Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ten in 10 Challenge: Week 3

This week's challenge involves a few changes in food and finally making a decision to change bad habits into good ones. But when you're faced with temptations and weaknesses, it starts to become a struggle. But small changes do make a difference.

Bitter Gourd

Here are the few changes I've made:

Incorporate Pilates into exercise routine. I've done Pilates before but I stopped. I don't know why but I started again this week. I did the first few exercises from Brooke Siler's The Pilates Body. These exercises focuses on strengthening the core area but at the same time improves cardiovascular capacity and flexibility. But before doing Pilates, I did some cardio exercise first to really warm up the body. I felt great after doing the Pilates exercise and my breathing has improved. If I'm not cooking by profession, I think I would have become a Pilates instructor.

I have reduced my coffee intake. I am coffee-free (although not necessarily caffeine-free) this week. I still do have my dark chocolates once in a while because they're not as harmful as the caffeine in coffee which gives me the jitters every time I have a cup. So, instead of coffee, I took some herbal/grain teas such as peppermint, chamomile or barley tea.


Eating brown rice. I'm eating brown rice almost every day. I still do eat white rice and I don't completely eliminate them. Actually white rice can still be a part of everyone's diet and they are used when you are recuperating from sickness. Although eating quinoa and millet are also good, they are more of an additional support because they're more expensive.

Eating okra and bitter gourd. Okra and bitter gourd are really cheap here and they are so good for you. But not many people like them because of the taste and texture. I'm not really fond of them either but I'm starting to like them already. It's a matter of eating them in their most natural state and least flavoring to appreciate their taste. How ironic is that. I only eat them a few times a month, but now, I want to eat them a few times a week.

Utilize cilantro and turmeric more in cooking. These two ingredients are wonder foods. We know that turmeric reduces inflammation in the body and it does many wonders to our internal organs and overall health. Cilantro has also many benefits as well. They are good in ridding heavy metals such as mercury, lead and aluminum from one's body. They are also an excellent blood cleaner and promotes healthy liver function. My sister-in-law added that it is also good for people who are suffering from cough (they act as an expectorant). The health benefits are numerous but you have to consume them fresh, not in dried form. And you can add this to almost any dish. You can also check this blog post " Is it Cilantro, or is it Coriander?" at Rouxbe Online Cooking School Blog.

Fresh Turmeric Root

What I've failed to do and need to work on:

Drink more water. I do drink water upon waking up in the morning but when afternoon arrives, that's the time I fail to hydrate. I know it's a bad example. And my body requires more fluid in this tropical country.

Slow deep breathing. Slow deep breathing is a discipline and it should become second nature as you practice. Pilates does help strengthene the lungs but during the days when I'm engaged in doing something else, I became unconscious on how I breathe.

Sleep early. After using the computer reading other wonderful blogs, I still read a book before I go to sleep.

Basmati Brown Rice

What I can do:

All of the above changes require a decision on my part. So, if I need to hydrate, I have to decide I have to hydrate. If I need to sleep early, I have to decide that I need to sleep early.

Small changes still does make a difference. I don't want to surprise myself by changing all my bad habits drastically but I'll give myself a pat on the back for those positive changes. Assessing what I've done this week can help me come up with a better plan.

How have you done with your challenge? Keep it up because you're doing great.

Love and light,


  1. I am so happy to read your lists because I recognize all the things I should also be doing to improve my level of health - particularly about hydrating and getting more sleep. Is that ampalaya in your second photo? I've never seen one with red seeds before! As for the cilantro (wansoy?), it may just be me but the ones in the Philippines somehow taste different - better! - than the ones I get here. 8-)

  2. good job divina! you know i signed up but i wasn't good at keeping it... maybe i should get back on track.. well "maybe" that's the key word... i need a diet police haha! keep it up!

  3. I love to cook with different herbs, it gives wonderful flavors and completely change a dish. And if makes my food healthier even better.

  4. I like the lists of to-do's and improve-upon's. I'm failing miserably in the coffee department; am drinking more now that I'm home all the time! But am incorporating workouts into daily life more, improving strength and flexibility. Yoga definitely helps with my back!

