Monthly Archives: October 2011

When Laryngitis Hits

Sick Girl

Sick Girl

It started with a sore throat on Thursday night.

Then I started feeling that I’ll be coming down with the flu by Friday.

By Saturday morning, I bought meds for cough (Dextromethorphan + Guaifenesin) and colds (Paracetamol + Phenylephrine). I started taking the cough meds on Saturday to see how it would work. And then by Sunday, I had slight fever when I woke up. But I had to teach review class for 8 hours. In the morning, my voice was normal. But by noon, I was already a bit hoarse. I couldn’t stop talking since I had to teach. I just gave my voice a rest after the session.

By Monday, I really felt so bad that I took a leave from work. I just stayed at home but I still used my voice—or what’s left of it—so I could talk minimally. I figured I might be sick because of stress at home and at work. There are only 2 trainers in the office and we’re handling so much.

By Tuesday, I still have some of my voice though I started not talking at all anymore to avoid straining my larynx further. I researched that I shouldn’t have been whispering at all to communicate because it strains my vocal cords as well. I then tried not to talk, but in my profession, it’s hard not to. I went to work today because I have to. Though I really wanted to rest, there are a lot of things needed to be done at work.

By Wednesday, I woke up with no voice. As in nada! I was so scared. I still went to work but really decided on going to the doctor after work. I avoided using my voice the whole day but there were a handful times that I had to whisper to be understood at work.

After work, I went to Healthway at Festival Mall for a check-up. Good thing we have a free check-up there. I told the doctor that I have no voice plus I have productive cough and colds. I was diagnosed with acute laryngopharyngitis. The larynx is the voice box. When it is inflamed, it results to a hoarse raspy voice. In some cases, it could result to dysphonia, which is the disorder in producing sound as evidence by hoarseness. Laryngitis is a condition that every singer, teacher, etc. do not want to be afflicted with.

As for my meds, I was prescribed to take methylprednisolone 16mg (1 tablet 2x daily for 5 days after meals) and erdosteine 300 mg (1 capsule 2x daily for 5 days after meals). After 2 days of treatment and if the symptoms persist, I will take co-amoxiclav (1 tablet 2x daily for 7 days). The doctor said I could stop taking methylprednisolone and erdosteine once the symptoms resolve.

Since methylprednisolone is more expensive I switched my prescription to prednisone 20mg. They are both corticosteroids and have the same action in the body. They have just different dosing. Since 4mg of methylprednisolone is equivalent to 5mg of prednisone, I will just take prednisone 20mg. I have been taking carbocisteine before but I now switched to erdosteine as mucolytic.

Prednisone is a corticosteroid and it has 2 uses: anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant. It is a common drug given to those with asthma, bronchitis, auto-immune diseases, etc. I was prescribed with a corticosteroid to reduce the inflammation of my larynx. And since it suppresses the immune system, I also took ascorbic acid as an antioxidant. I do not want acquiring any more diseases just because my immune system’s down. On the other hand, the mucolytic will help loosen the mucus and it will be easier for me to cough it up.

I hope that I would get better in 2 days as I have no wish to take co-amoxiclav. I have not taken it before and I’m afraid that it will change my immune system drastically. (Even though I’m a pharmacist, I really don’t like taking meds.)

I have actually resorted to using my laptop’s notepad to orient trainees and talk to my co-workers. That is aside from using sign language, of course. Commuting is really hard because I cannot tell the driver where I would be alighting. I admit it’s a bit curious way to live, but I wish for my life to return back to normal.

Now that I’m taking meds, I still haven’t seen any improvement yet. Anyway, it’s just the first dose so I won’t be seeing much. But I might have strained my larynx/pharynx from coughing too much. I can’t help it! My throat gets really really itchy and I would probably die if I suppress the urge to cough. I am also on water therapy. I’m drinking lots and lots and lots of water to keep myself hydrated.

Most likely, I will not be using my voice for a week or so until I get it back. I really miss hearing my own voice. I cannot even talk or sing. I feel like I’m being punished for being so talkative.

When I get better, I am really going to take so much care of my voice. I will try not to abuse it so much and I will take extra caution to avoid straining it again.

This is the first time I had laryngitis this bad. It totally sucks. Please pray for me to get better.

Anyway, I’d like to share some of the tips I learned that would relieve the symptoms of laryngitis:

Rest your voice. Total silence is the most healing gift you can give your worn-out voice, says Howard Levine, M.D., director of the Mount Sinai Nasal Sinus Center in Cleveland. At the least, avoid the extremes—whispering and shouting. “Whispering puts tremendous stress on the vocal cords,” Dr. Levine says. “If you must speak, you’re better off using a soft voice.”

