Anna Velas-Suarin

Wellness: Pinoy Style

Wellness has certainly become more than a buzzword. It has become the “ultimate” state of mind-body-spirit that many are aspiring for. Health no longer stands on its own. Many people have learned to embrace that health should be accompanied by wellness.

What is it really? There is no exact definition yet but for the sake of discussion, we will borrow the definition of Charles B. Corbin of the Arizona State University, who stated that, “Wellness is a multidimensional state of being describing the existence of positive health in an individual as exemplified by quality of life and a sense of well-being.” (Source:

Doc Jimmy: His passion for wellness and his faith in our natural ability to heal make him an extraordinary doctor. Photo shows him during the launch of his book, “Medicinal Fruits & Vegetables” (co-written with his wife, Ms. Becky Galvez Tan). Photo credits: PinoyWeeklyOnline

Our very own Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan, the former Secretary of Health, and a community and clinical practitioner of natural healing and integrative medicine is among the new breed of doctors and healers who have been passionately advocating holistic wellness. JR and I were happy to attend his talk last July 1 titled, “Wellness, Happiness, and Prosperity.” He once again emphasized that wellness encompasses several dimensions–physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, environmental, and occupational–practically every aspect of our life itself.  That is why it is very important to follow an integrative approach when it comes to our health and well-being. Neglect one aspect and you will ultimately feel the impact on the other. Even without any background on yoga or other Eastern principles, many of you already know that a happy and positive disposition in life almost always leads to good health.

Easier said than done, one might say. True. We are living in a highly stressful and toxic environments. Metro Manilans, for instance, deal with horrendous traffic, polluted air, and varying degrees of stress on a daily basis. How can we expect to live a life of balance and wellness when we cannot even escape the pollution in the air and the difficulties of our lives as urbanites? The answers will never ever be simple.

However, there are things that we can still control. For instance, we can choose to eat the right kinds of food, sleep 8 hours a day, drink plenty of water–Doc Jimmy recommends 10 glasses of water as we live in a tropical country–and do regular physical activities like walking and jogging. The sleeping, drinking, and exercising part should be pretty straightforward. The eating part becomes challenging particularly for busy urbanites who often do not have time to cook or prepare nutritious food. Another concern is the cost of food these days–many of us cannot afford following the food pyramid concept religiously because of the lack of income.

A banana a day helps keep the doctor away: Packed with iron, potassium, Vit. B, and fiber. (Photo credit:

That may be true in some ways but let us not forget that we are very fortunate because there is an abundance of fruits and vegetables around us and most of them do not really cost much. We also take it for granted that many of our “nature’s gifts” are packed with the nutrients that our bodies need for maintenance and the prevention of many sicknesses. For instance, the banana–available the whole year–is rich in iron, potassium, Vitamins A and B, fiber, and other nutrients that are good for the blood, memory, digestion, and the heart. (For more info on how nutritious this fruit is, visit The Natural Shelf.)

Even many of our Pinoy berries (e.g., aratiles, bignay, lipote, and duhat) are found to be high in antioxidants and important nutrients and are, therefore, health-givers and natural healers. But how can we access and eat all those fruits and vegetables if they are not always available the whole year or we do not even have the time to cook a decent breakfast before rushing off to work? The Natural Shelf rushes to the rescue.

Berrywell: It can “very well” be one of the best approaches in our search for wellnes. (Photo credits: The Natural Shelf).

The Natural Shelf, an innovative wellness company set up by Riva Galvez Tan (Doc Jimmy’s daughter) and her friends, promotes the health-giving properties and benefits of natural health products and positive and active lifestyle. It is soon introducing a new product line called berrywell, which are natural food supplements derived from Philippine berries, fruits and vegetables. With these supplements, you need not worry anymore about getting the daily nutrients that you need. Of course, the actual fruits and vegetables (preferably uncooked) are still the best source of nutrients but these supplements are perfect alternatives particularly for busy individuals and those with specific health needs. The berrywell line will be enjoyed in six variants: (1) Cleanse and Boost (cleanses the body by flushing out toxins obtained from the regular intake of unhealthy food, excessive alcohol, and exposure to pollution); (2)  Protect  (strengthens immune system and enhances overall well-being thereby decreasing the risks of infection; (3) Prevent (prevents cancer and kidney damage, rejuvenates liver cells, helps lower cholesterol levels, and relieves gastric pains and inflammation in the skin and muscles; (4) Restore (enhances memory and restores youthful glow); (5) Relax (relieves stress, promotes relaxation, and increases energy); and (6) Reduce (lowers blood glucose levels and helps in reducing weight).

The berrywell line is certainly a longed-for breakthrough. While our market is already flooded with many options for food supplements, it is very rare that we can enjoy an all-natural variant which is made of solely Philippine fruits and vegetables and completely meets (or almost completely meets) our daily nutritional requirements. I, for one, regularly takes malunggay (Moringa oleifera) supplements but I have been waiting for a Pinoy product that can incorporate many more fruits and vegetables in one or few variants. By the way, the berrywell line will be introduced in the market this August 2011 so you already have enough time to start saving for it!

Before I end this post, let me also share some more of Doc Jimmy’s talk, where he recommended 12 Steps Towards Wellness. I cannot adequately cover all the steps in this post but his “prescription” can be easily remembered because he has formulated an acronym for the 12 steps: BE PROSPEROUS. I have tried my best to summarize the 12 steps below:

B – BOOST your immunity.

E – Take the time to REFLECT each day.

P – PREVENT illnesses by  eating nutritious food.

R- RELAX and engage in yoga, tai-chi, etc. and listen to good music.

O – RESTORE your youth and beauty by using natural and home remedies.

S – CLEANSE your body by avoiding smoking and excessive drinking.

P – PROTECT yourself from illnesses by getting vaccination.

E- EXERCISE everyday or every other day.

R – AFFIRM that you are a happy and beautiful person.

O – RECONNECT with friends and families.

U – REDUCE and manage weight/BMI and blood sugar.

S – SHARE your blessings.

For the complete version of The 12 Steps, you may contact The Natural Shelf for a copy of Doc Jimmy’s lectures. The Natural Shelf has also produced health and wellness tips and they are already available in YouTube. Here is a video on How to Prepare Healthy Pinoy Salads featuring Doc Jimmy and Riva.

What are you waiting for? Pursue wellness, Pinoy style!


This is not a paid blog.

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