Fitness update & HK’s best veggie/vegan restaurants (Vegan Char Sui??) :O

What a beautiful sunny week it’s been in Hong Kong!

I am now only 10 days away from completing the 8 week fitness challenge and I wanted to continue to write a short update on the second half as well as the lead up to the final fitness tests. I can’t believe how fast it’s flown by!

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Week 5 started off great. I was feeling healthy and active and continued to build strength and endurance, I was on cloud 9! It wasn’t until week 6 that I had suddenly felt like I had been hit with a tonne of bricks. My joints ached, my muscles were tight and I felt fatigued. I no longer had the energy I had built up over the last 5 weeks and even though I was eating the same foods and exercising the same amount, I just felt tired. Just as I started to feel panicky and frustrated, the fitness challenge nutritionist, Lisa Tarquini from Eat Move Glow , sent the email below and suddenly I realised I needed to take a couple days rest, fuel my body and reset.. which is exactly what I did :)

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As well as cutting down my exercise, this week was filled with friends and family birthdays and surprise engagement parties which meant quite a few naughty days. By the end of the week, I was bloated yet satisfied!

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After my glorious 2 days of rest and eating my heart out, I have started week 7 with determination and gratitude. I am pushing through the burn and loving every second of it. Today was the first 6am spin class where I didn’t feel out of breath and for me, that is a milestone!

 

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  • If you’re feeling hungry, It’s probably your body asking to be nourished. Don’t obsess over calories and do not go to bed hungry after a workout.
  • I have noticed in the past couple of weeks that slight glimpses of borderline obsession have peaked it’s ugly head. I have started to feel GUILTY that I’m only exercising for an hour a day…which after a chat with a colleague, I realised how ridiculous that is. Each day, for that hour, I am giving it my all, whether it’s spinning, attempting to increase my body pump weights, HIT training, Bootcamp or Strongman training, I am trying my best to push that little bit extra each session. So, why do I feel that unless I exercise 2 hours a day, I am unfit?
    I have taken part in an 8 week challenge to improve my fitness, raise money for Bali Kids and make a lifestyle change, not to obsess. I am now in a routine where I no longer dread exercise, it is just a part of my day which comes and goes. I was constantly comparing myself to my fitness level 2 years ago where I could do an hour of Grit Strength, an hour of cardio and an hour hike and feel absolutely fine. It is important to keep reminding myself that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Day by day I am getting fitter and stronger, whilst actually enjoying myself. That’s most important.
  • Take the time to relax and treat yourself. Take Epson salt baths, book massages, yoga classes..anything to make your body feel looked after.

 

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I set myself the below goals for the final week:-

– Fit in more yoga sessions as I LOVE this practice.

– Loose at least a kilo

-Do one of HK’s many beautiful hikes

– Stop snacking on pita chips and make some filling snacks like protein balls!

-Don’t look at Week 8 as the end of a challenge but the end of the beginning. I fully intend on keeping my routine change as my new lifestyle.

-Raise more donations for the Bali Kids cause. If you’re interested in supporting this amazing cause, please donate to HERE!

Now moving on to something just as important to me…. FOOD! Over the last couple of weeks, I have been on the hunt for vegan friendly restaurants around Hong Kong as there is only so much I can take of having to pester waiters every time I dine out. I had heard of these 2 restaurants online and not meaning to sound over the top in the slights but THEY HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE!!!

The first was newly opened HOME – Eat to Live. Not only does this place sport beautiful and cosy interior but, the menu had me more excited than the time Back Street Boys were rumoured to be touring Asia.

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I ordered a custom flatbread with olives, falafel, roasted red onion, spinach, classic alioli and roasted garlic hummus and a side of sweet potato fries. I am not sure what I was expecting a flatbread to look like, but a wrap was not it. No complaints here though, the food was delicious!!

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A meal deal came with your flatbread of choice, a side, a healthy version of lemonade, your choice of sauces and small bar of raw dairy free chocolate.

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The flatbread was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, flaky and grilled… oh my days, get me back there.

And now, for the best bit of the meal and one of the best dessert ever to grace my tongue, THE RAW HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE SLICE. Hand crafted by angels, constructed by kings and queens and sprinkled with fairy dust. This was heavenly. Nutty, chocolatey, rich in flavour and so addictive.

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Now for the restaurant that I decided to drag my boyfriend along to last night, which genuinely nearly wanted me to cry happy tears. The Loving Hut is one of 200 worldwide 100% vegan restaurants. Being Vegan and dining out at Chinese restaurants is pretty much a no-go so you can imagine my happiness when I found out this place did VEGAN CHAR SUI BAO (life changing). Funnily enough, I had been craving them earlier this week…must’ve been The Law of Attraction hey?

Although this place was far from fancy, it was warm and friendly and everything you need it to be.

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We ordered the char sui bao (bbq ‘pork’ dumplings) and the veggie dumplings to start. They were everything I had dreamed of and more.

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For the mains we ordered the Char Sui with vermicelli noodles and a noodle laksa. The mock meat char sui looked and tasted so similar! It was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside with a tasty BBQ glaze. Next time I’m back, this will be the first thing I order. (Hello boyfriend, can we go this weekend, please?!)

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Lastly, we shared a Tiramisu. It didn’t exactly taste like tiramisu (needed some alcohol!) but was still enjoyable.

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The loving hut offers food ranging from vegan pizza and french fries to Ramen and fried rice. If you’re veggie or vegan, or just enjoy veggie foods, you MUST try this place out. I can guarantee you it will not disappoint.

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Have a great week and I hope your days are as happy as I am with my ‘pork’ bun :)

 

 

 

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My 8 Week Fitness Challenge: UPDATE

Happy Happy Thursday!

It’s been just over 2 weeks now since I first started my 8 week fitness challenge and I just wanted to fill you in on how I’m doing and what I’m learning (for those who are interested!)

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I thoroughly enjoyed my first week of the challenge and found myself energised, determined and motivated. I felt that I needed a change from my usual exercise routine of BodyPump and HIT training classes as I had grown tired of repetition and needed some new motivation in my life. I decided to limit the classes at my old gym and sign up to Guavapass to try out some new classes. I have had such great fun trying out a variety of classes, from TRX on a trampoline to flipping tyres and dead rowing kegs. It’s been great getting back into it and being able to workout with friends also completing the 8 week challenge.

