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Must See Health Hub: WellWire

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If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably just like me: a health rookie. We all want to live well, in every sense of the word. The problem really is how exactly to do it.

WellWire Logo

And the secret, really, is precisely what the logo says: everyday holistic solutions. If there’s one thing that has never worked for me, it’s setting myself up for these outlandish goals and eventually punishing myself for not being able to reach them… which has always been the case.

WellWire is a refreshing, new health and wellness site co-founded by two amazing naturopathic physicians, Dr. Nishant Rao and Dr. Igor Schwartzman. They have devoted this great hub for practitioners, patients, health nuts, foodies, and social media junkies to share information and support each other in reaching health related goals; goals that absolutely anyone can achieve. It’s easy, practical, reliable, and trust me when I say that it’s actuallyhella fun. For instance, check out this entertaining article by Dr. Nishant: Superhero Your Vegetables!

I am privileged to be part of this community: I was recently chosen to have a weekly, Gen-Y focused column on the site, and just like I tweeted, “It feels great to see my face plastered alongside these professionals!” (see my newly published bio here. Holler!) So watch out for the column soon; I’m sure you’ll love it. Meantime, hit up the WellWired folks this weekend, and let’s all toast to our health!

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Written by Karla Mercado

September 19, 2009 at 3:25 am

Balancing Tenderfoot

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My official health & wellness blog is finally up and running!
Please visit, support and be a guest blogger in
Balancing Tenderfoot!
Here’s to your health!

Written by Karla Mercado

August 23, 2009 at 4:29 am

It Only Takes Common Sense to Be Healthy

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naturalI just discovered a great resource for natural medicine or naturopathy, an example of alternative medicine that focuses on natural remedies and the body’s ability to maintain and heal itself.

I have to admit that I’ve been suspicious about alternative medicine ever since I started showing interest and passion in the medical sciences, but when I read more about naturopathy, and especially when I discovered WellWire, I realized that it’s really all about going back to basics and learning to live a sustainable, self-sufficient, and balanced lifestyle, which are things that I also personally uphold.

When we go back to basics and when we acknowledge how much we’ve been underestimating our bodies’ capabilities, you’ll realize that you can totally do away without taking in all those pills and multivitamin capsules and acai berry drinks, and still be healthy. All you really have to do is, again, look around you and embrace what nature has to offer. And I think WellWire‘s pretty good at advocating this philosophy.

Going back to basics when it comes to health is something that I work on each day, what with all the health trends being endorsed by models and so-called health gurus every hour on TV. It’s tough; I often forget about what my body really needs. And there’s also this ongoing paranoia when it comes to sickness, when really, at the end of the day, health and wellness isn’t about completely obliterating disease from the face of the earth. I think we’ve allowed this fear of disease (and death from disease) to take over our every day lives, that we end up stuffing ourselves with all sorts of meds that end up destroying our liver anyway. What’s even worse is when we shrug it all off and say, “Ah, to hell with it. We will all eventually die of cancer anyway. Let’s live in the moment!” and allow our bodies to waste away in drunken escapades and cigarettes.

Naturopathy is such a refreshing avenue in healthcare because it reminds us of the common sense we tend to overlook each day. Yes, it’s pretty much common sense, really — “eating the rainbow” (every color of fruit and veggies), managing stress to maximize your immunity to the flu, staying outdoors early in the morning to absorb all that sunny, Vitamin D goodness, etc. And with the ridiculous expenses attributed to hospitals and treatments, going back to basics also means saving yourself if not hundreds, thousands of dollars just to stay in shape. The sun is free, for one thing!

So, like I would always tell you guys — just look around you! Nature demands our attention… and for a pretty good reason, too.

Live long and prosper

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No, I’m not here to talk about Vulcans. Sorry, fellow geeks. Perhaps another time.

Someone wise once said, “The first key to happiness tells us that by being aware of your body, you are connecting to the underlying field of infinite possibilities.”

I know this one-liner to be completely true in my own life. Growing up, I was a sickly child, and my parents spent most of their time checking me in and out of the hospital. I am still quite fragile to this day, but through education and experience, I learned how to work on my health by constantly trying to improve my lifestyle.

By getting to know your own body, you acknowledge what you physically need to be the fit and healthy person you ought to be. First, reflect on what you should strive to achieve; set goals for yourself. Are you underweight and wish to put on a few more pounds? Or do you need to lose some of it? Do you find yourself struggling to lift ordinary objects like basic furniture and know that you need to be physically stronger? Or do you wish to complete a full marathon and need to work on your endurance?

Remember not to set goals based on what you see on TV or read from fashion magazines — you’re doing it for health and not vanity’s sake. Most importantly, you are doing this for yourself (and perhaps also for your immediate family, if your current condition affects them), and not to compare yourself with anyone else.

If you ask me, the ultimate goal everyone should strive to achieve is to live long. Sounds pretty basic, right? But notice that it covers all the bases — you live long by being physically, mentally and emotionally healthy. And all you have to do is precisely that — to simply be aware of your body.

Here are some activities and lifestyle changes I had made (and plan to make) that I am 100% sure would help anyone live long and prosper:

Yoga, Budokon and other Eastern exercises
I admit that I favor Eastern exercises because I found that Eastern exercises tend to target more health needs than other forms of workout. Eastern exercises don’t just focus on the physical, but they work on mental and sometimes, emotional health as well. Yoga can be physically grueling, but I actually find its breathing exercises to be so much more challenging than its bone-cracking (figuratively, of course) positions. It requires a lot of mental endurance to concentrate on something we barely notice. Another insanely challenging activity — physically, mentally, and yes, even emotionally — is budokon, which is a combination of yoga, martial arts and meditation. Through its martial arts exercises, you are trained to discipline yourself and set aside your emotions in order to focus on the task at hand, just like the Eastern warriors of old.

