Sep 27, 2014

Homemade Passion Fruit Juice

passion fruits
I have just rediscovered my passion for passion fruits. Our farmer’s market offered passion fruits some weeks back -- a rare occurrence, actually -- and so I just had to buy. Good thing I did for these tropical fruits are just bursting with flavor, color, aroma and nutrition.

Passion fruits are these yellow, spherical fruits that you can make into the most fragrant and luscious juice treats for your family. While lemon juice is a mainstay in the family, passion fruit juice is also a welcome change every so often -- never mind that the preparation is rather tedious.

You would want passion fruits that come with fresh-looking rinds: yellow and without gray or brown spots, shiny and sans wrinkles and pits. In case you’re wondering how much these fruits are in my city, the price is roughly about a peso apiece. And mind you, a piece of passion fruit can already make a tall glass (about 300ml) of all-natural tropical juice.

passion fruits
Simply slice open the hard rind across its equator to reveal the inner clumps of minute seeds that are covered with yellowish and gelatinous flesh. The flesh that clings to the seeds are what you want to be in your juice.

passion fruit juice
Spoon off the seeds into a glass of water and then stir vigorously -- with the intent of removing as much of the gelatinous flesh from the seeds. You will find this goal impossible though, no matter how earnest your stirring efforts are. I just stir it up until the water turns a deep, happy yellow. Yellow is just a happy color, don’t you think? Sunny, bright, welcoming… but I digress.

passion fruit seeds
Now then run the seed-containing juice through a sieve and into a pitcher. You will find that the seeds still have lots of flesh left -- and there’s really nothing you could do about it except to come to terms with the fact that the seeds and the flesh may be inseparable.

Slice open another passion fruit and then repeat the said procedure until you get the number of glasses you need. Get it?

homemade passion fruit juice

This is the real, natural, unadulterated color of passion fruit juice. Add muscovado sugar or honey in there and I guarantee you a juice that trumps all juices for flavor, fragrance, color and probably nutrition. There’s not a trace of artificial color, flavor, sweetener or thickening agent in there -- just simple, pure and healthy passion fruit juice. Now that’s something we’d all be passionate about!

Sep 25, 2014

Clarity Braces -- Say goodbye to all your dental embarrassment

Editor's note: This is a guest post submitted by Katherine Flowers.
“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.” - Phyllis Diller
Often, the first thing people notice about you is your smile. It defines you and makes a lasting impression. However, not everyone has a naturally straight smile. If you are one of those who possess a less than perfect set of pearly whites, you may need braces.

It is never too late to get the perfect smile. Forget the negative connotations of having braces. Different brace options are available today such as clear ceramic braces. Unlike traditional metal braces, ceramic braces  blend more naturally with your teeth. They are also stain-resistant and will not discolour over time. It is like having a set of invisible braces.
One of the most innovative and revolutionary clear braces on the market today is Clarity, a popular choice amongst teens and adults. Clarity braces are made from fine-grain ceramic materials which combine orthodontic performance and aesthetics. Wearing them will give you a reason to flash your pearly whites.
You can learn more about the advantages and benefits of wearing a set of ceramic braces below:
Why should I choose Clarity braces?
These braces are one of the best cosmetic alternatives to traditional metal braces. Combining state-of-the-art technology and progressive design, Clarity delivers enhanced patient comfort, a smaller design and innovative aesthetics. Each clear ceramic bracket also features a unique APC (Adhesive Coated Appliance System) Flash-Free adhesive system which shortens the bonding process. This makes the entire process more comfortable for patients. Patients of all ages will enjoy wearing Clarity braces.

What are the materials used to make Clarity braces?
Clarity braces’ ultra-small translucent brackets are made from grain-sized ceramic materials. Each bracket is created through an injection-moulding process to ensure strength and reliability. Since it is made from high-quality materials, these braces are also designed to resist stain and discoloration over the patient’s treatment period.
Compared to other ceramic braces, Clarity are much smaller, making them the lowest bracket profile in the industry. Its size makes it more attractive for patients to wear. In addition, these braces feature under tie-wing spaces for ligation and flexible treatment options.
Will Clarity braces help solve my orthodontic problems?
Our teeth help us effectively speak, chew and bite. They also promote healthier teeth and gums and prevent jaw problems. Some of the orthodontic issues patients usually experience are:
Spacing - missing or unusually small teeth can result in large spaces between the teeth.
Overbite - the upper front teeth can overlap the lower teeth. In some cases, the upper teeth touch the lower gum tissue.
Openbite - this is when the upper and lower teeth do not meet when you bite down. This makes it difficult to chew food effectively and it may affect a person’s speech.
Crossbite - sometimes, the upper teeth rest inside or outside the lower teeth. This can also cause the jaw to shift as it grows.
Teeth crowding - caused by a narrow jaw, teeth crowding is when there are unusually large teeth or there is not enough room for them.
Proper treatment of these irregular bites can improve your overall oral health. Orthodontists recommend ceramic braces for their durability and comfort. These braces are strong enough to cope with a patient’s treatment process. Their dome-shaped design and smooth rounder corners minimise soft tissue contact.
Clarity takes pride in its patient-focused products which help solve a wide range of orthodontic problems.

