If you’re part of the itty-bitty-titty club, you might have heard of the Papaya Milkshake Theory. Apparently, the drink’s said to be a natural remedy for breast enlargement.
Its winning ingredient, phytoestrogens, is a plant-based compound that produces estrogen-like effects. It’s said to aid in reproductive development, particularly for women.
23-year-old Fion first learned about it through a Taiwanese Variety programme back in Secondary School. “I don’t recall who exactly, but celebrities were raving about this on a variety show,” she recounts, “I was instantly sold on the idea. My mom even stirred me on.”
During puberty, Fion would buy papayas and religiously prepare them every day. On days when time isn't of essence, she’ll actively seek out fruit juice stalls that sell them too. “It was a self-image thing, and I guess I was caught up with comparing myself with others.”
She’s embarrassed looking back at the episode now.
“Who even decided that big breasts were best??”
Then came acne and the height of K-pop. As much as she began obsessing over Korean culture, she became equally invested in achieving good skin. Whatever little she saved from pocket money quickly went into beauty products.
Not just that, but also collagen hot pots. Till this day, she hears a particular nagging in her head: “Drink more soup! It’s good for your complexion!” It’s one she grew up hearing, often repeated like a broken record.
“All these celebrities had such crystal glowy skin and silky hair. I felt horrible about myself with my acne-prone skin,” she recalls. Desperate in her hope that collagen hot pots were the long-fabled Fountain of Youth, Fion made it a point to consume them at least once a month.
The Professional Take:
Having been in this line for 15 years, Pooja’s unfazed by the ridiculousness of these fads. Yes, including the belief that people need less protein as they age (Fun fact: It’s false). That said, she’s never heard of the Papaya Milkshake fad in her life, and refrained from chiming in on its efficacy.
As a rule of thumb though, she stands wary of any one thing that’s touted as a cure-all miracle.
Asked her thoughts about less-known alternatives like edible Bird's Nests, and she isn't quick to dismiss it. Like hot pots, Bird’s Nests provide a rich source of collagen too, and have been proven to be effective in improving skin health.
Among many other healthy food choices, Pooja affirms that traditional remedies definitely have its place in the system. There’s no harm in trying a new thing, it seems. “Food like Bird’s Nests can be used as part one’s wider toolkit,” she adds.
“Just not a miracle that will override the effects of other factors like poor sleep and stress.”