Humidify, inside and out. “Inhaling the steam from a good old hot shower is one of the best treatments,” says Glenn Bunting, a senior speech pathologist at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston. Or try a steam inhaler. “It’s like getting a facial,” he says. You also might consider using a humidifier in your bedroom to offset the damage from dry indoor heat, he adds.

You need to get enough water inside your body, too. He suggests this guideline for healthy water intake: Increase your water consumption until your urine is clear. If you’re taking vitamins like beta-carotene or medications that change the color of your urine, then simply consume 10 to 12 eight-ounce glasses of water daily.

Invite a chicken to lunch. If your hoarseness is from a cold, try chicken soup. “There’s a good scientific basis for chicken soup,” says Dr. Levine. The heat creates humidity, and the garlic is a good mucus thinner. If chicken soup isn’t your favorite dish, he suggests taking a garlic supplement. Follow the manufacturer’s suggestions for the recommended amount.

Thin secretions. Robitussin syrup is good for thinning out mucus, says Dr. Levine. But avoid antihistamines, which have a drying effect. A decongestant can also help reduce the flow of mucus, he says, but if you have a heart condition, check with your doctor before taking them. Certain oral decongestants may increase blood pressure.

Avoid aspirin. If your cold has produced a lot of inflammation, aspirin can cause more bruising of the vocal cords, says Dr. Levine, which can make your hoarseness worse. Choose a nonaspirin pain reliever instead.

Control your cough. Use a cough suppressant and expectorant to prevent coughing from further damaging your vocal cords, says C. Thomas Yarington, M.D., clinical professor of otolaryngology at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Don’t gargle. Contrary to popular belief, gargling with mouthwash actually makes hoarseness worse, says David Alessi, M.D., an otolaryngologist in Los Angeles. Most mouthwashes contain alcohol, which irritates mucous membranes and dehydrates vocal cords. The gargled liquid doesn’t actually get anywhere near the vocal cords, and the action of gargling itself is harmful. It will bang your vocal cords together and increase swelling.

Skip that drink. The alcohol in your cocktail has the same drying effect as the alcohol in a mouthwash, Dr. Alessi adds. If you’re hoarse, soothe your throat with a nonalcoholic beverage instead.

Pass on the caffeine. “Stay away from caffeine—in coffee, sodas or chocolate,” says Bunting. Caffeine is a drying agent, which won’t help those inflamed vocal cords.

And then, here are some foods to stay away from:

Acidic Foods. Acidic foods that can cause acid reflux can also cause laryngitis, according to Drugs.com. When acid from your stomach back flows into your esophagus, it can burn your larynx and cause damage. You might not realize you have acid reflux, but avoiding acidic foods can help whether you have a reflux condition or not. Acidic foods can also burn your throat as they pass down to your stomach for digestion. Avoid foods such as pineapples, lemons, oranges and tomato-based products; these are all considered acidic.

Spicy Foods. Spicy foods can cause irritation. Irritation to your larynx could worsen and prolong laryngitis. Irritation can aggravate the symptoms of laryngitis: the rough, scratchy throat, dry cough, rawness in your throat and hoarseness. Irritation can also cause irreversible damage, especially if you constantly clear your throat and continue to try to talk through the irritation. Spicy foods include hot sauces, curry, hot peppers and similar dishes.

Chocolate and Peppermint. Chocolate contains caffeine, which can zap fluids from your body. Peppermint can worsen conditions such as acid reflux, according to Drugs.com. Even small amounts of chocolate or peppermint can worsen the symptoms of laryngitis. Ask your doctor when you might be able to have these foods again.

Alcohol. Alcoholic beverages can have a burning effect, which can worsen laryngitis. Alcohol can also cause dehydration. When you have laryngitis, drinking plenty of water to keep your throat moist and hydrated is essential to healing. Drugs.com recommends that men drink around 3 liters of fluid per day, and women drink just over 2 liters of fluid per day. Avoid caffeinated drinks; they can have a dehydrating effect similar to alcohol, which can dry out your throat.

PaZtel Nail Spa: The New Spa In Town

Paztel Nail Spa

Paztel Nail Spa: the new go-to for all pampering needs!

Three new stores opened just beside our village gate: a nail spa, a restarant, and a café bar. Sounds interesting right? I got curious since I pass by the area everyday—to and from work.