Week 2 started off with a bang and even included a 45 minute self-made garden HIT circuit whilst away in China for the long weekend. It wasn’t until the end of the 2 day trip that it all went udders up! Even though I packed a few Vegan snacks, our supposed hour long car trip turned into a 4 hour one due to traffic, which meant, these saved snacks rapidly decreased at the rate of frustrated, tired 3rd cultured kids. Mainland China is probably the least Vegan friendly place on this planet and I ended up eating bread for every meal with either a bit of fruit or a couple vegan sausages. With these bad food choices and 5 days of restless sleep, I got hit with the flu. It’s been 3 days since I’ve exercised and I’m itching to feel better and carry on with my new routine.

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  • Slow and steady wins the race. I found that not going completely mad on exercise (more than an hour a day) for the first couple weeks was not only wise on my energy levels, but also allowed me to correct and revise proper technique without running myself down and risking injury. As the weeks go by, I will start introducing more cardio sessions during the week.
  • BEARCAMP @ URSUS (think strong man) and BOUNCE LIMIT (cardio on a rebounder) are now my two favourite studios/gyms in Hong Kong!!
  • It’s important to keep a food journal. There’s nothing more irritating than having to write down the shitty, processed, meal you just endured.
  • Leaving exercise to the afternoon can leave you feeling sluggish and can turn into a cycle of having to muster all of your willpower instead of watching reruns of Jerseylicious.

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I set myself the below goals for week 1&2:-

– Exercise 6 times a week (one of those days being either dragon boat training, hiking or yoga) 

– Use the Elle Active Get bendy stretching guide + foam roll 3 times a week. X I only completed one long stretch session (not including 5 min after class stretching) 

– Listen to my body and give it the rest it needs. 

– Eat the rainbow. Double my veggie portions and cut out the bread. 


– Try tofu as a soy protein source. √ Yuck, Yuck, Yuck..Not a fan. 

– Practice my headspace 7 days a week. A healthy body and mind go hand in hand.  + X – only practiced 4-5 times this week but still better than none at all!

-Lose a kilo or 2. √ -2.3 kg :)

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Week 3 & 4

– Set your alarm to 5:30am every morning and exercise before work. Attempt to make this your new routine as the post work sluggish feeling isn’t motivating!

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– Exercise 6 days a week, and exercise morning and evening (cardio + weights split) 2-3 times a week.

– Enjoy everything you’re doing. Don’t do a class you don’t enjoy even if it may be a big calorie burner or if everyone else is doing it. If you enjoy it, you’re likely to be in it for the long haul.

– Stretch and foam roll MORE!

-Leave the bread for a weekend treat, no matter how much you love smashed Avo on toast!

-Keep tracking your protein on MyFitnessProtein but don’t become obsessed with calorie consumption.

-Raise more donations for the BaliKids cause. If you’re interested in supporting this amazing cause, please donate to HERE :)

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Instagram: @maidenhk

Snapchat: Katydayhk

 

 

 

 

FIGHTING FAT TO FIT FOR BALI KIDS

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For the first time in my life I have started to notice small changes in my health and the way I feel. I can’t remember the last time I’ve slept well through the night and not woken up without feeling like a groggy knackered mess, but since becoming vegan and cutting out dairy, my digestion, sleep and energy levels have improved remarkably.

One thing that hasn’t magically improved is my weight. After coming back from the UK where I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle of constant boozing, takeaways and lack of sleep, I came back to Hong Kong with my hormones all over the place and 14 kilos heavier (cheers dominos you delicious bastard!). Whilst I am eating the healthiest I ever eaten with a plethora of fruit and veg, I have also not been limiting my processed carbs, vegan junk food and have not been feeling motivated to exercise.

When a friend mentioned an 8 week fitness challenge for charity, I jumped at the opportunity. I needed something out of routine and the norm to push me to live the healthiest life I can live and improve my fitness and hopefully reach (if not exceed) the level of fitness I had 2 years ago. And if I can’t motivate myself, I know raising money for Bali Kids will.

 

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The Angels Fitness Challenge was set up by a HK based non profit organisation, Angels for Orphans , whose aim is to provide funding to improve children’s lives worldwide. All proceeds will be donated to Bali Kids who provide health and medical care. Bali kids are kick starting a new Anti-Smoking Education Program as currently, children in Indonesia do not receive any education on smoking and it is one of the biggest killers. This is something that is very close to my heart as my late father smoked for a large portion of his life and when diagnosed with skin cancer the majority of tumours were found in his lungs. A doctor I am not, but I have always wondered if things could’ve been different if there had been no smoking. It is incredibly sad to think that there are a large number of children as young as four who are hooked on cigarettes and do not know the dangers of this awful habit.

This challenge will last 8 weeks and will include 53 participants from all over Hong Kong. We have been split into teams and I will be proudly competing with my Discovery Bay ladies to win most improved fitness as a group as well as some individual categories. I will be exercising every day for the next 8 weeks, decreasing my intake of processed foods, giving up alcohol and hopefully gaining some muscle! This is something that is going to challenge my mind ever more so than my body and I would be so grateful for your support and enthusiasm!

 

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If you’d like to donate, please click here. Any donation big or small will be greatly appreciated.

 

Today was introduction day where we met the brains behind Angels Fitness Challenge 2016 as well as top HK nutritionist Lisa Tarquini and were put through our first fitness test! We were tested on planks, wall sits, push ups and had our weight, BMI, measurements and fat percentage measured.

 

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and tomorrow THE CHALLENGE IS ON! Wish me luck :)
now for one last glass of champers…

 

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If you’re interested in following my journey, add me on snapchat @katydayhk and Instagram: @maiden_hk for regular updates.

 

Have a lovely week ahead!

 

Carnivore approved Black Bean and Chickpea Burgers! #Vegan

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For the first few weeks into my 30 day vegan challenge, I had this intense feeling of FOMO when it came to letting go of the usual dishes I have grown up with and burgers were one of them. At first, I found it rather hard having to give up my usual junk food treats such as pizza, burgers and desserts, but I soon realised that you can make a vegan alternative to nearly EVERY single dish.

