Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ten in 10 Challenge: Week Five



It’s week 5 already? How are you doing with the challenge? I hope you’re doing great. But I have a confession to make. I had about half a mug of coffee the other day. Since my brother likes a strong coffee, I diluted mine with water. So, what happened? I could say it’s simply temptation. I feel like having coffee so I had one. And my brother is teasing me again because of that. But I can always start over and decide that I will break the habit because I felt the difference. I got hooked on coffee before particularly in the mornings because it makes me feel better, more energized and alert but the effects do not last. The result is that coffee makes me tired. And it becomes addictive and a habit that is challenging to break because you would want another cup of coffee in the next few hours or the following day to relieve the symptoms of withdrawal from coffee. It’s just like going around the same mountain without reaching a certain destination. Does this mean that I’m not drinking coffee for the rest of my life? Well, the answer is no. Because I still have to try a drink made with coffee, avocado and condensed milk (Thanks to Mary). But I want to reach a goal that I only want to drink coffee for pleasure (occasional treat), not as an everyday drink.

On the positive side, I started making my own green smoothie made with apple mango, lime juice and malunggay leaves. Much praised has been said about this vegetable because of its wonderful and numerous healing benefits. There is book exclusively about malunggay and this super food is also available in capsules as functional food. Since I get them fresh every day, why not use the real thing. But honestly, after having my green mango smoothie, I actually prefer to add the malunggay in soups and other dishes where the flavor is much more subtle yet enjoyable. I would still have my smoothie but with hemp hearts and bee pollen added instead, and make them green with the addition of spirulina.


Malunggay (Moringa) Leaves

This has been a taxing week for me. I feel stuffed and bloated for the past few days. I don’t feel like eating but I am hungry and I am hungry but I don’t feel like eating. I used to eat bread every breakfast but I stopped and ate something else. Last Wednesday I had naan bread with spiced chickpeas, with some yogurt and cilantro. I love naan. The meal wasn’t too heavy at all but I feel so stuffed and bloated all the way till lunch. (I still suspect the gluten). And still experiencing the same way until today probably from eating out and for the reason that I couldn’t say no when someone gives me food. One lesson I still need to learn and haven’t learn is I don’t need to eat until I’m full; just eat only when I’m no longer hungry. When we have dinner buffets at hotel, I eat until I could no longer breathe. And I would tell myself that I will never eat like that again. My brother won't believe me.

Sleeping earlier is still a challenge that I need to work on as well as spending less time in front of the computer. I backslide when it comes to drinking water but I felt great after my workout. But it's also time to add some variations to my exercise routine to keep me motivated.

I would also consider this week to be an adjustment to the changes that I’ve made on my eating habits and listen to the signs that my body is trying to tell me. I’ve made a decision to eat healthier but there are always challenges. But in order to help me with this challenge, I always think of the effect that a certain food would have on my body in the long run. What I eat today will definitely affect my health in the future. I still have unfinished goals that I want to achieve and I still have a mission here on earth. And I still want to be at the prime of my life when I reach that certain age. Not just surviving the aches and pains but thriving at the peak of my health.


Good to see a butterfly. Do you see it?

Food is not the only factor. Let’s also consider what the human body needs in order to thrive: fresh air, pure water, sunlight, rest and exercise. But this is only possible when we have a healthy planet. Like it or not, hate me or love me, we have responsibility to care of our temporary home: earth. (And I also need to do my part). When my sister in law was confined at the hospital last year for a few days, I realized just how much people are sick today. She stayed in ER because all the hospital rooms were occupied. I believe they're all occupied everyday. And there are more children today who are experiencing more sickness today than before. The quality of our food and environment (air and water) has changed.

I guess this week’s challenge is not all about my health. After learning about my own health needs and wanting to live healthier because of the goals that I want to accomplish, I also recognize the goals that I want to carry out in other people as well as the factors that is preventing people from having it. After having a few setbacks (remember my lost files?), I am still moving forward. This is just the beginning (again).

How’s everyone doing with their challenge this week? Have you discovered something new about this week’s challenge? Remember, if you experienced a setback, prepare for a comeback.

