of the flu statistics this year? I wouldn’t! Here are some tips to avoid getting sick with the flu: Continue reading Flu vaccine for the flu season – Be Bakunado!