Not too long ago, I embarked on this personal journey to be healthier. One of the first changes that I made to my diet was switching from cow’s milk to non-dairy milk. There’s been a lot of research that suggest we aren’t meant to drink animal’s milk as our bodies cannot digest it and that dairy may actually be more harmful than beneficial to our health. I must say that before you make any radical changes to your own diet, do your own research and decide for yourself.
I chose to make the switch because I’m working on eating less animal products, eating healthier and in a way that is gentler on the planet.
It was one of the easiest changes I made thanks to a huge selection of non-dairy milks on the market. That, plus the fact that my uncle whom I lived with in Florida at the time only drinks Silk. He was right when he said “once you start drinking Silk, there’s no going back to dairy milk”.
The first couple of changes I noticed in my body after I stopped drinking dairy milk regularly is 1) my acne problem improved and 2) I felt less bloated in the morning.
So I did some research and learned that:
1) Milk contains components related to the hormone testosterone that may stimulate oil glands in the skin, setting the stage for acne or aggravating its condition. My unhealthy eating habits of fast food and junk food obviously didn’t help either.
2) Dairy doesn’t cause bloating for everyone, but about 70% adults have some kind of lactose intolerance, which is when the body doesn’t have the necessary enzyme to break down the lactose sugar. This causes increased gassiness because that sugar is not broken down. I concluded that having cereal with dairy milk in the morning was the likely cause of my morning bloat.
Lactose intolerance can develop over time and is often a normal part of aging since our bodies produce fewer lactase enzymes as we age. It is apparently more common in people with Asian, African, Native American, or Mediterranean ancestry than it is among northern and western Europeans. Approximately 30 million American adults have some amount of lactose intolerance by age 20. So don’t feel bad if you suddenly realize you can’t drink like you used to! There’s always a better and healthier substitute.
Silk soy milk was the first non-dairy milk I tried back in 2007 and while I didn’t fall head over heels initially, it eventually grew on my taste buds with time. To be honest, the flavor of it unsweetened isn’t my favorite, but when I mix it into other foods I don’t notice it as much. They also have sweetened varieties of course. No matter the brand you buy, look for organic, GMO-free soy milk whenever possible.
When I initially moved to Kuala Lumpur in 2010, I struggled to find any Silk or organic non-dairy milk. The only options I had were pasteurized milk, skimmed milk, sweetened soy milk or sugary ‘soya bean drink‘. I checked out the dry (not cold) dairy aisle and found almond milk and rice milk on the shelves but to my dismay, either the drinks went bad or just doesn’t taste good… at all. Good thing I was able to get it at Cold Storage in Singapore so I used to bring a carton back to KL every time I visited. Now, you can get Silk Soymilk in Malaysia at Village Grocer, Presto, Isetan or Cold Storage.
I’ve since tried other non-dairy milk, and from other brands as well, such as almond milk, rice milk and oat milk. With the increasingly high demand of healthy foods, it’s finally taking over big supermarkets in Singapore and Malaysia.
My favorite is Silk’s Almondmilk (Unsweetened/Vanilla). However, I wished it came un a smaller size so I don’t waste any! Almondmilk has a shorter shelf life than Silk organic soymilk (below) and sometimes certain stores only carry one or the other.
Silk almondmilk and Silk organic soymilk have less sugar, cholesterol and calories than skimmed milk or 2% dairy milk.
Check out the comparison taken from their website below:
Another reason to spend a few more bucks on organic: while both organic and conventional whole milk have the same amount of fat, organic has a better balance of essential fatty acids, including 62% more Omega-3s and 25% fewer omega-6s. Limiting intake of the latter can help reduce the risk of a variety of chronic conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease and autoimmune disorders. To learn more about the difference between Omega-3s and Omega-6s, check out this article.
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Another good reason to start drinking Silk: You can now order Silk soymilk online in Singapore and Malaysia! They don’t carry almond milk (for now) as the shelf life is quite short, but you can get other varieties of soymilk including chocolate and vanilla.
Use the discount code below upon checkout to get 10% off Silk products and all other products listed except those already on promotion. Valid for both online stores until 30th April 2014.
You may choose to do either 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps for each exercise (rest between 30 to 60 seconds in between sets) OR if you looking to do a bit of cardio, try the HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) method. I use the Gymboss app on my phone to set up the interval timer.