So today, Mama and I tried the new place out. We’re mostly interested in the nail spa. Mama actually invited me to watch “No Other Woman” since she hasn’t watched that yet. So I said, “Why not?” It’s her treat anyway. Before going to the movies, we checked out Paztel Nail Spa first to check if the rates are affordable and if they are using imported nail polish. Check to both. We told them we’ll be back tonight. It’s a date. Yey!

By 7pm, we were back at Paztel Nail Spa. We asked my sister Mariah to join us there. I availed of the basic manicure (P110) and foot spa with pedicure (P320). Having been so busy at work and being on a tight budget, it has been 3 months since I last visited a salon.

Mama

Mama

Mariah

Mariah

Me

Me

Stepping inside the store is actually like visiting Barbie world. Everything is PINK! They have several chairs for the use and comfort of the customers. Those pink chairs with pink pillows are so comfortable; it would be hard not to fall asleep during your visit.

Now, let’s talk about the treatment. For the foot spa, the attendant first soaked my feet in the bubble bath then removed the hard skin. After that, the attendant scrubbed my feet and legs with coffee grounds scrub. She massaged it all over to exfoliate my skin. The result: smooth and whiter skin! I’m impressed! During the scrub, I checked out their array of nail polish. I picked Orly’s Samba nail color for my toenails and Catch the Bouquet nail color for my fingernails. They also use The Face Shop nail colors. Though there are still few choices of colors, I’m glad that they picked out really nice ones for a start. Mind you, they’ve just opened 6 days from our visit.

Okay, so after the exfoliation comes the rinsing and moisturizing part. They used strawberry mint cream as moisturizer. It feels so cool afterwards. Plus, I really loved the strawberry scent.

So after the foot spa came the pedicure and manicure part, which consists of cleaning, cutting, filing, buffing, etc. They also give 15-minute massages for both hands and feet before they apply the base coat, nail color, and top coat. So relaxing indeed!

After my session, I can say for sure that I’ll be coming back there for my nail care needs. Why would I go to places so far and out and which would cost more when there’s a nail spa near home that offers great service from highly-trained staff plus affordable treatments. I spent only P430 there when I usually spend a little bit to so much more in some nail spas much farther away from home. Btw, the nail spa is open from 9am to 10pm. And they also offer services like massage, eyelash perming, waxing, and paraffin treatment.

Admittedly, some places in the shop still need improvement. But overall, the place has really great potential. The café bar and resto can be the new tambay spots in the village for those times you want to spend just hanging out with your friends while eating and talking. The nail spa may also be the new place for girlfriend bonding, chitchat, and just simple relaxation while being pampered.

Since we toured the whole area, I’ll give you a glimpse of what’s inside the café bar and the resto.

The Amiga'Z Restaurant

The Amiga'Z Restaurant

The Amiga’Z restaurant is open from 4am to 12mn. You can order your favorite dishes here from AM to PM. Just a preview, they offer SILOG dishes for only P60. You can choose from tapa, tocino, hotdog, longganisa, and daing. Comes with iced tea too. I cannot say much about this since I haven’t tried any dish here yet.

Ms. Z Brew Cafe

Ms. Z Brew Cafe

The café offers drinks such as ice blends for P55, frappes for P75 to P97, hot drinks from P35 to P85, and more. They also have pasta (e.g. spaghetti Bolognese at P90), sandwiches, and other appetizers. Café is open from 7am to 12mn.

And then, there’s also this area where you can stay when you don’t want to stay outdoors while having a drink at the café bar.

A nice artwork

A nice artwork

Nice place to dine

Nice place to dine

More tables and chairs

More tables and chairs

More decorations

More decorations

All 3 stores are located at 1325 Borman St. corner Armstrong Ave. Phase 2 Moonwalk Village, Paranaque City.

That’s it. Let me know how it goes on your visit.

xoxo,

♥ Monique ♥

Krispy Kreme: Oh So Yummy Baked Creations!

I love Krispy Kreme doughnuts! Who doesn’t? Rhalph and  I usually order doughnuts there but I have been wanting to try their Baked Creations and coffee variants ever since. As they say, doughnuts are best paired with coffee. Anyway, Krispy Kreme opened its first branch at Bonifacio High Street in 2006 but it wasn’t until 3 years later when I first tried it. I was a fan of Go Nuts Donuts then and I thought that Krispy Kreme was absurdly pricey.