Love and light,




Friday, January 29, 2010

My Green Mango Smoothie



I could say that the sweetest and most luscious-tasting apple mango in the whole world right now is located in this place. Chip and Dale (the squirrels) can testify to that because of the evidence they leave almost every morning: a clean mango seed on the ground. My brother saw one of them with his very own eyes. And I saw one of them too walking through the water pipe onto the next mango tree. I could actually see them every morning from afar.



We do have a lot of apple mangoes this year which we harvest by installment. But some of them have been damaged when they fall off the tree, hitting the roof first and onto the ground. And they also have to be thrown away. The others are being eaten by the birds and of course a few would be eaten by Chip and Dale. I remember eating these many, many years ago and they tasted like medicine and the tree only yields less than 50 mangoes. That time, nobody wants to eat them except my brother with the green thumb. Today, they’re innumerable and the flavor is just getting better and better every year.



I think you would agree that mango has one of the best sensational taste experiences. The smooth ripe flesh is just sweet, luscious, and succulent. Sometimes I could eat too much of a good thing. Since these mangoes are high in sugar, they are also not advisable to be eaten by itself.

I love pairing mango with lime because it brings out the intense flavor of the fruit. The mangoes become more mango-ey, if such a word exists. When I'm not eating these mangoes, I make a smoothie out of it along with other tropical fruits. I also started making green smoothies by adding some fresh malunggay (moringa) leaves from our garden. The malunggay, a super food, adds a mild peppery finish to the smoothie while providing an array of super nutrients that has the ability to heal the body. If an apple a day keeps the doctor away in the United States, here in the Philippines, it’s the malunggay.



When it comes to making smoothies, it is better to follow your sense of taste instead of accurately measuring the ingredients. You can read my earlier post Breakfast in a Glass for more inspiration.

Here is the smoothie that I’ve made. I started with mango and lime before adding other ingredients. The idea in doing this is to build flavors by adding one ingredient at time instead of throwing everything the recipe calls for. I believe this is one way of building your flavor profile in your own smoothies and a great way to awaken your senses.



In the meantime, I’ll savor every molecule of these mangoes until supplies last. Tomorrow, I might add some hemp hearts to it; in other days, I might do a mango pina colada. I hope I'm not tempting you.

Do you like smoothies? Do you have a favorite combination that I can try?

Love and light,



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Meatless Day Challenge: Savory Breakfast Brown Rice Bowl





What do you eat for breakfast? I’m actually curious what people eat at the start of the day. My breakfast choices have improved compared many years ago. I used to eat cereal in boxes with milk but it doesn’t give me the satisfaction being set for the day. I also had my share of eating white bread with peanut butter, luncheon meat (the ever famous Spam), sausages, hotdogs and corned beef; some days are plain congee with dried pork floss and salted eggs; pancakes and waffles are always a favorite served with fake maple syrup; and of course Fridays are always bacon and fried eggs.



But these days, I want to eat something different, something unconventional for breakfast. At least, they are familiar for my taste. When I have leftover rice, I would combine them with chicken broth and add whatever ingredients that I have on the fridge. And I would do the same thing with soba noodles. And if I don't have anything, I can always have a smoothie.


Filipinos are big on eating rice (garlic fried rice) for breakfast either with chicken adobo, pork tocino, beef tapa or fried milkfish with egg and it’s served with a sweet pickled papaya relish called atsara. I prefer to eat them than bread. Some of them are good choices depending on how it’s cooked and they can be eaten any time of the day, and that includes past midnight.



But for this week’s meatless challenge, I want something fresh and clean-tasting for breakfast such us this brown rice cooked with hijiki (a type of sea vegetable) served with boiled egg, some vegetables and a toasted sesame seed and miso dressing. I had this for breakfast before when there’s nothing left to eat and I don’t feel like eating anything that I’ve mentioned above. In the fridge, I have the leftover rice, the vegetables and the dressing, and I all have to do is to cook some eggs. I don’t want to eat them cold so I steam the rice and heat up the vegetables while the eggs are cooking. When I don’t have any vegetables available and I don’t have the time to cook, I use kimchi instead. It's very simple dish but absolutely satisfying.