So here’s my take on an easy, cheap, simple, healthier version of a burger:

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 INGREDIENTS

Vegan chickpea and black bean burgers (6 servings)
  • 1 tin (425 grams) chickpeas
  • 1 tin (425 grams) blackbeans
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp himalayan salt (or regular table salt if needed)
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

(If you don’t have any of the above seasonings, just add whatever seasonings you fancy!)

1. Blend 1 cup of oats in a blender until it reaches a flour consistency.

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2. Add your garlic, paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, cumin, chilli powder and olive oil and mix.
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3. Rinse your chickpeas and black beans.
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4. Mix beans with the oat flour and mash together. (Add a little water if the mixture is too dry or add a little flour if too wet)
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5. Roll into balls and flatten and then refrigerate for 20 minutes. When ready, cook in frying pan with a tbsp of olive oil until the surface is browning and crispy.
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And don’t forget the oven roasted rosemary chippies!
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6. Create your burger! I added half an avocado, red onion and ketchup to my burger bap.
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7. Enjoy your burger! Enjoy it even more because no animals were harmed for your tastebuds and your digestive system will thank you :)
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OH MY GOD. BEING VEGAN IS SO HARD.

A couple days ago, whilst attempting to make plans with a friend, he mentioned we could go to a restaurant ‘for vegetables’ due to my dietary needs. It just got me thinking how HARD it is being Vegan, just having to eat vegetables all day. I mean, I could go as far as saying it is probably one of the HARDEST things I’ve EVER done.

I mean it is just so HARD eating pancakes with agave nectar and blueberries.

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Soy based Coffee ice-cream milkshake? YUCK YUCK YUCK. 

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I mean Samosa’s….. EWWW

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Moo-free Chocolate covered strawberries??? THAT IS SO WRONG. 

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Salads with  colourful and nutritious veg? I CANT EVEN.

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Oatmeal cookies…NO NO NO.

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Smashed avocado toast with paprika… AVOCADO IS THE DEVIL.

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Curries with vegetable pakora? HELL NAW.

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Even chips with curry sauce….. GROSE.

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Veggie burgers with onion rings, avocado and bbq sauce… VOMCANO. 

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PASTA’S….Garlic pasta in white wine sauce and olive oil… THAT’S JUST NUTS.

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Red wine with Oreo’s… WHAT IN GODS NAME!

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Cold pressed fruit and veggie juices…ERGH.

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Sweet potato and hummus? THINGS ARE GETTING OUT OF HAND NOW. 

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Massaman curry and spring rolls? THIS IS MADNESS.

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That doesn’t even cover all the awful nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts and grains like rice and couscous, risottos. Don’t even get my started on those vile fruits like mangos, watermelons, berries and vegetables like butternut squash, pumpkin, peppers eggplant.

Being Vegan is just too damn hard.

Have a good week ya’ll!

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Weekend Blog: Brunches, BB gun wars and Burritos.

Apologies for the lack of posts (for those who read this blog!) The last week has definitely been a busy one. The first reason being, was that is was my the second anniversary of my dad’s death, which is always a tough time mentally, physically and emotionally, but it has also involved a couple nights of remembrance dinners and drinks. We decided that instead of eating out, I would cook dinner for the family and we would listen to all his old music. As I’m the only herbivore of the pack, I wanted to put out a spread which I know everyone would enjoy. It was a lovely night of memories, good food and paying our respects.  It also happened to be one of the best sunsets I have seen in a while.

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I prepared some roasted sweet potato and pumpkin, a Greek salad (without feta), hummus, olive dip, avocado dip, salsa, pull apart pesto bread,  and other tapas. I also bought some cold cuts and chicken for the carnivores.

On Saturday morning, we made our way to our friend’s 30th birthday brunch at The Grill Grand Hyatt Hotel in Wan Chai. I was a little unsure that I’d be able find vegan options considering the brunch specialised in meat and seafood ,but thankfully there were a range of Vegetarian options and a few Vegan options I could choose from. The quality of food was  a lot higher than some of the other brunches I have tried. Paired with free flowing Champagne, what’s not to like? I’d even go as saying this brunch may be one of the best in Hong Kong. 

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We awoke on sunday with slight hangovers so we decided to make some vegan pancakes! These pancakes are so easy to make and just include brown rice flour, mushed banana and your choice of sugar (we used coconut sugar). We added some cacao nibs and paired the pancakes with some mango. Delicious!

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Post lunch, we took our fur babies for a mini hike up the mountain not far from our house. As sad as it sounds, it totally made my weekend watching the rascals run around the rock pools like mad with their new puppy friends.

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After some much needed relaxation time by the rock pools, we headed back to get ready for our second birthday party of the weekend, which was at a BB GUN WAR ZONE! 4 hours of BB gun wars with 3 different maps = ultimate fun. I have to admit that the combination of experiencing some painful close up shots to the arm and not having protective shoes, the fear got the better of me and I took a few breaks. However, it was ended up being one of the more fun Sunday nights I’ve had in a while and definitely beat my usual routine of binge watching reality TV shows. Oh, AND I even got to order my favourite vegan burrito from Cali Mex ;)

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Thank you again for a great weekend!

Follow me on instagram: @maiden_hk

A week of firsts – Weddings, vegan pizza and Maid Of Honor surprise!

My first week of adapting to the vegan lifestyle has flown by. It hasn’t been a week of feeling deprived and unsatisfied, like I had originally nervously anticipated. After the first 4 days, I started noticing so many changes within myself and my body. Even though it has only been a week, my energy levels have slightly improved, my brain fog has lessened and my junk food cravings have started to diminish. The he majority of what I’m eating are carbs but I do find myself filling my plates with a variety of fruit, veg and legumes instead of breads, pastas and vegan junk food. I have been trying my best to adopt a healthy mindset and look at food as fuel, rather than a treat and whether I end up feeling the best I ever have or I end up piling on loads of weight, and I’m excited to see where this may take me.

