Solar power to light Filipino homes in rural areas

Different organizations funded a total of more than $16 million in order to provide electricity  power to over 40,000 poor households in various rural areas in the Philippines.

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The Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA) of the World Bank provided $3 million while the European Union granted $12.8 million. The Department of Energy of the Philippines also pledged to give additional contribution to raise the fund.

According to the World Bank, the project will be focused mainly on providing electricity (to be powered by solar energy) to households located in isolated islands and remote areas all throughout the Philippines. The organization also believes that the lack of electricity is one of the primary reasons for the increase of marginalization.

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Although the project will be implemented across the Philippine archipelago, it will give more priority to the households in Mindanao that are widely affected by the ongoing conflict between the military and the rebel groups. Poverty in the conflict-affected areas in Mindanao are reported to be disproportionately high. Nearly one third of the poor people in these areas are still suffering from dark nights because of the absence of electric power.

As said by the World Bank Country Director for the Philippines Mara K. Warwick, “The certified solar packages will ensure not only lighting but will also provide households with energy efficient appliance packages including televisions, radios, phone chargers and fans.”

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Banana – Ginger Smoothie

If you find difficulty to make your kids drink healthy juice. Try making this smoothie recipes it’s delicious but also had healthy benefits!

Banana-Ginger-Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) vanilla yogurt or kefir
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Instructions

  1. Combine in a blendr all the ingredients and blend fully until soomth. Serve chilled.

Enjoy!

Turkey Salad Sandwich

This salad sandwich is best to go when in a hurry. Not only its delicious its also nutritious.

turkey salad

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons green onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon onion, grated
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons apple, diced
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 ½ cups turkey, cut into cubes (chicken)
  • ½ cup plain Latta Kefir
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • favorite bread

Instructions

  1. In large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix it well. After mixing it place the bowl with cover in the fridge and serve with bread and tomato slices.

Enjoy!

Strawberry-Ginger Shake

A healthy and refreshing treat that is easy to prepare with a fresh ingredients.

Strawberry-Ginger Shake

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 cups of plain kefir
  • 1 cup of strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ginger juice (to taste)

Instructions

  1. In a blender, mix all the ingredients and blend until fully smooth. If desired, add more honey and blend to combine and refrigerate. Serve chilled.

Enjoy!

Pork Afritada

Pork Afritada is a tomato-based stew with vegetables. Try making this stew for the whole family to enjoy!

pork afritada

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, quartered
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 2 pounds pork liver
  • 2 1/4 pounds boneless pork, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot place the pork and pour into a pot with enough water to cover the pork. Then add the soy sauce and lemon juice.
  2. Bring to boil the mixture for about 5 minutes. Remove and set  aside the meat. Discard the liquid.
  3. Refill the pot with fresh water then add the pork liver and boil for about 5 minutes. Remove the liver from the pot and allow to cool, then cut the liver into bite sized pieces then set aside.
  4. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then fry the potatoes until golden brown and cooked through. Place the potatoes on the paper towels.
  5. Into the skillet, add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onion and garlic then stir until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the pork, pork liver and cook for about 5 minutes then cover.
  6. Stir the tomatoes into the mixture then cook while stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes. Then add the potatoes with the green bell pepper. Season it with salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes.

Enjoy!

Pineapple Kefir Smoothie

Start your day with this refreshing smoothie made with fresh pineapple with kefir.

pineapple-kefir-smoothieIngredients

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 cup diced pineapple
  • 1/2 cup kefir
  • 16 ounces ice

Instructions

  1. Place the ice in the blender. Combine in a bowl the Kefir, pineapple and honey then add to the blender. Then blend until fully smooth. Pour into glasse and serve.

Enjoy!

Chicken Noodle Soup

Soups are best serve during the cold winter days or even serve any time of the day. Try this recipe for the whole family to share.

chicken noodle soupIngredients

  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove roasted garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 (12 ounce) package thin egg noodles
  • 2 skinless chicken leg quarters
  • 3 cubes chicken bouillon, crumbled

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, cook in oil the chicken pieces over medium heat, brown both sides. Add and cook the onions for about 2 minutes.
  2. Pour the water and chicken bouillon and bring to boil. Lessen the heat and simmer for about 45 min.
  3. Add in the garlic, pepper, carrots, salt and celery. Then simmer until the carrots are tender.
  4. Remove and tear the chicken meat from the bone. Stir the noodles into the pot and cook until tender.
  5. Return the chicken meat into pot and cook then serve.

Enjoy!

What’s your Weight Loss Formula?

I don’t buy a lot of the crap that the media cranks out with regards to weight loss, especially those reality shows for grossly obese people. While, yes, I’m sure a combination of diet and exercise is a surefire weight loss formula, not everyone does it that way. Just once, I’d like to see this concept fleshed out.

weight loss formulaFor example, the times when I lost a considerable amount of weight never had anything to do with any weight loss formula. At least not one that was sound. So personally, it has gotten to the point where I equate healthy living to being hungry.

But it’s not like I’m an advocate of fad diets either. I know that these things get a little crazy and you end up really screwed up because all you can think about is a piece of bread or whatever. Also, I feel like when you cut a part of your regular diet out, it makes you crabby.

So what is my personal weight loss formula? It involves getting really sick to the point of crying because of how uncomfortable I really am. As you can probably surmise, it also involves being unable to keep anything down for more than a few hours—yes, that means puking electrolytes at 3 AM in the morning.

If that sounds a little idiotic, that’s probably because it is. And the thing is, I know that it is more than a little foolish to think of this as a weight loss trick but that’s the only thing that has been effective for me. Getting really sick has gotten me through about 30 pounds in a little less than 2 weeks.

