Why I’m Not Going Back To Dairy Milk

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 time when I liked to wear sweatshirts because it fits so comfortably even after a big dinner. That's my uncle AB on the right, sitting next to Martini.
The time when I only wore sweatshirts because other clothes made me feel fat. That’s my uncle AB on the right, sitting next to Martini. <3

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.

Silk-Almond-Unsweetened-Vanilla

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 organic soy milk

 

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:

silk milk vs milk

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.

*     *     *     *     *

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.

Discount code: FAY

essentiallivingsg

 Happy shopping!

Pita Pan – Pocket Full of Health!

One of the things I enjoy about living in Singapore is the abundance of new restaurants and food options – from local delights to exotic cuisines, there’s always something new to try. But of course,

being a health nut like myself, the real challenge in discovering good food, is finding GOOD, HEALTHY FOOD.

So I heard about this Mediterranean joint that just opened a second outlet in Singapore after the success of its first one at Marina Bay Sands. Pita Pan is spreading the message of healthy, vegetarian eating, through Mediterranean inspired food. The new outlet at Marina Square opened its doors in August with new items added to the menu further increasing the array of healthy options available.

Presented in a casual bistro style, you can create your own healthy pita pockets choosing from a selection of up to 35 salads and sauces. The wholesome pita pockets can be enjoyed while on the go or at either of the 60-seater bistro, located conveniently in the city for busy executives.

As I wasn’t able to come for their food tasting, Pita Pan had thoughtfully pre-packed lunch and delivered it straight to my home so I can have a taste of what they had to offer before checking out restaurant itself.

Pita-Pan Singapore 0

Sweet potato fries make for a delicious treat, offering an alternative to traditional potato french fries. I personally find sweet potato fries tastier than french fries!
Sweet potato fries (SGD7.90)  make for a delicious treat, offering an alternative to traditional potato french fries.

One my favorite treats is a piping hot batch of sweet potato fries. Now we’ve all heard that sweet potatoes are somewhat healthier than white potatoes. How much healthier? The main difference depends on the way it is cooked, of course. Nutritionally, sweet potatoes have more soluble fiber and its carbs have a lower glycemic index compared to white potatoes.

The sweet potato fries served at Pita Pan was fried so it’s not exactly a healthy choice if you’re trying to watch your waist. But if you’re in for a treat, I’d say it was worth the calories!

A favourite at Pita Pan are the “pockets”. Full pocket or half pocket, you can enjoy crispy, savory green, red or plain chickpea falafels, wrapped in your choice of freshly baked pita bread in plain, wholemeal, za’atar or sumac and topped with one or more of their signature salads and sauces.

This half pita pocket is filled with falafels and salad toppings.
Half Whole Wheat Pita Pocket (SGD7.90) – consisting of half pita pocket sandwich filled with falafels, fresh salad toppings and tahini sauce. A pocket full of health!

 Don’t you hate it when you get takeout and the food gets all soggy? Surprisingly, the food stayed fresh and the broccoli was nice and crunchy. I was almost full by the time I finished the half whole wheat pita pocket with falafel and sweet potato fries, but the spicy red shashuka looked too good to save for later. So I took a pinch of the pita bread and dipped it in the red shashuka. It was pretty spicy, but really good!

Red Shashuka with eggs
Red Shashuka with eggs (SGD11.90)  served with pita bread.
Freshly squeezed orange juice to put out the fire on my tongue after trying out the red shashuka!
Freshly squeezed orange juice to put out the fire on my tongue after trying out the red shashuka!

A great place to check out if you’re looking for a quick, healthy meal in the city center. It’s good to have a full vegetarian meal at least once a week, don’t you think? #mearfreemondays

Pita Pan @ Marina Bay Sands
L1-87, Bay Level br, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands,2 Bay Avenue, Singapore 018972

Pita Pan @ Marina Square, 6 Raffles Blvd Marina Square 02-183A
(if you’re coming from City Hall MRT, exit at Marina Square and walk towards One Raffles Link. Take the escalator up two floors from the MRT to the second floor. You will find Pita Pan 2 just across the connecting bridge).