Earlier this week, I stumbled across this vegan pizza recipe from Minimalist Baker and just had to try it! Paired with a Greek salad (without feta), I recreated this pizza for a midweek treat. Being the pizza fanatic that I am, I was once again pleasantly surprised with the alternative options vegans have these days.

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Below are some of the other meals I’ve had during the week:

Quinoa bowl with broccoli, sweet potato, peppers, cucumber and onion. 

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Cauliflower rice with a tomato lentil sauce and roasted butternut squash.

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Passion green juice @ Mana

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My favourite after work go to, sweet potato with hummus and arugula

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Coconut oil popped popcorn with chill salt and lime. This stuff tastes exactly like pad thai! 

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This week was definately a week of firsts. My best friend has asked me to be her Maid Of Honor for her wedding! She seems to think that I would’ve already expected it, but, since she has friends from all over the world, it was such a lovely surprise to open the box below! Not only is the wedding located near her birth town, it is also an area which I hold close to my heart and where my god mother resides and have spent many amazing summers with my family. Bring on the best wedding ever summer 2017 in beautiful Spain!

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Speaking of weddings, I attended my first ever wedding last night which was such a good time. It was held at Hullet House in Tsim Sha Tsui and the setting was beautiful.

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The menu was a 10 course, meat filled, Chinese set menu which unfortunately meant I ended up only eating a few pieces of veg which resulted in my massive hangover today! I have to admit that I did drunkenly consume a few pieces of chocolate which WASN’T vegan. I was starving and intoxicated, but in my eyes, slip ups are always part of every new process. I am someone who feels strongly about the corruption of animals and will try my best to limit all consumption of all animal based products, but, I can’t say on my life, that I will never taste an ice-cream or  piece of cheese ever again. I can only hope and try my best.

Since being inspired to turn vegetarian months ago and now vegan, I’ve noticed that within the vegan community, with some individuals, the focus is being drifted away from the welfare of our beautiful ecosystem and inhumane treatment of animals and on to whether or not you’re sticking to all the 100% strict vegan rules and restrictions. I have seen numerous YouTube vegan activists attempting to publicly shame fellow vegans for accidentally eating something that had contained honey in it. It seems that there are many vegan public figures that believe you should not or cannot ever fail. To me, there should be compassion for both humans and animals and people in no way, shape or form should attempt ‘out vegan’ you.
I understand that the majority of vegans are out there to promote a healthy lifestyle, but, how on earth has coffee been banned by the community? For goodness sake, if you feel like you want a coffee (using soy or almond milk, of course) then have that coffee and do not like anyone tell you otherwise! No animals have been harmed for that coffee so bloody enjoy it!
BUT ANYWAYS, If you’re interested in checking out some lovely, ordinary vegan YouTube channels, you must check these guys out:-
Thats just about enough posting about food. Wishing you a great upcoming week!

Vegan No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies! (healthier version)

 

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4 ingredients + all Vegan friendly + no oven required = HEAVEN. 

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Ingredients: (makes 8 cookies)

  • 1 cup jumbo oats
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 40 grams of Vegan chocolate
  • 1 1/2 bananas

Let’s begin!

  1. Mash the banana using a fork. (If your bananas aren’t ripe, throw them in the microwave like I did, for a minute until soft)

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2. Add a cup of oats, one tbsp of peanut butter, your cut chunks of your vegan/dairy free chocolate and mix!

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3. Once mixed, pick a handful of the mixture and roll into a palm sized ball but flattening into a cookie shape

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4. Place them on a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

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5. Enjoy!

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30 days of Vegan.

I can no longer stand sifting through my Facebook feed and being presented with crying calfs, skinned dogs and red raw chicken being pumped with hormones. I can no longer BARE to justify buying into these industries when I know the horrible truth and torture these beautiful animals have to endure just to satisfy my taste buds. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful that the truth of our meat and dairy industry is finally out there for all to see and it is becoming harder for people to put their blinkers on and play ignorance. But like I have said in my previous blogs, I absolutely love and worship animals and truly think that they are the greatest gift to this earth.

After transitioning from full on meat eater to pescetarian, over the last few weeks living purely on a vegetarian diet, I thought I would attempt to go the full circle and give up all animal products in the hopes that my overall health improves. I have done plenty of research on the nutritional benefits of the vegan diet as well as the deficiencies which can seriously deplete your health, but I guess if I don’t try, I will never know. These days there seems to be scientific evidence backing up every diet, fad or lifestyle, claiming to be the ‘healthiest’ and foods which go from being a cancer causing to a food you are recommended to consume daily. I am a strong believer that everyones body is different and one lifestyle may work for one and not the other, so over the next 30 days I will document my transition (why is it that every time I write transition I automatically envision Caitlin Jenner?) The good, the bad and the ugly. Here’s hoping I finally find a healthy lifestyle that agrees with me!

The beginning…

For breakfast, I started the day with a vegan protein smoothie bowl with spirulina, chia seeds, Rawnola, oats and peanut butter. These bowls are so easy to make and spending those extra two minutes to make it look pretty really makes me feel more grateful for the food I’m eating.

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My boyfriend and I have a wedding next weekend so we decided to head to Tsing Sha Tsui to  do a spot of shopping as well as check out this restaurant I’ve been reading about for a while.

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(Riding the Star Ferry NEVER gets boring.)

Woodlands is located in Wing On Plaza in TST and offers vegetarian (and vegan friendly) Indian food. My boyfriend and I are huge fans of indian food and I was extremely excited to try it!

 

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We shared the South Indian Thali platter which was a full course meal with plain rice and three purees and two chapatis. Two Bajis of the day, Sambar and Rasam. It was full of many flavours and surprisingly felt quite light. We then ordered the veggie samosa’s which were by far, without a doubt, the best samosa’s I have ever had!!! A thinner pastry than usual with extra filling. My boyfriend then ended his meal with an Indian dessert, Gulab Jamun which were deep fried milk balls soaked in syrup.