  5. Great recap Divina! I forgot to add that I to need on my post that I to need to work on more water this week! Ugh.. such discipline, huh?! You're doing so great and thanks for that cilantro info :D

  6. Both thumbs up for everyone who makes an effort for better health. It sure takes lots of effort and discipline. Great info, Divina. I think singing is a very good form of slow breathing, especially slow songs. I have learned to drink 4 glasses of water before lunch and another 4 glasses after lunch. That's the minimum...more is required when I go for badminton.

  7. @ Tangled Noodle - Yes, that's ampalaya. It was given to us by our former driver when he went to the province. I think I should try eating cilantro when I visit the States some time.

    @ Impromptu Diva - Thank you. We all need a police diet. lol. I think I should join a boot camp.

    @ Anna - thanks for the tips. I happen to have a lot of basil in the garden so I'll use that.

    @ Denise - I should incorporate yoga too,maybe next week. Coffee is still addicting. Hope to break the 21 days first of not drinking it.

    @ Diana - Thanks Diana for the encouragement. I know discipline is the word that I sometimes hate.

    @ Mary - Thanks for the tips. Okay, I'll try singing even if I have bad vocals. Actually I did sing in my room awhile ago. I will try and drink 4 glasses of water upon waking up in the morning with some Himalayan sea salt or lemon juice and some coconut water as well.

  8. divina your photos are superb ! thanks Pïerre

  9. Great job! You already post such nourishing recipes and tips, I already believe you to be such a healthy person already! I love brown rice, so I'd be happy to eat more - it's chewy, which I like. As for giving up the coffee? That'd be a bit of a sacrifice for me!

  10. Love these challenges! I'm going to cook bitter gourd tonight...Although my family doesn't like as much as I do, I still love to eat it frequently. I think I need more exercise and water. Great advice!

  11. The thing I need to do is to make sure I keep up with my gym routine. Been slacking a lot and packing on the kilos with all the food I am eating. I eat pretty well but not exercising is having its effects.
    Thanks for sharing your progress. It is motivational.

  12. Bitter gourd is one of daily ingredients for Japanese Okinawan. They have the great longevity indeed!

  13. Gorgeous pictures divina! I enjoyed reading about your progress and tips -- I have also been trying to drink more water. I never knew that cilantro was a blood cleanser -- I LOOOVE the taste of it but my honey finds it offensive...I think it's time to tell him TOUGH LUCK and make him eat it anyways :) I've been doing weight training for 4 times a week, yoga once a week, and running a mile 5 times a week. I've also been eating as much vegetarian dishes as I can throughout the week and keeping my red meat intake to 2 times a month. Great post!

  14. Looks like you are definitely doing well with your goals! It is all about baby steps!

  15. Absolutely loved the post. It's always a fresh reminder to know that all the things we put into our body are choices on our part on some level and that we can change that simply be changing our frame of mind. Stay with the pilates, but I've found that yoga has really brought meditation and proper breathing into all aspects of my life.

  16. Sounds like you're doing great! I'm impressed that you are coffee free. Pilates is one of my favorite workouts... I find it to be soothing and relaxing, in addition to being a great workout!

  17. Would you believe my kids love eating Okra?! especially when mixed in sinigang soup. I think i only got a few "checks" from your list as it's very difficult to make changes when you're feeding kids and senior citizens in one household! :)

  18. I'm so impressed about coffee free! I won't be able to do that for sure. I'm so addicted to it! Instead of not giving up my coffee, I'm taking my homemade fruits cider. I even using it as my daily facial cleanser. But not as good as my aunt. Nowadays, she had stopped buying those dish wash detergents, facial cleaser and floor detergent products. She used only homemade chemical free detergent. I'm so proud of her. Lately, she even used it to wash her hair & body due to skin allergy and it works so well. Now she's back to healthy skin again.

  19. Sounds like you are doing really well with your goals! I don't know that I would be able to give up my morning coffee :) Gorgeous pictures of turmeric and bitter gourd!


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