Your smile will always be a priceless asset. Clarity braces provide an effective and attractive alternative to metal braces. They will not just improve your appearance, these braces will also boost your self-confidence and overall esteem. Say goodbye to your dental embarrassment and wear your braces with pride.

Sep 12, 2014

A Medical Doctor's Story on Death, Suffering and God

Once in a while, you'll see -- among the deluge of shallow, silly and banal status updates on Facebook -- something profound, honest and transcendental. And you stop. And think. And can't get it out of your mind. That's what occurred to me upon reading a series of status updates posted by a former classmate in medical school. Of course I never got to finish med school but this former classmate of mine did, and for many years now, he has been practicing as a medical doctor in Cagayan de Oro. He is Dr. Ted Feliciano, the guy we call "Flawless" back then because he had the fair complexion that would put us gals to shame. He struck me then as a regular guy who was deep inside a pensive, thoughtful man. Apparently, I was right, as you may well see if you read on.

This is science colliding with the spiritual realm, a beautiful yet painful acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God in the midst of death and suffering. It fascinates me to find real stories of God letting Himself known to men -- especially those who, by virtue of their profession or learning, are more likely to have their faith challenged or eroded completely. With his permission, I am copying and pasting here Dr. Ted's story.

A medical doctor's story on death, suffering and God

"As a physician I have in one way or another been asked if I see the hand of God in the things health professionals do. The answer I give (and Im guessing a lot like me would have the same reaction) is the usual generic salt and pepper talk about the greater power that be, that i can only do so much, the rest is up to God. We cure, God heals. That we can be instruments to God's gift of healing. But really thinking about it, I have not really seen it, in a way that can't be justified by the chemical reactions of the drugs we give, the physiologic phenomenons in the books that are so intricately playing in the many, so many insults the modern world is throwing at the human body....until a few days ago.

"I got a call from the wards, an 80 plus female patient admitted a few hours past was noted to be gasping, hypotensive, unresponsive.. I intubated her (a grandma, with a lot of grandkids knowing she was in a hospital but I'm guessing never had a clue she was touch and go) the course I was in the room she went into cardiopulmonary arrest..and as a sane medical practitioner I initiated CPR (cardiopulmo resuscitation). Gave her the meds to jump start her heart, and in the back of my mind prayed 'Lord God, bless the things we do, touch us and keep us in your light that we may save this loved grandmother.' I have done this a million of times, I have known this like the back of my hand..and I have lost so many people doing the things i do during these times..I have seen my father go through this, and I promised myself to do all I can do to save lives after seeing him pass through my hands..but sadly I have been burnt up, I went through the the days seeing so much death and suffering...

"As we were trying to revive fragile old grandma, I, the tired calloused doctor that I was, tired, hurting,!! It wasnt a prayer, it was a an adamant challenge..'I have done this so many times, and I have lost so many, and I have to live with it, tell me, show me that these are all worth it!!!' Now believe me, how fragile this loved grandma was looking, she had all the fight in the world!!! She fought for nearly 1 and a half hours...

"As we were trying to revive brave, loved grandma, her daughters asked that they talk to that moment the cardiac monitor showed mere fasciculations of her heart... A tracing not amenable to life..what I noticed was everytime her daughters talked to her the tracing picked up, a significant QRS (a cardiac beat in an ECG tracing) would be noted... This would go on for more than an hour..until her daughter from the states (or somewhere else) talked to her through a cell phone and told her to just rest, that she was loved, and everything was gonna be okay..then and there she stopped breathing...and I had a flat line...

"We as doctors can always justify what i saw in the cardiac monitor as the effects of the drugs we give, that the fight we see in our patients are the results of the chemical and physiologial reactions we are so adept at learning in our books.... But on that day, an early morning in September, a day I was about to give up on the thing I so loved..I got a humbling awakening..In the game of life... We never lose, just look at it this way..God will always matter how we question, no matter how we try to make a sense of it all..He will always triumph for all of us. He will always understand...what we strive for, what we do... Should always be humbly in His Glory..."

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