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After a long day of walking around TST and Mong Kok, we headed back home to catch up on the netflix series, Making A Murderer. For those who haven’t seen it, you must get on it! It may be the most gripping yet frustrating documentary series I have seen yet. My boyfriend and I have this unhealthy habit where we MUST purchase snacks for every film or series we’re following. SO, we picked up our favourite red, The Chocolate Block and a packet of Oreo’s (Oreo’s are vegan! Can you believe it?!)

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Today was not a healthy day at all and I now know more than ever that even though something may be vegan, It sure as hell doesn’t mean it is healthy. It is very easy to devour a pack of oreo’s just because you feel like you are deprived and want to satisfy your cravings. It requires a lot of effort to produce nutritious, balanced plant based meals which do not lack in protein, good carbs and fats.

After this binge fest, I started to feel really really strange. The headaches started to pop their ugly heads followed by a gradual decline in my mood. By the time it was early evening, I started to feel depressed for no apparent reason. I noticed I had a very short temper for the first few days as well as problems with digestion (I was burping every 5 minutes). My craving for cheese has been the strongest it’s ever been and I have been extremely fatigued.

For dinner, I decided to get over my fear of vegetable versions of meat (Quorn is the devil) and try making a veggie bacon and avocado sandwich. I was pleasantly surprised with how similar the ‘bacon’ smelt and tasted.

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I’m now 3 days in and I feel worse than I did before. Lets hope this cleansing/detoxing period doesn’t last long because I’m not sure how much longer I can feel like an irritable, achy zombie.

Wish me luck!

P.s – If you have any tips or product suggestions, please leave them in the comments section. Thanks

 

10 OF MY KITCHEN MUST-HAVES!

Happy Tuesday! ( doesn’t it always feel like just a second Monday?) Hope you’ve all had a great weekend. This post is going to be dedicated to all those foodies who may suffer from intolerances/allergies or just want ‘healthier’ options. I say healthier in quotation marks as some of the below products may not be the most wholesome of foods when comparing them to 100% organic, GMO free, low glycemic, low fat, low carb blah blah blah. BUT, they are definitely some of the products my kitchen AND taste buds can’t live without. I feel that these products are great substitutes for when you’re craving junk foods and are helping me make better choices on the road to better health.

Okay, so lets get started.

  1. Lemon and cucumber water 

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I am completely obsessed with water infusions! I’m not one of those people who finds it hard drinking copious amounts of water, but water + fruit = heaven. Not only does lemon and cucumber water alkalize the body, which aids in your body functioning at its optimal level, but its also packed with Vitamin C, antioxidants and silica making it an amazing immune system booster and a nice energy boost. It will also cleanse toxins as well as purify the liver and digestion (great for those party animals!)

2. CHOCOLATE!

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Okay, who doesn’t love chocolate? When I was living in London I developed this really unhealthy habit of HAVING to have something sweet after lunch and dinner to cleanse my palette so to say. This 72% dark chocolate bar is made of organic cocoa beans, organic coconut blossom sugar and organic cocoa butter. It is suitable for vegans, vegetarians, and is organic, wheat-free, gluten free, soya free, dairy free, nut free, low GI and all natural! It is especially high in Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron; a delightfully natural source of the vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C. BEAUT!

3. Himalayan salt

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Pink Himalayan salt boosts 84 naturally occurring minerals and is an unrefined, unprocessed “raw” salt that’s hand-mined from salt caves that were formed 250 million years ago. The many benefits of Himalayan salt includes effective detoxification purposes, (and has been proven to be much more effective than white table salt versions) lowering your blood pressure, aids you in replenishing the loss of electrolytes, banishing sinus and respiratory conditions and improving the condition of your sleep. I use Himalayan salt when seasoning my food, but the two most uses for this salt for me is straight after incredibly sweaty exercise classes and for gargling a mixture of water and himalayan salt when I have a sore or phlegmy throat. It works wonders!

4. DAIRY FREE ICE CREAM 

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At first I was a little hesitant to try a dairy free ice cream, but after tasting it, you can see why this vegan ice-cream is stocked in numerous stores around Hong Kong. All Happy Cow ice creams are dairy free, soy free, gluten free and low glycemic. They have a coconut cream base and offer 25 flavours ranging from chocolate chilli to strawberry shortcake. These ice creams really are the SHIZZ.

5. HERBAL TEA 

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There is nothing better than coming home after a long day at work and settling down with a herbal tea. I use the wild apple and cinnamon with ginger when i’m craving something sweet, the warming camomile and spiced apple(camomile has a very calming effect on the body, allowing for a more restful sleep) before I go to sleep and the peppermint infusion for when my intolerances are acting up and I am sporting a sexy bloated stomach.

6. Brown rice pasta

Even though these pastas are still processed, they are however perfect for people with gluten and wheat intolerances. They are just as delicious as white or whole wheat pasta , however, the texture may need some getting used to. Brown rice pasta = happy tummy.

7. Water Kefir (pronounced keh-FEER) 

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The ultimate probiotic. The grains in water kefir are made up of various strains of healthy bacteria and yeast. The healthy bacteria that feeds on the “bad” unhealthy bacteria in our stomach and intestines. It is suitable for vegans as it provides an excellent source of vitamin B12, and is high in vitamins B1 and B6.

8. Roasted chickpeas

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yum, yum, yum, yum, yum. I do normally make my own roasted chickpeas, but when I’m short of time, I usually pick up some of these store bought bad boys! Chickpeas have become a regular in my diet since giving up poultry and they contain healthy protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Some good flavour combinations for roasted chickpeas are cayenne pepper & Manuka honey, simple salt and pepper and cinnamon.

9. Soy sauce and apple cider vinegar 

Living in Asia, it can be a nightmare ordering Chinese food when soy sauce has a such a high gluten content. Everything is coated in the stuff. However, my local health food store has just started stocking gluten free soy sauce and this is music to my ears! This calls for some homemade fried rice and noodles.

Now Apple Cider Vinegar is my go to salad dressing. I could live off the stuff. Apple cider vinegar has many uses. It can help dissolve kidney stones, detoxify the body, relieve allergies and heartburn as well as help kill cancer cells or slow their growth. It wards off the flu, lowers cholesterol, soothes bug bites and clears skin. A good time all around.

