Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya

To all my Muslim friends, Selamat Hari Raya. Maaf Zahir Batin.

To everybody else, a happy holiday and happy feasting :D

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Secret to Losing Weight without Tears & Pain

It has been a really strange week of coincidences for me. I have always been talking about weight management on and off and just as it was that "off" time for me that I met a few people who pushed me back into thinking about weight management.

It all started last week when I was in the office pantry that I saw at least 2 of my colleagues drinking some meal supplement. They were part of a group of girls in the office who have just signed up with an Multi Level Marketing company to purchase the meal replacement package. This is not the first time this group of girls are taking some form of meal replacement or special diet to reduce weight. They have also taken the British Heart Foundation Diet (which the British Heart Foundation didn't not endorse haha) which did warn that prolonged consumtion of this diet will actually cause harm to a person.

British Heart Foundation Diet Plan

This diet is not recommended


5 ’snax’ biscuits (dry crackers)
1 slice of cheddar cheese
1 small apple
1 cup black tea/coffee/water

1 boiled egg
1 slice of dry toast
1 cup black tea/coffee/water

1 cup of tuna
1 cup of beetroot
1 cup of cauliflower
1/2 melon
1/2 cup of diet vanilla ice-cream
1 cup black tea/coffee/water

The British Heart Foundation diet is a very low calorie diet (approx. 700 calories per day), and is often only used for a few days. It is unsustainable. The meal plan should not be undertaken for any length of time without medical supervision.

Then, a day later, I met with an ex-colleague who is a very successful multi-level marketeer and he shared his list of food supplements plus diet plan which have helped many people. He showed me the testimonials of these happy people. Well, there is definitely something called the Carbo-blocker from his list which I would like to consider.

After that, a long lost friend came on MSN on Friday and wished me a belated Birthday. At the same time, he asked if we could meet to catch up. I agreed to meet him up this morning (Sunday) and guess what, a little way into breakfast, he shared his weight management plan with me. He does have a very interesting plan and basically it is about food supplements and special menus. The difference is that his plans suggests that the person eats 3 main meals plus 9 snacks a day. Wow.. this definitely sounds like my kind of diet plan haha. He promised that he will send me more details of the plan.

In the midst of all this, I have also stumble across something called a 3 Hour Diet Weight Management Plan. How many of you have heard of this? There is actually a website called the 3HourDiet.com. The guy who created this diet is Jorge Cruise (no relation to Tom, I think). The secret of his diet " lies in eating the "right foods" every 3 hours to stabilize your blood sugar, which controls your appetite. This steadies your moods and boosts your energy all day long."

When you click through the tour, it is really fantastic. You could even live on meals from McDonalds (my fav fast food) and still be able to lose weight. Wow.. this is fantastic.

I read that some research papers which says that the biggest mistake a person can make in trying to lose weight is to skip meals. When a person skips meals throughout the day, the blood sugar plummets, causing cravings and the potential to overeat later. When the person overeats, the even more weight is gained. Seems logical.

There is also this Starvation Prevention Mechanism that the body triggers whenever it senses that there is insufficient food coming in. It will start to automatically preserve fats and starts consuming the precious fat-burning lean muscles (*ouch). Now I understand how come people who are on diets and meal replacements put back the pounds immediately they stop their diets and meal replacements.

There was also one more scary fact I found during my search on the internet. It is this thing called the Belly Bulging Hormone Cortisol.

Extracted from About.com - Cortisol and Stress,
Cortisol increased abdominal fat, which is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, the development of , higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems!

A study conducted in Toronto, Canada, found that participants who eats frequent small meals, as opposed to three large meals that contained the same calories, reduced their cortisol levels by more than 17%..

Okie.. that settles it. I am not going to go on any replacement meals (not that I ever had before - I dislike all forms of liquid foods like that) and I am not going to try the Heart Foundation Diet ever again (ya ya.. I admit, I did try it but then I cheated. I will always double up the rations haha). I will however, consider the carbo blocker, the supplements (as whether or not i am on a diet, I do believe in supplements) and I am definitely going to start eating every 3 hours...(wow.. I can't believe it... a diet that finally allows me to eat regularly). Anyone want to join me in this journey towards a fitter and healthier body?

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bento #9

The wholemeal muffin that I made for Bento #8 was nutritious and healthy but it was rather difficult to swallow down without a glass of water or juice haha. Today, I decided to try the wholemeal pita to see how it tasted. Had 1/2 a piece for breakfast and it was really lovely. Much softer in texture and totally delicious. So, decided that I will have it for lunch too.

Still trying to go on a healthy diet course until at least tomorrow. Going to have a dinner meet with friends tomorrow at a lovely place that was introduced to me by JW and her sister Jean. That reminds me, I still got a load of photos somewhere on my PC of the lovely dinner we had there.

