May 24, 2024

January has been designated as Zero Waste Month, mandated in 2014 through Presidential Proclamation 760. One of the goals of this advocacy is to reduce the amount and toxicity of waste products.
In her book “Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste” published in 2013, environmental activist and author Bea Johnson discussed her concepts and principles of zero waste in a minimalist lifestyle that included the five Rs in waste management.
Translated to our health practices, we can incorporate these five Rs:
Refuse to take medications that have no proven efficacy. This refusal will prevent production of drugs or products that have no proven benefit. Raw materials will not be wasted and less waste is generated. Some food supplements contain substances we can get from natural sources;
Reduce consumption of sugary and high-caloric food. This helps prevent diabetes mellitus and related illnesses that nowadays are the preventable illnesses that require medications and fuel the need for more research and expensive drugs;
Reuse and extend the usefulness of food and other products. Properly cover and store leftover food so that these can be consumed during the next meal;
Recycle containers of food or medications as containers for condiments or spices; and
Rot organic waste like fruit peels and vegetable trimmings.
In health, maintaining ideal body weight and losing excess body weight helps in zero waste lifestyle:
We buy smaller sizes of clothing we contribute to less usage of raw materials;
We buy smaller sizes of shoes;
We sleep better and our productivity increases;
Our self-image improves leading to less anxiety and depression, and less visits to clinic; and
We can carry our body more easily and walk a longer distance, hence less wastage of gas.

The new Omicron variant XBB 1.5 of the Covid-19 now causes more than 40 percent of cases in the United States. It spreads more easily – twice as fast – compared to previous variants. It causes similar symptoms like the initial strains of the virus.
The nature of disease caused by this variant is still being monitored, initial observations by U.S. health authorities show no indications that it causes severe disease. Nevertheless, we should still observe precautions, since studies have shown that even asymptomatic and mild disease may lead to long Covid.
Vaccination protects against severe Covid-19, along with these basic measures which we should continue to observe despite relaxed measures: proper hand hygiene; masking, especially when in crowded areas and in health facilities; if symptomatic, stay at home. May do self-testing; and also avoid exposure to persons suspected or confirmed to have Covid-19.
We can add that after those revenge parties, trips, and outings, let us settle down and let us help reduce, reuse, and recycle things and refuse wastage.
Let us recharge to face the challenges of inflation and environmental changes. Let us hope to be able to revisit and cook favorite recipes when the price of onions drops – healthy bangus sisig is a favorite; and to discover too the joys of staying at home to tend to our small gardens and grow those low-maintenance onion leeks; or learn new recipes like the awesome and unforgettable sayote salad of my dear friend and cousin, manang Tita Buangan.

Medical/health suggestions or questions may be emailed to [email protected] or [email protected].