10. Granola & Almond Milk – 

Anything But Salad’s Life Rawnola is Organic and includes dehydrated clusters of sprouted buckwheat groats, almonds, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. It is GF, a good source of protein and fibre as well as high levels of antioxidants. Paired with some almond milk, it makes an easy and nutritious breakfast.

What foods are your everyday go-to’s?

 

 

GF & DF Spicy, Saucy, Soft Shell Fish Tacos!

I can’t fathom the fact that it was near 30 degrees in London for multiple days in March and now in the middle of May, the sun is shining, the wind is blowing and I’m still in a jumper! I’m really going to miss the clean fresh air here in the UK but I am certainly looking forward to going back to the heat (smog?) of Hong Kong. As I have yet to embody that summer excitement as the warm months draw nearer, I thought it would be a great time to make my SPICY, SAUCY, SOFT SHELL FISH TACOS (not to mention they are also gluten-free, wheat free, dairy free, egg free, soy free AND full of flavour!

After binging on all the gyros, feta and wine during my trip to Santorini, I have found it hard to get back into the rhythm of watching what I eat and I have definitely started to feel the effects. The headaches are back, the lack of energy has peered its ugly face, I am constantly fatigued at all hours of the day and not to mention the fact that my stomach and face is so bloated I could easily be mistaken for an 8 month pregnant lady. At no fault but my own, it’s time to cut the excuses and give my body back the love it gives to me! I opted for some Tilapia fillets as my local Waitrose didn’t have the largest selection. Sole, red snapper, grouper, halibut or cod also work well. Whatever tickles your fancy. I seasoned the Tilapia with cumin, chilli, paprika, coriander, parsley and a splash of lime juice and placed in the oven for 15 minutes at 200°C.

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Whilst the Tilapia is baking, I prepared my toppings. I wanted to create a balance between spice, sweetness and a buttery flavour. (Avocado makes a great butter alternative and It is loaded with healthy fats, fibre and various important nutrients) IMG_8799

Toppings: I diced some cherry tomatoes, cut some cabbage and watermelon, grilled some red onion and picked some coriander.

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Sauce: I blended 2 avocados with fresh lime juice, almond milk and jalapeños for the spicy creamy sauce.

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For the taco shells I used soft corn tortillas by Cool Chile Co. They are 100% gluten free and contain nixtamalised ground maize, water and sea salt. I absolutely love them and they don’t leave you feeling groggy after.

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Taco: Heat a dry pan until medium hot. Warm each side of the tortilla until toasty but still soft. Lastly, add your toppings and enjoy!

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K

Camden Lock Street Food

Camden Lock has got to be one of, if not, my favourite place to eat in London. If you can withstand the mass amount of people and tourists pushing each other around, the street dealers and the drunks, you cannot be disappointed. The food is incredible with an array of cuisines and tastes and nothing quite beats the quirky vibes attracting an alternative crowd. I think everyone can agree that there is literally never a dull moment whilst walking through Camden.

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I dragged my hungover self to Camden Lock Street Market in the hopes of bringing myself back down to earth with some of my favourite artery clogging dishes. Please keep in mind that there is so much more variety at the lock, it was my alcohol infused body making the not so daring choices!

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Firstly we hit The Mac Factory, whom specialise in gourmet Mac and Cheese. They have a number of flavours which include:

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NostalgicA classic blend of mature cheddar, parmesan and mozzarella

La Med BabeNo nut basil pesto, confit tomato, bocconcini    

Super Mario – Sautéed Portobello mushrooms, truffle oil, oven roast garlic  

Posh Spice – Spicy chorizo, harissa, lyonaisse onion  

The Big Smoke – Home smoked chicken, fire roasted peppers, apple wood smoked cheddar

Blue Jacob – Bbq glazed, slow cooked short rib of beef, danish blue cheese, spring onion

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we opted to share the The Big Smoke which was oozing with cheese and had the optimal amount of flavour and crunch.

As if we hadn’t already gone way over the weekly dairy consumption recommendation, we made our way over to the TOASTITS for the best toastie (grilled cheese for you Americanos) my taste buds have had the pleasure of experiencing. They offer gluten free bread which is always a plus.

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We went our usual cheddar avocado and parmesan mash with Prosciutto and chilli flakes toastie. The cheese was melted to perfection with each of the flavours not too overbearing for the other.

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To end the day, we ventured over to my personal favourite find, COOKIES AND SCREAM. Every product is dairy, egg, wheat and gluten free. All bakes are low fat, boasts low cholesterol and are made with unrefined sugars. This place is extremely popular and with everything freshly baked that morning, you’ll have to make sure you get there before everything runs out!

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We shared The Affogato shake which comes with a fresh shot of espresso. It completely hit the spot and didn’t leave us with the sugar shakes.

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Other favourites from our previous visits include Churros, Churrasco & Wild Game BBQ and Oliver’s Fish & Chips –

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I’m already looking forward to my next hungover venture!

A Foodies WORST Nightmare

All my life I have suffered with severe fatigue, bloatedness, lack of energy, headaches, joint pains, dizziness…you name it, I experience it on a daily basis. I can’t actually remember the last time I woke up feeling refreshed with at least one or more of the symptoms above. After trying to live a healthier life, exercising regularly and educating myself on nutrition, I had hoped to see improvements. Frustratingly enough, after completing an intolerance test, my worst nightmare has peered it’s evil little head.  I’m going to have to be one of those Gluten Free, Dairy free assholes. 

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My report came back and I have a long list of Intolerance’s Ranging above 90%. Wheat, dairy, egg whites, soy, flaxseed, lentils, rye,  lettuce (who on earth is intolerant to five different types of LETTUCE?) green beans, sheep & cows milk. This concludes that I will no longer get to indulge in the food of gods…. cheese. Bread. No pizza, no chocolate, no eggs, no bakery items, only a small number of sauces, only a small number of meats as wheat flour or soy is literally in everything! #$%!^&!!! 

