|Sekaya Botanic Infusion from Unilab|
“Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” This famous quote is often attributed to Hippocrates (400BC), known as the father of Medicine. This quote, though thousands of years old, acknowledges the importance of healthy eating and how the nutrients in various foods have natural healing properties. It emphasizes the importance of nutrition to prevent or cure disease.
The most obvious role of nutrition is to support the physical body itself. Although social media’s food messages typically demonize a type of food in its entirety, the truth is that all foods (fuels)— carbohydrates of all types, a protein of all types, and fats of all types—play unique supporting roles in healing and sustaining our physical bodies. This different food (fuel) groups work synergistically together in beautiful balance. Understanding what each fuel group provides and how the fuel groups work together reinforces trust in the body’s ability to balance the food it receives. This balance does not depend on perfection in either exact measurements or micro-managing macronutrients and/or calories to be effective—a concept that is hard to believe now but becomes easier as you practice balanced eating from all fuel groups consistently.
Today, the term "clean eating" has become very popular in the health community. It’s a diet pattern that focuses on fresh, whole foods. This lifestyle can be easy and enjoyable. Going natural is having a renaissance as many consumers are becoming more conscious about the products they use. This growing interest in everything natural has led to the influx of products that claim to be so. But is it safe to assume that everything labeled natural is safe and effective for consumption?
Clean eating involves choosing foods that are minimally processed, ethically raised, and rich in naturally occurring nutrients. Nature has given mankind everything it needs to survive, it’s the exacting measures of science that has validated and harnessed its full potential. It’s through science that the medical industry learned how to process plants for efficacy and safety. Not all-natural solutions in the market, however, are backed by science, producing sub-standard products that are ineffective and may be harmful to consumers.
|Two of my most favorite Sekaya Botanic Infusion variants: Cozy Calm and Easy Nightcap|
I recently discovered this plant-based brand called Sekaya, a term taken from Sentro ng Pangkatutubong Yaman, produced by a well-loved and trusted pharmaceutical company, Unilab's natural products company Synnovate Pharma Corporation. Its vision is to partner with the best food providers in town and bring wellness to the table.
Sekaya offers high-quality plant-based products that are proven by science and tested by tradition. It is a brand under Synnovate Pharma Corporation, the natural products company of United Laboratories, Inc. (UNILAB).
|Sekaya Botanic Infusion in Liver Vitality and Skin Cleanse variants|
Its goal is to provide consumers with products that offer functional wellness. Sekaya ensures that it only offers nature’s life-nurturing gifts that are backed by the brilliance of science. Sekaya focuses on plant-based ingredients that have been traditionally used for their health-promoting benefits and are recently backed-up with scientific evidence.
This Filipino brand offers products that are scientifically studied and meticulously processed within pharmaceutical-grade facilities to ensure the safety and purity of each. They are tested against microbial contamination, pesticide residues, heavy metals, and molds—ensuring customers that what they consume is safe and of high-quality.
|Sekaya Botanic Infusions in Pu-erh Trim, Hibiscus Petals, Easy Nightcap, Energy Mix and Aftermeal Treat|
The brand has four product lines: Sekaya Botanic Infusions, Sekaya Raw Actives, Sekaya Food Supplements and Sekaya Botanicare. Sekaya’s first line of products, Botanic infusion, is a blend of traditional botanicals synergized to assist the body’s self-healing functions. It offers 24 variants but only 8 are currently available. When compared to teabags, Botanic infusions come in loose leaves, roots, and bark that doesn’t have a bitter after-taste, and no lasting teeth discoloration.
|Energy Mix, Gentle Detox, Pu-erh Trim and Easy Nightcap|
What do I love about Sekaya Botanic Infusions? The leaves, flowers, roots, and bark dance in the water—so you are assured that there’ll be a full release of flavors in the water when compared to ordinary steeped tea bags where the leaves are thinly crushed and more constricted.
Sekaya’s Pu-erh Trim, which uses pu-erh tea from Yunnan, China, helps boost metabolism. Their Mango Summer botanical infusion has marigold petals from Egypt and black Ceylon tea leaves from Sri Lanka with ripe mango essence, which combined serve as an antioxidant. Hibiscus, meanwhile, prepared using hibiscus petals from Egypt, helps in maintaining healthy blood pressure (and, guess what? Hibiscus is said to be more potent than matcha [green tea] because it has 3x more antioxidants.
Sekaya Botanical Infusions aren’t just your typical teas. So what makes the difference? Teas and botanical infusions may look initially the same, but here’s what sets them apart: if the leaves are not taken from the evergreen shrub species Camellia Synensis, which produces teas like chamomile, jasmine and the like, it is technically not tea but tisane (herbal tea). Both tea and tisanes, however, are considered botanical infusions, hence the terminology by the brand Sekaya.
Sekaya Botanic Infusion is the only natural products in the country that were processed and quality-tested in accordance with the more stringent pharmaceutical standards, as opposed to many natural products in the market which have been processed at non-cGMP (current good manufacturing process) facilities thus exposing them to bacterial and final contamination.