Operating Hours – Sun – Thu 11am to 11pm  / Fri and Sat 11am to 12midnight

Beauty Cleanse Juice Detox 3-Day Diary

I was already seriously considering buying a juicer so that I could include more fruits and vegetables into my diet. I don’t think many people realize that we’re not eating enough natural foods as we’re so used to eating packaged or processed foods such as bread, rice and tortilla wraps (guilty-as-charged, I love burritos).

So when the opportunity came to try out the Beauty Cleanse juice detox, I was more than ready to get started.

3-Day Juice Detox Diary

A 3-day or 5-day cleanse will leave you feeling lighter, cleaner, and revitalized as you replace your meals with six (500ml) delicious, organic, freshly cold-pressed juices. This essentially allows your body to heal and renew itself as your digestive system takes a break from any form of overindulgence and unhealthy food choices.

So what’s so special about Beauty Cleanse? Why can’t I just buy a blender and make the juices myself at home?

The answer is the Norwalk Hydraulic Press Juice — also known as The Best Juicer In The World! Unlike your usual home blender or juicer, the Norwalk completely extracts all the essential nutrients, vitamins, enzymes and minerals into your juices using approximately 2 tons of hydraulic pressure. It is also designed to provide oxidation free juice, which means better tasting and longer lasting juices.

BC5

Beauty Cleanse is the 1st and only juicing company in Singapore to utilize the Norwalk to produce consistently delicious, high quality juices with clear superiority in the extraction of nutrient content to heal and renew your body one juice at a time.

When you sign up for a 3-day or 5-day cleanse, your juices are prepared the night before delivery day so it stays fresh and nutrient-loaded for the next three days. For the 5-day cleanse, there will be 2 deliveries, one on the day before you start the cleanse, and another on the third day.

Gathered from earth’s richest nutrient-packed produce, their ‘living’ juices are entirely 100% Organic, Raw (Unpasteurized), Vegan & Gluten-Free.

*     *     *     *     *

MY JUICE DETOX DIARY

 

Day 1 on Beauty Cleanse 3-Day Juice Detox

beauty cleanse juice detox

The bottled juices were delivered to my home the day before I started the 3-day juice cleanse. I chose to do it for 3-days instead of 5 because I had never done any kind of detox before and wasn’t sure of what to expect or how my body would react to it. So this shorter trial would be a good introduction.

A 3-day Beauty Cleanse care package came with 18 bottles of juices (6 per day) and a few organic supplements which included a small pack of colosan powder, spirulina, acai berry, milk thistle, green superfood, flaxseed oil and pu-erh tea. The supplements are aimed to provide further support in the cleansing process and maximize the potential benefits you will receive during and after completing the cleanse. However, you may also choose a cleanse plan with or without supplementation. 

2013-09-11 13.02.45

Beauty Cleanse provides daily email and phone support, so if I had any questions or doubts they’re always there to assist. It’s like having your a personal nutritionist!

Beauty Cleanse juices were carefully designed and formulated by their personal mentor and nutritionist consultant,  Cherie Calbom.  For more than 20 years, Cherie has been a holistic health educator, juice expert, nutritionist, whole foods chef, best-selling author, and seminar speaker. Known as “The Juice Lady” for her extensive work with juicing, she has taught thousands of people how to live the juicing and raw foods lifestyle.

The first day went by really smoothly. I was excited to try out the different flavors of all 6 juices! The best part was, I didn’t have to do groceries for the next 3 days or think about what meal to prepare next as I had all I needed!

My fridge was stocked up with all 18 bottles of Beauty Cleanse juices. Make sure to keep them all refrigerated!
My fridge was stocked up with all 18 bottles of Beauty Cleanse juices. Make sure to keep them all refrigerated!

For breakfast each morning, I had 1 tablespoon of Green Superfood mixed with only the second half of my first juice of the day, 1 capsule of acai berry, 1 milk thistle/liver support supplement, 2 capsules of flaxseed oil and 2 tablets of spirulina.