After cutting out all the above and spending countless minutes reading the ingredients of every single food item I laid my hands on, I started to feel great. I was sleeping well (apart from the occasional disturbances from my snorlax boyfriend), bursting with energy and wasn’t really experiencing any symptoms, bar anger and frustration. However, by day 5, my body was experiencing withdrawal symptoms and turning me into a complete and utter psycho. I felt angry at the world for no particular reason and I felt like I was truly craving processed crap like my life depended on it. Since then, I have had a large number of weak moments which have resulted in painful symptoms for the next 2-3 days.

After attempting to eliminating my intolerances for the second time, I have purchased Deliciously Ella’s book for some inspiration. Her book is filled with gorgeous looking recipes, full of colour, with a number of alternatives to your favourite junk food items. I would highly recommend this book to everyone and anyone interested in nutrition and clean eating. Although you’ll need a good trip (and pricey one at that) to your nearest WholeFoods or local organic shop, her recipes are all pretty simple! Check them out here, http://deliciouslyella.com 

Below I attempted her Sweet Potato Brownies –

Ingredients - sweet potato, medjool dates, ground almonds, spelt flour, raw cacao powder, organic 100% pure maple syrup.
Ingredients – sweet potato, medjool dates, ground almonds, brown rice flour, raw cacao powder, organic 100% pure maple syrup.

and an inspired version of her blueberry muffins…..

Ingredients: Brown rice flour, ground cinnamon, almond milk, ground almonds, fresh blueberries and 100% organic maple syrup
Ingredients: Brown rice flour, ground cinnamon, almond milk, ground almonds, fresh blueberries and 100% organic maple syrup

and for all you pancake lovers, who actually can consume egg (weehh) and you’re craving a full english on a sunday morning, try this healthier breakfast alternative my boyfriend & I created –

Quinoa flakes, 2 egg whites, almond milk and chia seeds, topped with blueberries. Nom dot com! (Ignore the bacon, naaat so healthy!)
Quinoa flakes, 2 egg whites, almond milk and chia seeds, topped with blueberries. Nom dot com! (Ignore the bacon, naaat so healthy!)

Going Pescetarian

For as long as I can remember,  I have always loved meat. Steak, burgers, nuggets..you name it, I crave it. There is no better taste than a juicy medium-well steak in my eyes and whilst I’m sat here salivating at the mouth, I have to remind myself that for a person who’s favourite things in the world are animals, why should I be so hyprocritial to indulge in them? I wouldn’t gobble up my boyfriend (even when he’s spent too long on FIFA) so why should I have the right to eat the things I love. Why should I support such an inhumane industry when I want to spend my life trying to protect and stand up for these beautiful creatures? For others, it will not seem hypocritical but for me, it is something that questions my entire being and values. With that being said, I have not and will never judge anyone for the dietary choices they choose to make.

I’m a strong believer in taking things step-by-step and not going full speed ahead. Starting today, I will be cutting out all meat except for fish, eggs and cheese in the hopes of eventually in years to come, cutting those out too. A couple months back I decided to cut out all meat and experienced more side effects than I anticipating. The first few days consisted of gruelling headaches and extreme fatigue whilst my body was detoxing and getting rid of all toxins, chemicals, antibiotics, added hormones, feed additives, flavor enhancers, age-delaying gases and salt-water solutions found in meat. I felt ill and very very weak. This time around I will be educating myself on the right protein sources and making sure I am consuming a healthy, balanced diet. Luckily, in London, meat substitutes and vegan/vegetarian restaurants are extremely popular and readily available.

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My #vege sheperds pie 💛 #Quorn with onion, garlic, stock & spices with a half potato & sweet potato with almond milk topping

I can’t guarantee I won’t slip off the bandwagon and at times and I may even treat myself to a birthday burger next month (25 years old.. scary stuff!) but no journey is complete without a few hiccups.

But to me, no taste will be worth an animals life. Simple as. 

In the process of bettering my health, I like to occasionally rummage through my favourite London store in Bayswater, Planet Organic. It’s incredibly sad but roaming round this organic haven, attempting to find healthier substituted products is just my ultimate de-stresser. Below are some of my favourites.

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Instead of white/wholemeal bread. Try Biona’s organic Rye Bread – Amaranth & Quinoa – Goes amazingly well with avocado and cheese!  Biona’s organic crunchy peanut butter is also great as it includes no added salt, sugar or palm oil and is vegetarian, vegan, gluten and diary free for those with allergies and intolerances.

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As I’m allergic to caffeine, Rooibos (Red Bush) is perfect for a little sweet pick me up after lunch. Rooibos originates from South Africa and boosts so many health benefits. It contains powerful antioxidants, has a high mineral content, aids iron absorption, relieves stomach and skin complaints and aids a restful sleep. After dinner, I also like to treat myself to a square or two of Green & Black’s organic 70% dark chocolate. It does the trick without splurging on a chocolate bar. 

As I start my quest to implement a healthier, balanced life, any pescetarian/vegetarian/vegan recipes recommendation would be greatly appreciated.

Onwards and upwards!

K

Fitness Focus

When I first heard my friend Sam, say he would be embarking on a intensive 12 week body building program my initial thought was regrettably, doubt. Don’t get me wrong, I  support my friends 100% in anything they take on but 3 months without alcohol, an extremely strict diet, high level intensity lifting 5 days a week and cardio 7 days. It just seemed impossible to me because quite frankly, Sam’s lifestyle didn’t exactly mirror this.

The regime Sam adapted was the 12 week plan by Kris Gethin. The workout split works on chest & triceps, back & biceps, legs, calves & abs and shoulders including 2 x 20 minute cardio sessions a day. Food intake focuses on eating every 2-3 hours equaling to 6-7 meals a day, consisting of various protein (fish, poultry, steak, egg whites and protein powder), carbs (sweet potato, brown rice, wheat pasta and oats) and natural fats.

The motivation and strength I witnessed over the next 12 weeks was extremely inspiring to me and I feel that his determination could inspire others to achieve their own personal goals.

What first attracted you to the program?