I was privileged enough to attend a webinar recently entitled: “Revealing the Science Behind Nature in Promoting Overall Wellbeing” hosted by Ms. Issa Litton for Sekaya. Two guest speakers talked about how we can all reach optimum health through science and to cope in this time of crisis.
|Sekaya Raw Actives Daily Greens|
The first speaker was Rolando “Oyie” Balburias, M.D., FPCP, IFMCP, General Internal Medicine and IFM Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner, and one of the country’s pioneering doctors for functional medicine. He conducted a talk on The Science of Natural Products discussing the importance of applying science in the development of natural health solutions. Dr. Balburias also touched on the indicators that make natural products effective and safe, and taught participants how to read and understand product labels and verify claims made by natural brands.
|Dr. Oyie Balburias explained about the modern chronic diseases|
“When choosing natural products, people should look into the source of the ingredients and the processes they went through,” Dr. Balburias said. “High-quality natural products that are effective consider the therapeutic benefits of the raw ingredients based on their science-backed capability to restore homeostasis and balance of the body systems. These products also go through a tedious process that considers the ingredients’ biochemical compatibility with our body's physiologic and biologic systems design.”
Dr. Balburias shared that a natural health product is defined by two characteristics: 1. That they are natural, meaning they must come from plant/herbs, marine species, or minerals. 2. They are promoted, sold, or used primarily for their health benefits.
People are more becoming aware and are more receptive to natural plant-based and local products. In fact, based on research, 54% of Filipinos prefer locally produced dairy or snacks. That’s why it’s no longer surprising that more establishments carry natural made local products.
"People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health and is treated by the Health Industry, which pays no attention to food.”
According to Dr. Balburias, sadly, the current medical field is more focused on the care after illness rather than prevention. And since most diseases are asymptomatic (like killer heart ailments), we don’t know when we may become chronically ill.
In my personal experience, I had no idea I was already diabetic until I saw my right eye bled while in the middle of attending an event sometime in 2015. We shouldn’t wait for symptoms to show up, we better have ourselves checked on a regular basis and see our physicians even if we’re healthy.
There are currently 4 Modern Chronic Diseases namely: Lifestyle Habits, Genetic Disposition, Dietary Influence, Environmental Load= Epigenetic Effect.
|Three MDs one patient with multiple MDs|
With multiple diagnoses, we’d be having multiple doctors since we’d be having one doctor for every disease and symptom. And of course, if we have multiple ailments, we’d have multiple prescribed drugs as well. But as Dr. Balburias explained, our body works as a whole system because it’s made to function as a whole. That’s why it’s equally important to take care of our entire health.
Unfortunately, in this day and age, the food we eat, and the kind of lifestyle we have has a lot to do with our overall health. Are natural products really effective? Are they better than unnatural or synthetic choices? Take note, the word natural isn’t synonymous with being safe.
|Six determinants of health as explained by Dr. Balburias|
In order to achieve a healthy ecosystem, there are 6 determinants of health: Nutrition (from production to ingestion to egestion), Fitness (physical activities to enhance your optimal health), Stress (what makes us stressed and how we cope with stress), Weight (our numbers matter), Sleep (sleep to recuperate and heal) and Detoxification (how our body gets rid of toxins).
Vitamins have generally proven to be safe, but it’s important to know how much does your body system needs? Supplements can be part of your overall wellness plan, provided you use them wisely. And don’t forget to read the label. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. Supplements are just that—supplemental. They cannot replace a nutrient-dense, real and whole foods.
|Dr. Deanna Minich was the webinar's second speaker|
Second speaker for the webinar was Internationally-recognized teacher, author, scientist, speaker, and artist Deanna Minich, PhD., FACN, CNS, IFMCP who gave a lecture on why Healthy Food is Happy Food. Most people often associate happy food or comfort food with high caloric choices that are perceived to taste better and are more effective mood boosters. Dr. Minich tapped into her over 20 years of experience as a nutrition educator and mind-body medicine health expert to share insights on how eating healthy positively impacts our mental and physical wellness, and have long-term benefits for our health.
According to Minich, 40% of people’s actions are habits rather than decisions. Eating inflammatory foods leads to an inflamed body. “Stress can get in our way of eating healthy as increased cortisol and changes in hormones can alter our cravings. Most of the time, stress eating often leads to eating low-nutrient foods,” Dr. Minich said. “We know this will only lead to unhealthy eating habits that will result in adverse effects on your body in the future but various studies have shown that healthier foods can actually affect our mood.”
Features of an Inflammed Diet:
High-heat cooking and frying
High glycemic index/load
Poor-quality trans fats
Low in color
High sugar; high added sugar intake
I am guilty of stress-eating just like everyone else. But stress can get in the way of eating healthy. Increased cortisol and changes in hormones and neurotransmitters that can alter satiety and cravings. Emotional eating leads to eating high-energy, low-nutrient foods.
Taste of foods changes under stress, which may lead us to choose more flavor-intense foods. We must eat colorful, plant-based foods that lead to a vibrant body.
|How foods affect us emotionally|
“If you want to change your mood, you need to change your food."
Eating more fruits and vegetables reduce inflammation and enhance immune function. Eating fruits and vegetables is associated with well-being. It gives you a feeling of curiosity, happiness, higher creativity, life satisfaction, motivation, positivity, and vitality.
“There are three things to bring into a meal: Color, Creativity, and Variety. One simple change is full of great, big, huge potential. “- Minich
With the influx of natural brands to address demand, and at times overwhelming, even contradictory information on these. Aside from products that offer functional wellness, Sekaya wants to help educate consumers to be more discerning and make well-informed decisions as these impact their health and wellbeing.”
The current times present a wake-up call and a strong reminder on the utmost importance of keeping our health in check and nothing perhaps can be more reassuring than being able to turn to natural solutions that are not only tested by tradition but also proven by science.
Sekaya Botanical Infusions, Raw Actives, Sekaya Supplements, and Sekaya Botanicare are available on Sekaya's Official Instagram account and this coming June will also be available on Lazada.
Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. Sorry, I'm such a fan of these botanic infusions, the photos seen are most of my personal purchase.