So this time, I decided to try something different. I ordered their Blueberry Kruffin (P65) and paired it with Caramel Latte (P105) while Rhalph ordered Blended Strawberry Chiller (P125).

Krispy Kreme

Blueberry Kruffin, Caramel Latte, and Strawberry Chiller

I was so excited to try their Blueberry Kruffin! Krispy Kreme actually has 2 main variants of Baked Creations: Kruffins & Pull Aparts. Kruffins are American style hand made muffin-with-a-hole with rich and delicious fruits, nuts or chocolate. Pull Aparts, on the other hand, are North Carolina original hand-rolled balls of dough, pulled apart and laid to form a doughnut like sweet bread, filled with sweet or savory varieties. Going back to the Blueberry Kruffin, I was expecting it to be a bit warm but it wasn’t. Nevertheless, I did not hesitate to indulge myself. At first I thought that it was a bit bland because I couldn’t taste the blueberry in the muffin itself. But when I tasted the creamy center, it was oh so blueberry yummy! So I thought that one should actually dip every morsel of the muffin in the creamy center. When I tried that, it was absolutely perfect! But don’t be fooled into thinking that muffins are healthier than donuts. They exceed donuts by almost 200 calories per serving. Yikes! But I guess eating in moderation would do no harm. *big grin* Overall, the muffin is soft, slightly sweet, and typically Krispy Kreme! Next time, I’ll try their Pull Aparts.

I also tried their Caramel Latte. The bartender said that I do not have to add any sugar as they already used sweetened coffee. But when I tasted it, the coffee tastes so strong that it’s hard to believe that it’s sweetened. Being afraid to intake too much sugar, I refrained from adding more. But oh my gosh, it is really so bitter. (I know that coffee is supposed to be bitter but this was just too much.) Now that I thought about it, I should have added a packet of brown sugar.

Then I was also able to try their Strawberry Chiller, which is priced nearly the same as Starbucks’ Strawberries & Cream Frappe. Their chiller tastes like it used powdered strawberry flavor. It has a refreshing taste but when it comes to strawberry blended drinks, hands down I’ll go for the Strawberries & Cream Frappe by Starbucks.

I guess for now, I’ll stick to their doughnuts and Baked Creations. 🙂

Want to know more about Krispy Kreme? Check out their Fun Facts!

Pepper Lunch

This is my second time to have lunch at Pepper Lunch. Just a brief background, Pepper Lunch is a “fast-steak” restaurant that originated in Japan. Their first branch in the Philippines, located at Power Plant mall, opened 3 years ago. One gets to cook their own food over a patented electromagnetic plate that is heated up to 260 degrees Celsius within a minute. The plate also allows the food to stay hot for a longer time compared to standard “sizzling” plates. Choice cuts of meat such as beef, chicken, pork, salmon, and shrimp are served with rice and vegetables for diners to cook and season using a variety of flavors such as honey brown sauce and garlic soy sauce. A dash of freshly ground pepper is also added to give a delicious, flavor-filled meal.

Pepper Lunch

L-R (clockwise): Cha Han, Seafood Pepper Rice with Egg, Gratela Family and I having lunch at Pepper Steak, and Beef Yakiniku.

Pepper Lunch is ALWAYS full. I don’t know if it’s just at their Greenbelt 5 branch or with other branches too. We went there at 1 pm and we still had to wait to be seated. By 2pm there was still a long line of people waiting for a seat. Thankfully, we were able to get good seats. Whenever I pass by Pepper Lunch, I always see a long queue of people lining up for a meal. That alone got me curious. Why would people line up for this when there are actually a lot of other restaurants nearby? And then when I first tried their dishes, it was an “ahh” moment. Now, I totally understand. They have really delicious meals that are totally worth the wait!

The first dish I tried here was their bestseller, Beef Pepper Rice. This time, I tried Beef Yakiniku (P225) with mushroom soup. Yakiniku actually means “grilled meat”. Usually at Pepper Lunch, you have to add some sauce to make the dish more flavorful. But with Beef Yakiniku, there is no need to add any because it uses its own special sauce. When eating here, you have to mix the rice with the meat and vegetables as soon as it was served on the table. This allows the meat to cook evenly. Anyway, I find this dish very flavorful. I love its sweet, slightly peppery taste. The sauce is really perfect for the dish. As for the mushroom soup, I didn’t like the spring onion that they included. However, I am so relieved that it wasn’t as salty as when I first tried it. But when it comes to mushroom soup, my favorite still has to be Shakey’s.