To do the HIIT method, follow the sequence below:
Bulgarian split squats (20 or 30 secs)
Tricep dips (20 or 30 secs)
Squat sidekick (20 or 30 secs)
Plank squat (20 or 30 secs)
Plank twist (20 or 30 secs)
Single arm toe touch (20 or 30 secs)
REST (40 or 60 secs)
Do as many reps as you can for each exercise in either 20 or 30 seconds (depending on your fitness level) and move on to the next. Rest period is either 40 or 60 seconds (if you worked for 20 secs, rest for 40 secs / if you worked for 30 secs, rest for 60). Repeat the sequence for a total of 3 times.
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1) Start off with the legs and work on your balance and glutes with the Bulgarian split squat.
The two bottles you see next to chair are my homemade dumbbells! Look for a plastic bottle that comes in an hourglass shape so it’s easy to hold on to. Fill it up with sand, beans or even just water and voila! You got yourself a recyclable 2-pound dumbbell.
2) For the arms and triceps, use a stable dining chair to do tricep dips:
4) Work up a sweat and engage those abs with this plank to squat move.
*Make sure your hands are directly in line with your shoulder in a plank/push-up position. Brace your core and make sure that your back is flat and your head, neck and spine are in a straight line. Avoid letting your stomach drop or allow your hips to rise up.
5) Move on to the obliques while keeping the heart rate up with this plank twist.
6) Lay down on a mat or towel and fire up those abs with single arm toe touches.
When you are feeling good, you are not overly concerned with yourself. Things are just good. When you are feeling bad, you are usually overly concerned with yourself. Things are bad because you are bad. That is the kind of unconscious thought about yourself that can hurt you. That is why it is important to consciously think of yourself. If you do not think consciously about yourself, you will think unconsciously about yourself. When you think about yourself consciously, those hurtful unconscious thoughts can’t sneak up on you so easily.
As you think consciously of yourself, remember that you are not what you think you are. That is especially true if you think you are somehow awful. The opposite is also true. You are what you think you are. That is why it is important to pay attention to what you think you are, because you will convince yourself that you are that. If you consciously decide what you are, then you have a good starting point. You will know just where you stand with yourself.
As you decide what you are, you should ask yourself a few basic questions.
You should ask yourself if you would like happiness for yourself. You should ask yourself if you would like happiness for others. You should ask yourself if you and others deserve happiness.
If the answers to these questions are yes, yes and yes, then you know that you are something extraordinarily good and deserving. From that point forward, you can continue to think consciously about yourself and not allow yourself to believe any thoughts which suggest that you are anything less.
The difficulty with unconscious thoughts is that they are unconscious. They are hard to see. When you can’t see the thoughts you can still feel the feelings that they produce. If you are feeling good, good. You’re not thinking bad things about yourself. If you are feeling bad, watch to see what you think is wrong with you and don’t believe it. Remind yourself that you are wonderful and you deserve happiness.
“Embrace and make peace with where you are, and your journey toward something new will feel much more peaceful, rewarding, and satisfying.”
It can be very hard to know ourselves; it’s easy to be distracted by the way we wish we were, or think we ought to be, or what others think we should be, until we lose sight of what is actually true. Since my trip to Vikasa last November, I’ve been inspired to meditate more in order to create self-awareness and reflect deeper on my thoughts.
Instead of coming up with a whole list of new year resolutions, this year I came up with a lifetime resolution. I’m focusing more attention on my mind and soul while taking care and nourishing my body for good health. I’d like to be more in touch with my deeper thoughts, emotions and relationships with others.
Why is this suddenly important to me?
For most of us life is a series of practiced steps. Daily, weekly, monthly routines…routines piggyback routines as months turn into years and our lives race by. Have you ever stopped asked yourself why?
Why do I follow these routines? What do they do for me? Are they moving me towards my higher goals? Are they moving me towards my life’s purpose? Are they helping me become the person I want to be?
To answer these questions and to re-evaluate our assumed routines, we need to increase our self-awareness. Being self-aware can help us re-prioritise our lives so that we live in accordance with what really matters to us; so that every day we are moving ourselves closer to the place and the person we want to be.
Self-awareness is more than just knowing our strengths and weaknesses. Becoming self-aware means acknowledging that there are things we do that keep us from living the life we want. That is why increasing self-aware is difficult; it means asking hard questions; it means facing ourselves fully; it means recognizing and admitting our limitations.
When we fully know and understand ourselves; when we can look at our vulnerabilities and not cringe, we will be able to make changes. We will be able to stop repeating the same mistakes. We will be able to consciously adopt new routines that do move us towards the person and the place we want to be.
Join me on this new journey of self-discovery. Let’s get to know ourselves and open up to those who provide inspiration in our lives. Be happy. Appreciate this moment. Resist nothing. Love yourself and others. Be grateful for small blessings. Make happiness your number one priority.