 I took the colosan powder on the 2nd day.

Beauty Cleanse Supplements

Benefits of the supplements

Colosan powder

  • Colosan will softly oxidise and cleanse your intestines and colon utilising the power oxygen to clear the putrefaction accumulating in your intestines and colon.
  • Colosan provides ongoing protection from toxins and encourages nutrient absorption, allowing you to get more out of the food you eat.
    When taken with lemon juice or other acidic juice, that oxygen is released inside the digestive tract, producing powerful de-toxifying effects.
  • It cleanses the bowel, and may have beneficial anti-fungal or anti-candida, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.
  • The goal of colon cleansing is to clear the small intestines and colon of impacted material and improve their functions of assimilation, absorption and elimination.

 

Green Superfood (Organic) 

  • Beauty Cleanse recommends organic green superfood from Genesis Today GenEssentials™ Greens.
  • This product is made with careful selection of quality, organic, and Freeze-dried land and sea vegetables combined with a synergistic blend of herbs, superfruits, enzymes, and probiotics. It has been formulated to help support digestion, detoxification and daily nutrition.
  • Genesis Today’s GenEssentials™ Greens™ delivers the phytonutrients of 3-5 servings of dark green leafy vegetables in every serving.

 

Acai Berry (Organic)

  • Acai berries contain the highest known source of antioxidants for increasing metabolism, fatty acids Omega 3,6 & 9, along with loads of essential vitamins and minerals.
  • They are also high in fiber low in glycaemic index (GI), meaning that they help keep your blood sugar on an even keel, enabling you to stay energized and focused for longer while controlling appetite and allowing you to achieve weight loss.
  • Beauty Cleanse source their acai berry capsules from RioLife Singapore.

 

Milk thistle (liver support)

  • Provide the ultimate combination of herbals, amino acids & food-based nutrients to support liver health & detoxification.
  • It is uniquely formulated to support normal liver function and exert a protective effect against substances harmful to the liver.
  • Promote bile production, secretion and release
  • Help recycle, extend and replenish the power of glutathione – a super antioxidant essential to liver health
  • Nutritionally support healthy fat metabolism in the liver
  • Beauty Cleanse source this supplement from Nature’s Way Super Thisilyn

 

Essential Fatty Acids/ Flax Seed Oil (Organic)

  • Formulated to contain Omega 3, 6 & 9 fatty acids necessary for increased metabolic rate to burn more calories, oxidation rate, energy levels, weight loss, strengthened immune system, improved brain function, eliminate water retention and clearer skin.

Spirulina (Organic)

  • Spirulina promotes digestive and bowel functions, suppressing bad bacteria like e-coli while stimulating beneficial flora.
  • The richness of natural chlorophyll contained helps to clean and detoxify our blood, internal organs, and bowels by aiding the body in processing more oxygen, reducing toxin build-up in the process.
  • It strongly promotes optimal blood pressure and the growth and repair of human tissue.
  • It is also the richest natural source of beta-carotene, with a full spectrum of ten mixed carotenoids that are powerful antioxidants with anti-cancer and anti-aging compounds, protecting the cells from free radical damage and enhancing the functions of the immune system.

Beauty Cleanse sources their spirulina tablets from AlphaHealth Singapore.

 *     *     *     *     *

Now that we know exactly what each supplement is good for, let’s start the cleanse!

Why Juice Cleanse

After drinking a glass of warm lemon water upon waking up, I had my first juice with the supplements.

10.00AM: 1st Juice (Purple blend – Apple, beetroot, celery, ginger, red cabbage)

Thoughts:  I picked this one to drink first because the color was the most appealing. I finished half the juice and mixed the other half with 1 flat tablespoon of green superfood. This gave me the energy I needed to start the day.

 2013-09-11 13.09.11

12.00PM: 2nd Juice (Light green blend – Apple, cucumber, celery, kale, ginger)

Thoughts: This blend was quite light and nutritious. 3 types of excellent vegetables – cucumber, celery and kale in one juice mixed with apple and ginger. GREEN, TASTY and oh-so-GOOD FOR YOU!