The toasted sesame seed and miso dressing that I posted last July is great with almost anything. But I lowered the amount of honey used and replaced with additional soy sauce. You can also double or triple the recipe. And if the dressing is not available, I serve this with miso soup instead. After having this meal, I feel more grounded and concentrated ready to face the day. This is also a dish that I could eat for lunch or dinner.



Savory Breakfast Brown Rice Bowl

Makes 4 servings

Brown Rice
1 tbsp dried hijiki
1 cup short-grain brown rice (soaked in water overnight with 2 tsp whey, buttermilk, yogurt or kefir)
1¾ cups water
½ tsp unrefined sea salt

Toasted Sesame Seed and Miso Dressing
¼ cup white sesame see
3 tbsp rice vinegar or lemon juice
3 tbsp shoyu
1 tbsp sake
1 tbsp shiro miso (miso paste)
2 tbsp honey
½ tbsp toasted sesame oil
shichimi-togarashi (7-spice powder) to taste

4 eggs
vegetables of your choice (steamed, blanched or stir-fried)

To prepare the rice, first soak the hijiki in cold water for 10 minutes. Then rinse and drain well. Next, drain, rinse and place the soaked rice in a large pot with water. Add ½ tsp of salt and hijiki. Bring to boil, then lower the heat to simmer, cover and cook the rice for 45 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. This can be prepared in advance.

To start the dressing, place the sesame seeds into a frying pan. Turn heat to low and toast sesame seeds shaking the pan occasionally until light golden brown. Transfer to plate and allow to cool.

In another bowl, combine the rice vinegar, shoyu, sake, shiro miso, honey, sesame oil and togarashi with a wire whisk.

When the sesame seeds have cooled down transfer to a spice grinder and pulse until coarsely ground. I prefer not to grind the sesame seeds into a powder.Add the flaked sesame seeds with the other ingredients and whisk until combined. Transfer to a bowl or a jar. Set aside until ready to use. This recipe can be doubled or tripled. Stir with a spoon before using.

To cook the egg, bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. When the water is boiling, reduce the heat to simmer. Lower the eggs with a slotted spoon and cook for 8 minutes for soft-boiled egg or 12 minutes for hard-boiled egg. When the eggs are ready, transfer them onto an ice bath. When cooled, remove from the ice and peel.

To serve the rice dish, scoop the rice on a bow large bowl, cut the egg in half and place it on top along with the vegetables. Serve with the dressing.

Notes:

Gluten-Free (if wheat-free soy or tamari is used); Lacto-Ovo Vegan; Dairy Free

The brown rice, vegetables and dressing can be prepared in advance.

Gain a better understanding on how to cook eggs by checking this lesson Cooking Eggs Part 1 by Rouxbe Online Cooking School.

So, what are you having for breakfast?

Love and light,



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Monday, January 25, 2010

Grilled Prawns with Ginger Mango Salsa



I think I'm passed through the "shocked" stage of losing my files and photos. I was surprised I didn’t panic but I could feel that my jaw dropped after learning about it. As I turned on my computer that day, the screen was blank and the only solution is to turn off the main switch. The computer shop says that my local area network has been damaged. Although they said they will try to save something from my hard drive, they couldn’t do anything at all. What happened to my computer is quite mysterious and with my limited computer knowledge, I have no idea what to do. What is gone is already gone and it’s time to do something new.


Cilantro, Basil and Mint

Now that I’m starting over to write and work with what I used to do, my brother in law suggested to have a back up through a portable hard drive or an online storage. But he says that another thing I could do is to open up two yahoo email accounts (because the storage is unlimited) and send the file to myself. It may not be the fastest way but at least the files would be there just in case something happens with the other. And when you’re traveling, you have your files with you anytime you want it. It’s not the best solution but I think it's good enough.



My brother has been harvesting a lot of mangoes lately in our garden and these are the mangoes that the squirrels love to eat. That’s right, squirrels and there are two of them. I think they traveled all the way from our neighbor’s house just to eat our apple mangoes. I just know they’re here when I see a clean mango seed on the ground the next morning. Sometimes we could hear them at night but we don’t want to mess up with these guys. If I were to sell these mangoes at the farmer’s market, I could label them as "ultra sweet". They are really sweet. They have to be eaten even while the skin is still green but with a slight pressure when you touch them.