I was also able to taste Cha Han (P285), which has shrimp, chicken, and beef. You have to add some sauce based on your preference. It looks really yummy but Rhalph and I both prefer the taste of Beef Yakiniku over it.

When it comes to their serving size, I’d say it is just right. When you get a taste of their dishes, you’d probably feel that you should have every mouthful to yourself. Haha! When it comes to their service, the attendants are quite attentive to your needs and they have good customer service. Aside from their good service, they also make it a point to keep the area neat and clean. Overall, perfect ambiance for a great lunch!

Spaghetti Carbonara (The Original Italian Recipe)

In celebration of my parents’ 24th wedding anniversary, I prepared a simple dinner for the family. It was an opportunity to gather everyone around the dining table once again. In this day and age, it really necessitates a huge effort to make everyone eat dinner together, what with all the work, school, and social activities of every family member. Instead of the usual spaghetti, pizza, and cake that we have for celebrations, I decided to make something different… something special that we usually don’t prepare at home. Thus, I decided to have spaghetti carbonara, homemade cheeseburger, and creamy fruit salad on the menu.

I would like to share my recipe of the original Italian Spaghetti Carbonara. Unlike the Pinoy version of the carbonara which makes use of cream, my version makes use of eggs and cheese only for the sauce.

This recipe makes 20 single servings. But if spaghetti is the only one in the menu, perhaps this would be enough for 8 people with a voracious appetite.

So here are the ingredients:

Ingredients for Spaghetti Carbonara

Ingredients for Spaghetti Carbonara

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 800 grams of cheese
  • 500 grams bacon (preferably lean meat)
  • 1 can of mushrooms (pieces and stems)
  • 1 kilogram of spaghetti (preferred brand: Royal)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Garlic (around 4-5 cloves)
  • White onion (around ¼ of a large onion)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cooking oil

Now, here are the instructions:

  1.  Prepare the boiling water for the pasta. Fill a large pot with 8 liters of water. Add a tablespoon of oil and 8 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, get the 12 eggs and beat them until the yolk is mixed with the white. Then add 700 grams of grated cheese. The remaining 100 grams will be used as toppings later on. Mix the cheese thoroughly with the eggs until you get a smooth creamy mixture. Set aside.
  3. Next, you fry the bacon and cut them into little pieces. Using the same pan, sauté the garlic first until slightly golden brown. Sauté the white onion next until it becomes translucent. Then you fry the mushroom slices. Set aside.
  4. Add the pasta to the rapidly boiling water. Cook pasta for 10-12 minutes or until al dente.
  5. After cooking pasta, remove from heat and completely drain the water. Do not rinse with warm water. Add the egg and cheese mixture. Mix well.
  6. Next, add the bacon and mushroom mixture. Mix well.
  7. Serve while hot. Garnish with parsley and extra cheese on top.

That’s it. This is a very simple and easy to do recipe. It took me an hour to do everything by myself from scratch. Here’s the finished product:

Spaghetti Carbonara

Ta-da! Spaghetti Carbonara!

Try it and let me know how it goes. Enjoy and eat well!

 Tips:

  • People usually add oil or butter after cooking the pasta to prevent them from sticking to one another. However, when you do that, the sauce does not stick to pasta and it does not become flavourful. So the technique is to constantly stir the pasta while it is still cooking. This prevents them from sticking to one another. And also do not underestimate the power of adding salt. The technique is to add a teaspoon of salt for every liter of water. Don’t worry because the pasta would not absorb the saltiness of the water.
  • For the sauce, you can add more cheese if you want. It’s best if you use mozzarella or parmiggiano. I used cheddar cheese and it still tasted great.
  • Also for the sauce, you can add around half a cup of water just so you can have a really smooth mixture. Don’t add too much water though.
  • The amount of garlic and onion will really vary according to your preference.
  • Never add pasta until the water is rapidly boiling. Then make sure that the water will rapidly boil again as soon as possible after placing the pasta in it.
  • To know when the pasta is already al dente, take a string of noodle and taste it. If it is still hard in the center, boil for a few more minutes. Don’t forget to stir every once in a while to prevent pasta from sticking to one another. Also don’t overcook it.
  • It is very important that the pasta is very hot when you add the sauce because the heat from the pasta will cook the egg. It will result in a really creamy sauce.
  • Reheating instructions: Place in a covered pan with about 4 tablespoons of water. Heat over low fire. This will prevent the pasta from being burnt/toasted. 🙂