This isn’t to say that I induce illness, I’m not that crazy—I know that that is unhealthy on so many levels. But when I think back to how much weight I lost in the past, I’m inclined to think “Oh, that’s right, I lost that weight because I got sick.” Quickly ruling out a healthy lifestyle is an impulse for me.

I also know some people who insist that the perfect weight loss formula is a diet based on mostly oatmeal. Just thinking about it makes me gag—who can live on mush three times a day? It makes me think of how food is portrayed as a villain in these times.

weight loss formulaOther people insist that clear, tasteless broth is a weight loss formula that is completely foolproof. And I can’t help but reply, “Of course it’s effective, you’re basically drinking hot water.” This seems not only crazy to me, but also a red-eye towards shaking fits in the morning due to your body’s lack of sugar.

So what’s my point if I’m not pro crazy diets? My point is people are ridiculous and will always have their own weight loss formulas. 90% of which are probably unsafe and unrealistic.

Is there a lesson to all this, a position where insight can be achieved? No, not really. Just making an observation, is all.

All about Weight Control

weight controlSo many girls who fall into the pattern of having an eating disorder and people think it’s mainly because of insecurities. What they don’t know is that it’s as much about insecurity as it is weight control issues. It’s an aspect that isn’t usually investigated in most cases.

Weight is one of the relatively easier things to fix about one’s self. Consequently, it has some connotations both good and bad and has been a huge factor in self-esteem. It’s funny how something as insignificant as the measurement of one’s mass has become the forefront of superficial targeting.

One more thing that I’ve observed over the years is that weight control is not just a personal task. Parents of overweight children, sometimes, get in on the act. While I can certainly understand that it stems from concern, it’s also a ground for unnecessary insecurity in children.

I cannot stress enough that children should always be made to feel good about themselves. I’m not suggesting that parents lie to their children about health but I suppose it’s not too much to ask that they be a little bit kinder. Weight control sounds a little too harsh to me.

For example, maybe instead of just being obsessive about portion control, parents could also be involved in their children’s physical activities. And it shouldn’t just be a matter of correcting the problem when there is a problem. Playing with your kids should be a natural thing—not a prevention measure.

As an adult, it is relatively harder to manipulate one’s weight but there is also more pressure to remain fixated on just this one thing. When you are receptive to the majority’s ideas of what you should be, it’s easy to fall into the confines of counting calories. It seems that the message is everyone is shaped differently but only one shape can be beautiful.

weight controlWeight control in these situations is a little extreme. Obviously, we all know what we should do in order to be healthy. But when we preoccupy ourselves with a number, the pursuit of health turns into a bid to fit a cut-out that we were never meant to fit.

The thing is control is such a strong word; weight control is even more daunting. It connotes ideas of obsession and an ideology that weight is something to master—you are weak when you cannot even will yourself to starve to a lower number. How troubling that everything that that is prefaced by the word “weight” is already seen as a negative.

How did this happen? When did we start thinking of this word as dirty and depressing? Can we build a schema that recognizes it as just another number, a measurement that in no way defines who we are?

I think we can, but it would take a campaign as extensive as the one that the media is perpetuating in regards to a disapproving picture of the word “weight.” By realizing that weight control just denotes the idea of a healthy middle ground between the ideal and what is, we can counter the norm. And I, for one, hope that we do contradict this message.

Can I Lose Weight Easily?

lose weight easilyFor much of my life, I have been dealing with the problem of not being the right shape. In a society where beauty is hardly arbitrary, it can be hard for someone who is not naturally skinny to like themselves. You start and stop diets and you wonder, “Why can’t I lose weight easily?”

Growing up, my sisters were of considerably thinner built. They had no problem eating a ton and never gaining a pound while I struggled to keep my weight down by eating only a fraction of what I really wanted—they were girls who would always lose weight easily. Not to mention, eating only one real meal a day.

The rest of the day, I coasted on mini snacks and stomach grumbles that constantly reminded me that I was hungry. I was happy. I was finally the right size and everyone who beamed when they asked about my weight confirmed that I had done the right thing.

Was I finally one of the girls who could lose weight easily? Hell no. Even in my size extra small shirt and beneath my protruding collarbones, I knew that my thighs were still completely and utterly fat and it was not enough.

Now I knew that it would never have been enough. Recently, some of my newer friends found photos of me when I was (to them) a skinnier, sharper stranger—and they gaped in shock. How could that girl be the soft and plump girl they had lived with for four years now?

At first, I registered their shock as second-hand embarrassment—I couldn’t even bring myself to look at my old photos. I looked so much more different; honestly, everything about me was too small for my features. My eyes and my nose and my lips popped out from their frame, I had no idea that I had looked like that.

lose weight easilyThen I realized they were so shocked because the girl they knew now wouldn’t even begin to consider being that thin again. The girl they knew constantly prodded them to have realistic goals about the way they looked and was forever telling them about not letting the way you looked affect what you wanted to do. The girl they knew looked and felt like herself—and it was comfortable.

I now know that I look better when I look like myself. And while I still lose weight sometimes (and inevitably gain it back), it doesn’t bother me and I try very hard to not let that be the barometer for how I feel. I don’t think I will ever again be one of the girls who lose weight easily.

I have made my peace with that and I harbor no ill will towards skinny girls. I still cringe though, when girls have a bull session about how fat they are—I try to avoid those situations because I never know what to say when I’m in them. I don’t have it in me to complain anymore.

So, can I lose weight easily? No way, I will probably never go back down to my thinnest again. But that’s ok—I’m living off the scale now and my tummy has never been happier.