Vegetarianism
I became vegetarian for eight months not too long ago. This is a really big lifestyle change, so big that I wasn’t able to go beyond those eight months, sadly, due to current circumstances (although I do plan on getting back to it when time, opportunity and finances allow). Being vegetarian has taught me so much, I don’t even know where to begin! So it would be best for you to back-read my journal a bit, and click on this entry: Back to Basics. In sum, it’s all about learning to be self-sufficient human beings.

Quit smoking
This, to me, was even harder to achieve than quitting meat. I never truly understood addiction until I found myself struggling to eradicate this habit. But when I decided to quit meat, it became automatic for me to quit smoking as well. More than it being both a logical and sentimental thing (i.e., I shouldn’t taint my body with nicotine while it’s trying to purify itself with all this goddamn tofu), it was more a medical thing. I learned that smoking is the most common root of almost any sickness or physical shortcoming you can think of — almost every kind of cancer, asthma, dry skin, migraines, bad breath, and even infertility.  I never thought such a common habit could cause so much chaos and difficulty in a person’s life, and even the people around him (i.e., secondhand smoking has been proven to be much worse than firsthand smoking).

A balance of time with other people and time alone
I am a social being, but I found that being an island every once in a while has helped me tremendously as well. Happiness may be most real and best felt when shared, but you will only truly know how to share your happiness to others when you know how to be happy on your own.

Gratitude. Lots of it.
I had only recently learned to be thankful for both the small and big things happening in my life. Sometimes, I even find myself being grateful for the tough, painful realizations and encounters! Marc and Angel once wrote, “Remember to be grateful for all the things you do have.” When you realize that the mere fact that you’re alive is something to be so grateful for, striving to keep being alive doesn’t only become a habit, but a devotion.

Written by Karla Mercado

August 5, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Posted in Introspection, Self-sufficiency

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More on beauty

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Speaking of beauty, I don’t really consider myself vain, but I do like taking care of myself physically.  I usually monitor my food intake, making sure that I stay away from anything that is not organic or natural, and make it a point to get as much physical activity as I can each day (walking to school, walking/jogging/running with Cooper twice a day).

I was also raised by my mom to have a beauty regimen, though I rarely admit that I actually fuss over my face.  I’m not big on cosmetics at all and hardly wear any makeup, but it was mom who taught her daughters never to leave the house without at least cheek and lip tint on.

Anyway, I’m sure people could care less, but here are some of my health and beauty habits I’ve practiced since mom introduced me to the razor.

  • Leighton Meester said that her biggest beauty habit is taking a bath.  Well, same here.  There’s something about taking both warm and cold showers that make me feel fresh and pretty.  I lightly exfoliate everyday using a soft loofa and a gentle body cream, like Dove.
  • I also use Dove as my daily facial cleanser.  I’ve been using this ever since my dermatologist told me that “soap” is bad for the face, and things like Ivory and Dove, which aren’t soap-based, would delay those wrinkles more than regular facial cleansers would, even if it says in the bottle that it’s an anti-aging formula.
  • Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!  I am addicted to lotions, moisturizers and Chapstick.  For the face, I use Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15.  And, hehe, I use it both during day and night.  I’m not really big on whether it’s a “day” moisturizer (usually with an SPF) or a “bedtime” moisturizer.  Just as long as I have something on my face, it works for me.For the body, I use Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Lotion (Vanilla).  It smells so yummy and I’ve always prefered baby lotions over the ones that were made for adults.  I guess that’s why I also use the gentler stuff like Dove and Cetaphil.
  • For my hair (and again, my mom taught me this), I make sure that I use lukewarm water to avoid the scalp pores from opening too much, which causes my hair to fall.  I guess this depends on the person, but this is what works for me.
  • For makeup, my former boss Joyce recommended Rice Powder to me.  It’s my favorite face powder so far.  I used Mac and Clinique before but thank god I found something that is cheaper and works just as well.  I’m using the Dual Wet & Dry Foundation.
  • For cheek tint, I use Face Shop powder blush.  There’s only one Face Shop boutique that I know of here in the US, and it’s located somewhere in NY.  I also use Face Shop matte lipstick (on top of the Chapstick) and a Nars lip liner.
  • Eyeliner is very important to me, for some reason.  It adds a lil sum’in, I like calling it drama, to the eyes.  I use Mac for that, but any brand will do as long as it’s either pencil or liquid-based.
  • Agua por favor! I drink tons of water each day, because for some reason, my skin looks better when I’m hydrated.
  • Ever since I became vegetarian, I’ve never been constipated.  Sorry for being graphic, but it’s true.  Fiber from your fruits and veggies help flush away the extras.
  • You don’t have to be vegetarian though.  Green tea helps too.  A LOT.  I also noticed that when I started drinking green tea everyday, I lost weight.  I don’t know if it’s scientifically proven, but it does say that green tea helps you lose those extra pounds.  I usually drink 2 teabags and drink the damn thing the entire day, with continuous hot water refills.

What are your beauty habits?  Share the love!

Written by Karla Mercado

January 31, 2009 at 6:11 am

Posted in Etcetera

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