I always love the combination of mangoes and prawns and the simplicity of this dish allows both ingredients to stand out. The mangoes impart a very fragrant and sexy aroma that is simply irresistible. They are quite addicting as well once you start eating them. For this salsa, I like to add ginger for some zing and chili oil that my brother bought from Thailand for extra kick. I also garnish the dish with some watercress for spiciness and freshness. At home, I tossed everything together, but this prawn dish is also a great and elegant first-course



Grilled Prawns with Ginger Mango Salsa

Makes 6 servings

2 medium apple mangoes
1-inch piece fresh ginger root
¼ cup cilantro leaves
¼ cup Thai or Vietnamese basil leaves
¼ cup mint leaves
2 tsp Thai chili oil, to taste
½ lime
unrefined sea salt, to taste

18 large prawns (about 1 lb)
3 mirin or rice wine
unrefined sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper

2 tbsp rice bran or grapeseed oil

2 cups watercress, to serve

To prepare the mango salsa, peel and dice the mangoes, peel and grate the ginger through a microplane zester. Next, mince the cilantro, basil and mint. Combine everything in a bowl and toss to combine. Add the chili oil and squeeze the lime juice. Season with salt to taste. Cover and set aside while you prepare the prawns.

To prepare the prawns, peel and devein the prawns leaving the tail intact. Place in a bowl and add the mirin and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

To cook the prawns, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, dip a piece of paper towel into a bit of oil and lightly coat the pan. Then place the prawns into the pan and cook for 1 minute or so per side.

To serve the prawns, lay some watercress on a plate, top with 3 prawns and spoon the mango salsa on the side or on top. Serve immediately.

Notes:

Gluten-free; Dairy-Free

If you happen to have some extra prawns, why not make this Lemon-Coriander Prawns from Rouxbe Online Cooking School. It's actually my first video recipe. You won't regret trying this.

Love and light,



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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Start Fresh

Last week, I thought I lost all my files and photos from my flash drive (supposed to be my back up) but my brother-in-law was able to recover some of it last Friday. But as my computer lost its function and was brought to the shop that week, my heart sank when I learned that all my files and photos cannot be recovered anymore. Not some, not a few, not three-fourths, but all of them were gone. So, all the original photos and text on this blog are all gone from my computer. And most files that I’ve saved and worked on are consists of more than six years of research. My brother would call it my life’s work. For the past few years, I was a full time caregiver of my late-father. And I spent my free time doing research about health, nutrition, healing power of whole foods and other areas related to food, cooking and well being. I also did a lot of notes and outlines and saved them in organized folders and sub folders. I've changed computers within those years and have experienced computer breakdown, but they were still able to save everything. When the computer was returned to me the other day with a new socket for the internet, I turned it on, hoping that at least a few would have been recovered. I was still in shocked that they’re all gone. Nothing was left. Not even my resume, or even my drafts for this blog or my case studies that I did for my natural nutrition course.

My brother in law suggested on how to have a real back up for all those files and photos and even a smarter way to do it. He even gave me some words of wisdom through his text message. It says it reminds him of Henry Ford, (founder of Motor Ford Company) whose workshop was burned to ground with all the stuff that he worked on for 10 years. His son felt bitter but Henry said it’s alright. It only means to start anew with a fresh perspective of things. Trust that there is a reason why it happened. There are no coincidences. Take a deep breath; acknowledge that it is a setback. You always have a choice how to react to it (hmmm, which just comes to my mind, when you start over and re-write some of the data, why not publish a book out of it?)I’ll think about it although he insists that I should.

So, I’m starting anew again hoping that whatever that I’ve lost from my hard drive would be restored in a more abundant and miraculous way. I will cling to the scripture that the pastor quoted today from Philippians 3:13 - Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.

While I lost every file and photo from my hard drive, this is actually nothing compared to what happened in Haiti. I am still disturbed by what happened and I honestly don’t know what to write as I’m out of words to describe it. While you can make contributions to your local church and other organizations, please take the time to read the following food blogs who wrote about it and how you can help.

