Good Food, Good Life: All About Keeping A Balance 3/3

Good food, good life. It’s all about keeping the right balance.

Being away from home makes it easy to lapse into habits, especially when you’re away from your usual routine. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that when you’re on the road, your goal should be to maintain your fitness level, not necessarily improve it. If you’re training hard and eating right, a little splurge is more than deserved.

Here are some tips that work for me when I travel (whether for work or vacation), helping me strike the right balance between fitness and fun:

– Make sure you pack a pair of super lightweight sneakers and gym attire.

– Use hotel amenities to your advantage. Use the pool, gym, sauna or steam room. While most hotel gyms usually only come with basic cardio machines, I’ve been to a few that were well-equipped with barbells, dumbbells and even a Smith Machine!

– Work out approximately half of the days you’re there.

– Best way to explore around town? By foot! Put on your trainers and go for a jog. Make sure you take a map with ya!

– Work out first thing in the morning so you have the whole day to yourself.

– Pack your protein powder and supplements in ziplock bags so you always have an inexpensive, quick meal ready!

– Drink plenty of SKY JUICE! Water, that is. Go for a glass red or light beer instead of frozen, sugar-packed drinks.

– Try to keep your same sleeping habits so your body clock isn’t extremely altered.

Now back to Switzerland. So I’ve indulged in some quality Swiss cheese and chocolate. What next? More food! This time, it’s strictly educational.

After a satisfying meal at Les Sifflets, we headed toward Lake Geneva to check out the Alimentarium food museum.
After a satisfying meal at Les Sifflets, we headed toward Lake Geneva to check out the Alimentarium food museum.

 As we walked along the Quai Perdonnet, off of Vevey’s charming old town, this giant fork came to view. It stands 8-meters in height and is made entirely from stainless steel. Swiss artist Jean-Pierre Zaugg designed this work of art in 1995, to commemorate the Alimentarium Food Museum’s 10th anniversary.

This controversial work of art was meant to be a temporary piece but apparently the people of Vevey had grown to love it so much that it practically became a public symbol. Following petitions, Vaud authorities finally signed papers in 2008 declaring the fork stays permanently.

Remember Ariel in ‘The Little Mermaid’? She used a fork to comb her hair 😛
Christine was our unofficial photographer. Thanks for being a sport! She helped the guys and I take photos from our cameras and our phones 😛
The fork stands right in front of the Alimentarium. The Alimetarium food museum is dedicated to various aspects of nutrition. The museum houses a permanent exhibition on the production, processing, effect and trading of food within the framework of the four topics of cooking, eating, buying and digesting.
A spoon to match the fork sculpture.
A spoon to match the fork sculpture.
From different methods of cooking to the different utensils and cookware, there was a lot to learn about the history of its origins!
An example of a typical Swiss diet. The ideal meal plan – Eat often and in moderation.
The average food consumption per week then and now.

As a food and wellness company, it was a fitting joint-venture for Nestle to support the Alimentarium since it opened in 1985. Some locals recognize it as the Nestle museum because you’ll also find the history of Nestle in one the exhibition rooms. It takes you through the development of Nestle products through the years including original Maggi noodles packaging from years ago. Funny how Singaporeans think of Maggi and Milo as local brands but it’s actually from Switzerland!

Check out the retro Nestle artwork used for advertising and promotional items!

Well worth a visit. Why? The better you understand food and how it is processed in your body, the better the choices you’ll make!

After an educational journey about all things food (from the farm production to your digestive system), we took the bus to Avenue Nestle to visit the Nestle headquarters.
Nestle is the biggest food and wellness company in the world. They even have a road named after them!
At the Nestle store, you’ll be able to find most of the products under the brand, from confectionary to cosmetics. I was surprised to find that brands like Garnier, Maybelline and Lancome is partly owned by Nestle/L’Oreal.
Beautiful homes up the hill near the Nestle HQ. I could totally live/work here… Now if only there was a beach.nearby!
Office with a view.

Nestle is popularly known for its baby products. Their journey began in Switzerland in the mid 1860’s when founder Henri Nestle created one of the first baby formulas as an alternative for mothers who couldn’t breast feed.

Since then, Nestle has continued to develop nourishing food for the whole family – from infants, growing teens, adults, and the elderly to pets! I was surprised at how many brands were under Nestle. Even Powerbar!

I’m sure you’re all familiar with convenient Nespresso coffee machine and capsules. Did you know that they also have something similar for tea and baby’s milk? Very innovative!
Maggi products adapted to local consumers in India.
Millions of different people relate Nestle to thousands of different things. For me, it’s a hearty breakfast and enjoyable tea breaks.

I had the privilege of meeting a really international group of digital marketing professionals at the Nestle HQ on our last day. They literally were from all over the world, based in Vevey for 8 months at a time. Alvin, Brad and I each had a chance to stand up and share how social media has influenced our lives and enabled us to build an online community.

Representing our different countries! I took the Malaysian flag because that’s where I live now. Alvin is holding the Singapore flag, can you see it?

Digital marketing is a such fast-moving and often complicated industry, and while I felt a bit nervous giving a full-on powerpoint presentation about my life and social media in front of a corporate team of experienced people, they kindly made me feel welcome and we all learned a lot from each other.