1.00PM: Get active! 30 minute light exercise  – Speed interval cardio training

Promote the detoxification process with some light exercise such as yoga, swimming, jogging or even massages or spa treatments. Make sure to drink plenty of water especially if you’re going to sweat it out!

 Fay's Beauty Cleanse Workout

Begin by spending 5 minutes jogging, walking, or biking. Then, you’ll stretch. Each stretch should be done for two sets of 30 seconds before moving on to the next one. It is not enough for you to sit in a stretching position and pretend to exert yourself. You have to actually reach, pull, and move with purpose. Prepare your muscles for the work they’re about to perform.

After you’ve gone through the all of the stretches, move to your choice of cardio. Cardio can be done on the treadmill, stairmill, bike, or even outside. It’s up to you. But, no matter which machine you choose for cardio, it’s your job to do the work and keep your heart rate up. You’ll do 5 sets of the circuit. The circuit consists of 2 minutes of jogging and 1 minute of running.

Your final task for the day is to cool down and stretch. When you put your body through a huge amount of stress, you need to help it heal.

Jog, bike, or walk for 5 minutes and then repeat the warm-up stretching series to end the workout while slowing your heart rate back down. Make sure to get enough rest to complete your body’s recovery!

Back to the juice cleanse…

2.00PM: 3rd Juice (Orange blend – Carrots, cucumber, pineapple)

Thoughts: What a sweet and refreshing mix! 

3PM: Had a cup of hot green tea.

5.30PM: 4th Juice (Spicy lemonade – Cayenne pepper, honey, lemon)

Thoughts: If you like spicy soups or if you were craving something hot, then the spicy lemonade should help to curb the craving. The cayenne pepper was a little spicy but definitely quite an interesting mix with the honey and lemon!

7.30PM: 5th Juice (Dark green blend – Kale, romaine, celery, cucumber, mint.)

Thoughts: So this is pretty much purely a vegetable juice. If you don’t like eating your greens you might find this a bit hard to drink. Take your time and sip through a straw.

10.00PM: : 6th Juice (Cashew nut milk —  Cashew nuts, cinnamon, honey)

Thoughts: The cashew nut milk is my favorite drink out of all the blends. It’s a perfect drink to have before bed. I was surprised I wasn’t feeling super tired or lethargic as I had expected on this juice cleanse. My tummy felt settled and ready to fast until the next morning.

11.00PM: Bedtime

Take small sips of the juice instead of finishing the whole bottle at one go. I set an alarm on my phone for every 2 hours to make sure I drink the next juice on time. When I’m not sipping on juice, I’m drinking warm lemon water or tea.

  *     *     *     *     *

Day 2 on Beauty Cleanse 3-Day Juice Detox

I did the colon cleanse on Day 2 as I was able to spend the whole day at home. It would probably be a good idea to do this on a weekend when you’re at home or off work because the colon cleanse causes a laxative effect, so you gotta make sure the bathroom is always accessible!

I had to use the bathroom a number of times within the first 2 to 3 hours after taking the colon cleanse but it wasn’t as bad as I had expected. Maybe it helps that I drink lemon water everyday! Lemons are a natural diuretic and helps to naturally cleanse your body.

I changed the order of the juices I drank throughout the day, except for the cashew nut milk (meant to be consumed only before bed). There’s a cheat sheet with a list of things you’re allowed to eat only if you really, really have to.

Although I wasn’t very hungry, my stomach felt quite empty after the colon cleanse and I couldn’t resist a few celery sticks! I also enjoyed a fresh coconut juice in the evening.

Drinking Fresh Coconut
Keep yourself hydrated and please those tastebuds with fresh coconut juice.

*     *     *     *     *

Day 3 on Beauty Cleanse 3-Day Juice Detox

I was feeling a little moody and less energetic than usual on Day 3. It didn’t help when I realized that time of the month was coming up too. I listened to some soothing music and did yoga followed by meditation to help relax the mind and body.

supplements_7

I continued to drink lemon water throughout the day and tried the organic Pu-Erh tea in the afternoon. Unique and intriguing, pu-erh is a post-fermented tea which comes from the Yunnan province in China. It is known to aid digestion, weight loss, reduce cholesterol, remove toxins from the body, as well as providing anti-inflammatory effects. A cup of warm tea never ceases to make me feel at ease.