Back to Bento #9. Had to finish up the tomatoes on vines that I bought last week. They are very pretty to look at but I still prefer the Honey Cherry Tomatoes as they are much sweeter. Made a simple potato egg salad and wallah.. I have bento #9. Nothing fancy as my mum is back at the hospital for her checkup (still had to do extra bandings yesterday as the doctor found more lesions inside her guts) so no dinner at home, hence no leftovers.

Top Left : Washed potatoes and egg salad with a little mayonnaise, salt and pepper
Right : Tomatoes on veins, kiwi fruits, cucumbers and carrots
Bottom Left : Wholemeal pita bread with turkey ham and lettuce

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Bento #8

I was at the Popular Bookstore last night and came across this cookbook entitled 50 Recipes for Diabetics. Flipped through it and found that most of the recipes were fashioned around all things wholemeal and oats. Didn't buy the book as most of the recipes were quite simple. When I got home and opened the fridge to decided what to make for the Monday's bento, there was hardly any leftovers...sigh! Looked up and whoa.. saw a bag of wholemeal muffins. There were 2 punnets of strawberries in the fridge. Haha..decided that I will have a very healthy bento.

I made 2 wholemeal muffins with lettuce and some chicken turkey slices. Just a little bit of ketchup on the bread. No butter or mayonnaise at all. Took some honey cherry tomatoes and some strawberries. The strawberries were a tad sour but very large and very juicy. Perhaps that is why people sometimes eat their strawberries with cream and sugar.

I made a little vegetable salad using sliced carrots, cucumbers, radish, pomelo (left over from the Mid Autumn Festival celebrations a week ago) and a bit of plum sauce.

Was checking what strawberries was good for and found a write-up on strawberries in the World's Healthiest Foods website.

Health Benefits of Strawberries

Strawberries not only look like a fruity heart-shaped valentine, they are filled with unusual phytonutrients that love to promote your health. It also has the following benefits.

  • Potent Antioxidant Protection from Phenols
  • Strawberry Phytonutrients that Promote Optimal Health
  • Protection against Macular Degeneration
  • Protection against Rheumatoid Arthritis
These days strawberries are no longer seasonal fruits (or so it seems as I think we are able to get strawberries the whole year through). So, have a strawberry a day :)

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oatmeal Walnut & Raisin Muffins

I was looking at this recipe book which claims that their desserts are healthier, as they have lower fat content and less sugar. So, I decided to use the 1st recipe in that book to see if it was true. However, what surprised me was that the name of the muffin was Oatmeal Cheese Muffin but there was not an ounce of cheese used in the recipe ??? But anyways, the recipe also asked for bran, which I didn't have. So, I substituted it with Walnuts (which I like more than bran) and renamed the recipe Oatmeal, Walnut & Raisins Muffins.

Made about 12 mini muffins and brought some to my business meeting yesterday evening. One of my teammates, Jeffrey seems to like it. At first I thought maybe he was just being his normal polite self when he said "Mmm.. nice" but he ate up what Husna didn't finish. Sharon and Simon didn't say anything but they finished theirs. So, I took it as passable. Haha.. but when it came to Husna, my dear friend took 1 bite and she looked like she is going to puke. That bad meh? Then I remembered, Husna only eats chocolate cakes and muffins, she loves meat, does not take vegetables except Kai Lan.. and yeah.. hates pizzas. In short, she loves junk food. Oatmeal and walnuts and raisins apparently didn't fall in her category of Junk Food...haha.. So, nice Jeffrey ate up Husna's muffin.

So, moral of the story... you just cannot bake to please everybody. There will be someone who will like your cake and others who don't. My friend Tobiyama probably loves them to bits as I think on the last count, he must have eaten no less than 1/2 a dozen of them. So, friends at the office, this explains why I have none left for you. Next time yeah??


240g plain yogurt
1 tsp baking soda
150g low gluten flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
100g oatmeal
30g bran (which I substituted with crushed walnuts)
1 egg
85g brown sugar
90ml vegetable oil
60g raisin

  1. Preheat oven to 180C for about 10mins
  2. Place 6 large muffin cups or 12 small muffin cups on a baking tray and set aside
  3. Mix yogurt and baking soda and set aside
  4. Sieve low gluten flour, baking powder and salt. Add oatmeal. Mix well.
  5. Beat the egg in a separate bowl. Add brown sugar and vegetable oil and stir well.
  6. Add yogurt mixture slowly.
  7. Pour the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients in step 4.
  8. Stir quickly with a plastic spatula until the mixture is no longer lumpy.
  9. Add walnuts and raisins and mix well.
  10. Scoop the batter into the muffin cups and bake them in the oven for about 20 to 25mins at 180C, or until the muffins turn golden brown. Insert a skewer or toothpick in the centre of one of the muffins and if it comes out clean, then the muffins are done.
  11. Take the muffins out of the oven and let them cool on the rack.