It’s all about a healthy work-life environment at Nestle. The day starts early for Nestle employees as they punch in at 7/8am and leave the office by about 5/6pm. Most shops (with restaurants and bars as an exception) in Vevey close around 5pm. On my last night, I went out to get dinner and was surprised to find that all the shops were already closed! I can’t read French, which made it difficult to order at any restaurant. I was also being quite picky and refused any pizza or pasta. Luckily, there was a kebab shop near the hotel so I ended up getting a chicken kebab for 10Francs.

A scenic view of the lake from the Nestle cafeteria. I would eat here everyday!
Check out the dishes they offer at the Nestle canteen! Wouldn’t it be nice to know the nutrition facts before deciding what to eat?

That’s the end of my amazing journey with Nestle. An equally fun and educational trip where I learned a lot not just about the brand but also on food and nutrition.

Good Food, Good Life with Nestle. Thank you for this amazing journey!
Good Food, Good Life with Nestle.

Thank you for this unforgettable journey!

Good Food, Good Life: Mmm, Chocolates… (Part 2/3)

So let’s talk about the next best thing you can get in Switzerland: Chocolates.

Mmm, chocolates. Particularly, Cailler (pronounced “kah-yey”) chocolates — the oldest Swiss chocolate brand founded way back in 1819 that melts the hearts (and in the mouth) of many chocolate lovers until today.

I went to Maison Cailler in Broc, Gruyère, to find out how François-Louis Cailler produced the world’s first chocolate bar.

The fine milk from the region, the top quality cocoa, the skill and the secrets behind chocolate manufacture and the wide range of products make Cailler one of the best-known and best-loved Swiss chocolate companies.
My camera failed to take a jumping shot of all of us (Carl, Alvin, myself and Brad). But as you can tell from this photo, we were all pretty stoked to be here! Blue skies, big smiles.
Scream yay for Cailler!

Welcome to Maison Cailler! I was welcomed by this huge wall of chocolates that shelved the most impressive range of Cailler chocolates, in several delectable flavors at the gift shop.

Most of us probably have dreamt about going to a chocolate factory, at least at some point in our lives. Nestle gave me the golden ticket to live that dream…

What’s your weakness?
The chocolate tour takes you through the origins of chocolate, the early days of the factory and the history of the Maison Cailler. A veritable sound and light spectacular, the show takes you on a magical journey through the tantalizing world of chocolate.

DID YOU KNOW THAT the first milk chocolate was discovered as a beverage? The secret ingredient to making it into a chocolate bar like we are used to today is COCOA BUTTER. When added to chocolate mixture,  it creates a solid chocolate bar.

The history of chocolate goes back a long way. Many years ago, the Maya Indians lived in Guatemala in Central America. They moved from Guatemala to the south-central part of Mexico. The Maya Indians took the cacao plant and beans with them. This plant grew in the rain forest. The Mayan people made a powder from the cacao beans. They then made a drink from the cocoa powder.

This drink was very bitter and the Mayans used it as a medicine for coughs and fever. Later, the Aztec people began to rule Mexico. They found out about the cocoa drink and called it ‘xocalatl’. And that’s where the word chocolate comes from.

BOOM! History class on chocolates for you choco-lovers.

Getting to know more about one of my favorite desserts…
Sampling the different types of cocoa beans and nuts used in chocolates.
When’s the best time to eat chocolate? For me, it’s after a workout. Not everyday, of course! A kid wrote ‘Star Wars’ — totally something 8 year-old Charles would say.
Mint dark chocolates… An occasional treat for the fitness freak. What’s your favorite flavor of xocolatl?
After the interactive tour on the history of chocolates, and exploring the fine ingredients used to produce it, we finally made it to the factory floor, where you can see for yourself how chocolate is made.

From machine to wrapper then straight into my mouth!

The original Cailler milk chocolate was such a treat for my tastebuds.
The best part of the tour was at the end, when we walked into this chocolate sampling room. At least 30 different types and brands of chocolate by Nestle were in display. ALL FRESH!

My mouth began to water. I held back as much as I could, but some of them looked too good to pass on. I finally caved after I saw a giant tray of Cailler’s Ambassador noir (dark) chocolates. It was all over from there. I had one after another!

Don’t just eat it. Savor it!
Cailler chocolates are sold exclusively in Switzerland. The perfectly cool climate in Switzerland makes it easy on the shelf-live for Cailler chocolates as it stays fresh. Time to stock up!

After picking up a few souvenirs at the store, Christine surprised us with special a treat to Les Sifflet for cheese fondue.

Appetites whetted, it’s time to eat a full meal.
Most menus I’ve seen were in French so if you’re planning to visit, make sure you have a French-English dictionary handy!
Okay, I’ll admit this: I didn’t just have a cheat meal or a cheat day… I had a cheat week during this trip 😛
Every time they brought out the fondue it was accompanied by marching music, a huge Swiss flag and two staff members decked out in general hats.
I wasn’t worried about my fitness. Just learning to live a little!

 Wrapping up my amazing journey with Nestle on my next post. Hang tight!