Although my teeth was eager to chomp on some food, I resisted with a handful of almonds instead.

The day was over before I knew it and I finally drank the last bottle of cashew nut milk. Mission accomplished!

Post-detox

I’ve never felt more energized, hydrated, and cleansed. I was so proud of my waistline, the stubborn flab just below the belly-button was diminished. No fatty carbs and drinking a ton of water must’ve helped to flushed out all the toxins. This probably has a lot to do with the glow I saw on my face and skin on the third day.

One of the biggest benefits I found from completing my cleanse was that it motivated me to stay on a healthy path for weeks afterward. Mentally, I was so rejuvenated by the 3 days I spent cleansing that the last thing I wanted to do was throw it all away.

It’s important that you don’t dive straight into packaged or cooked foods after the cleanse! I noticed major side effects such as stomacha pain or mild discomfort whenever I ate something unhealthy like pizza or potato wedges (oops!).

The rule of thumb is that you should have raw foods for the first few days after your cleanse. This will provide your body with vital minerals, vitamins, enzymes, nutrients and more while preparing your digestion system for dealing with cooked food again.

A juice cleanse is a great way to purify and prepare your body if you’re planning to kickstart a new workout program and begin a healthier lifestyle. Have you ever tried a juice cleanse? If you have, what was your experience? If not, is it something you would be willing to try?

 Why Juice Detox

To find out more about Beauty Cleanse packages and rices, explore your options on www.beauty-cleanse.com or check out the Beauty Cleanse Facebook page.

Who’s Going To Stop You?

Who Is Going To Stop Me

The weather has been quite erratic lately; sunny one afternoon and heavy downpours the next. This time last month (Aug 11), the 2013 Singapore adidas King of the Road (KOTR) running event had to be cancelled due to bad weather. While others headed for breakfast or to the gym instead, my girl friend Sara (and her hubby, Hinn, the man behind the lens) decided to run part of the race course on the way home.

“How often do you get your own road? #queenoftheroad”, she said.

Kudos to you both! The thing they were pissed about was not so much about the event being cancelled and not getting a refund, but Hinn’s phone, which he used to take the photo, was soaked since they ran 10km in the rain. He had to replace it with another one for $350… making that run quite possibly the most expensive run they had to pay for.

Anyway, a week after the event, Sara threw her *famous* annual tea party for her closest friends. This girl loves running (she has a treadmill at home!) as much as she loves to bake, and boy did she whip up a storm!

Sara's Vintage Tea Party

She spent 16 hours baking all those pretty pastries while Hinn helped out with the mini sandwiches.

Check out the extensive menu:

Sara's Vintage Tea Party Menu

I’m not going to lie, I had a bite of almost everything! I couldn’t stop myself and everybody was keen to share (the calories). My favorite was her Nutella bread pudding and Hinn’s smoked salmon cucumber sandwiches. A bit of sin, a bit of healthy. Let’s keep it balanced, why don’t we?

Sara's Tea Party 2013

I wished you would just open up a bakery, Sara!

P.S.: I’m pleased to share that my favorite online shopping site and sponsor, YesStyle.com just launched their own line of dresses. This green skater dress was from YesStyle Dress. Hit their site and check it out!

Have You Tried Sun-Dried Tomatoes In Your Salad?

Spinach sundried tomatoes pumkin

Just had this for lunch! It. was. delicious. Sun-dried tomatoes are a good source of antioxidants and add so much flavor to your salad. I bought this salad mix from Cold Storage for $10.99 – it’s loaded with baby spinach, pumpkin, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, sunflower seeds, bell pepper and drizzled with balsamic vinegar dressing. It’s so filling that I only managed to finish half.  Gonna eat the rest for dinner.

What’s your favorite salad topping?