Helping and Grieving for Haiti - Tokyo Terrace
One Word about Haiti Relief: Give - Wasabi Prime
Food for Haiti - Acquired Taste
Blog Away Hunger - Help Haiti - Taste As You Go
Help Haiti - No Recipes

Here's a list of other food bloggers donating their ad revenue this month for Haiti relief. You can help by visiting their old posts to increase the amount of ad money donated.
Help Haiti - Blog Away Hunger

And let’s continue praying for everyone affected with this calamity.

Love and light,



Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ten in 10 Challenge: Week Four



Would you believe it’s almost the end of the month and just a few weeks ago it was only New Year? Time flies and they’re gone with the wind in an instant. You can’t bring it back. The good thing is, regardless of time, you can bring back what you’ve lost in life, just not all of them. When it comes to your health and wellness, you can definitely bring it back. As I was reading a magazine sent to me by Hippocrates Health Institute, I am positive that you can fully restore your health the way it was used to be or even better. The catch is, you have to decide to take 100% full responsibility for your health and life.



Here's a few updates for week four:

Coffee

For the past two weeks (I missed the first one), I’ve been trying to slowly bring back healthier practices and one of them is ditching the coffee. Coffee is good; really good. But after being free from it for more than 2 weeks now, I could say that I feel much better. Caffeine stays longer in the bloodstream for women than men. But there was also the urge to have a cup whenever my brother brews some coffee and I could always make one for myself whenever I feel like it. The kitchen is just a few steps away. I guess it was easier for me to give it up because I only drink coffee once a day until I drink them only a few times a week. But it wasn’t easy to completely give them up.

Water

I’ve been drinking more water this week. Upon waking up in the morning, I drink 2 glasses of mineralized water and was able to maintain hydrated during the day. Of course, there was a setback whenever I’m trying to finish something. But it was better than the other week.



Sleep

This is something that I need to improve on as sleep lowers our stress hormones. But as always the habit of staying late to read other blogs is hard to break.



Food

One of the things that I’m trying to avoid is gluten. I love pasta. I used to eat pasta every lunch while still working for an Italian restaurant for 10 months. But it was only recently that I discovered that I feel sluggish and lethargic after eating a huge bowl of it. To make things worse, they are served with a huge buttered plain foccacia bread. I felt the same way when the family had lunch in a Chinese restaurant the other week. Guess what I’m doing in the afternoon? Sleeping. I suspect it was the amount and quality of the oil that they used. The result is sluggishness and lethargy.

I also started making my own kimchi (Chinese cabbage; cucumber) instead of buying them. Adding probiotics to your meals in the form of food is a great and cheap way to multiply good bacteria into your gut.

Two ingredients that I'm loving this week are cauliflower because they're in season and chili peppers, because they reduce inflammation in your body and they are high in vitamin C; just go easy on the chili peppers because too much is also harmful too.



Exercise

I don’t need to lose the excess weight nor even gain weight but exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle. If you live in the Philippines, how they greet you could make or break you. It’s either they greet you with “you’ve gained weight”, “you’ve lost weight”, “you looked too skinny” or “you looked malnourished”. But translating them in the Filipino language sounds even harsh. When one of my relatives saw me, she said I looked malnourished. I think my eyebrows become one when I heard that. I kept my cool and ignored what she said but at the back of my mind, I wanted to say something. When I was in first year college, a lot of people were teasing me because I am chubby and flabby; today they're telling me that I'm too thin and even looked malnourished. Hello!!! We have different body types and structures. We're not born with the same built but we are all unique. So, own your body image and don’t let other people own it for you. In other words, love yourself.

How are you doing? Let me know your progress. Whatever happens, don't give up.

Love and light,



Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Meatless Day Challange: Southern Indian Vegetable Curry with Curry Leaves






For those of you who cook at lot, I believe that you have quite a collection of cookbooks at home. Some of them have been untouched; most have been browsed through, while the others have bookmarks made with torn papers so you will remember the recipe to cook for the following day or next week.