Before I go into what kickstarted me into this program from hell i’ll tell you a little about myself leading up to the beginning of the 12 weeks. In November 2009 at the age of 18 I was diagnosed with a disorder called alopecia totalis. (Alopecia totalis is the loss of all head hair. Its causes are unclear, but it is currently believed to be an autoimmune disorder. Stress is sometimes thought to be a contributor in alopecia areata.) Before the diagnosis I weighed 115kg and unfortunately it was mostly fat. Over the next year I decided I needed to do something about it so I started to walk up the DB mountain and limited my diet to a smoothie in the morning, apple at lunch and steak at dinner. In just seven months my weight was down to 76kg and my hair was starting to grow back but, I soon realised that I was so skinny that I looked ill, I also still had the same amount of body fat as I did when I was 115kg.

I focused the next couple of months on gaining my weight back simply by eating, drinking and occasionally going into the GYM and sure enough in 3 months I was back up to 100kg. Although the gut that had followed me through the past couple of years had, unfortunately, stayed with me. I realised that all the programs on the internet are pretty accurate when they tell you to do your cardio and eat your meals (often up to 8 a day!)

I was ready for my next challenge and this time I was going to do it by the book! A friend mentioned this program to me and at first, I read through it and soon realised that I was subconsciously cutting deals with myself. Deals like; “I will do 3 weeks without alcohol and then go back to normal but still stick the program.” After dwelling on these deals for a few days I thought to myself 12 weeks of my life, its not the longest time when you think of it in relation to your life. So I decided to go all out and push myself to the limit. I read a few corny inspirational quotes, (“Success rests not only on ability, but upon commitment, loyalty, and pride.” – Vince Lombardi worked quite well.) I haven’t looked back.

Anyway that’s why I started this 12 week program from hell. I have two weeks left haven’t had a drop of alcohol, haven’t smoked a single cigarette and have kept up with my cardio, gym work and eating plan. So far I have lost 7kg, it may not seem like a lot when I compare it to the 30 odd kilos I lost before but this time around it is fat I am losing not muscle.

How has your body changed?

My body has changed dramatically! It is the only time IN MY LIFE that my extremely shy abs have shown themselves. I am also a thousand times more fit than I have ever been and my overall BMI has dropped considerably.

What was your biggest struggle?

The most difficult parts of the program for me were keeping up with my meals and cardio- I personally have never been one to enjoy cardio in fact I find it extremely boring! But I realised that if you focused on the big picture (not the 50 minutes of cardio you’re doing each day) time would fly by. Having a gym partner has also made it a lot more achievable.

Did the program affect your state of mind?

The change that I have felt the most was surprisingly not my physical change but my mental change, I have felt more far more comfortable in myself which has lead me to push my limits both at the GYM and at work (I have even started my own enterprise, a fishing camp for kids which has so far been very successful.)

Are you happy with the results?

I am extremely happy with my progress! It has only been 12 weeks and it feels like I have 12 months of results.

What have you learnt from the program?

This program has taught me a lot. It has shown me how important your diet is and that eating more is often good!The most valuable thing however is the mental gains that this program has brought about, It really pushes you in all departments. I realised that I could push myself through the toughest of times just by having the right attitude and I found that I could apply this to all situations in and out of the GYM which has really helped my productivity.

What tips would you give anyone interested in the program?

If you are thinking about starting any program or even looking to get fit this is the program for you! It is tailor made for both men and women and for all ages (I have even got my mum thinking about it so no excuses!) This program is really helpful and keeps your commitment as he (Kris Gethin) is doing it every step of the way with you.

 For those interested in finding out more about this program visit – http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/kris-gethin-12-week-daily-trainer.html. Many thanks to Sam. 

K

Beat the summer heat

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I reckon Hong Kong would be THEE best city on earth if it wasn’t for the humidity & pollution. Not only does it mess up our appearance but also decreases our mood. No matter how many showers we have a day, 10 minutes walking around central and we’re sweating bullets out of places we didn’t even think we could sweat from. And you can forget about wearing make up or deodorant….

Here are a few tips to beat the summer heat.

1. Store your moisturizers, eye gels, cleaners (basically any facial products) in the fridge. You will experience a cool sensation when you apply them but can also make them more effective as storing it at +35C or higher temperatures can cause chemical changes in the products. Try purchasing light moisturizers so your face doesn’t sweat more or clog up, causing blotchy skin. Also to the men who have dared to read this post, remember to moisturize before bed to help with sun damage. You do not want to be 50 year old with saggy, blotchy skin..trust me. Same goes for light sunscreen.

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Garnier Light Daily Moisturizer – Found in Sasa, Watsons & Mannings

2. Use a scrub once a week to remove built up dirt you’ve collected on various junk trips, pool days, hikes etc .. Exfoliation is a must as dead skin cells lead to pimples and skin irritation. According to Berg , one of the reasons men’s skin looks more youthful than women’s is because men tend to exfoliate daily when they shave.

3. Go for frozen yoghurt instead of Ice-cream! Less calories,more nutritious, gives you an energy boosts but doesn’t leave you with that groggy post sugar meltdown.

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Central – Infinitus Plaza, 199 Des Voeux rd, Sheung Wan HK, Wan Chai – Shop 12, Causeway centre, 28 Harbour rd, Wan Chai HK

4. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Such an obvious one but we need to be drinking double the amount of water we usually do, especially when consuming alcohol!

5. Go Ice-skating at Festival Walk. Aircon, fun AND exercise!  $50-55 depending on how many hours you wish to skate. (http://www.glacier.com.hk/fun/fun_index.html)

6. Hit Splash in Macau.

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Booze, Bikini’s & Music. 
When: 14th July 2012 (Saturday)
Where: HardRock Hotel Poolside
Time: 2pm-1am
DJ’s: Miss Nine, Timo Garcia, Sonny Wharton
Price: $300 pre-booked, $350 on the door.
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7. Avoid Beer as It makes you sweat. Try Pimm’s, Sangria, Mojitos, Margaritas, G&T’s etc as they are more refreshing and tend to have less calories. To all you lads out there who need to be seen with a beer in hand in order to look cool infront of your mates, try a vodka lime soda instead. You’re more likely to throw up the next day but hey..all for the banter ay?
8. Avoid foods that make you bloat. No one wants to feel bloated in their swimwear. Keep these foods to a minimum before a junk trip: Salt, White Bread, Potatoes, Brocolli, Coffee & Tea, fried foods, chewing gum, carbonated drinks etc.
K.