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So there. That’s what my mind has been occupied with in the last two months since I updated this blog. I hope it gives you something to think about… Speaking of updates, let’s pick it up from where we left off – from around November 2013 until now. Prepare for a long post!
When friends saw my new haircut they asked “Why did you cut your hair?”
I asked myself why having long hair had been so important to me and I’ll be honest, I realized it had something to do with some deep insecurities… 1) I’d play with my hair when I felt nervous and 2) most men tend to think women look more beautiful with long hair.
So fucking what.
Let’s set this straight: It’s not about your hair, it’s not about looking good with make-up on. I wanted to feel confident the way I am and I wanted to try something new for myself. So I turned to my stylist Glenn, from Essensuals Bugis, and told him I want to brave a new haircut. I fell in love with it immediately. I wouldn’t have known I’d like something different for myself had I not stepped outside the comfort zone.
Charles grew a mo’ for Movember, changing his look entirely as the weeks passed. I didn’t realize how different he looked until the end of the month when he finally shaved it off! I’m happy with my mo’less Charles.
December was Charlie’s birthday and we celebrated with an intimate dinner with some close friends at Don Quijote.
On his birthday weekend, we checked out the treetop walk at Macritchie with our good friend, Mark. If you haven’t been here before, it’s definitely worth checking out! The view is amazing. It just feels good to be surrounded by nature.
We spent Christmas in Hong Kong with Charlie’s family and enjoyed more outdoorsy stuff…
After a week in Hong Kong spending quality time with the family, we headed back to Singapore to re-pack our bags for a holiday in Bali. Looks like Denpasar airport just got upgraded to meet the high demand of tourists coming into town during peak season.
We stayed in Ubud for the first time to avoid the crowded areas like Kuta and Seminyak during the holiday season.
We had a lovely dinner at Il Giardino on New Years Eve, definitely check out this restaurant if you’re craving Italian food in Bali! Romantic atmosphere, great service and really, really good Italian food. Weather was not on our side though, as it poured the whole night. We decided to skip Kuta after dinner since we figured traffic might be bad on the way there especially with the rain… and it was, even those in Kuta had trouble getting around as roads were blocked for NYE). We ended the night with a bottle of wine.
The next morning, we checked out and took a flight on Merpati airlines to Lombok. The flight was delayed for a while, most likely due to the bad weather, but I heard this happens a lot with Merpati. Despite the challenges, it was our first time in Lombok and definitely not the last.
Arcing away from the northwest corner of Lombok, are 3 idyllic atolls, where the sand is still powdery white, the water a clear sparkling turquoise, and the sunsets over Bali’s volcano Mt. Agung in the west simply spectacular. Described as pearls in the ocean and located just north of Lombok, the Gili Islands, which comprises the three islands of Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan, are fringed with white sands and lush palm trees.
We ventured to Gili Air, after we finally managed to charter a private boat to take us there. I feared we wouldn’t get to go at first because of the bad weather but luckily… the sun came up for a while!
We were lucky that it stopped raining for a few hours that day because as soon as we got back to our villa, it started raining cats and dogs… all night.
We checked out the next day and drove to Kuta (Lombok) for lunch at restaurant in Novotel. I’d love to stay there next time, the hotel villas looked amazing… the best part is, the beach was only a few steps away.
After a lunch, we flew back to Bali on Merpati Air and stayed at a beach house in Padang Padang. The house was exactly 90 steps down the cliff, a bit of an adventure to get to but it was right by the beach. During high tide, usually at night, bigger waves would crash onto our decks.
It was straight back to work after that longholiday. Getting back into my usual training was a struggle at first but seeing people workout at UFIT, even the trainers, gave me the motivation I needed. I met the winners of #fitwithfay + #mygirls contest and gave them their free yoga mat plus 1-hour trial personal training at UFIT.
Hope you all enjoyed the PT session and make use of that pink adidas yoga mat daily!
When Stuff magazine Singapore asked if I wanted to shoot for their cover and write a review about the adidas miCoach Smart Run, I was more than happy to, especially being I’m a huge gadget nerd myself. Gotta love Stuff, it’s a great magazine to refer to if you’re curious about the latest tech toys in town, it might even give you some gift ideas for that special someone.
I visited KL for a cover shoot for Health & Beauty magazine and stayed for the weekend to hangout with old friends. Miss ’em!
Charlie and I spent the following weekend in Bangkok for a friend’s wedding ( #JahKnightWedding ). Even bumped into #mygirls Thailand, Si Phitsinee there!
Alright that’s all I have for now. Next, I’ll share a bit about the adidas miCoach Smart Run, healthyMEtv, Boombot Rex speakers and my favorite green juice recipes. Stay tuned!