I have this cookbook by Jamie Oliver which was given to me by my sister for my birthday about 4 years ago. I try not to buy cookbooks because most of the time I don’t follow the recipe. I do get inspiration by visiting the bookstore but I do control myself not to buy anything at the moment. So, whenever I look at a recipe, whether in cookbooks, magazines or the internet, I browse through it and change everything. Well, not exactly everything. Sometimes, when you don’t have an ingredient that the recipe calls for, you have to substitute it for something else. There are times that an impromptu idea would come up and there are also days that I want to cook spontaneously without looking through the recipe and follow every measurement and ingredient, which is what happens all the time.



For this week’s meatless day challenge, I came across this recipe while searching for dishes that contain curry leaves. And I happened to have some curry leaves in the freezer that needs to be used up. I was inspired to make this dish because of the cooler weather these past few days. But every time I cook a warming dish, the weather starts to change as well. But it's a good thing that it cools down at night.



While I followed the recipe for the spices, I changed the ingredients for the vegetables. You can actually use other vegetables other than the recipe calls for. The measurements are actually approximates, by the way. I was surprised that mom went for second servings as her taste with vegetables are very oriental.



This dish is definitely in need of rice and lots of cilantro leaves.

Here’s the original recipe from Jamie Oliver.



Southern Indian Vegetable Curry with Curry Leaves
(adapted from JamieOliver.com with slight variations)

Makes 4 servings

1 large onion
2 fresh green chillies
5 oz cauliflower (about 150 grams)
5 oz pumpkin
1 large Japanese eggplant
7 oz cherry tomatoes (about 200 grams)
12 small okra
1 cup cooked chickpeas

1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground cumin seeds
½ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp chilli powder
a bunch of curry leaves

2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 to 1-1/2 cup coconut milk
unrefined sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper

cilantro (to serve)
cooked brown basmati rice (to serve)

Before starting, you can prepare the following ahead of time: cooking the chickpeas, blanching the tomatoes to remove the skin (optional), and squeezing out coconut milk from the coconut meat (optional).

To prepare your mise en place, first peel and slice the onion, deseed and chop the chili. De-stem the cherry tomatoes. Next, cut the cauliflower, pumpkin, eggplant into bite size pieces (cut them to make sure that they cook at the same time); Trim off the okra and gather the chickpeas.
Next, measure all the spice ingredients, remove the curry leaves off the stem, gather the coconut oil and coconut milk.

To cook the curry, heat a large heavy-bottomed pan or wok (with cover). Add the coconut oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the mustard seeds and fry until they start to pop. Lower the heat slightly and add the green chilies, curry leaves, onions, coriander, cumin seeds, garam masala, turmeric and chili powder. Stir and cook over a medium heat until the onion is soft. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the cauliflower, pumpkin, eggplant and chickpeas. Pour in 1 cup of coconut milk and bring to simmer. Lower the heat, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add in the okra. Season with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes more until the okra is tender (but I prefer them slightly crunchy) . If the dish is a little bit dry, add more coconut milk. Season the dish with salt and pepper.

To serve the dish, transfer to large platter. Serve with cilantro and brown basmati rice. Serve immediately.

Notes:

Gluten-Free; Dairy-Free; Vegan

If you like this recipe, you may also like this Chana Masala (Curried Chickpeas) from Rouxbe Online Cooking School. Chickpeas never looked this good.

Dive in and enjoy.

Love and light,



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Monday, January 18, 2010

Guest Post: Roasted Chicken and Brown Rice Soup



My first guest post for 2010 is for Rebecca (@ Chow and Chatter). Chow and Chatter is full of easy, delicious and nourishing recipes for the whole family. For Rebecca, family comes first and this comforting soup is full of goodness and warmth that will be enjoyed by the whole family.

Rebecca is a registered dietician with 8 years of clinical experience. She has also written nutritional write-ups for other publications and you can find the links on her blog. Not only that, she is also a personal fitness trainer who can jump start your way to healthy eating and living. You can also find her on her other website, Dietitian for Hire.

Check out my blog post and recipe at Chow and Chatter. And Rebecca, thank you very much for this opportunity to be a part of your blog.

Hope you like it.

Love and light,



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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.


Cilantro

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,