The recipe book suggested that for added taste, the muffins can be served with honey on the side for dipping.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Bento #7

It seems like it's been a long time since I cooked or baked. I do miss it but it seems there is not enough time these days to do all the things I want to do without having to give some a miss. But this weekend, I must have made up for it as I made ping pei mooncakes for the family as it was the Mid Autumn Festival, helped prepared some stuff for the Steamboat dinner we had at Mum's on Saturday, baked some muffins yesterday and prepared my Bento #7 this morning... phew... but it was really fun.

I used the bento box which Susan gave me last week. Besides that, she also gave me some yummy agar agar mooncakes and delicious cheesecake (which I ate during lunch). She gave me a bento box, knowing that I am now into bento-ing and I only have one set of boxes which was given to me by Christene of allthingspurple, plus Susan made me two lovely homemade bento straps. Oh, they are so very cute. See for yourself.

I made today's bento with some of food leftover from Mum's steamboat dinner. And there is a little bit of salad leftover from yesterday too. Haha.. and they say leftovers are yucky. I think these are quite nice.

Top: Crabsticks, Honey Cherry Tomatoes (i love these) and little chicken sausages (with cheese and black pepper)

Bottom: Carrots cut with a doggie cookie cutter lying on a bed of crunchy salad, more Honey Cherry Tomatoes, cucumbers and quail eggs. Copied the little chicks design from a book. The eyes are little black sesame seeds and a small piece of carrot for its beak.

I was not sure if those would last me until the evening so I made some kaya on wholemeal bread, just in case. I bought a cute little dragonfly cookie cutter from Cake Connection recently and just couldn't resist "playing" with it. Anyway, there are lots of cute cookie cutters at Cake Connection. They have new stocks every now and then. Go have a look if you are free :)

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Friday, September 12, 2008

On A Diet.... Soon!

Even though I have not been cooking or baking very much at home the last few weeks, my waistline continued to grow... by the day. It must have been all the quick meals, fast food and hawker food that I have been stuffing myself with...*sigh*. But life is good.. as I was reading my mails today, I saw this mail from Flat Belly Diet. Ha Ha.. do I want a Flat Belly. Went through the page and saw the Recipes page... yippeeeee.

I have copied 3 of their recipes here and I cannot wait to start on them but I think there will be some improvisations necessary as I don't think I know where to get a few of the ingredients. Perhaps my waistline will start to reverse gear after going on this diet for the next few days *keeping fingers crossed*. Thank you very much Flat Belly Diet. Click here for their page.

  • Crunchy Tuna Melt
    1 slice Food For Life1 Ezekiel 4:91 Sesame Sprouted Bread (80) topped with 2 oz chunk light water-packed tuna (80), 2 tbsp sunflower seeds (165), and 1 slice Applegate Farms provolone cheese (70), and placed under broiler or in toaster oven to melt.
    Total calories = 395

  • Shrimp and Snow Pea Sesame Pasta
    Chill 2 oz medium broiled shrimp (60) and 1/4 cup cooked whole wheat spirals (105) and toss with 1 tbsp sesame oil (120), 1/4 cup fresh snow peas (10), 2 tbsp chopped scallions (4), 1/4 cup chopped celery (5), and sprinkle with 1 tbsp whole black sesame seeds (50).
    Total calories = 354

  • Cheesy Spinach Ziti
    1/4 cup cooked whole wheat penne (105), tossed with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (119), 1/4 cup nonfat ricotta cheese (50), 2 tbsp Organic Valley1 Shredded Italian Four-Cheese Blend (45), 1/2 cup fresh baby spinach leaves (3), 2 tbsp sliced onions (6), and 1/2 cup Newman's Own1 Marinara Pasta Sauce (60).
    Total calories = 388

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    Tuesday, September 9, 2008

    Love Myself Enough to Go For It

    Hi everybody. I have not been able to cook or bake for more than 2 weeks. Firstly, it was because my mum was in the hospital, but after that, I was working very hard on a program which I signed up for. It was called the Entrepreneurs Action Program Boot Camp. It was rather exhausting as I was involved in discussions almost every night for 2 weeks but it was really worth it. The payback was that I made many good friends, won 2 prizes, one for being in the Ultimate Winning Team and the other being the best leader in the group. The best was yet to come. Now I am part of a new extended family and on my way to making my dreams come true.

    So, over the past 2 weeks, I only had mostly fast food and hawker food for dinners. But over that one weekend which straddled the program, I made myself a very special breakfast.

    I love myself enough (haha.. not the breakfast lah) to give myself this chance to creating a better life for me... and also ultimately my family and friends. Til the next post :D

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