Having a balanced or plant-based food selection is nothing new. These days, more and more people are learning about the power of food, and how different habits can be beneficial for total health.
“Our body is not just pieces of organs. It is made up of energy and information, and definitely part is how we also communicate to one another — it’s functioning as a system. It requires a lot of substrates, like micronutrients and macronutrients, and we get that from food,” began Dr. Oyie Balburias, an internal medicine doctor and health optimization medicine practitioner.
One of the pioneering Filipino doctors for Functional Medicine, Dr. Balburias headlined a webinar organized by Sekaya, the homegrown brand which built on harnessing the healing effects of nature.
“Sadly, our modern nutrition is not able to provide all these substrates. That’s why we are getting sicker and sicker mentally, emotionally and definitely physically.”
Additionally, the brain requires nutrients like hormones and Vitamin D for the mental, emotional, cognitive, and memory functions to work properly. The doctor said these can be gained from nature or nutritious whole foods — those that are unprocessed and do not have any unfamiliar ingredients or chemicals — as bodies are designed to be connected to those.
Balburias also clarified that it is not all about counting calories, and that balancing fats, protein, and carbs are needed. The composition of the food is the most crucial.
Joining the webinar was Dr. John La Puma M.D. who spoke about culinary medicine. He is board-certified in internal medicine, a professionally trained chef and an urban organic farmer. The two-time New York Times best-selling author hosted the series “What’s Cooking with ChefMD?” and “Health Corner,” and became
First off, he said that healthy food should not be expensive or high-end, and that families can always make the change at home. Generally, people enjoy spending time in the kitchen and being surrounded by food, and learning how to cook is an important tool to improve health and to control what is being eaten.
“Culinary medicine blends the art of cooking with the science of medicine to create restaurant quality meals that help to prevent and treat disease,” explained La Puma. “It’s not expensive because you learn to cook in quantity and to preserve what you cook, either by freezing it or by making it into other meals.”
Culinary medicine aims to help people rediscover food, cooking, and eating as a way to help their health.
“It blends different parts of medicine and nutrition into a way to cook healthy and simply without saying any one diet is the best diet or you have to not eat meat. It also embraces all styles and traditions of cooking, because each tradition of cooking has a wisdom in it,” Dr. La Puma continued.
In Filipino and Asian cuisine, meats and vegetables are traditionally prepared simple yet flavorful. Unfortunately, this has been forgotten as more highly processed foods are available. Going to nearby markets and local shops can make more people score fresh produce at affordable prices too. La Puma recommended making soups filled with vegetables to make the most of ingredients and to easily make a healthy meal.
If going to nearby markets or local shops is not possible given the current circumstances, an alternative would be Sekaya’s new line called Raw Actives. The powdered nutrient-dense superfoods can be mixed into dishes and beverages to help further a life of wellness.
To inspire the public further, the webinar also invited personalities who took charge of their health and ended up creating positive changes in their lives.
One of them was JP Alipio, a National Geographic Explorer, athlete, and founder of the Cordillera Conservation Trust, a leading group dealing with Philippine mountain ecosystems and indigenous cultures. He started to see the benefits of a plant-based diet after getting injured, and advised that going to nearby markets and having meat or unhealthy food once in a while is okay.
Tanya Aguila, co-founder of Onelife, Pilates and physical therapy studios, shared she decided to change her food habits after seeing the benefits of daily yoga.
Meanwhile, Bea Ledesma, a group publisher for several local titles, proudly noted how going plant-based helped her reverse diabetes, improve her sleep, and control her hyperacidity.
Finally, Rico Jose Manuel David or “Dok Bok,” confessed to once struggling with obesity, diabetes, hypertension, acne as well as anxiety and sleepless nights. He recommended making smoothies with different fruits and vegetables, then counting the colors on the plate.